It's true that size matters, and sometimes you want to go small. That's what Zotac's banking on with the release of two new mini-ITX mainboards, one of which the company claims is the world's first AMD mobile-on desktop platform.
Both the Zotac M880G-ITX WiFi and 880G-ITX WiFi come built around the AMD 800 series chipset, with the M880G sporting an AMD Turion II Neo K625 dual-core processor, ATI Radeon HD 4200 series GPU, a pair of DDR3 memory slots, a single PCI-Express x1 port, six SATA 6Gb/s ports, USB 3.0, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.
The 880G is socket AM3 ready with support for AMD Phenom II, Athlon II, and Sempron processors. Specs are largely the same as the M880G, except it comes with four SATA 6GB/s ports instead of six.
Fans? MSI don't need no stinkin' fans, not for Intel's Atom platform, anyway. The motherboard maker just announced its latest 3.5-inch small form factor (SFF) slice of silicon, the I3-945GSE-D.
This new board kicks it old school with an Intel Atom N270 processor slapped onto an Intel 945GSE chipset. It has "onboard power and a fanless design, making it an excellent all-in-one, high-end solution for use in custom enclosures and embedded applications," MSI says.
Feature-wise, the new board supports up to 2GB of DDR2 400/533 SODIMM memory and comes with a single SATA 3Gb/s port, onboard LAN, a mini PCI-E slot, Realtek ALC887 HD audio, CF slot, and "supports onboard watchdog timer for added system redundancy and security."
Maybe when the dust finally settles, we'll see an Nvidia chipset supporting Intel's Nehalem architecture, after all. During an interview in Tokyo, Nvidia's normally outspoken and candid CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said the two embattled companies asked a Delaware court to postpone a trial originally scheduled for December 6, 2010.
"The two of our companies decided to postpone the court hearing until early next year," Huang said. "And we're always in talks. Our two companies are always in talks.
Huang ended it there, saying there was no other news on the matter. There's also no nForce chipset for Intel's Core i3/i5/i7 series on the horizon, as Intel contends that its licensing agreement with Nvidia, which dates back to 2004, doesn't include its Nehalem architecture. As far as Intel is concerned, the licensing agreement doesn't apply to the DMI (Direct Media Interface) communications bus found in Nehalem, while Nvidia believes it should be allowed to build chipsets around processors with an integrated memory controller.
It hasn't always been smooth sailing for motherboard makers in 2010, but at least for the month of September, all the major players managed to increase revenues, most by 25 percent or more.
Pegatron showed the least amount of month-on-month growth of the bunch at 4.6 percent, followed by Asus with 5.79 percent (Asus is up year-over-year 45.42 percent).
ECS recorded the highest month-on-month revenue growth of them all by jumping up 33.27 percent. No other company needed it more, as ECS is also the only one to post a year-on-year loss, with overall revenue down 8.38 percent.
Gigabyte posted September revenues of $152.7 million, up 25.51 percent on month and 0.2 percent on year, while MSI posted $266.2 million in revenue for the month, up 26.22 percent.
Want to know if you’re a tier 1 nerd? You are if the phrase USB 3.0 Internal Connector Cable Specification Revision 1.0 gets your nerd on. Yeah, we thought you’d get as excited as we did. This is, afterall, one of the final hurdles to getting native SuperSpeed USB 3.0 down in the motherboard.
Not sure what the hell we’re talking about? It’s the spec that defines what an internal motherboard header will be for SuperSpeed USB 3.0. Up until now, case enclosure vendors have had to hack together work arounds for front mounted USB 3.0 ports by running pass through cables that go out the back of the case and plug into the motherboard’s USB 3.0 ports on back.
We've been hearing chatter that MSI is getting ready to roll out a line of ruggedized motherboards and videocards, though details beyond that are disappointingly sparse.
We're not entirely sure how you supe-up a mobo or videocard so that it qualifies as rugged, but we're eager to find out. Maybe they'll come encased in rubber or coated in unobtanium.
Either way, MSI is hoping these new products will help spur sales. The company reported August revenues of around $203.72 million, down nearly half a percentage point sequentially. MSI's graphics card business has been especially brutal, with MSI expecting global shipments to drop by 10-15 percent on year in 2010.
Any old scrap heap will get you from point A to point B, but it’s about the ride, playa, and that’s where the Crosshair IV Formula shines. Not only does the red and black color scheme look pimp, the board backs up its ferocious style with extensive overclocking controls and enough cooling potential to blow down a brick house. How so? Asus plopped eight freakin’ PWM fan headers around the motherboard.
Motherboard makers have had a tougher than expected time moving boards lately and are hoping Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge architecture will kick-start demand, particularly in the enterprise.
Intel's Sandy Bridge product line is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2011. These will include Sandy Bridge-based Core i7 2600K, 2600, 2600S, Core i5 2500, 2400, and 2390, as well as Core i3 2120 and 2100 CPUs for the desktop. On the mobile front, Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge lineup will include the Core i7 2920XM, 2820QM, 2720QM, Core i5 2540M, and 2520M processors.
There will also be a Sandy Bridge-based Celeron chip built on a 32nm manufacturing process, which will ship in the third quarter of 2011 for about $50 (thousand unit trays).
The USB 3.0 SuperSpeed spec really is all that and a bag of Baked Lays (unless you're not a fan of Baked Lays, in which case insert your own awesome variety of chips). For starters, USB 3.0 crushes USB 2.0 in maximum theoretical transfer rates at up to 4.8Gb/s versus 480Mb/s. But speed isn't the only benefit. The SuperSpeed spec supports full-duplex data transfers, delivers more power to devices, and allows for longer cable runs. And best off, it's backwards compatible with USB 2.0.
So why the frak aren't we seeing USB 3.0 all over the place? Blame it on Intel, the world's No. 1 chip maker who happens to be dragging its feet in supporting the new spec. The only way you'll find USB 3.0 on boards now is through a third-party chip, primarily from NEC.
That's about to change. According to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report, Intel is expected to announce its own USB 3.0 host controller for its Couger Point motherboard reference design at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum (IDF).
Once Intel makes the announcement, you can expect USB 3.0 devices to start barreling through the market. We've already seen a handful of SuperSpeed products pushed through the mainstream pipeline, but by this time next year, the USB 3.0 landscape should look decidedly different.
Those ever talkative "sources from motherboard makers" are again flapping their gums to Digitimes, this time involving Nvidia. As the latest rumor goes, Nvidia's engineers are busy developing a chipset that combines the function of both a southbridge and GPU.
The funky dual-purpose chipset is Nvidia's way of sidestepping Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture and avoiding a potential messy legal battle. Intel filed suit against Nvidia back in 2009 claiming the license agreement between the two parties only covered processors that don't contain an integrated memory controller, which is the reason why you haven't seen any Nvidia-based chipsets for Nehalem.
Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture combines a CPU and northbridge into one, and as the story goes, Nvidia is hoping motherboard makers will opt to purchase Sandy Bridge without the southbridge (Cougar Point). That would save them about $15, which could then be used towards the purchase of Nvidia's combo chipset.