In an effort to help save R&D costs for its own-brand motherboards, Intel will release ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) orders to Taiwan-based motherboard makers, with the first orders belonging exclusively to Foxconn, DigiTimes reports.
As it currently stands, Intel ships between 4-5 million units annually, but although the chip maker is reportedly looking to cut back, the company did say it will continue to design and develop motherboards, as well as closely cooperate with industry players in the motherboard market.
If it turns out to be true, the big loser in the new deal is Pegatron Technology, an Intel OEM partner which will stand on the sidelines for these new orders. Adding salt to the wound, Asus, Pegatron's biggest client, is looking to increase its outsourcing to other companies as well.
AMD has slated November 2009 as the month that they will begin mass production of their 8 series chipsets.
The new RD890 chipset is poised to replace the RD790 and RS880D in January 2010, after they pass the engineering verification (EVT) and design verification tests (DVT). The RD890 will pair up with AMD’s quad-core AM3 processors in the high-end market, and will support DDR3 memory and HyperTransport 3.0.
Along with this, AMD is planning to launch their SB800 series of southbridges in January of next year.
Good news for Gigabyte fans who like to tweak their systems but fear one bad move (or BIOS flash) could ruin the whole experience. The motherboard maker has begun offering its DualBIOS technology on its entire lineup of motherboards and not just the high-end boards.
Gigabyte refers to its DualBIOS as a "hot spare" for your system, and that's essentially what is. DualBIOS boards contain two BIOS chips. Should the primary chip fail for any reason -- say a power outage during a BIOS update, or a particularly nasty virus infection -- the secondary BIOS automatically kicks in the next time you boot your system.
Gigabyte initially only offered its DualBIOS technology on premium boards, but look to see it on both entry- and mid-level mobos going forward as the company tries to increase its market share.
Almost every top tier motherboard maker has been feeling the economic crunch, save for MSI, the only major mobo player to see its monthly revenues go up. Asus, ECS, and Gigabyte all slid in the opposite direction, with Asus hit the hardest after posting consolidated revenues of $428.55 million for May. That's a drop of 20 percent on month for the popular motherboard maker, and 22 percent down for the year.
ECS, meanwhile, posted consolidated revenues of $187 million for May, down 7.5 percent for the month and 17.54 percent on the year. Gigabyte's revenues checked in at just $88 million, a drop of 9.45 percent on the month and 7.64 percent for the year.
MSI, while up for the month, was down on the year, though just slightly at 0.54 percent.
Loud bellows can be heard at the ongoing Computex tradeshow in the Taiwanese capital. Nvidia is the one making all the noise with a bagful of Ion-based small form factor products. There are 21 Ion-based products being showcased at the event, including the Acer Desktop AspireRevo, Asus All-in-one eeeTop ET2002 and MSI All-in-one Windtop AE2201. Many of these products had not been heard of prior to Computex. The Ion platform has been at the receiving end of Intel’s contempt. But even Intel must be keenly observing the first wave of Ion-based products at Computex.
Biostar today adds to its T-Series motherboard lineup, this time with a hybrid board capable of running both DDR2 and DDR3 memory (not at the same time).
"Needless to say, the double DDR2/DDR3 design make it possible for users to enjoy better compatibility and cost saving on future memory upgrade," Biostar wrote in a press release. "This motherboard also supports Biostar's exclusive G.P.U. energy-saving technology."
The TP45E Combo motherboard dedicates two slots to each memory standard with support for up to 4GB of DDR3-800/1066/1333, and up to 8GB of DDR2-667/800/1066. Other notables include "whole solid capacitors," 1600MHz frontside bus support, 3 PCI slots, 2 PCI-E x1 slots, a single PCI-E Gen2 x16 slot, 6 SATA ports, and 5.1 surround sound.
Biostar's second Core-i7 compatible motherboard, the TPower X58A, is now available for sale, and here's why the company believes you should look at upgrading to the platform, price be damned.
"Although Intel X58 chipset based motherboard is sold at a relatively higher price in the market, Biostar still has an excellent reputation for TPower series, in which TPower X58 and TPower I45 are very popular with a lot of power users," Biostar writes in its press release.
Alrighty then. But quirky marketing aside, the revised TPower X58A does come with some enthusiast features, such as adopting an overclocker-friendly 12+2 power phase design (12-phase CPU and 2-phase memory), Ferrite core chokes, all Japananese manufactured solid capacitors, support for up to 24GB of DDR3-1333/1600/2000, three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, eSATA support, and a 'Rapid Debug 3' POST LED display to help you figure out which device(s) might be failing.
It's worth noting that Biostar has made a major push in the past 12 months to shed its reputation as a budget option and compete at the high end, snagging overclocking and frontside bus world records along the way.
Two Nvidia nForce 200 chips? Check. Seven (SEVEN!) PCI-E Gen 2 x16 slots? Check Three-way SLI and CrossFireX support? Check and check. Put it all together and you have the recipe for Asus' newly launched P6T7 WS SuperComputer motherboard.
"The Asus Workstation Series is the ideal foundation for a powerful PC," Asus states on the mobo's product page. "It delivers awesome power, dependable performance, and unparalleled multiple I/O scalability for the most demanding tasks an future upgrades. Also, it provides extreme power saving experience with EPU-6 Engine function."
Other features include six DIMM slots for up to 24GB of DDR3-2000 (O.C.) tri-channel memory, a comparatively modest six SATA 3Gb/s ports, two eSATA ports with support for RAID 0/1, two SAS ports also with support for RAID 0,1, oodles of USB 2.0 ports (12 in all), a true 16+2 phase power design, support for CrashFree BIOS 3, a stepless frequency selection, and more.
Designed mainly for CUDA parallel computing, Asus says up to nearly four teraflops of performance is made possible by outfitting the SuperComputer with four CUDA cards, one of which the company says should be a Quadro graphic card.
Asus this week announced new beta drivers for several of its motherboards that "enable Asus motherboard users to run Windows 7 RC." By doing so, Asus claims its mobos are the world's first to support the newly released operating system.
"Asus' industry-leading Research & Development team has kept close pace with each new beta release of Windows 7, and has developed beta drivers that enable Asus motherboard users to try Windows 7 RC immediately," Asus wrote in a press release. "The drivers can be downloaded from the Asus Motherboard Support website (http://support.asus.com/)."
Asus notes the following models are now officially supported:
P6T Deluxe V2
P5Q PRO Turbo
P5Q SE PLUS
Updated drivers for the full range of P6T, P5Q, and M4 series boards will be coming soon, Asus says.
You probably won't pull the global economy up by its bootstraps simply by upgrading your motherboard, but you will help reverse the downward sales trend mobo makers have had to contend with. According to a report by the Taiwanese Market Intelligence Institute (MIC), only 32 million motherboards were sold in the first quarter of 2009, a 16 percent drop from one year ago.
While sales in the US were down, the European market showed the most severe slowdown, according to the report. And it doesn't look to get any better in the second quarter of 2009.
"Markets in each region are entering the off-season, and channel inventory replenishment activities are slowing down," said Vincent Chang, MIC industry analyst. "market shipment momentum is thus weakening. Only several PC brands have continued to make procurements in April."
Chang went on to predict that year end sales figures, while still comparatively dismal, will fare a little better. He expects worldwide motherboard shipments to be in the 134 million range, or a 9 percent drop from 2008.
So there you have - tell your significant other you're only upgrading to Core i7 to help save mobo makers.