Everyone in the motherboard business seems to be having a tough run to end the summer, and that includes Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), who announced consolidated revenues of just under $186 million for August, down 2.8 percent sequentially. That also represents a drop of 10.4 percent on year.
ECS has had a rough time maintaining the kind of motherboard shipment numbers it had grown accustomed to before the economy took a dump. The mobo maker shipped just 1.43 million units in August, which is down 9 percent on month and a significant 20.3 percent on year. Notebooks, on the other hand, climbed to 200,000 units, ECS reports.
Despite the continued struggle to push more motherboards into the marketplace, ECS says it is retaining a positive outlook towards the second half of 2009 and expects revenues to turn back around. Part of the optimism is no doubt related to Intel's recently released Core i5 platform and the resulting demand for P55 chipset products.
MSI joins a growing list of manufacturers to take the easy route and describe a new product as 'Xtreme.' In this case, MSI is referring to its just-released Xtreme Speed motherboard series, which seeks to capitalize on Intel's also just-released P55 platform.
According to MSI, Xtreme Speed boards will integrate three high-power features, including:
OC Genie - Detects and sets performance-optimized CPU, RAM, and chipset settings with the press of a button.
SuperPipe - An 8mm full copper heatpipe that MSI claims is 60 percent thicker than traditional heatpipes. MSI says you can expect boards equipped with its SuperPipe to run up to 50C cooler than those without.
DrMOS - Technology which combines a Driver IC, a Top MOSFET, and a Bottom MOSFET into one chip. MSI says the shorter distance ultimately results in 4 times faster phase switching speed and over 90 percent better power efficiency.
In addition to the above, Xtreme Speed boards will come with MSI's True Blu-ray Audio, power eSATA, a USB safeguard to prevent damage from short-circuits and ESD, active phase change switching (APS), and a handful of other goodies.
The summer hasn't been particularly kind to Silicon Integrated Systems, who saw its revenues for August tumble 25.8 percent on year to $413.4 million. However, that figure also marks the eighth consecutive month of growth for the entry-level and IGP chipset maker.
SiS said it expects growth to continue to the tune of 20 percent for the third quarter, and they're probably right. The growth in August can mainly be attributed to rising sales of entry- and mid-level PC chipsets, as well as Xbox 360 southbridge chipsets, the company said. And with the Xbox 360 recently receiving an attractive price cut, SiS could potentially do very well in the console sector.
SiS currently supplies budget chipsets to Asus, ECS, and Clevo, among other less recognizable brands.
For motherboard manufacturers, it's 'out with the old and in with the new,' whether they're ready for the change or not. Citing un-named sources sitting in mobo trenches, DigiTimes says Intel plans to slash the proportion of its G31 IGP chipeset shipments in half, reducing the number from 50 percent to 25 percent in the fourth quarter.
At the same time, Intel also plans to raise the proportion of its G41 shipments to 25 percent, but it remains to be seen how this will play out in terms of sales. According to DigiTimes, motherboard makers appear unwilling to jump on the pricier G41 bandwagon, which costs $7 compared to $4-5 for the G31.
Meanwhile, there already exists a suppy gap of around 20 percent for G31 chipset-based boards, which could reach as high as 50 percent in the fourth quarter. Asrock, ECS, Foxconn, and MSI are expected to suffer the most, as they ship more entry-level boards than Asus and Gigabyte.
Running a pair of dual-GPU GTX 295 videocards gives gamers quad-SLI bragging rights, but if you're really serious about driving Crysis cranked up on your swank 30-inch display, EVGA's new 4-way motherboard might be just what you're looking for.
EVGA's X58 Classified 4-Way SLI board supports up to four videocards and coincides with the company's 4-way compatible GTX 285 Classified videocard. Currently the fastest single-GPU videocard on the planet, four GTX 285 cards should trump two GTX 295 cards in just about any situation.
All that design decadence comes at the cost of case real estate and you'll need a chassis that supports the XL-ATX form factor. Measuring 13.5 inches by 10.3 inches, EVGA warns you'll need a case with 9 or more expansion slots, or handy modding skills.
As Intel's socket 1156-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors inch closer to an official release, look for motherboard vendors to start rolling out new mobos built around Intel's P55 chipset. That's exactly what Foxconn has done, who over the weekend unveiled its Inferno Katana motherboard as part of the company's Quantum Force series.
There's a lot to like about the Inferno Katana, at least on paper. Power user features are aplenty, including a 12 phase hybrid PWM and DirectFET MOSFET technology, 2 phase for VTT and memory, and a "Fuzzy Equalizer," which is an LED indicator light for displaying the PWM loading status.
Other specs include support for up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3-1800, 8 SATA ports, 7.1 channel onboard audio with Dolby DTS, 3 PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, 8 USB 2.0 ports, and "performance comparable to if not better than the C/P ratio of the Core i7."
Many motherboard makers believe that the desktop PC market is unlikely to see a comeback in the near future.
Intel recently held a summit in China in the interest of remedying this, but there are still those that hold their concerns. Many are already focusing on diversification into other markets, and have been for some time. Though, there are others that see Intel’s effort slowing the decline of desktop PCs.
What do you think? Are desktop PCs going to be a thing of the past, or will be they around for decades to come? Let us know in the comments.
Nvidia on Monday announced that Intel and leading motherboard manufacturers have licensed the graphic chip maker's SLI technology for use in Intel's P55 Express chipset. This will include boards from Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI.
"Nvidia technology is a perfect complement to the processing prowess of our new Core i7 and Intel DP55KG desktop brand," said Clem Russo, VP and General Manager of Intel Client Board Division. "Nvidia and Intel share a combined passion for furthering the PC as the definitive platform for gaming, and this combination will surely be attractive to anyone building or purchasing a brand new PC this fall."
By adding the P55 chipset under SLI's licensing umbrella, SLI is now available for all consumer PC platforms, including the Intel Core i7, Core i5, Core 2 Quad, and Core 2 Duo processor, in addition to those based on the AMD Phenom II CPU, Nvidia points out.
USB 2.0 rated at 480Mbit/s sounded great when it was released back in April 2000, but more than 9 years later its becoming pretty easy to saturate with our never-ending collection of high speed external drives. USB 3.0 clocks in at a much more respectable 4.8 Gbit/s, but those patiently awaiting hardware will have to cool their heels just a bit longer.
According to the Inquirer, Asus is cancelling what would have been the world’s first USB 3.0 motherboard the P6X58. The company hasn’t given any specific comment on it’s reason for the cancellation, but I would surmise it has something to do with the fact that you still can’t find any devices to pair up with it yet.
Speculation aside, I’m sure Asus still has USB 3.0 on it’s roadmap, but we still have no idea when the first motherboards / devices will hit the market. Want to learn more about the new standard? Make sure to take a look at our comprehensive guide to all things USB 3.0.
The four horsemen may be saddling up and Gozer the Gozerian might soon appear, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad news. With people digging in the couch crevices for dropped coins to build a new system, AMD’s back on the menu again. Don’t believe us?
We recently added up the cost differential of building a Core i7 machine versus a Phenom II rig and the AMD system saved us at least $200. Sure, the Core i7 will whup any Phenom II up and down the block, but $200 gets you a hell of a lot more videocard, hard drive, or power supply. If you’re thinking, “Why not Core 2?” our reasons are simple: legs. We don’t have faith Intel will push out faster and better Core 2 procs, but AMD will support AM2+ for at least 12 months through newer and faster AM3 CPUs.