Motherboards and Chipsets (cont’d)
Abit was at the show this year in now typical fashion — with Fatal1ty and their crew close in tow. This relationship has turned out to be quite beneficial to Abit if for no other reason than seeing a huge amount of traffic at their booths at all the shows they attend together. I just published my Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE motherboard review earlier this week, so take a look at that if you want to see what the partnership is producing thus far.
Probably the most interesting thing I saw was a very early mock up of the new Fatal1ty AN8 motherboard based on the nForce4 Ultra chipset.
The first board for the AMD platform that will sport the AN8 and the Fatal1ty name is going to be a single GPU motherboard with all the features that you would expect to find on an Abit or Fatal1ty product. That means lots of overclocking and tweaking options. Abit did tell us that they are planning on having an SLI board with the Fatal1ty name with it later on down the line. After all, there is no denying that for now the ultimate gaming machine would have to use dual NVIDIA graphics cards.
Another interesting surprise at the show was this VIA K8T890 chipset motherboard from Abit, the AX8. Featuring a single x16 PCIe slot as well as the VT8237 south bridge. The VIA motherboards still are a bit behind as far as the amount of features they offer, but the board should be a great lower-cost solution for users wanting to enter the PCI Express graphics market. Chip availability is still an issue on the VIA chipsets according to various motherboard vendors as well.
Asus was at the Venetian showrooms this year, and their booth was stocked full of their various product lines. As far as motherboards went, we really didn’t see too much that was new, but there were a few interesting pieces of news. We have already done a full review of the Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard, which you can read here.
The above picture is of the Asus K8N4-E Deluxe motherboard based around the nForce4 chipset. This iteration shows the board as a 754-pin processor motherboard, though I think we’ll see a 939-pin version as well.
Asus also had this Radeon XPRESS chipset motherboard on display with the Pentium 4 LGA775 socket. The information on the board called the chipset ‘Xpress 200’ though I think we’ll have some kind of differentiation from ATI on the chipset names. This board did in fact use the ULi M1573 south bridge instead of the RB400 chip from ATI that has been reported as having problems in various areas.
Asus had several PCs from their customers on display, the most impressive of which was this one from Voodoo PC. It was based around the A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard and featured dual 6800 GT graphics cards. The interior of the case had a nice mirror finish that gave the impression that there were in fact two systems inside of it. The system also featured complete water cooling that kept it quiet as well.
At ATI’s booth, they had their upcoming Intel-based PCI Express chipset on display, though there wasn’t any information on when the chipset is available.
And, as is now a classic convention floor requirement, the wall of motherboards for ATI’s design wins is growing.