Computex 2003 - Day 2: Motherboard and Video Coverageby Evan Lieb on September 23, 2003 11:34 AM EST
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- IT Computing
ASUS had a lot of different things to show off at Computex this week. Whether it was their motherboards, video cards, PDAs or laptops, ASUS had a wide range of components and systems that dwarfed pretty much every other competing manufacturer at Computex.
Probably the most exciting idea ASUS had lined up at their booth was their “concept PC” for 2004 motherboard featuring two PCI Express 1X slots and one PCI Express 16X slot. Installed in the 16X slot was an ATI video card, probably using either a 9200 or 9600 GPU. Unfortunately, this PCI Express video card was not running at all; ASUS’ concept PC for 2004 is truly just that, a concept. The only part of the system that was running was the CPU HSF. This quite obviously means that PCI Express video cards are not so far along in testing that a manufacturer would be able to show off its capabilities. Still, we’ve been told by countless motherboard, chipset, and CPU manufacturers that PCI Express will be a solid 2004 product, likely rearing its head in late Q1/early Q2 with true mass production slated for sometime in Q4 depending on how market acceptance of PCI Express devices turns out in the beginning.
As you can see in the pictures above, ASUS is going to bring Socket 940 Athlon 64 motherboards to market based on the nForce3 and VIA K8T800 chipsets. ASUS has already released their Socket 940 nForce3 motherboard to market (SK8N) that supports Opteron processors and that will eventually support AMD’s upcoming high-end Athlon 64 FX processors. The only downside to introducing Socket 940 processors to market is that they must use registered DDR memory modules. Currently, there is a premium for registered DDR memory modules, and the highest available speed is still just DDR333 (PC2700). However, as shown in our Athlon 64 preview last month, it may not matter.
When asked about the market acceptance between NVIDIA and VIA’s Athlon 64 and Opteron chipsets, ASUS seemed to be split down the middle. Basically, ASUS has found that nForce3 and K8T800 chipsets perform almost identically and offer essentially the same feature set. Because of this fact, ASUS doesn’t think either chipset will really overtake the other unless one of them matures more rapidly than the other over the next few quarters. Unfortunately, we can’t get a straight answer from motherboard makers about nForce3 and K8T800; some think nForce3 is superior and will enjoy better overall sales, some think K8T800 will enjoy better overall sales, and some (like ASUS) think that both chipsets will experience about the same success. Whatever the case may be, AnandTech readers will know a good portion of our Athlon 64 results later this week…