We are almost finished with Computex coverage; the show may have ended more than a week ago, but there are so many products to see and talk about that it's nearly impossible to cover them all. Today we will be looking at more motherboards and a few notebooks we saw in our visits to the various manufacturers, with our final Computex article centering around cooling and external storage products.



While Intel was very noticeable throughout the entire Computex area and officially launched their i965 chipset from the 84th floor of Taipei 101, AMD did not miss any opportunities to be noticed also. Besides the majority of motherboard suppliers featuring new AM2 products along with Server motherboards featuring the Opteron series, AMD provided a very nice showcase area for some of their recent product introductions including a strong showing by several notebook suppliers with Turion 64 X2 based systems. This impressive mobile processor series should give the Intel Core Duo series of processors a good run for its money and we look forward to reviewing a production ready Turion 64 X2 notebook shortly.

Motherboard Products:

ASRock

You can always count on ASRock to launch several interesting products in the very competitive under US $100 motherboard market. While the majority of products we viewed were either product refreshes for AMD AM2 or board updates for Core 2 Duo compatibility they still had a surprise or two at the booth. ASRock is one of the few motherboard suppliers who aggressively designed products that have an HDMI capable interface and are Windows Vista Premium ready.



The 775Dual-VSTA is Core 2 Duo ready and is based on the VIA PT880 PRO chipset while featuring support for both DDR2 and DDR memory along with PCI-E or AGP graphics capability.



The 775i65G is Core 2 Duo ready and is based on the Intel 865G chipset while featuring support for DDR memory along with 8X AGP or on-board Intel Extreme Graphics 2 capability. While most people would not pair a new Core 2 Duo with a board like this we find it interesting that the i865 chipset fully supports "Conroe" and if this board is capable of running DDR memory at the very low latencies of 2-2-2-7, then it very well might surprise some of the newer boards in CPU and memory performance. We should have a sample soon and will see if ASRock has endowed the board with some interesting bios capabilities. Of course, Core 2 Duo on an older chipset is all well and good, but don't expect this to be a gaming powerhouse platform given the lack of truly high-end AGP graphics cards.



The 775Twins-HDTV R2.0 board is fully Core 2 Duo capable and features the ATI Radeon Xpress 200 / ULi M1573 chipsets. The board ships with a VGA-HDTV panel that has component video output allowing it to connect to most current HDTVs.



The 775XFire-eSATA2+ is based on the Intel 945PL and ICHR7 chipsets and is Core 2 Duo ready along with the capability to fully support ATI CrossFire. The second X16 PCI Express slot also fully supports PCI-E X4, X2, and X1 cards. The board also features two eSATA ports along with an HDMI S/PDIF header.



The AM2XLI-eSATA2 is based on the ULi M1697 chipset and fully supports the AMD AM2 product family. The second physical X16 PCI Express slot (X8 capable) supports PCI-E X4, X2, and X1 cards. The board also features two eSATA ports along with the HDMI S/PDIF header. Although ASRock does not mention NVIDIA SLI support on this board as on their previous ULi based boards, we are happy to report that if you still have the ULi SLI enabling driver and the NVIDIA 81.98 driver set then the board will provide X8 SLI capability, though this is not sanctioned or approved by NVIDIA.

ASUS
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  • Zaitsev - Thursday, June 15, 2006 - link

    It sure is nice to see the overwhelming transition to passive chipset cooling. My patients for noisy, stop-working-after-2-months chipset fans ran out along time ago:) It's going to be interesting to see how well the heat pipe solutions work compared to the old fans.

    Reply
  • aldamon - Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - link

    I'd love to see the $60 ASRock 775Dual-VSTA benched with DDR and DDR2 before I drop $200+ on a "Conroe" overclocking board and another $160 - $260 on DDR2.

    Thanks in advance AT!
    Reply
  • larciel - Thursday, June 15, 2006 - link

    It brings back memories from 1996 !!! best buy was filled with their ugly case and IBM's sliding door cases! lol Reply
  • Bloodshedder - Friday, June 16, 2006 - link

    I had figured they were long dead. If anything, maybe during that ten years they got their act together. Reply
  • Calin - Thursday, June 15, 2006 - link

    Seeing so many small boards (micro ATX and so), for when some reviews of small mainboards (regarding compatibility, heat from chipset, performance, underclocking and overclocking)?

    Thanks
    Reply
  • Strunf - Thursday, June 15, 2006 - link

    Yup that would be nice, it has been a long time since I've seen a that kind of boards on the test lane. Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, June 15, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Yup that would be nice, it has been a long time since I've seen a that kind of boards on the test lane.


    We have several AMD/Intel m-ATX boards coming up for review in July along with the Conroe m-ATX boards in August.
    Reply
  • Calin - Friday, June 16, 2006 - link

    Looks like you will help me decide my birthday present :D
    Thanks

    And by the way, could you please please please test onboard video graphic performance (in one or two cases only) with a single DIMM in dual channel boards? And maybe with a Sempron AM2 at 35W (256K cache would be great)?

    (Yes, I know I am greedy).

    Lots and lots of thanks
    Reply
  • Myrandex - Thursday, June 15, 2006 - link

    On the second MSI page, the last motherboard has this comment:
    The K9VGM-V leads MSI's entry level products for AMD AM2 by combining the VIA K8M890 and VT8237R+ chipsets. Expect to see this board sell for under US $50 later this month.

    The motherboard in question is actually the PT890-Neo F for the Intel platform.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, June 15, 2006 - link

    Sorry about that, the file name was cross-linked in the database. It is corrected now. Reply

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