Computex 2000 Coverage Day 1: Chipsetsby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 12, 2000 12:00 PM EST
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820E where were you?
The one most notable absence from the Computex 2000 show floor was Intel's "flagship" (if it can be called that) 820 chipset. Motherboard manufacturers did display boards based on the i820 chipset but they were very scarce and not nearly as popular at this show as they were 7 months ago at the 1999 Fall Comdex in Vegas.
Even more of a blow to Intel was the fact that the i820E was barely shown at all on the floor. Why is this so shocking? Mostly because the i820E was launched the first day of Computex, Monday, June 5th. For those of you that aren't familiar with the i820E it basically replaces the i820's I/O Controller Hub (ICH) with an updated revision of the part called ICH2 that adds Ultra ATA 100 support as well as support for 4 USB ports.
The main feature of ICH2 however is its integrated hardware LAN support which can be taken advantage of by the new CNR slot on motherboards that feature the new ICH2.
We asked every motherboard manufacturer we met with at Computex how their i820 boards were selling and not a single one (obviously) responded with anything other than "poorly."
Intel is definitely hurting the Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers with their current chipset situation. No one wants the i820 because of its lack of support for SDRAM and the still inflated cost of RDRAM, no one wants the i840 because of its expensive nature and its dependency on RDRAM as a memory technology as well, and no one wants to use an MTH based motherboard design because of all of the problems that have been associated with Intel's MTH.
This leaves three options for motherboard manufacturers as far as chipsets go. They can either 1) Run to VIA, 2) Produce more BX based designs or 3) Hope that Intel's Solano (815) chipset can save the day.