Tyan's Tiger MP: Affordable Multiprocessingby Anand Lal Shimpi on September 26, 2001 4:36 AM EST
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One of the most difficult tasks we have at AnandTech is presenting you with the most complete information for you to base your buying decisions upon. Often times we know about products that will be released months in advance, but are under strict non-disclosure agreements not to reveal such information. The reasons are obvious; manufacturers don't want their competition learning about a product too early (although they do find out through OEM contacts quite easily). They also don't want to kill off sales on shipping products by letting everyone know that a superior product is on its way. Needless to say it puts us in a very difficult position because we want to give you the most complete information but aren't always able to tell you everything (we do leave clues here and there though…).
A fairly recent example (there are some that are even more recent however) was the release of Tyan's Thunder K7; the world's first dual processor Socket-A motherboard. We originally wrote about this board back in June, at the start of Computex. The performance was spectacular, even besting that of a dual 1.7GHz Intel Xeon system. While the performance of the board was mainly due to the chipset and the CPUs, Tyan had the exclusive on the solution and could thus reap the benefit's of AMD's engineering. Tyan is no rookie when it comes to making this sort of a motherboard either; there are very few manufacturers that we'd trust to produce such a complicated motherboard design to be used in a mission critical server environment. The only real downside to the workstation users on a budget was the incredible price of the Thunder K7. Initially retailing at over $700, the Thunder K7 was far from affordable. The performance was worth it to some, but to others the price was simply too high.
By this time however, we already knew that help was on the way. Tyan had already thought of and designed a much cheaper solution. This board would be born without the onboard Ethernet controllers, sound and video; even more importantly, without the incredible power supply requirements. In spite of the showings at Computex, Tyan knew that no other manufacturer would be able to produce a dual Socket-A motherboard before Q4 of 2001. So they did what any competitive company would do; they allowed their expensive flagship to reign king for a couple of months, and then introduced a cheaper follow-up to tailor to the rest of the market.
The cheaper follow-up is here and it's the little brother to Tyan's Thunder K7. It's time to introduce the Tiger MP.