Everyone and their brother had 945P motherboards on display this week, and some had dual 16 lane PCI-E interfaces on their motherboards. The dual x16 is actually slightly misleading, since the second adaptor is really just an x4 in an x16 slot. Since saturation of the PCI-E bus is something that graphic manufacturers still dream about, we aren't giving anyone a hard time about only putting 4 or 8 lanes on an x16 interface (yet).

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But Biostar didn't just have a 945P motherboard with two graphics adaptors. They also had a 915P board with two as well! Practical? Perhaps not - but unique? Absolutely. As cheap as other 915P motherboard prices have fallen in the last few months, a new, inexpensive 915P motherboard with extra room for graphics might find some niche somewhere. In the remote opportunity that NVIDIA opens its SLI driver to steal ATI's Crossfire thunder, some of these 915P and 945P dual graphics motherboards are actually capable of rudimentary "SLI" performance.

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Biostar's real focus this year was on the small form factor (SFF). An entire room in the Biostar suite was dedicated to SFFs, with plenty of 945G and nForce4 designs. However, we didn't see an nForce4 SLI setup like we did at Shuttle's suite yesterday.

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Biostar did have an SFF based on C51G - a.k.a. nForce4 IGP. Some of the finer points about the chipset are revealed in the note card next to the system, including integrated 6200TC graphics and 7.1 channel audio (not SoundStorm 2).

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Speaking of SFF, Intel partnered up with FIC to produce one of the most unoriginal, but still interesting, looking products to enter the small form factor world. The Mac-Mini knockoffs are based on Pentium M processors and only require a single internal fan.

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The DC inverter is not housed inside the system, but all other components are. The SFF units are primarily legacy free, but have a traditional RJ-11 input for what we can only guess is caller ID. The booth claims that the Mini-knockoffs are for the digital home, but the lack of HDMI indicates otherwise for us. Since these are proof-of-concept machines, we can't criticize them too much - but don't expect to see something like this anytime soon at Fry's.

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HIS Cases, ThermalTake
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  • Doormat - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link


    RAID 5 is an improvement over RAID-3 because any time you wrote to any one of the data drives, you'd have to write to the pairty drive - you're essentially write-speed bottlenecked by the write speeds of the pairty drive (unless you manage to cache the writes but that still doesnt solve the underlying architectural flaw). You could still read from the array quite fast however.

    RAID-5 gets over this by spreading out the parity so when you write data to one of the array's disks, its more or less going to write the parity out to a random drive in the array instead of one dedicated drive.
  • n7 - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    @ #20

    Nice detective skillz :)
    I hope you are right about that...would be a nice surprise if so.
  • ImJacksAmygdala - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    I think Lian Li needs to take a good hard look at the Antec P180 design and stop wasting R&D time and money on concept crap that will never sell in the market.

    The P180 design could be improved if the drive cages and feet could be reconfigured so that the case could be used up right as a tower or on its side as a HTPC case. Its a shame that Antec did not think of this when it was developing the P180. Whats worse is that the bottom of the P180 doesn't have a brushed aluminum finish and the feet are going to be difficult to move.
  • Chunkee - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    How about some improvment on the photos please.

  • yacoub - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    In case anyone is curious about the earthquake:
  • RyanVM - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    So you said not to expect the X550 until R520 launches. I couldn't help but notice that the placard that the X550 was on said it's launching on June 15. Does that mean what I think that means? ;-)
  • yacoub - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    "4 bay faceplates in the Enermax case, "Hey look! We got pretty lights!""

    That case starred in the upcoming movie remake of The War of the Worlds.
  • ProviaFan - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    JHutch, I remember being told that RAID 5 was an improvement over RAID 3, because having the parity distributed over all disks balances the workload more evenly over every disk. Whether this still applies, I don't know.
  • JHutch - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    Maybe someone can clarify RAID 3 vs RAID 5 for me. It looks like they are both basically striped data with a parity data block. RAID 3 seems to put all the parity on one disk, while RAID 5 spreads it around the array of disks.

    Supposing I have that much right, what are the advantages/disadvantages of one over the other?
  • Jynx980 - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    "The ATOP bundle pictured below consists of an AGP GeForce 6200 video card piggy-backed onto the ATOP adaptor."

    Below -> Above

    Bahaha! Love that sign in the HIS X550 pic "New" written in silver pen! That said, the info on the signs that hold the card are damn good.

    4 bay faceplates in the Enermax case, "Hey look! We got pretty lights!"

    The MGE prototype case looks pretty slick. Makes me think about the shrinking room in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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