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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  • gilboa - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    Linux *has* software RAID 6 support.
    I've been using it for a while now.

    Just look at the kernel source under:
  • bigboxes - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    "Maybe if they put heat pipes throughout the whole desk it would offer interesting cooling."

  • smn198 - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    Lian Li's weird round case could be good for a geek version of this:

    Their desk looks quite interesting although I think I'll spend my $2000 elsewhere. Maybe if they put heat pipes throughout the whole desk it would offer interesting cooling.
  • cHodAXUK - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    Suprise, suprise, another year passes and Lian Li still haven't produced a case that doesn't look like an aluminium version of an old 386 midi-tower.
  • flatblastard - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    Correction: rd400/rd480

    Also, I was wondering if those motherboards have 6 or 8 channel audio. It's late and I'm too tired to walk upstairs and fire up the main rig so I can enlarge the pic big enough to read that list ;)

    Man I must be gettin lazy in my old age (26), lol.....or could this be a sign it's time to replace my old browser rig?
  • flatblastard - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    Looks like HIS RD400/RS480 will be using the sb450 southbridge instead of ULi. Interesting considering the "powerhouse" image. I guess it's still too soon to pass judgment on southbridge from the near-future. I'm still keeping my eyes peeled just in case you throw in a pic of the ultra vanilla non-crossfire ati+sb450/ULi mobo if such a thing will exist. I"ve seen various pics on manufacturer web sites but nothing new in a while.
    Just keep feeding us and we will grow. Keep up the good work!
  • Calin - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    Every microelectronics producers (memory makers included) tend to overestimate the need for some product or another. Or they simply react to one opponent's increased production with increased production of their own, regardless of the perceived need.
    In the end, this is good for users - it forces prices down to levels sometime lower than production costs.
    I liked the watercooled case
  • Doormat - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    Windows Servers can do RAID-5 but I wouldnt recommend it since it requires the use of dynamic disks (in other words, its difficult to get your disks back if your machine dies and you have to reinstall the OS or stuff like that).

    There are RAID-6 cards out on the market now (Areca makes up to 16-port PCI-Ex8 SATA-II RAID-6 controller). I do see everyone migrating to RAID-6 since it would take a long while to rebuild a 8x400GB RAID-5 array, even with current HD read/write speeds. That long amount of time to rebuild the array leaves you vulerable to having another disk fail while the rebuild is taking place and you being SOL.

    Raid 6 info:

    It basically uses parity in two dimensions.

    Other than that, it looks like it was a very good Computex - its a shame they dont have a show like this in North America. I'd be there in a second!
  • Brian23 - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    ...which brings me to my next point kids, don't do crack.
  • Yawgm0th - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    I was a few seconds too late. :)

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