GIGABYTE has been working with a company in Taiwan known as Huper Laboratories for well over a year now to develop a pair of motherboards specifically designed to work with HuperLab's HuperVision surveillance software. You might wonder why you'd need a special motherboard for this, and so did we. GIGABYTE invited us to come along to HuperLab to see what the two have been working on.
HuperLab might not be a company that most people are familiar with, and neither were we before this encounter. The reason is quite simply that HuperLab doesn't sell its products in retail. The company is very much specialized in making digital security surveillance (DSS) products and it's not something you'd pick up as a general consumer. However, you might have used one of their products without even knowing about it, or even more likely, you could've been recorded by some of their software and hardware products, as they're quite common in several countries around the world.
HuperLab has had one hurdle which it has found hard to overcome, and that's the compatibility between its video capture hardware and the wide range of motherboards that are available on the market, as these products need to have a 24/7/365 uptime. This used to mean that their customers had to spend a lot of time evaluating various platforms they could use with HuperLab's products, and this was something that would equate to sometimes quite long delays before a new product could be sold to their customers in turn.
This is how the joint product development with GIGABYTE started, and although it has taken quite some time, in fact so long that there has been two new chipset revisions from Intel, the end result will allow their customers in turn to bring out new products quicker and save money at the same time. HuperLab went as far as telling us that with the new motherboards developed with GIGABYTE, their customers get the motherboard for free compared to just buying one of HuperLab's video capture solutions. It's hard to knock a deal like that, as it would lower the overall solution costs for their partners, which in turn would allow them to be more competitive in the market.
The two products that have been developed are quite different, not only because one motherboard is a full size ATX motherboard while the other is mATX, but also in terms of the features on offer. Apart from the rather large heatsinks at the bottom of both boards, there isn't really anything spectacularly strange about these boards, although there's more to it than what first meets the eye. For instance, you would think that the black connectors on the board is where the video interface to the remote cameras interface, but you'd be as mistaken as we were.
The actual interface to the remote cameras are via what appears to be the parallel port, but if you look closely, you'll notice that there are some different components just behind the connector and this is just a DB-25 interface for a breakout cable to which the various BNC or RCA connectors from the cameras are connected. The extra headers are for additional features such as audio capture and camera control of PTZ cameras. It shows how well thought out these products are, as there's no need for a parallel port on these motherboards, and as HuperLab's normal capture cards rely on a DB-25 interface, they just placed it where it made the most sense on the motherboards.