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Computex Taipei 2009: We caught up with Chris Lee from ASRock today out at their Nangang booth and he was kind enough to provide us with a video booth tour of all their latest and upcoming products.
As you can see, ASRock is well prepared for the upcoming Intel P55 Express chipset launch and is also actively getting into other market segments with the NVIDIA Ion platform and other Intel Atom based solutions.
While many motherboard manufacturuers are taking the time at Computex to show off motherboards based upon Intel's P55 chipset, ASUS is showing off a little bit more.
Dubbed the P7P57 motherboard, it is based upon Intel's P57 express chipset and is ready to support Lynnfield and Clarkdale CPUs when they arrive. ASUS didn't shed too much light on the motherboard, but we did learn that it will support Intel's Braidwood technology as well as dual-channel DDR3 support.
ASUS also said that the board wil have an 8-phase power design and EPU for system level energy efficiency. It is a little interesting how ASUS brags about more phases giving the board more power then immediately points out that it will be energy efficient.
Some very early AMD G34 motherboards were spotted at Computex this year that will be filled with AMD's upcomming six-core and twelve-core derivitives of Istanbul.
The two boards differ in application as the first from Inventec seems to be more server oriented with its 24 DIMM slots supporting quad-channel memory. Each socket on the G34 HPC motherboard has twelve DIMM slots of its own.
The second board is from Quanta it appears to be more oriented to the workstation market with only eight DIMM slots per socket but room for a few PCI-Express slots. Quanta's G34 should also support quad-channel memory as well.
EVGA has released another X58 based motherboard, this time for the not-quite-enthusiast crowd needing a few less ammenities onboard.
EVGA's X58 SLI LE motherboard still features Intel's X58 chipset paired with the ICH10R south bridge. It features four PCI-Express x16 slots what will support 3-way SLI or Crossfire depending on your needs.
While the board still features 12 USB ports, it has moved four of them from the back panel to headers on the motherboard. There are also only six SATA ports on the X58 SLI LE, however that should still be enough for most. EVGA also dropped one of the ethernet ports leaving only a single LAN connection so there won't be any teaming going on with this board.
The board is currently available and Newegg has the board currently listed for $US240.
Computex Taipei 2009: We made a stop at the Intel booth out at Nangang earlier today and what got our attention was its wall of P55 Express based motherboards for the upcoming Lynnfield "Core i5" processors, if they'll even end up being called that.
We asked Intel to give us a rundown of P55 and the partner boards on display, but it seemed like they were all too scared to talk us. I guess Intel has too many rules when it comes to talking to media. That was a bit of a shame, but we managed to produce a short video of the mobo wall and you get a look at a range of upcoming boards from the likes of ASUS, GIGABYTE, DFI, MSI and so on.
Coming up shortly we have a bit of a hands-on demo with the upcoming Clarkfield processor based system from Intel (using an MSI pre-production motherboard) which includes an onboard graphics chip.
Intel and NVIDIA haven't said anything official about SLI support on upcomming P55 motherboards, however motherboard manufacturer J&W seems to have brought forth some confirmation of their own.
Just like the X58 motherboards, the P55 motherboards will not have an NVIDIA chip, however board makers will be paying a per-board fee for the SLI license. J&W is showcasing their P55 motherboard. While it looks similar to many other P55 based motherboards, it does have one difference. It bears the NVIDIA SLI logo on the motherboard.
On top support for dual NVIDIA GPUs, the board will also support CrossFireX ensuring that ATI is not left out of the mix. J&W's board has four DDR3 DIMM slots, 8 SATA 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, and more. There was no word on pricing or availability.
Computex Taipei 2009: Today at GIGABYTE's suite in Taipei 101 we were given a look at the future of networking from GIGABYTE. Ever had a motherboard with Dual Networking and then have one die on you? Well, GIGABYTE has addressed this issue with Smart Dual Net.
How this system works is pretty simple; two Ethernet ports on the motherboard connect to two separate chips. If one chip dies a smart switch which you see pictured automatically swaps traffic over to the working Ethernet chip without having to do anything special.
This technology will also help users who use one ethernet cable and can't figure out which one to use; just plug and go.
Not only did we get to see GIGABYTE's early adoption of SATA-III today, but we also got to see both of its UD5 and UD4P motherboards based on Intel's upcoming Core i5 supporting P55 Express chipset.
In this early Computex live demo, GIGABYTE mentioned that it is not only focusing on new hardware features but also new software additions to its lineup. The major new piece of software is GIGABYTE Smart TPM, but we will talk about that early next week once Computex begins as there may be some changes planned from what we saw today. You will be surprised just how easy it is to completely secure your private files and folders with a USB pen drive or Bluetooth device such as a mobile phone.
The main difference between the UD5 and the UD4P is that the UD4P has less power phases and less DIMM slots.
We will start off with the GA-P55-UD5, the high-end mainstream board with Intel Core i5 support. Before we begin, keep in mind that this board is by no means finished and is purely a R&D sample which will go through many changes before it is released later in the year when the first Core i5 processors start selling. The board we can see here is actually a P57 motherboard as it includes an Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFI) slot, which adds flash memory to the system to speed up access times and improve performance. This will not be supported by the P55 chipset.
One of the major points of interest with the P55 based UD5 mobo is that it has - get ready for it - a grand whopping total of 24 CPU power phases. That ought to be enough to push your Socket 1136 based Core i5 mainstream processor through the roof and partly up into space, we think.
The next new feature on the list for both P55 boards is SATA-III / SATA 6 Gbit/s support. As we mentioned in our previous story, the chip used is from Marvel and is a SATA-II/III combo design. It supports four SATA-III ports and six SATA-II ports with RAID 0 and 1 support as well as port multiplier. It is ready and working right now, although with a lack of drives, we were unable to run any tests.
MSI got in early and announced this new feature a few weeks ago, but it is also a feature that GIGABYTE will be adding to its upcoming P55 boards. Power over eSATA allows users to power external eSATA hard drives with a single cable. Rather than having one cable for data and a separate one for power (usually USB or AC), data and power can be delivered over a single eSATA cable. Not many devices support it at the moment, but they will be coming out soon.
What we have above is probably your first look at an Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFI) slot - on the right side. On the left side, you can see the flash memory installed directly onto the board. GIGABYTE engineers are still testing each option and which works best. They may end up providing an option for both on different model boards, but that hasn't been decided as yet.
Users will initially be able to buy the ONFI flash memory cards from Intel (and later probably sold by other memory companies) and it will act as a speed boost to the system by using fast NAND flash memory. Users should even be able to detect the ONFI slot as a new hardware and install their main operating system on it. It will also work similar to ReadyBoost in Windows Vista, but should provide a much faster boost in performance. Keep in mind this feature will not be supported by the P55 chipset - you'll need to wait till probably next year before it becomes available on future P57 motherboards.
We'll have some more coverage of new GIGABYTE motherboard technology early next week once Computex officially gets underway.
After our successful H1N1 swine flu check at the GIGABYTE HQ in Taipei earlier this afternoon, we were let into the building and shown the full range of upcoming GIGABYTE motherboards included in many Computex live demos.
One of the most interesting new features we saw was SATA-III or SATA 6 Gbit/s as the industry is trying to call it. This is the new standard in HDD and SSD connectivity and GIGABYTE is excited to be one of the very first motherboard manufacturers to have it on their soon-to-be-released motherboards products.
So far the GA-EP55-UD5 and GA-EP55-UD4P will include it as well as the revamped GA-EX58A-Extreme, which we will talk about more later. Possibly others will also include it, but we don't have the full details at this stage.
Regular hard disk drives struggle to even saturate SATA-II bandwidth, but current SSD drives already go very close. SATA-III or SATA 6 Gbit/s will offer maximum theoretical speeds of up to 750MB/s vs. 375MB/s of SATA-II. The chip used is from Marvell and is a SATA-II/III combo design supporting four SATA-III ports and six SATA-II ports with RAID 0 and 1 support as well as port multiplier. It is ready and working right now, although with a lack of drives, we were unable to run any tests.
While there are no SATA-III hard drives or SSDs on the market yet, there soon will be and GIGABYTE's SATA-III boards will be ready. Seagate should be the first to bring out one such drive and GIGABYTE was proud to announce it is partnering with the hard drive company for the launch.
More GIGABYTE P55 content coming up in our early Computex coverage!
With Intel's Core i5 coming soon, it should come as no surprise that some pictures are starting to pop up concering compatible motherboards, especially since Computex just around the corner.
This time around we have the ASUS P7P55 Pro motherboard running the Intel P55 Express chipset. The black and blue design holds four DIMM slots, two PCI-e X16 slots, and two PCI-e X1 slots. Ironically enough, there are still three legacy PCI slots on this modern motherboard.
The big news comes in the form that the source seems to have Intel's release dates for both Lynnfield and Havendale. If the information is correct, Intel will be releasing five Lynnfield chips on September 9, 2009, while five Havendale processors will be launched on January 10, 2010.