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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.
ASUS has officially launched the Crosshair III Formula AM3 motherboard, after pictures of it leaking to the web last week.
Since there really wasn't anything else left to hide, ASUS decided to make it official, although the board hasn't begun to ship yet. The Crosshair II Formula motherboard features the AMD 790FX/SB750 combo chip, two PCI-E x16 slots, and four DDR3-1600 DIMM slots.
On the motherboard are five SATA 3.0Gbps ports, one eSATA poert, Gigabit LAN, Power and Reset buttons, and it comes with the SupremeFX X-Fi PCIe x1 audio card. Unfortunately ASUS still hasn't released the MSRP for the board, and they still haven't given an exact date as to when we will see the board on the shelves.
The upcomming Crosshair III Formula motherboard from ASUS has been spotted in the wild and the board is expected to debut at this year's ComputeX.
The Crosshair III Formula features the AMD 790FX chipset while the previous board utilized the nForce 780a SLI chipset. As this board only has two PCIe X16 slots, it will only support CrossFire and not SLI.
The Crosshair III has 8+2 phase power, three PCIe X1 slots, two PCIe X16 slots, and one legacy PC slot. According to the infomration given, the board is expected to launch with a price tag of 200.
GIGABYTE is putting five GA-EX58-UD4P motherboard for grabs with two new contests centered around the GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship finals to be held in Taiwan on June 3rd.
The Guess & Win contest is asking people to do just that, simply guess and win. The contest is broken down into two different parts, each with a different number of winners.
Predict the closet score to the best 3DMark run at the GO OC 2009 without going over and you can win one of two GA-EX58-UD4P motherboards. Likewise, you can predict the winner of the GO OC and be one of three randomly selected to win a GA-EX58-UD4P motherboard.
GIGABYTE's contest is open to everyone. Head on over the to GO OC Contest and give them your best shot.
Motherboard giant ASUS has finally listed the upcomming P6T7 WS SuperComputer motherboard that they showed off at CeBIT this year.
The new motherboard looks to be ready to cater to enthusiasts, with dual nForce 200 chips and 7 PCI-E Gen2 x16 slots. The board will support CrossFireX and SLI, as well as giving users a choice between Core i7 and Xeon processors.
Those wondering about storage will be happy to know that the board boasts six SATA ports, two SAS ports, and two eSATA ports. The board will also have room for six DDR3 DIMMs with support for up to 24GB of DDR3 2000.
As ASUS has finally listed the board on their website, it shouldn't be long before the board is available for sale. Unfortunately no pricing is available at this time.