Computex 2002 Coverage - IntroductionIntroduction
Computex is certainly shaping up to be a very exciting event. In yesterday's coverage we brought you information about AMD's 8th generation processors (Opteron and ClawHammer) as well as detailed information about upcoming products from VIA. Yesterday's conferences left us barely any time to take a proper look at what the companies were displaying on the show floor. Today, however, our schedule was slightly more relaxed so we took the opportunity to head out onto the show floor.Whilst there we took a look at the latest gear from VIA, ALi, SiS, Apacer, AMD and Leadtek, including greatly anticipated products such as the VIA KT400 chipset, SiS's Xabre graphics chipset, ALi's upcoming chipset for the ClawHammer and the new nForce chipset. Without further ado, we're happy to bring you coverage of Computex Day 2.
Computex 2002 Coverage - VIAVIA
VIA had quite a strong presence at this year's Computex. They were displaying many new products at their booth, including their SavageXP graphics chipset and the much anticipated P4X333 chipset for the Pentium 4.Firstly, VIA had their new SavageXP graphics chipset running on a demo system at their booth. As mentioned in yesterday's coverage, this new chipset features S3TC texture compression, 64-bit or 128-bit DDR Dedicated Video Memory, S3 Duoview technology (dual monitors), integrated TV and DVI outputs and DVD hardware acceleration. Again, we were not able to run benchmarks on this system, however, the image quality from the demo was quite impressive and definitely comparable to the GeForce3/4 graphics chipsets.
The first SavageXP-based graphics card available will be from VIA's first certified partner, Tyan. This card will be called the Tachyon 3300 and below is a closeup image of the card itself.
VIA have recently been pushing their new Eden products quite strongly onto the market, and rightfully so, as they are ideal for compact, high performing entertainment systems that don't produce much heat or noise. To demonstrate this, VIA were displaying a small toy Volkswagen car that was used as the enclosure for a whole Eden-based PC. Very stylish.
VIA also had an Eden-based webpad on display, as well as a table PC. While webpads and tablet PCs have not yet taken off as they are still quite expensive, I have a feeling that webpads and tablet PCs will be very popular in the not too distant future.
Another interesting demo that was being run at VIA's stand was a P4X333-based system. The P4X333 chipset is essentially the same as its predecessor, the P4X266, however, it supports DDR333 memory rather than DDR266. From the performance numbers we have seen in our labs and all over the internet, this looks to be the fastest chipset currently available for the Pentium 4.
Finally, VIA were displaying a whole range of VPSD boards at the show. They had their new P4-PB and P4-VA boards on display that are based on the P4X333 chipset and feature onboard 6 channel audio, USB 2.0 and ATA133 support. Also on display were boards based on the P4M266 chipset (integrated graphics) and the P4X266A chipset.
Computex 2002 Coverage - ALiALi
ALi had a reasonably small stand at this year's Computex. Much of their space was devoted to their latest DVD solutions, however, there were a couple of new chipsets on display that i'm sure you will find quite interesting.Firstly, their new M1681 chipset was on display for the Pentium 4, featuring AGP 8x, HyperTransport bus link, DDR400 support, USB 2.0 support, 10/100 Ethernet support and ATA133. This is the first DDR400 chipset we have seen for the Pentium 4 and it will be very interesting to see how it compares to VIA's P4X333 chipset.
ALi also had their upcomming Hammer chipset on display, the M1687. This chipset has all the features of its Pentium 4 counterpart, the M1681 (HyperTransport, USB 2.0, 10/100 Ethernet and ATA133). No performance numbers are available at this time as working samples are not yet available.
Computex 2002 Coverage - ApacerApacer
Like ALi, Apacer's stand was quite small this year. Apacer are one of the world's leading third-party suppliers of memory modules and other storage solutions. Apacer memory has not been known amongst enthusiasts as the best for overclocking, however, they have been one of the best regarded solutions available as far as price, performance and stability is concerned.Apacer had a whole range of desktop, laptop and server memory modules on display, ranging from DDR400 to RDRAM.
One interesting product I noticed at Apacer's stand was a mouse and MS card reader put together in the one small package. With optical mice continuing to increase in popularity, i'm not sure as to how successful this product will be. But hey, the idea is certainly original, just not necessarily suitable for the enthusiast.
Webpads seemed to be very popular at this year's Computex and even Apacer had one on display, running Apacer memory. As mentioned early, webpads haven't really taken off in the mainstream market yet, however, with so many companies behind the idea I feel they will become very popular in the future.
Computex 2002 Coverage - SiSSiS
SiS had a reasonably sized stand at this years Computex, with various demos available displaying new and upcoming SiS chipsets. SiS has been a leading supplier of value motherboard and graphics chipsets for some time now, but have only just recently decided to try and break into the enthusiast market.By far the most exciting thing on display at SiS's stand was their SiS648/Xabre demo machines. The SiS648 chipset provides official support for Intel's new 533MHz Pentium 4 processors and features DDR333 support, AGP 8x, USB 2.0, IEEE1394a, 10/100 Ethernet, 6 channel AC97 audio and ATA133 support. This chipset will be competing against the VIA P4X333 chipset and ALi's M1681 chipset, and as soon as review samples become available we'll be sure to have a review/comparison posted.
SiS's new Xabre graphics chipset looks to be a very strong competitor in the value graphics card market. It features AGP 8x, pixel shaders, Frictionless Memory Control architecture (improved memory efficiency), an MPEG video decoder and dual monitor support. AGP8x can provide up to 2.1GB/sec of bandwidth which is very impressive compared to AGP 4x which can only provide up to 1GB/sec. Judging by early performance numbers, the Xabre looks to be a very viable alternative to the GeForce4 MX range as not only does it perform better, but the pixel shaders also suggest better image quality (the GeForce4 MX range does not feature pixel or vertex shaders).As far as AMD are concerned, SiS also have an AthlonXP chipset soon to be released - called the SiS746. This is the first chipset to support AGP8x for the AMD platform and it supportsDDR333 memory, USB 2.0, IEEE1394a, 10/100 Ethernet, ATA133 and 6-channel AC97 audio. This chipset will be directly competing with VIA's KT333 chipset, however, with the KT400 and Hammer chipsets on the way it just may be a case of too little, too late.
Computex 2002 Coverage - AMDAMD
AMD had possibly the largest stand we've seen so far at the show. They were displaying all sorts of products ranging from their partner's AMD-based motherboards, to notebooks, to quad opteron machines. Much of what was displayed at AMD's stand has already been discussed in our day 1 coverage of the AMD Press Conference, however, there were a few interesting things at AMD's stand that i'd like to tell you about.Hidden away in the corner of AMD's booth amongst the KT333 and Hammer motherboards was a reference board based on the KT400 chipset. VIA have kept quiet about the KT400 chipset throughout the show and with the Hammer coming pretty soon, nobody really knows how successful the KT400 will be as it is essentially just the KT333 chipset with DDR400 support.
For some time now all mobile Athlon processors have kept the rather large Socket A packaging. This has meant that Athlon notebooks are quite a bit larger than those based on Intel processors and various other competing products. Also at their stand, AMD was displaying an early sample of a uPGA Athlon processor in a VIA KN266-based motherboard. This is a big step in the right direction for AMD and it will certainly be nice to see smaller AMD-based notebooks in the future.
AMD also had a variety of Hammer-based motherboards on display at their stand. These were reference boards from VIA and ALi, as well as early retail samples from FIC, MSI and Gigabyte. As mentioned earlier, these will most likely be non-working samples as Hammer CPUs aren't yet readily available for manufacturers to thoroughly test their boards with.
Computex 2002 Coverage - LeadtekLeadtek
Our final destination today was Leadtek's booth. We have mainly known Leadtek for producing high quality, affordable video cards, however, since the SiS735 chipset they have been quietly moving into the motherboard market as well. It will be hard for Leadtek to compete in an already crowded market, however, the more varitey there is, the better it is for the consumer. I appologise for the poor quality of these pictures, however, due to the poor lighting at Leadtek's stand it was impossible to get decent quality images.First up, Leadtek were displaying their new motherboards based on the i845E and i845G (integrated graphics) chipsets. Their i845E board has been called the P4i845E, and their i845G board has been called the P4i845G. There are no special features that separate these boards from the reference boards we have tested, however, this is because Leadtek are targetting them both at the value market.
Leadtek also had a couple of demo systems set up at their booth displaying the quality of their VIVO (Video In/Video Out) products. As you can see in the image below, Leadtek had a PC hooked up to a plasma screen running a Max Payne demo. VIVO has greatly increased in popularity as the technology has advanced, and i'm sure most of you will agree that the image quality produced by Leadtek's products in this demo is very decent.
GeForce4 Ti4200 cards have finally started to hit the market, long after the rest of the GeForce4 range was released. These have been highly sought after because, of all GeForce4 cards currently on the market, the Ti4200 provides the most bang for your buck. Leadtek of course had their Ti4200 card on display, featuring DVI and TV outputs and support for Leadtek's new Cinema TV Box.
I was quite surprised to see a board based on the upcoming new nForce chipset at Leadtek's stand. The Crush18D chipset features AGP 8x, 10/100 Ethernet, IEEE1394 ports, 6-channel audio and DDR333 support. The Crush18D does not feature integrated video, which is either a good or bad thing, depending on what your requirements are. However, for most of the people reading this website the lack of integrated video will be a good thing as all integrated graphics solutions to date haven't been able to provide nearly enough performance to smoothly run most current games.
Computex 2002 Coverage - ConclusionConclusion
One thing I like about Computex is that when you wake up each day, you are assured of new surprises ahead. Yesterday it was AMD's 8th generation processors and VIA's new graphics chipsets. Today we've had the chance to look at upcoming chipsets from SiS, ALi and VIA, and we've also had a look at the new packaging for AMD's mobile processors.What will be in store for us tomorrow? Who knows! What we do know is that TweakTown will continue to provide up-to-date coverage straight from the show floor so you can stay in the loop as much as possible.Well, that concludes our Day 2 coverage of Computex 2002. Be sure to check back tomorrow for our coverage of Day 3!