Living in Taipei does have its perks and being able to take a stroll down to the computer market here can sometimes be rewarding. Sure, it's not the Akihabara, but there's still plenty to see even more to buy. As the rumours of the P35 chipset being available early made its way online, a visit down to the computer market was given and I wasn't surprised to see P35 boards on sale, but what did surprise me was the volume of boards already available and just about every respectable shop had them in stock.
No less than a total of six different boards were already on sale, three from Asus and three from Gigabyte. Oddly enough, the third big motherboard player here in Taiwan, MSI, didn't have a single board available for sale. It might be that MSI is waiting for the official launch but there are review samples in circulation, so there might be something else holding MSI back from launching its boards early.
Let's break things down alphabetically and start with Asus. The three boards that are available today are the P5K, P5K Deluxe WiFi and the P5K3 Deluxe WiFi (pictured below). We wrote about the P5K here yesterday and the P5K Deluxe WiFi ends up somewhere between the other two. The P5K boards support DDR2 while the P5K3 supports DDR3 memory.
The three boards from Gigabyte are the P35C-DS3R, P35-DS3P and the P35-DQ6. The interesting part here is actually the budget board, the P35C-DS3R as it features no less than six memory slots. Four are for DDR3 while two are for DDR2 memory. It's a shame that it has far less features than the other two boards and it also lacks the heatpipe cooling of the other two P35 boards. The P35-DQ6 is pictured below.
What is interesting to note is the all of the P35 boards feature really big heatsinks or massive heatpipe cooling solutions for the chipset. It makes you wonder how hot this new chipset runs in comparison to the P965 that used rather small heatsinks in comparison. However, the good news is that all of the P35 boards I saw were passively cooled.
Price wise none of these boards are cheap, although the entry level boards come in at a price point similar to some of the better P965 boards. The two entry level Gigabyte boards and the P5K from Asus all cost between US$155-165, the P35-DQ6 and the P5K Deluxe WiFi will set you back in the region of US$255 while the P5K3 Deluxe WiFi will cost you as much as US$299. One can only wonder how much the high-end X38 boards will cost when these are the mainstream products. It seems like we're getting cheap and cheaper CPU's, but the motherboards are going up in cost for every new chipset that comes out.
No DDR3 memory was to be seen, so the DDR3 boards are slightly moot right now. Nor did I spot a single GeForce 8800 Ultra for sale, but I guess all of these have been shipped to the US or Europe.