Today was a pretty busy day at the Computex conference, packed with meetings, presentations and many hours on the showfloor looking for new and exciting products. What was obvious from visiting most of the motherboard manufacturers today is that they’re all ready to go ahead with the launch of their AMD Athlon 64 products. All of them had Athlon 64 motherboards on display and were very eager to tell us all about the new platform. The other thing that was obvious is the fact that most of them expressed concern about the initial acceptation of the platform on a 64-bit version of Windows XP. Due to the simple fact that older hardware would probably not have 64-bit drivers, which means, if the hardware isn't supported by the native 64-bit drivers provided by Microsoft, this equipment will simply not work.
Fig 1. A look at a Socket-940 and Socket-754 Athlon 64 motherboard from Chaintech.
Fig 2. A few of the Athlon 64 notebooks that'll be introduced this week.
Fig 3. Iwill's ZPC 64, the smallest Athlon 64 computer we've seen at Computex
Obviously there weren’t only Athlon 64 motherboards on display, AMD had a private suite at a nearby hotel where they had a few Athlon 64 notebooks up and running, some of them using SiS’ 755 chipset whereas others used Via’s K8T800M chipset. And also Iwill' XPC 64, the smallest Athlon 64 computer we've seen at Computex. AMD was quick to comment that we’d see the introduction of these notebooks at the same date that the desktop product would be launched, and as we already mentioned a few times that launch is tomorrow on September the 23rd. They also added that clockspeed would be comparable to what we’ll see on the desktop, so we’re looking at 1.8, 2.0 or even 2.2GHz, which is pretty fast for a notebook, considering Intel has yet to launch mobile versions of their HyperThreading Pentium 4 processors.
Fig 4. The Via/S3 DeltraChrome up and running in a demo system at the Via/S3 booth.
Fig 5. A closer look at the DeltaChrome processor which will be manufactured at Via/S3’ own fab.
Only a few days ago XGI annouced a new graphics card chipset architecture which could run up to two graphics processors in parallel and go head to head with Nvidia’s or ATi’s latest. We actually have a meeting scheduled with XGI this week and we’ll be sure to put their claims under scrutiny and if possible post a few shots of the actual graphics card(s) and more details about the performance. XGI wasn’t the only company touting a new family of graphics cards though, Via/S3 also had their DeltraChrome on display which certainly looks promising from a price/performance point of view. Featuring eight rendering pipelines and up to 256MB of DDR memory and manufactured in 0.13-micron, the DeltraChrome is intended to go head to head with the likes of ATi’s 9600 series or Nvidia’s FX5600. We’ll however go into the details of the DeltaChrome at a later date, as there’s much more to tell. We were promised a sample shortly and we’ll be sure to evaluate that and do a full featured review, including technology backgrounds.
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