Retail DDR motherboards hit Japan
AKIBA PC Hotline! is reporting that the Gigabyte GA-7DXC and the Iwill KA266-R have hit retail in Japan. They are the first two retail DDR motherboards to hit the market. Here are pictures of the GA-7DXC, AMD 761 North Bridge, KA266-R retail package, KA266-R, and ALi MAGiK 1 North Bridge. Also, some PC2100 memory modules will come with a red PCB (64MB stick). ALi MAGiK 1 chipset skeptics take note. The overclocking potential of the Iwill KA266-R is very real. Bunny's Workshop has got the KA266-R to hit 146MHz FSB using Apacer's PC2100 memory.
The GA-7DXC (specs here) is a pared down version of its bigger brother the GA-7DX (specs here) in that the former natively supports 100MHz x 2 FSB processors but you can "overclock" it to 133MHz x 2. Interestingly enough, the GA-7DXC supports both PC1600 and PC2100 memories. However, the most controversial aspect of the GA-7DXC is that if you remove the GA-7DXC label from the motherboard, it is revealed to be a "GA-7DX REV 2.4". A sheep in wolf's clothing? According to AKIBA, it even looks like the Micron PC2100 memory module that is being sold may be an engineering sample without the sticker. To be sure, motherboards go through many iterations before they hit retail but with MicronPC's recent troubles with the GA-7DX and the scarcity of Athlons that support the 133MHz x 2 FSB, it makes you wonder what's up. Is the GA-7DXC a version of the GA-7DX that "didn't make the cut," so to speak?
The Asus DDR motherboards have also made their appearances. These are not for sale but are for display purposes only. You can check out pictures of the Asus CUV266 based on the Apollo Pro266 and the Asus A7M266. Off the record, I am being told that the Asus Socket A DDR boards based on the AMD 760 chipset are running very stable so that is good news. More pictures of the Asus A7M266 can be found here, here, and here (DIP switches / JumperFree mode).