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Computex 2006

Less silicone, more silicon

COMPUTEX IS A SPECTACLE like no other. An ocean away, in a land where most motherboards and graphics cards are born, it's almost like being dropped into the belly of the beast. The show has a different vibe than most North American trade shows, too. While the Consumer Electronics Show, Intel Developer Forum, and E3 cater to the press, Computex is mostly an event for buyers. People go to do business, and while the media's there too, we're mostly just along for the ride.

But what a ride. After recovering from four jam-packed days of meetings, snooping, and booth browsing, we've collected our thoughts in a massive Computex report. Read on to see what Abit, Asus, Albatron, ATI, BFG Tech, Biostar, Corsair, DFI, ECS, Foxconn, Gigabyte, MSI, PowerColor, Shuttle, SiS, Thermaltake, Tyan, VIA, and Zalman had at the show.

Abit was rescued from its financial difficulties when it was purchased by USI, and the company is now looking to return to prominence. Production at USI is apparently going very well, and boards are returning even better than expected. Also, Abit will be dropping out of the graphics card business for a while to concentrate almost exclusively on motherboards—and it had plenty of new motherboards on display at Computex, the most intriguing of which is the IL-80MV.

Abit's IL-80MV

Note the HMDI video output

The IL-80MV is a Micro ATX Viiv motherboard based on the Intel 945GT/ICH8m-DH chipset. The board sports a 479-pin socket, integrated GMA950 graphics, and an HDMI 1.2 output capable of driving displays up to 1080p. You don't get a PCI Express x16 slot, but the board does have S/PDIF input and output ports and Dolby Digital Live certification. Abit also has a Socket AM2 Micro ATX board based on NVIDIA's GeForce 6150/nForce 430 chipset combo. That mobo lacks HDMI, but it has DVI and VGA outputs and a PCI-E x16 slot.

Abit's AN9 32X

abit's AN9 Fatal1ty

Of course, Abit also has a number of new full-size ATX platforms, including the nForce 590 SLI-based AN9 series. This board comes in 32X and Fatal1ty flavors, with the Fatal1ty board sporting a different color scheme and active VRM cooling. Abit will apparently be doing more to differentiate Fatal1ty products in the future, as well.

abit's AT9 32X

Interestingly, Abit has yet to build a Fatal1ty board based on an ATI chipset. The company does have a CrossFire Xpress 3200 board for Socket AM2, though. The AT9 32X passively cools ATI's latest core logic and adds Abit's excellent uGuru hardware monitoring capabilities to the mix.

abit's AW9D

With a Fatal1ty version, of course

On the LGA775 front, Abit has plenty of Conroe-compatible boards, including offerings based on Intel's 965 and 975X chipsets. The 975X-based AW9D series leads the way, and will be available in standard, Fatal1ty, and MAX versions. MAX versions of the board will actually be the most aggressive, packing extra peripherals and a next-gen Silent OTES chipset/VRM cooler. Abit's take on the 965 chipset is the AB9 series. You won't see a Fatal1ty version here, just standard and Pro versions.