Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2 :: Asus at Computex 2006

06-09-2006 · Category: Hardware -

By Tulatin

When it comes to the motherboard world, only those inept to an absolute degree haven't heard of ASUS. Considering that many of us Editors, as well as a healthy portion of the readers started off with an ASUS board, it's no short wonder we all know of them. Along with this, ASUS is the #1 shipper of motherboards in the world - both OEM and retail, meaning that they have abundant experience in both the consumer and enthusiast channels. When I entered this booth, I had really expected to just see your standard fare - typical, drab motherboards with small tweaks in order to perform more efficient operations. But instead, I found some examples of so much more - essentially the creations of an idle engineering department, and a bored manager. Want to find out just what they were? Well then, why not read through this bit of coverage.

Beginning with the P5W-DH Deluxe, it's rather apparent that ASUS has a wide range of Core 2 Duo motherboards waiting in the wings, for both the general users and enthusiast. After all, this motherboard features 8 SATA ports, onboard WiFi, a heat pipe between Northbridge and mofsets, as well as two free PCI slots when a Crossfire configuration is used = perfect for that X-Fi and Physx card you've been lusting after. If the P5W-DH is out of your reach, ASUS also makes a motherboard based around the 965x "Broadwater" chipset, which features an identical layout. This motherboard, the P5B-V DH Deluxe loses the heat pipe cooling, as well as the Dolby Master Studio functionality, but in turn manages to gain integrated video, courtesy of Intel's GMX3000. These are the DH models of the series, though - noting the Digital Home lineup. ASUS was also displaying the regular models of the series, which are essentially just like their bigger brothers, albeit with out certain features, such as the WiFi module for instance. These lower end models (Intel, NVIDIA and VIA based) also will not feature the white connector blocks found in some photos. For those wondering just what those blocks do, it's rather simple - plug all your front panel headers into the block, then the block into the board. When you need to remove the motherboard from the case, simply remove the block from the header, to re-attach it later in mere seconds. Nice touch, eh? Also, for users of the forlorn BTX standard, ASUS has a few 965 based motherboards on display, which are intended to fit into BTX HTPC chassis - when they can be found, that is. As I had said before, ASUS has really seemed to downplay the other chipset offerings - there are two NVIDIA boards on display, both of which are pre-existing models. There is also ONE SiS, Via and ATI board on display, none of which seem to really be meant for much more than the workhorse world. With the Intel side of the fence taken care of, it'd do us well to check out the AMD side of the fence to see if anything new is floating down the channel.


Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2


Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2


Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2

On the AMD side of ASUS' fence, there really isn't much new to see. With the release of AM2 motherboard to the press scant weeks ago, much of what's on display in this gigantic case of glass and steel is seemingly redundant. There were only really three boards of interest - firstly the professional M2N32-WS Professional - which is essentially just a vanilla M2N32 with additional chips added on in order to control the PCI-X slots, which I'd assume are plumbed either directly to the CPU through the HT bus, or through PCI-E lanes. Next, there was the pair of Via motherboards, which seemed to offer much of the same functionality as the bare bones edition of the NForce 5, albeit at a lower price point. Yet once again, there wasn't all too much to offer.


Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2


Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2

Before delving down and into the thick of things with ASUS' demo machines, as well as a hot new prototype board, let's first take a diversion into the videocard division. For the bulk of this area, the cards displayed are simple, passively cooled models, though as I progressed further down the line, things got interesting. In order to maintain HDCP compliance, your media center PC will be forced to output in HDMI - something which can be done with ASUS' EN7600-HDMI. Other cards of interest include the EAX1600XT Dual, which provides single card crossfire, in the same vein and ideal as the EAX7800GT Dual , all the way down to the external power connector. Also on display were a few TV tuners, albeit nothing special.


Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2


Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2

Beyond this, the booth was mostly cooling, fans and the like. Among the rough though, I found what might have been a diamond. ASUS' prototype board - the offspring of a quirky engineering department - was on display. Featuring water cooled Mofsets, well placed slots, a port 80 debug LCD on the back panel and even a lit back panel, it was a glance into the future of motherboard design, and hell, it was a lot more cool than networking products or LCD screens.


Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2


Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2


Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2
Motherboards.org at Computex Taipei 2006: Day 2