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[ The PC Guide | Articles and Editorials | Industry Update: April 2000 ]

Motherboard Update

As mentioned in the previous section, demand for i820 based boards is almost non-existent for most manufacturers. Others have reported that sales of i820 based boards accounted for less than 10% of all shipments for February/March. Those I spoke with indicated that they are not manufacturing any i820 boards at this time, yet still have some inventory. I have also heard reports that Intel pushed out March motherboard orders into April, just as they did for the two previous months of this year.

Even boards based upon the venerable i440BX are becoming less popular. It would appear that Intel's marketing campaign to convince users AGP 4x is an important feature is coming back to haunt them. Because the Apollo Pro133A chipset support AGP 4x and PC133, motherboards based upon this chipset are by far the top sellers, with most manufacturers saying that the percentage is up even from last month, where up to 70% of all Pentium III boards shipped were VIA based.

KX133 motherboards are also making their appearance, finally. Virtually every manufacturer I have spoken with said they have a KX133 solution either sampling or shipping, with many having introduced them the first week of April. Because this chipset supports the same features as the Pro133A, these motherboards are being highly anticipated. Unfortunately, there some reports of stability issues with these motherboards, and it is unclear at this time if it is due to the chipset, attempts to lower costs or perhaps both. I have also heard reports that the UDMA/66 burst transfer rate is not as good as it could be, and some new graphics adapters have some problems.

Many users are wondering when motherboards supporting the Socket A processors (Spitfire, specifically) will appear. The current anticipated timeframe is June. Not all manufacturers appear to have motherboards being developed, though several told me that they have solutions based on both the KZ133 and KM133 planned.

Next: Processor Update

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