Chaintech Evolution Event 2003
The Chaintech Evolution Event
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective's website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.The Chaintech Evolution Event 2003 was an opportunity for the resellers, distributors and OEMs that work with Chaintech to come together and discuss their common goals and how Chaintech was set to accomplish them. While this particular event was centered on the European base of the company, several North American based media representatives were invited as well to take part in the seminars and find out about the upcoming changes to Chaintech.
It is important to note that while most of the information that was given to us at the event was very Chaintech-centered, we can infer a lot of information from what is said to give a good overall view of the industry as a whole. Chaintech wants to be one of the top computer component manufacturers in the world and to do so they must stay on the cutting edge of technologies as they are introduced. Hence, we can easily turn the information that Chaintech provides into an understanding of industry trends.
Chaintech Zeniths and other Motherboard Products
A first to note is that Chaintech is having a wild success with the Zenith line of motherboards in particular the 7NJS based on the nForce2 chipset. One of the first to adopt NVIDIA's latest design and also one of the most feature-packed motherboards gave the 7NJS great sales around the world. They are quoting currently that the Zenith line makes up around 5-7% of the volume of their product shipments, a number that is three times more than they expected. And because the prices of the Zenith boards are significantly higher than their Apogee and Summit counterparts, the Zenith is responsible for a good amount of the company’s revenue.
The press had a quick look at some of the road maps that Chaintech has for new motherboards and chipsets from VIA and NVIDIA. VIA is ready for the introduction of the Athlon 64 processors with a line of K8 chipsets aimed at every market. They have two primary chipsets that they are preparing for an eventual Hammer launch including the K8T400M and the K8M400. The K8T400M is set to be the flagship from VIA for enthusiasts. The K8M400 is going to have the same features of the K8T400M but will also include the latest development from VIA, the integrated CastleRock-II GFX core meant mainly for a low cost MPEG2.
To couple along with their new Hammer north bridges VIA has planned a new VT8237 south bridge that will add a lot of features to the current setup. It will integrate into the chipset two serial ATA channels and two additional serial ATA channels via an external connector all with RAID options available. The available USB 2.0 ports will be increased to eight for motherboards as well. All of the other features that you can currently find on the VT8235 like Dual ATA133, 10/100 NIC and 6-channel AC’97 audio will carry over as well. This new south bridge is a key part of VIA’s new strategy as the introduction of the Hammer processors will take a large part of the chipset manufacturers work over for them (namely, the memory controller for the processors). Features and add-ons will be the determining factor between similar chipset motherboards, even more so than now.
Finally, the KT400A chipset is coming soon which will add official support for the DDR400 spec that was approved by JEDEC in January of this year. There have been some minor additions and modifications to the memory controller and we could end up seeing some performance improvements that VIA is vastly in need of. More on this chipset will follow soon in a separate article.
SiS is still having problems entering into a strong manufacturer relationship that will allow for growth in their AMD market share in the US and the world. They just recently introduced the 746FX chipset (reference board on the way here today) for the Athlon XP platform that brought 333 MHz FSB support, DDR400 and AGP 8x with it. It is pin compatible with the older 746 chipset and that would make it easier for manufacturers to upgrade to this new revision – that is if there were manufacturers willing to use it. SiS needs to gain some more partners that will manufacture their products if they hope to impact the market.
SiS has also been developing Athlon 64 chipsets including the 755, 760 and 761 chipset. The 755 chipset was developed as the main competitor against the products from VIA and NVIDIA. The more expensive chipsets include some form of integrated video on them with the 761 being the most powerful. All three chipsets are pin-compatible with each other so we should see, any manufacturers that offer a SiS Hammer board, a series of them using the different features of each chipset.
Well, most of that info was full of regurgitation of information that you could have found a while ago had you looked in the proper places. Now what about the Athlon 64 and Chaintech?