Every year I make at least one trip to Taipei, Taiwan, usually for the annual Computex show. The flight itself is usually grueling, traveling from the East Coast you're generally in the air for around 20 hours. Then there's getting used to the time difference, which is a full 12 hours from EST. But it's all worth it, because a trip to Taipei is like a hardware-guy's dreamland. Tons of manufacturers spread out all over the northern tip of the island all working on bringing the latest technology and performance to your PCs. It's through these manufacturers that you can get a very interesting perspective on the industry as well as get a good idea for the truth behind a lot of the issues we see.

The Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers are the first hand recipients of roadmaps and future product information from companies like AMD, Intel, ATI and NVIDIA. The manufacturers are also privy to information that usually doesn't flow through a PR group before reaching them, so tapping our sources in Taiwan often gives us a much more honest (and bleak) view of the PC industry as a whole.

The other type of information we get from Taiwan is good updates on what types of products are actually selling. It's one thing to hear AMD and Intel talk about market share, but when the motherboard manufacturers tell us that a product isn't shipping, we usually know the truth.

I met with manufacturers for three days straight, usually from 8AM until as late as 11PM every night. And while I'm not able to share all of the information discussed in the meetings, I'll do my best to put forth a summary of some of the hot topics we talked about. But before I get to what the motherboard manufacturers told me, I'd like to touch on some of the questions they had for me and thus, for all of you. Just as we are at the mercy of the PR teams at AMD, Intel, ATI and NVIDIA, the motherboard manufacturers are at the mercy of the same folks when it comes to understanding what you all, the end users want.

The biggest question I was asked in Taiwan was about why I felt the 915 chipset wasn't selling well. I'll touch on this more in the chipset section of this article, but with Taiwan coming to us for answers you get an impression of the current situation.

The next question, or worry, on the minds of the manufacturers in Taiwan is the future of dual core technology on the desktop. This is another issue that I'll discuss later in the article, but you can understand the sense of caution if dual core is the number two question on their list.

A surprisingly popular question also revolved around ATI's upcoming chipsets. Next week we'll see the launch of ATI's latest AMD and Intel chipsets, but for the first time we're seeing an unusually large amount of interest from the motherboard manufacturers. This is yet another area I'll be touching on later in the article.

There are many other interesting tidbits of information I picked up while in Taiwan, ranging from Intel's 1066MHz FSB plans to AMD's first Athlon 64 chips with SSE3 support, so without further ado, let's talk about what's going on today.

AMD vs. Intel
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  • YellowWing - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    To answer the MB maker's question about what would make me get off the dime and purshase a new motherboard...

    One that has 5.1 digital out in either Dolby or DTS so I could set it up with other audio equipment. Without that feature they can put most anything they want on a board and I won't upgrade.

    A digital out that just does stereo PCM does not cut it.

    And any more than 4 USB ports is overkill. Firewire IS required.
    Reply
  • Houdani - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    [SNIP]
    I hope you enjoyed this little update on the industry, if you'd like to see more of these types of articles just let us know - the flight to Taiwan isn't too bad and the information is usually top notch :)"
    [/SNIP]

    By all means continue. This is great insight into the real industry, and is immeasurably more entertaining than the one-sided, questionable fluff which PR departments typically pawn off on us.

    This is real information, sans polish, and I truly appreciate that you provided us with this report.
    Reply
  • Rekonn - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    Great article, really enjoyed reading this, just facts without marketing BS. Gives real insight into what the market will be like in the next couple of months. You mentioned pcie shortages, any news about the AGP version of the 6600GT ? Reply
  • CrystalBay - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    Pebkac, BTW how's the food in TW...? Well I'm pretty excited about P4M DTR's MB's from DFI and others. It could stop some of the hemmoraging for Intel... Reply
  • CrystalBay - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    Don't forget to check our Insider section for more articles like this one.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • BigT383 - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    I'd like to see more of these types of articles... just letting you know.

    ;-)

    Seriously, these types of articles are great. I'd just make sure before you take the trip that there will be enough new information to cover while you're there. I like the fact that you're bypassing the PR departments this way. Generally, Anandtech readers are smarter than the average consumer, and don't deserve to be fed the same PR crap that Johnny Uninformed gets... For evidence of this see post 17 by MAME.
    Reply
  • mlittl3 - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    #21, 2005 won't be all that boring. I agree that there won't be much excitement from Intel or AMD but some things will be cool. Here is a quick list of cool things to look forward too in 2005.

    AMD 90nm processors with better memory controller, bug fixes and SSE3

    More AMD Semprons from socket 754

    AMD 2.8 and maybe 3.0 GHz CPUs

    Dual core processors from both AMD and Intel

    Intel 6xx series CPUs (this is not so exciting)

    Possible Win XP for 64bits might be released

    R5xx and NV5x GPUs released (R5xx with SM3.0)

    And will all this cool new hardware, we can play the games released in 2004 at higher frame rates (Doom3, Half-life2, etc.).

    :)

    Reply
  • piasabird - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    About 6 months ago I also saw some articles on Intel that claimed they wanted to bring the Mobile chipset to the desktop. Is this a viable option? Reply
  • piasabird - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    I recall an experiment Intel was doing with a new chipset similar to the MINI-ITX motherboards. Are they going to sell these to the end consumer. It was suppose to be a motherboard with a Centrino PIII type processor similar to the VIA C3 but lots faster. I saw a couple of benchmerks on it. I think it was the Shelton Chipset. Reply

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