The motherboard industry operates in phases. The first phase is the acceptance of a new technology or chipset, the second is the adaptation phase and the third is the implementation of these changes into more perfected products. For the most part, the motherboard industry is a very boring topic to talk about. Following the above three phase description, over half of the time the motherboard industry is dealing with the same old products. A case in point would be the BX-motherboard craze. Intel released the BX chipset in April of 1998, which marked phase one. Upon its release, motherboard manufacturers released their first BX incarnations, thus marking the adaptation phase. Since this relatively quick adaptation phase, motherboard manufacturers have spent most of their time perfecting their BX boards, which is why we have seen release after release of more or less the same old BX board from a variety of companies.

On August 9, 1999, AMD released their long awaited Athlon processor and, on October 25, 1999, Intel released their rebuttal, the Pentium III E. With two new processors in the market, and a few more to come (i.e. VIA/Cyrix's Joshua) the chipset manufacturers have been hard at work making sure that these latest processors receive the proper support from their end. And thus marks the beginning of yet another cycle in the motherboard industry: the introduction of a handful of new chipsets has lit a fuse that will once again breathe new life into the motherboard industry.

At this year's Fall Comdex, we were given the liberty of taking a look at some of this "new life" and have managed to compact it all into a Motherboards in 2000 Preview. The preview is split into two parts, the first part concentrates on the chipsets behind the next wave of motherboards and the following part will provide a brief preview of the motherboards themselves.

Intel's 820

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