Intel hides mobo light under a bushel shock

Another Intel motherboard sneaks unnoticed onto the market

Stealth launches at Intel seem to be the order of the day. Not usually famed for its modesty, Intel has a strange way of launching some of its products. Motherboards are obviously judged not worthy of bothering the massive Intel PR machine about - in fact we can't remember the last time Chipzilla issued a press release about the things. Chipsets, yes. Graphics, yes. Motherboards, no. In fact Intel launches new motherboards all the time. Some of them are even quite good. The new Sun River, aka SR440BX, boasts onboard 16Mb nVidia Riva TNT AGP graphics and Creative Labs SoundBlaster AudioPCI 64V with 64 voice wavetable audio and with a 500MHz Pentium III on board is reported to run damned fast at a street price of around £120. So why is Chipzilla so shy about its motherboards? There was a time when Intel motherboards didn't trouble the scorers in group tests by the leading labs, but these days both the socket 370 and Slot 1 boards that are sold as boxed products can more than hold their own against the opposition, usually only losing out in the final analysis because Chipzilla does everything in its power to prevent overclocking so rival boards tend to win on points purely because of their overclocking capabilities. New boards like the Socket 370 Fiji and Slot 1 Rochester actually came out as top performers in a recent group test in one of the UK trades and sources inside Intel reckon that Sun River is probably the best performing desktop board Chipzilla has produced to date and looks set to pick up a few Editor's Choice awards. In fact if you're listening, Intel, send us a sample board and we'll check it out ourselves. But, due to this stealth launch approach to motherboards, the only way you'll find out about new launches is by keeping an eye on the Intel website motherboard pages at this place because Intel sure as hell won't be telling anyone about them through normal channels. Suggestions as to why this might be on a postcard please... ®

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