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ECS heralds 'Broadwater' mobos

Confirms no IDE on ICH8 South Bridge?

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Computex 2006 Intel's 'Broadwater' chipset family isn't out yet, but that hasn't stopped Elitegroup (ECS) telling the world it will show off a range of motherboards based on the new platform here at the Computex show in Taipei.

ECS's line-up includes boards based on Intel's 965P, 965G, 946PL and 946GZ chipsets - the 'P' parts without an on-board graphics engine, the 'G' parts with an integrated GPU which, as forecast, will be dubbed Intel Clear Video Technology.

ECS's P965T-A and G965T-M boards support up to eight Serial ATA hard disk drives, "diverse expansion slots", and eight-channel HD audio. The P946PLT-A and the 946GZT-M are more mainstream-oriented offerings that incorporate Intel's current ICH7 South Bridge series - the other two are expected to use the new ICH8 series.

As anticipated, the ICH8 line appears to drop IDE support - presumably that's why ECS is pitching the ICH7-equipped boards as "maintaining support for IDE devices to protect the users' storage investments", a claim it does not make for the other mobos.

The PX1 board, on the other hand, is pitched at the Viiv arena. It's also based on the 965P North Bridge with a 1066MHz frontside bus and support for up to 8GB of 800MHz dual-channel DDR 2 SDRAM. The PX1 uses the ICH8-DH digital home-friendly South Bridge, sports two Gigabit Ethernet and supports Intel's Advanced Fan Speed Control system for "optimum system acoustics". ECS's own Qoolteck [sic] technology keeps the chipset from overheating - it's a special heatpipe configuration, we understand.

The PX1 has 10 USB ports and an eSATA connector, along with Intel's Matrix Storage Technology for RAID-ing the six internal SATA devices the board supports. There's a pair of x16 PCI Express slots for graphics, and "a BIOS that supports a wide range of overclocking options".

All five boards are compatible with the Core 2 Duo processor line and with Windows Vista, ECS said. ®

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