845G Boards - Plenty Of Variety
In part one of the test
In terms of market share, little has changed. Asus sold 7.73 million units in the first half of 2002 to lead worldwide sales of motherboards. But snapping at the heels of the market leader, OEM supplier and low-cost manufacturer ECS (PC chips) raised its share to 7.6 million for the same period. In third place was MSI (Microstar), with global sales of 5.5 million. Gigabyte could manage no more than 2.2 million. The Taiwanese firms manufactured a total 40.77 million boards in the first half-year, accounting for 56% of the market.
First, we'll give you some background about the test entrants. One of our primary concerns was that the companies were preparing boards specifically to compete in the THG test. We received hundreds of e-mails asking about Gigabyte's GA-81GXP, which performed well in Part I but was not available for purchase. We followed up with the manufacturer, who now intends to bring out a comparable version of the board. The MSI 845G Max appeared in the first part, but the manufacturer has now supplied a new BIOS, which improves performance by about 2%. We also received another package from DFI, which sent in a third board for testing. The new version ran without a hitch, and also scored better than its predecessors. The newly-founded manufacturer Albatron attracted a good deal of attention - according to insiders, the company was set up by former Gigabyte employees. Rival Liteon, better known for producing very affordable drives, has expanded its product range to include motherboards, and the NA121 duly comes under scrutiny here. The entry from Epox subsidiary Enmic arrived too late for the test deadline. Its 4GAX Pro is likewise equipped with Intel's 845G chipset.