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Riding the digital wave

Riding the digital wave

In addition to motherboard technology for digital entertainment devices, Chen said the company was developing products for digital surveillance systems market and advancing its development of graphics cards for gaming, two other hot markets worth chasing.

Catering to the surveillance market, IP speed dome and network surveillance cameras are a few of the technologies manufacturers are designing components for.

"The home user could be in the office and check security at home via the Internet," Chen said.

Asus, meanwhile, is also investing heavily into this digital home space. The whole concept of the digital home, and in particular the Intel Viiv platform, is presenting new opportunities to the market in terms of hardware, peripherals, services and applications.

"This is a whole new direction for hardware vendors," Asus components manager, Albert Liang, said. "We've been hearing about the digital home for some time, but no one had come out with actual solutions." As part of its push, Asus has launched an Intel Viiv-supported motherboard.

Liang said the latest Asus motherboard presented ways to help allocate and manage digital content by embedding two SATA ports as well as two external SATAII ports.

"The SATAII standard allows easy backup of entertainment content with superior 3Gbps transfer speed, providing enhanced scalability and doubling the bus bandwidth for high-speed data retrieval and saves," he said. Externally situated, the SATAII ports offer smart setup and hot-plug functionalities for easy photo, video and other digital content backup, making for digital enjoyment with convenience.

"The motherboard offers dual core technology, runs at a much lower voltage, offers improved power consumption and less heat," Liang said.

"This is significant as you merge digital devices into the home because the last thing you want is noise."

Going live

With all the Viiv frenzy, AMD isn't resting on its laurels and is set to launch AMD Live, which is comparable technology to Intel's Viiv platform, according to technical director, Michael Apthorpe.

Scheduled for a Computex launch in June, the Live PCs will come with 7.1 surround sound capabilities and will be tuned for home entertainment. While Apthorpe wouldn't disclose specific details, the Live machines will support Windows Media Center edition in phase one and will then be Windows Vista capable.

The machine requires IEEE 1394 Firewire while the TV tuner and remote are optional accessories - unlike with Intel's Viiv PCs.

In addition to AMD Live, the company also plans to launch Socket-AM2 platform at Computex. Based on double data rate 2 (DDR2), the technology will cater to all market segments.

"This will boost performance, offer higher frequency processors, and faster memory," Apthorpe said. AMD is also set to announce the next generation chip manufacturing technology early next year. Chip features were 90 nanometres (nm) in size - the next step is 65nm process technology, which would mean a tremendous boost in functionality, he said.

"We're currently at 90nm. At 65nm, it will reduce the heat, thereby addressing thermal issues," he said. "This will give the small form factor market a boost because there will be improved power consumption." Gigabyte's Chen said the company was looking forward to the rollout of Socket-AM2, which offers higher performance and boosted memory. Intel's Conroe technology, meanwhile, is also on his radar list. The dual-core desktop processor, which is slated for the second half of the year, will offer faster, quieter and cooler operations.


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