iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Interview with AOpen

<Q>: Could you introduce yourself first, please? What is your position in AOPEN?

<A>: Mike Chiang - I am in charge of AOpen bare System/Motherboard product management dept. director

Gavin Lin - I am in charge of AOpen Networking/Multimedia product management dept. manager

<Q>: What will happen on CPU/chipset market in 2001?

<A>: Intel will launch Pentium 4 processor with .18u process: Willamette (423 pin in Nov.2000 and 478 pin in Q2'01) and .13u process Northwood (478pin in Q4'01)

Accordingly, Intel will launch Tehama (850) in 11'2000 and Brookdale with SDRAM in Sep'01 with DDR in Oct'01 for supporting Pentium 4 family

As for Pentium III, Intel will launch Coppermine-T (.18 process) in Q2'01 and Tualatin (.13u process) in Q4'01.

Accordingly, Intel will launch 815E/815EP B-step for supporting both Coppermine-T and Tualatin processors

Third party chipset vendors will follow Intel in developing own chipsets too. Even more aggressive to develop chipsets with DDR support

<Q>: You were preparing the mainboard for Timna. What do you think now, when Intel has cancelled this project?

<A>: In Q2'00 Intel announced to cancel Timna project. We also challenge Intel why Timna cost higher than not integrated CPUs and North bridge. For clone market it not make sense. Timna should be focused on IA or small form factor market.

<Q>: Could you please comment Intel's decision not to release Almador chipset?

<A>: 815E is not successful in distributor and OEM or S/I channel, foresee Almador will have same problem. I am fully agree with Intel to remove Almador from chipset roadmap.

<Q>: A lot of companies started to produce information appliances. Which way do you think is better: "crippled" PC from VIA or a special device with a special architecture and CPU (for example, Crusoe)?

<A>: Frankly speaking IA still not so popular in market. For education use, for Internet use, for stocks use, ... specific objects still not created this channel now. I think we have to wait more for natural market.

<Q>: Please, tell us about the company's results in the last quarter. Any forecasts?

<A>: This quarter was not so good as we expected. We only contributed around 600K mainboards this quarter.

<Q>: Can we expect an integrated Bluetooth controller in AOPEN's mainboards?

<A>: Bluetooth is better solution for mobile PC not desktop PCs. We will watch out future development

<Q>: Intel is going to release P4 processor and in a quarter will change its form-factor (0.13 micron Northwood). What do you think of it? What does AOPEN plan for P4?

<A>: We will be very aggressive to develop Pentium 4 MB. We plan to launch P4 Willamette and Northwood platform MB. I think Intel will strongly to promote P4 in 2001.

<Q>: What do you think about NVIDIA (Crush) and ATI (ArtX2) future integrated chipsets? What about price/performance balance of these solutions? Will these announcements change market shares of other chipset companies?

<A>: Crush and ArtX2 chipsets still need long time to be tuned. I don't think it will affect chipset companies too much. Their market share will be very limited.

<Q>: 3dfx announced that they would provide Rampage chip for graphics cars makers. Is it possible that AOPEN will produce cards based on 3dfx's future chips? (The question was asked before 3dfx was sold to NVIDIA)

<A>: Currently AOpen have no plans to work with 3dfx

<Q>: What is your forecast for the graphics chips (cards) market in 2001? Will NV20 and NV17 from NVIDIA be the leaders or anybody will be able to compete with NVIDIA?

<A>: We plan to make 150 K/month

Yes, NV20 & NV17 should be the leaders because of quality and time to appear on the market.

There are still some chances to challenge NVIDIA but the performance & quality & time to market are the key issues

<Q>: NV20 won't appear this year. Do you think it is a good solution to move the release to Febraury-March'2001?

<A>: I think it's alright. The high-end market is gradually running up. So the schedule delay is not so important to the whole market.

<Q>: Please, tell us about the AOPEN's graphics cards based on NVIDIA chipsets in 2001 (High-End, Mainstream, Low-End).

<A>: AOpen will launch every chipset from NVIDIA based cards. So AOpen always keep whole range of NVIDIA based products.

<Q>: Thank you very much for your answers!

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