iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Digit-Life/iXBT.com Awards'2001
to companies, technologies and products.

The year 2001 fell into history and gave way to 2002 which will obviously bring in a plenty of interesting events, announcements of products and technologies, pleasant surprises and, of course, a bit of disappointment. In 2001 we also had a lot of various things, and the most-talked-of stuff will be given Digit-Life/iXBT.com Award 2001.

Products of the year


High-performance solution

AMD Athlon XP - excellent performance at an acceptable price

Reliable and stable solution

Intel Pentium 4 - high speed without minor but too importunate problems

Budget solution

AMD Duron - mainstream performance at a low-end price

Mobile solution

Intel Pentium III-M - ultra-low power consumption and SpeedStep technology

Noiseless and "cool" solution

VIA C3 - a fan can be taken off from the CPU without any troublesome consequences

Debut of the year

Athlon MP - the first x86 multiprocessor solution not from Intel with excellent functionality and performance.

Disappointment of the year

Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 - a broken hope

Cooling systems

Best coolers for Socket A/Socket 370

Cooler Master DP5-6I31C-A1 - equipped with a high-quality and efficient fan and a convenient safe fastener; a low noise level and good thermal effectiveness.

AVC Tundra (AVC 112AM1) - a very compact cooler with excellent thermal effectiveness thanks to a skived fin heatsink and a highly efficient fan.

Thermaltake Dragon Orb 3 (A1132) - a top of the Orb series. Good thermal effectiveness and a relatively low noise level. A convenient reliable fastener and a high-quality fan.

Best water-cooling system

Infinipro Aquacool - high-quality components (heat exchangers, heatsink, rotary pump), simple to install, good heat effectiveness and a low noise level.

Best thermal grease

Alsil-3 - excellent effectiveness and physical-chemical and performance properties.

Chipsets for mainboards

High-performance solution for Pentium 4

i850 - the highest stability and the best performance for Pentium4 based systems

High-performance solution for Athlon/XP

VIA KT266A - widely available and highly efficient on Athlon/XP based systems

Budget solution

SiS645 and SiS735 - allow building powerful, functional and inexpensive Pentium4 and Athlon based solutions

Debut of the year

NVIDIA nForce - a real possibility to create high-quality graphics and sound integrated into a chipset

AMD-760MPX / 760MP - a multiprocessor solution for non-Intel platforms with excellent functionality and performance

i845D - a long-awaited DDR solution from Intel which proves that this platform isn't necessary to be either expensive or slow

Disappointment of the year

i845 with PC133 SDRAM memory - a weak support for a powerful modern processor


Memory technologies of the year

DDR SDRAM (PC2100 / DDR266) - popularity with excellent performance on all platforms

Debut of the year

DDR SDRAM (PC2700 / DDR333) - excellent performance on SiS645 boards; it will probably become a best-seller in 2002


Socket 370

ASUS CUSL2-C - high efficient, stable, with high overclocking potential and widely available on the market

Socket A

Soltek SL75DRV2 - high speed, high-quality design and fine functionality

Gigabyte 7VTX-P - traditional high-quality design and reliability go with high performance


Epox 4T2A - high-efficient and high-quality solution not worse than products from the computer giants


ASUS P4T-E - a stable, powerful and widely available solution

Integrated solution

MSI K7N420 Pro - high-performance integrated graphics and sound with a digital S/PDIF-out and Dolby Digital support

Budget platform

ASUS CUSC/TUSC on the SiS630/630-T for Socket370 in the ASUS Terminator - a cheap solution for a real PC

Video system

GPU: product of the year

NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti200, GeForce3, GeForce3 Ti500 line - popular high-performance solutions in a wide price range

GPU: event of the year

ATI RADEON 8500 - a good response to NVIDIA

GPU: disappointment of the year

Matrox G550 - a weak replacement for the expected G800

Video cards: product of the year

ATI RADEON 8500 - a high-performance and functional solution

ASUSTeK AGP-V8200 Deluxe - a high-performance and functional solution

Video cards: the best series

Gainward Golden Sample - always a little faster than its competitors

Video cards: original design

Leadtek WinFast GeForce3 TDH - hardware monitoring with indication

Monitors: product of the year

Samsung 171B (17" TFT) and 151B (15" TFT) - an ideal price/quality ratio for a modern technology

Hard drives and controllers

SCSI hard drives: product of the year

Seagate Cheetah X15 36LP - the highest performance, a real Hi-End solution

SCSI hard drives: the biggest capacity

Seagate Barracuda 180 - the best choice for data storage systems both in capacity and in reliability

IDE hard drives: product of the year

Seagate Barracuda ATA IV - the first drive with 7200 rpm and 40 GBytes per platter. Although its followers have caught up with it in many parameters this drive remains a leader on the IDE market

IDE hard drives: the biggest capacity

Maxtor D540X-4G (160 GBytes) - an excellent budget solution for large volumes of data

IDE hard drives: disappointment of the year

Seagate U6 - it is the first budget solution of 80 GB and 40 GB per platter, but the performance is not very high. It is a compromise between price and all other parameters.

IDE RAID controllers: product of the year

Promise FastTrak100 TX2 - an optimal solution (good performance at a low price)

CD-R/CD-RW/DVD drives

Products of the year

TDK CyClone 241040 - the first 24x drive

DVD+RW Ricoh MP5120A - the first DVD drive for the DVD+RW technology which provides a possibility to write DVD media excellently compatible with consumer DVD players

Failure of the year

Yamaha CRW2100E - the company had to change the firmware 6 times to fix all bugs

The best series of the products

DVD-ROM drives from ASUS from 8x to 16x - always high quality

Technology of the year

DVD+RW technology - compatibility with home DVD players and packet recording. Promoted by Ricoh, Sony, Philips, HP, Mitsubishi, Thomson etc.


Sound cards: product of the year

Creative SoundBlaster Audigy Platinum eX - Creative Audigy audio processor, a stylish external Audigy Drive connected to the main card in a digital mode, two IEEE1394 ports for digital devices of the new generation, remote control, 24bit/96kHz, 6-channel digital-out onto external DACs, Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding, new EAX Advanced HD extensions, ASIO and SF2.1 support for beginners, the best set of utilities among all multimedia cards, WinXP-like interface.

Sound cards: opening of the year

Philips ThunderBird Avenger - a sound chip of the new generation which accelerates a lot of 3D QSound algorithms on a hardware level (QSound3Dinteractive, QSound Environmental Modeling, QSound Multi Speaker System, QXpander, DVD QSurround) including hardware acceleration of 256 DirectSound streams, 64 DirectSound3D, 96 3D audio streams, and support of DirectSound3D, EAX 1.0, EAX 2.0/I3DL2.

Sound cards: budget solution of the year

CMI8738 - a sound card at $10? It's simple if it is a card on the CMI8738-6ch. Even if not all outputs are unsoldered, the drivers can make inputs operate as outputs as the whole filling of the card is incorporated in the chip. EAX 2.0 support in games and excellent characteristics of digital inputs and outputs (without resampling) make the cards a real breakthrough in the Low End sector. The CMI8738 is widely available as integrated sound on mainboards.

Computer acoustic systems: product of the year

Creative Inspire 5.1 Digital 5700 - pleasant design, small dimensions, decent sound, a separate Dolby Pro Logic/Dolby Digital/DTS decoder with a remote control, high-quality 24/96 converters, a possibility to connect Live!5.1 and Audigy sound cards in a digital 6-channel mode (PCM 16bit/48kHz), a powerful wooden subwoofer

Computer acoustic systems: opening of the year

F&D/SVEN trade mark - active PC-oriented wooden acoustic systems with an excellent price/quality ratio

Digital players

Product of the year

Hyun Won M-Any DAH-200M - supports MP3 and WMA standards, completely compatible with cassette equipment (probably both playback and recording). It can be used for music sampling through a linear-in and as a high-quality digital dictaphone (thanks to a high-quality microphone and large memory). 128 MBytes and 256 MBytes memory modules can be further extended. The player is supplied with an excellent set of accessories and costs not much - less than $300 for the high model.

Budget solution of the year

AMAX NAPA DAV316 has functionality comparable to more expensive models at a moderate price

Digital photo

Product of the year

Minolta DiMAGE 7 - a good solution for a digital camera and a good price/quality solution

Digital video editing

Product of the year

Canopus DVStorm - the most perfect and STABLE board for video editing at an average price. Cards based on it are produced in different variations.

Budget product of the year

Pinnacle Studio DC10plus - the most popular and the cheapest card for video editing

Universal product of the year

Matrox G450 eTV - flexible and fine tuner settings and good image quality


Product of the year

ASUS T9400 - high-performance computer with a stylish design and additional multimedia possibilities


PDA: product of the year

HP Jornada 56x - good ergonomics, a competent price policy, plenty of advantages and lack of construction drawbacks. A modular system of the PDA, in particular, it is the first time when a battery can be disattached.

PDA: the best one with a key-pad

Psion Revo+ - the best PDA with a key-pad in price/quality ratio

PDA: platform of the year

MS Pocket PC 2002 and devices on this platform. They have such advantages as a reflective display with 65,000 colors, a light sensor, a possibility to work outdoors in a sunny weather. The Pocket PC 2002 is much better than its elder brothers as far as convenience is concerned.

PDA: disappointment of the year

New products from Palm - despite a possibility to work with additional memory cards and a color screen of the m505, they yield to their clones in functionality (for example, to Sony products).


Scanners: product of the year

Scanner for Acer ScanWit 2720S film - opens an epoch of high-quality film scanning at a moderate price.

Printers: product of the year

HP LaserJet 1200 - a laser monochrome printer which optimally combines design, quality, speed, price and reliability.

HP DeskJet 930 - a bubblejet printer which provides a fast and high-quality printing in 2400x1200 with PhotoRET III support for average users.

Universal devices: product of the year

HP psc750 - the first device which combines a DeskJet 950 printer (up to 2400 dpi, 8.5 pgs/min. - color printing, 11 pgs/min - black text), a 36-bit scanner with 600x1200 optical resolution and a convenient copier. The price is only $280.


Wireless products: series of the year

Lucent ORiNOCO - excellent speed, good distance of operation, compatibility and support.

Modems: products of the year

IDC-5614BXL/VR - a successful model with different in quality lines of communication. The company has done its best to improve the microcode.

Mobile communication

Smart phones: product of the year

Nokia 9210 - very popular thanks to the aggressive marketing. Moreover, in the Western Europe this smart phone sells better than Palms.

Business models: product of the year

Siemens S45/ME45 - these devices are the brightest event of the year.

Entry-level models: product of the year

Samsung SGH-R200(R210) have an interesting and attractive design. It is the first time when software of Samsung phones has no bugs.

Debut of the year

Ericsson T68 - it is the first GSM phone with a color display. Other companies weren't able to produce such models so fast

Technology of the year

GPRS - General Packet Radio Service



Intel is the most "technological" company which moves ahead as a locomotive of the whole industry

Cooling systems

Thermaltake - as it actively promotes a wide range of high-quality products all throughout the world

Chipsets for mainboards

SiS - for the series of chipsets with an excellent price/quality ratio


ASUS - a wide line of products. Invariable quality and stability.

Video system

NVIDIA - unquestionable leadership on the market

ASUS - a manufacturer of the most complete line of reliable and high-performance cards on the NVIDIA chips

Hard drives and controllers

Maxtor - initiated further development of the ATA interface - Big Drives (ATA/ATAPI-6) and Fast Drives (ATA/133), and produced drives based on these technologies - Maxtor D740X-6L ("Viper") and D540X-4G ("Neptune")


TDK - aggressively promotes a high-quality high-speed and inexpensive CyClone line.


Creative Labs - leads on the sound card and computer acoustic market

Mobile communication

Siemens - the company much extended its share on the GSM phones' market last year

Portable PCs

Toshiba produced a full range of new models this year (Satellite - Portege - Tecra) with all models having fine advantages.


COMPAQ with its iPAQ PDA series - goes ahead of the industry while promoting Pocket PC based platforms.

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