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Table of Contents
A Short Camino Overview
AOpen AX6C ATX Slot-1 i820 Motherboard
First Impression & Installation
Benchmarks
Conclusion

Reviews

AOpen AX6C i820 Camino Motherboard
Page 1 of 5
Author: wilfred
Date of review: 28-February-2000
Type Of Review: Mainboards

A Short Camino Overview
After months of waiting and anticipation, we are supposed to be wowed over when Intel debuted the next generation mainboard core logic AGPset at Comdex.

For over a year and a half, the BX held its crown and the world waited long for an heir. Then heir apparent - i820 - arrived, a result and culmination of months of research and development.



The chipset boasted features like support for high bandwidth RDRAM, AGP4X and the full-range of voltages for wide CPU type compatibility. Destined for the throne (or so it was meant to be), it was intended to bring the stagnated industry forward, a crown prince set to spear head a restless population.

However, its arrival was like bad labour pain and performance issues plagued it until today. An inherent design flaw forced the chip giant to withhold release initially and the prohibitive cost of RDRAM RIMMS (even today) discourages adoption. At anywhere between S$10-15 per megabyte for bulk purchase of the fastest PC800 RDRAM, we wonít see widespread acceptance any time soon.

The onset of new products from Intelís very keen competition forced them to react like they never did before. Cheaper and viable alternatives surfaced in the form of Athlons coupled with Slot-A motherboards and Intel-compatible VIAís Apollo Pro 133/133A chipsets.

We witnessed the sudden acceleration of Intel's roadmaps and early announcement of price cuts to damp the surge in interest of competing products. Without a doubt, Intel is shifting in the seat.

The Coppermines were delayed while the Athlons came and performed just as well if not better. On the other front, VIA solved teething problems in their early Intel alternatives, which all summed up to a gloomy picture for Intel if they do not react quickly.

But sure enough, Intel recently managed to regain some lost ground in several slick maneuvers. So what has come of late? They not only came up with hybrid i820 designs that could accommodate the cheaper PC133 SDRAM, they also pushed the release of fast 800Mhz Coppermine chips to try regaining the speed crown.

Still what are the fundamental reasons people are not snapping up Camino and CuMine couples?

The CuMine proved to be a capable performer with several overclockable variants (such as the 500E and 550E), but the Camino/CuMine combo needs expensive RDRAM to beat a BX/CuMine setup. Moreover, performance gains in everyday software and applications are debatable.

Thus it became a liability for Intel who could not bring on the level of performance on par with its earlier BX success, after having only supported RAMBUS RDRAM and initially dismissing the cheaper PC133 SDRAM altogether.



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