OCW Readers' Award 2004
For the third year running, OCWorkbench has been running the Readers Awards, and 2004 has been a very interesting year indeed. In year 2004, we have done up more reviews than before. With the inclusion of our mobile forums and reviews, we have attracted more readers worldwide. This year, we see a lot of new innovations and products which generated a lot of interest among readers.
OCWorkbench was quite successful with its inaugural Readers Awards, and this year we had a good response from Members, voting in a wide range of categories. One area where Members really display their loyalty is Most Popular manufacturer, where a company can put out a bad product but brand loyalty from customers can still get them a vote.
Year 2004 seems to be dominated by AMD ever since the launch of its Socket 754 processors and more entry level boards. Chipsets from various manufacturers performs similarly well. They can only compete with one another with the feature set of the chipsets.
Mainboard manufacturers likewise has to compete in terms on packaging. The other factors that affects the sales of a mainboard would be the cost to performance ratio and its overclockability.
Best AMD Chipset 2004
ULi M1689 seems to be the black horse of year 2004. With an exceptional high percentage of the votes, it tops the chart. This is probably due to the adoption of this chipset for entry level mainboards for the Socket 754. The other two chipsets are from NVIDIA. nF3-250GB is the one that has Gigabit Ethernet built in with firewall integrated as well. The socket A chipset seems to be a welcomed choice for most.
Best AMD (C/P) Board
When it comes to cost/performance, we are looking at boards which performs just as good and they should be cheap enough to compete in the mass market. ASrock K8 Combo-Z based on the ULi M1689 chipset seems to do well as it offers two sockets on one board. Pricing of the board is comparatively lower than the other two that only offers Socket 754. In terms of performance, the difference isn't that difference that uses different chipsets.
Best AMD (O/C) Board
It is quite surprising to see that our readers love the three brands and chose them for the best overclocking boards. The 2nd and 3rd are to be expected as they are based on overclockable chipsets from NVIDIA and ABIT and both provides PCI lock. The surprise is that many chose the K8 Combo-Z. Well, some of our forum readers managed to squeeze 250MHz x 8 out of this board. I suppose everyone's mileage is different.
Best Intel Chipset 2004
Year 2004 seems to be a good year for Intel because no one else has yet to go retail with LGA775 supporting chipsets except Intel themselves. As we can see, the top 3 are all Intel based chipsets supporting the new Prescotts. The best chipset that our readers is still the older 875P. That is probably because it can overclock very well.
Best Intel (C/P) Board
When it comes to cost/performance ratio, the Gigabyte 8GPNXP Duo seems to be the board of choice picked by our readers. This board supports the conventional DDR and DDR-2. On the runner-up, it is the ASrock P4 Combo and it also exhibits a hybrid design. This time round, it supports two socket types, Socket 478 and Socket 775. The third is the EPoX 5EPA+. This board supports conventional DDR memory type. The interesting fact about this board is that it can overclock beyond the 10% limit set by Intel.
Best Intel (O/C) Board
When it comes to overclocking, the LGA775 boards are no way comparable to the Socket 478 boards based on Intel 865/875P chipsets. The top 3 overclockable boards are all Socket 478 supporting boards from ABIT, ASUS and DFI.
Best Mainboard Packaging
For best mainboard packaging, we consider all boards from all Intel and AMD platforms. ASrock K8upgrade-1689 is top, Gigabyte K8NSNXP-939 second and the third goes to ASUS A8V Deluxe (rev 2). It is quite a surprise that readers chose the K8Upgrade-1689. I think that could be due to the fact that some countries sells the upgrade daughter board as a package. Gigabyte on the other hand has been well known for bundling lots of goodies with their mainboard and that includes DPS, software etc. The ASUS A8V is another board that bundles with lots of goodies including a Gigabit ethernet card.
Most Innovative Product 2004
This year we have many entries for this category and the top goes to AMD 90nm CPU. I suppose many of our readers are die hard overclocking fans. The 90nm K8 processors are definitely worth a mention as it dissipates less heat and readers have managed to overclock them beyond 2.6GHz easiliy!
The Silver prize goes to ASrock K8 Combo-Z. This is the first dual socket board in the industry that supports both Socket 754 and 939. Priced at an affordable range, this board appeals to users who wants to test out Socket 754 and intends to upgrade to Socket 939 in the future. As we have tested this board, the performance is no difference from its sister board the ASrock K8Upgrade-1689.
The Bronze prize goes to ABIT Fatality AX8XE, a 925XE mainboard. This board comes with many features and they include ABIT μGuru™ Technology (ABIT OC Guru / ABIT EQ / ABIT Flash Menu / ABIT Black Box), ABIT Unlockable BIOS for Gaming, ABIT ThermalGuard™ Technology, ABIT TweakGuard™ Technology, ABIT Dual OTES™ Technology , ABIT OC Strips Technology etc.
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