The Athlon64 Radeon Xpress: ATi's Latest Stab as a Chipset Maker

ATi Radeon Xpress 200 Reference Motherboard

ATi provided the reference motherboard, an Athlon64 4000+ and two low-latency 512 MB PC3200 DIMMs by OCZ, which were capable of running ideal CL 2.0-2-2-5 timings.

Technically, the reference board is not too far away from a production model as it comes equipped with all the features that account for a good motherboard. This includes two classic PCI slots, three x1 PCI Express slots, the x16 PCI Express connector, eight USB 2.0 ports, AC97 6-channel audio, two UltraATA/100 ports and four Serial ATA ports. A 10/100 MBit Ethernet controller is part of the Southbridge, while Gigabit Ethernet capabilities must be added.

ATi specifically chose this path, since integrating a powerful Gigabit network controller capable of matching Nvidia's solution would noticeably increase costs. In addition, ATi touts the scalability aspects of its chipset, which means that motherboard makers can decide whether they want to integrate a low-cost network solution or a more sophisticated one. Broadcom, Marvell and Realtek will certainly be happy to help out.