Well then folks, it’s time for NH’s second glance at CeBIT 2003. Let’s get it up and running by introducing some mini systems, a phenomenon that was very popular at the show this year…

Well then folks, it’s time for NH’s second glance at CeBIT 2003. Let’s get it up and running by introducing some mini systems, a phenomenon that was very popular at the show this year.
These rigs are small and damn good looking so we were not taken by surprise by their popularity. Possibilities are endless once wireless LAN strikes us home users with its full power. Combine them with a smaller TFT and a nice set of speakers and you’ve got the perfect home entertainment unit whether you use it at the breakfast table or in the bedroom. Put one in the kitchen and fire up your favorite playlist while doing the dishes.

Small but potent

The whole setup

A smaller Taiwan-based company called ATOZ specializes in these mini setups, the model at hand is called E 7042 and comes equipped with Intel’s P4. It can handle up to 2.8 GHz and some of the options are USB 2.0, Giga LAN, PC Card and S/PDIF-connectors.


Two versions


As you can see below ATOZ system also has great potential of becoming even smaller. By some simple steps it’s easy to attach it to the back of a TFT-monitor. Practically invisible.

Mounted on the back of TFT


Perfect for the compact living, needing all the desk space they can get.


Another manufacturer that we hadn’t heard of before was Saint Song. They too specialize in compact rigs.


Close up

Shuttle remains one of the largest manufacturers when it comes to barebone systems and they had loads of products on show. Amongst other products they had a nForce2 based system.


Below we’ve gathered pictures of some of their more interesting offerings. How about a watercooled mini rig in an aluminum case?

Watercooled mini-PC


Except for the slick beauty above, the also showed a system based on Athlon 64 and a chassis with a built-in 7″ TFT-screen.

Athlon 64

Mini-PC + TFT

Jetway also had products to show us but we have to say that Shuttle still has the upper hand when it comes to design.


Jetway w/ remote

Soltek also had some products on display:


More Soltek

Now it’s time to take a look at what some of the larger manufacturers had to show the world at CeBIT 2003. First up is Abit.


The Abit show case was completely red, Ferrari red so to speak. And it is hardly a coincidence that red is also the colour of the boxes for P4 motherboards. The focal point was put almost completely above products built on Intel’s coming chipset. Springdale Canterwood and 845PE stole all the attention far way from the AMD motherboards. nForce2 however was shown in a gaming system, but the rest of the AMD motherboards got to hang alone on one of the long sides of the show case. We saw no KT400A card at Abit’s. The company wasn’t of the opinion that KT400A was sufficiently much better than the existing KT400, and therefore they simply decided to ignore VIA’s new chipset.

Abit Show case

All coming motherboards built on Intel chipset were shown in functional gaming systems which resulted in very long queues of gamers. The motherboard which got the most attention however was Abit’s BH7. This card was sitting in a demo system which Abit called ”The Gigasystem”. The name indicates the speciallity with the system which is the overclocked 800FSB processor, running with a slightly mad bus speed of 1021 MHz. The BH7 motherboard is to the P4 what BH6 was for Pentium III. An overclockers dream, that is. The card is equipped with 4-phase power which enables those crazy bus speeds. In contrast to Abit’s MAX series the number of integrated components has been cut to lower the costs. Abit doesn’t give up the integrated components completely. The card is among other things equipped with 6-channel sound, LAN and 3+1 Serilell ATA. But do not think that Abit settles for blowing the GHz bus limit. Scott Thirlwell who we talked to at Abit enthusiastically told us about the next goal: blowing the 1 GHz limit on the memory front too.

1021 MHz FSB

Abit’s monitoring program

Next to the picture of the FSB you’ll find Abit’s monitoring software. With this the user is supposed to be able to control the fan speeds both on the motherboard and on the video card directly from Windows environment. This presupposes, in any case when it comes to the video card, that it also comes from Abit and is equipped with the necessary hardware. A GeForce FX for example works just fine. Below you’ll see pictures of BH7 and IC7-G which is built around the Canterwood chipset.


Abit BH7

Abit IC7-G

Canterwood has support for among other things AGP 8x, Dual DDR 400 and is equipped with a large amount of integrated components such as Dual S-ATA RAID, Gigabit Ethernet and Firewire. This really isn’t very strange since IC7-G is due to replace Abit’s IT7 Max2 which is one of the most complete motherboards today. We also asked Scott if Abit is going to be more generous with the voltage settings on the coming Springdale and Canterwood cards (IT7 Max 2 gave max 1.725 V and undervolted a great deal which resulted about 1.7 of real voltage) and the answer was a resounding yes. It sounds as if IC7-G really can has potential to become a new baby here in the test lab. Another piece of news is the new fan on the north bridge which the coming motherboards will be equipped with. The green fan you can see on some pictures is temperature controlled and adapts the rotation speed to the temperature of the north bridge.

Abit NF7-S

Abit KN8-G

Above you’ll see the nVidia based motherboard from Abit. To the left we have NF7-S which is based on nForce 2. We have just looked a little closer on NF7 in our nForce 2 round-up which you can read about here (so far in swedish). The motherboard to the right is a KN8-G and is based on nVidia’s K8Crush chipset designed for the coming Athlon 64 processors.

Abit IS7-G

Abit Si7-G

Abit IS7-G is based on Springdale instead of Canterwood but is otherwise very similar to IC7-G. The fact that Rambus hasn’t quite played it’s whole part yet Abit showed with it’s IS7-G. The card is based on SiS R658 chipset and has support for Rambus PC1200 memories. Who buys this card is a real mystery to us as Springdale and Canterwood at the release probably will seem as more attractive choices. When it comes to the availability of the coming motherboards Abit waits only for Intel to release Springdale and Canterwood officially. The motherboards are in fact just as good as ready for release and mass production will start very soon.


Abit GeForce FX

Abit FX backside

Abit’s GeForce FX is equipped with the third incarnation of their O.T.E.S cooling system, O.T.E.S III. The new thing is that the number of heat pipes has been increased and the heat sinks have been made more powerful. A space is now left between the heat sinks and the back part of the PCB so that the cooler is able to fit on any video card, even ATi cards an Abit employee stated. I confronted Scott about this and asked whether Abit has any plans on abandoning nVidia in favour of ATi but this was denied. Abit has carried out an evaluation of an eventual cooperation with ATi but the company is comfortable with it’s current partner nVidia and will continue to make nVidia cards.

FX from the side

I also asked Scott if Abit has any plans of trying out new cooling methods, for example with water but presently nothing has been decided on the issue. What was said was however that there probably will come alternative cooling solutions that Abit will have a finger in, but nothing with Abit’s corporate name on. Let’s finish with a small picture which shows what a Vapochill and the right hardware is capable of achieving.

4071,89 MHz

4071,89 MHz really isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Epox has become known as being overclocking friendly over time. Just like their competitors they had an extremely overclocked rig. Epox made the same decision as AOpen and ASUS, ie. they used Chip-Cons Prometeia for cooling. But they didn’t stop here. Apart for some cosmetic improvements they also use water cooling for the videocard. Even the case is pretty special and consists of two Lian Li cases built into one. Too bad they didn’t let us bring this baby home with us.




Right beside the water tank there’s two temp LEDs that show the temperature of the water going in and then out.



The case was also very tidy when it came to IDE-cables and such. Epox really did a great job on this one!

Side #2

Compressor & radiator

The Prometeia system wasn’t the only thing on display. After a chat with our Epox contact we went back to their private room and got a glimpse of the Hammer system that they had prepared. A 1.6 GHz Hammer on a Epox mobo was shown but we didn’t get to see it in full action (ie. benchmarked to death).

Hammer Demo system


The picture below kind of speaks for itself now doesn’t it?

Hammer 1.6 GHz

Just like all other mobo manufacturers Epox were keen on showing us their Canterwood/Springdale mainboards. Epox promised us that these boards will be the overclockers dream.


Springdale G

Bearing in mind that Epox was one of the few manufacturers that actually had a Hammer up and running it felt pretty natural that they also had lots of mobos for this platform. Behold the AMD and VIA based boards below.



Via KT400M

Even though Abit didn’t want to deal with KT400A that didn’t stop Epox. To the right you have their nForce2 which NordicHardware had a look at here.


nForce 2

We’ve always been wondering why Epox don’t manufacture videocard and while we had the chance we asked them. The reply was that they don’t currently plan to manufacture videocards but that it surely would happen in the future. We’ll just have to wait and see.
One of the manufacturers who do produce videocards are Asus, go to the next page to read more about what they had up their sleeves.

ASUS is one of the leading manufacturers in the world and one of Intels so called Tier 1 partners. ASUS had lots of Intel and AMD mainboards on display but their GeForce FX got the most attention. They even had a small leisure center for people who wanted to enjoy some blazing fast racing on their FX rigs.



FX demo

The demonstration units were pretty slick with their plexiglass cases. Even though wheels were used, ASUS placed keyboards below the rigs, perhaps in order to use CTRL-ALT-DEL in case shit hit the fan? 😉

Neon FX

ASUS FX 5800 Ultra is pretty much a carbon copy of nVidias reference design. We can expect loads of bundled goodies though, but then again bundles tend to push up prices.

FX box

ASUS 5800 FX

ASUS Videosuite was also on display.

ASUS Videosuite series


Check out the nice see through case:

Baby blue

Spider grill

Here we go again: Prometeia was also used by ASUS and they had put the Danish compressor inside a Lian Li case.

ASUS Prometeia

Prometeia, what else?

ASUS managed to top Abits overlocking by a few MHz. Who wouldn’t want those numbers on their display? The mainboard used was a Canterwood based board with Dual Channel DDR. Memory bandwidth at these overclocked speeds is simply insane and if it’s one thing P4 loves; it’s bandwidth. These pictures also prove that Intels news chipsets are indeed overclocker friendly.


4120,40 MHz

Let’s have a look at some mainboards shall we.


Springdale G

Two favorites at CeBIT: Canterwood and Springdale. Gigabit LAN, Serial ATA and integrated sound is standard. For those who don’t care about performance you can always find models with integrated video too.

P4G8X Granite Bay


The reviewers favorite: ASUS P4G8x was the first mainboard available based on the Dual DDR supporting chipset. Beside we find a product for those on a tight budget as the board supports both SDR and DDR memory. Bearing in mind that DDR isn’t exactly more expensive than SDR anymore this is presumably mainly intended for people who already have their sticks of RAM and are unwilling to purchase new DDR modules.



Intel are not the only ones with Dual DDR support. SiS have some great performance with a nicer pricetag than ASUS P4G8X.


A KT400A was on display with the tag ”Flagship Model” which makes us think that ASUS will promote this board aggresively compared to their competitors who were pretty much unimpressed by VIAs work.


ASUS also manufacture Notebooks and they were quick to show us the latest and the greatest they had to offer. A P4 at 2.8 GHz is the perfect friend when travelling, wouldn’t you say? It also had ATis M10, i Mobility Radeon 9600, which probably makes this the fastest gaming-Notebook out there.



ASUS had a huge display. They manufacture so many types of products that we could probably write a whole 20 page piece on just them. Hopefully we’ve convered some of the more interested parts because now it’s time to check out MSI.

MSI are just like ASUS a Tier 1 manufacturer. Together with ASUS they were amongst the largest manufacturers at CeBIT this year.

Come on in

Let’s begin by having a quick look at the ever so late NV30. Apart from most other FXs at display, MSI had their own PCB and cooling system. The ”enhanced” version of FlowFX is fitted with two fans which will ensure better airflow.




We don’t know the reason behind the childish design of most videocard boxes, perhaps manufacturers live under the impression that we all are 13 year old pimple faced geeks? 13 year olds doing bank jobs that is, considering the hefty price tag of the NV30 products.


If you don’t want to spend a fortune perhaps NV31 aka FX 5600 is a more sane option. The card is available in a ”normal” and an Ultra version.


NV31 Ultra

FX 5200, ie NV34, is also available in two models (as is NV30 for that matter). This is the card for those who basically don’t want to spend money on their videocard.



NV34 Ultra

The good old NV28 was also on display.


There’s more to computers than nVidia based videocards so let’s have a look at some MSI motherboards.

Canterwood Demo

Springdale Demo

Canterwood and Springdale in see through cases.

Springdale 865G

865 PE

Yet more Springdale and Canterwood based model.

Canterwood 875P

MSI also had a K8 based demo system to show us. The mobo was based on VIA’s K8T400M.

K8T400M Demo


The SiS 655 chipset below supports Dual Channel DDR and will go head to head with Granite Bay. SiS make cheaper chips than Intel and lately they have proved that they can combine low prices with performance.

SiS 655

SiS 655

Athlon XP might seem to have been forgotten at this years CeBIT, but MSI had KT400A and SiS 746 FX based solutions to prove otherwise.


SiS 746FX

Below you have an external DVD/CD-ROM/CD-R combo from MSI. The unit is attached through USB 2.0 connectors. It handles 16x DVD, 48x CD-Rom and 48x/24 CD-R/RW. A great product for those who own a laptop.


Plexiglass chassis

Combo Drive

Next up is Albatron.

Albatron was probably the youngest manufacturer at CeBIT when counting the age. This however does not mean anything because many of the persons with a key position in the company has a lot of experience from working for other manufacturers like Gigabyte, etc. The knowledge within Albatron is with other words big. During the last year they have succeeded to impress the market with their high quality products. Unlike other manufacturers, Albatron only produces mainboards designed for Intel’s Pentium 4 processors. On the video card market they rely on nVIDIA.

The show case

We were greeted by nVidia’s Ogre demo at Albatron’s entrance. The videocard pushing this amazing looking demo was of course NV30.

Albatron’s FX


For those of you paying attention I won’t need to stress that Springdale and Canterwood were popular this time around. We’ve reviewed the predecessors of the mobos below here and here. (In Swedish only)


PX865PE Pro II

Albatron’s Canterwood was very impressive. Mostly because the integrated 8.1 sound. The fact of the matter is that we’ve never seen this before, thus it’ll be pretty hard to find a set of speakers to go along with it. Other than that it was equipped with the standard options such as USB 2.0, Gigabit LAN, S-ATA etc.



8.1 sound

The mainboards we’ve reviewed here at NH have been very solid when it comes to Albatron. Their products are geared towards enthusiasts and it shows.

Springdale Demo


Apart from mobos and videocards Albatron also works with monitors and television sets:

30 inch TV

LCD TV/Monitor

No Prometeia or Vapochill was found here. Though we must say that Albatron’s personnel was among the nicest at this years CeBIT.
So let’s have a look at Gigabyte.

Here in Scandinavia Gigabyte don’t really make that much noise. But at CeBIT they showed us that they surely have a lot of stuff going on. Especially when it comes to mainboards.




To the left we have a SiS 655-chipset. One thing that we noticed out of the ordinary is the cooling of the southbridge, pretty unusual. To the right we have yet another mobo for the Athlon64 platform.

K800A Ultra


AMD usually ”kick starts” the mobo market for their new processors and the processors formerly known as Hammer are no exception as you can see on the left side. AMD’s nemesis Intel were also represented with their Springdale chipset.



Gigabyte is one of the manufacturers who chose to produce VIA KT400A mobos, the predecessor is reviewed here (In Swedish only).


8I1000 Pro

To the right you see a Springdale based board with integrated video called ”Intel Extreme Graphics 2”. Calling Intel’s integrated video ”Extreme” is pretty lame, but of course; 3D performance doesn’t matter much if you only work in 2D office applications.



8KNXP Ultra

To the right we have a noteworthy Canterwood board with an integrated SCSI320 controller. It will probably be geared towards workstation.



A never ending supply of Springdale boards.

Springdale Close up

8KNXP Close up

Close ups.



At CeBIT most manufacturers concentrated on Intel mobos, as you’ve seen Gigabyte are no exception.


More SiS

Will it ever end?

Even more

Gigabyte also had their Radeon 9800 on display, from what we can tell it looks like a ”non-Pro”. You can find our review of the predecessor (Gigabyte 9700 Pro) here.

Gigabyte 9800

Radeon 9800

Now it’s time to have a peek at AOpen.

AOpen has started to concentrate on ”Tube Sound” a form of integrated sound on the motherboard where they use a vacuum tube amplifier, read more about the phenomena in our review here.

AK77-400 Max is a motherboard based on the KT400A chipset. On the right side of it you will find AX4PE that is a 845PE based P4 motherboard equipped with the latest version of AOpen’s Tube Sound. NH has made an preview of the forerunner AK77-333 and you can find it here. And if you want to go further back in AK77’s history we also got this review here.


AK77-400 Max

AX4PE Tube

Springdale-G based AX4SG Max is missing Tube sound as standard equipment, but luckily there is also a Tube variant for the sound fastidious.



There were not only P4 motherboards that been equipped with Tube Sound. AK86 Tube (VIA K8T 400M) intended for the coming Athlon 64 Processors has a full feathered Tube system onboard, exactly as AK89 that is based on nVidia’s crush chipset.

AK86 Tube

AK89 Max

Below there are pictures of AOpen’s new NV31 and NV34. Nothing special here either, just nVidia’s reference design.

GeForce FX 5200

GeForce FX 5600

AOpen’s FX5800 Ultra went exactly as MSI’s card in red. The fan then? Another kind of FX-flow of course.

GeForce FX 5800

”Car chassis”

AOpen also had a BMW chassis on place for every car fanatic, but coolest in AOpen exhibition case was the sound room where they showed what their ”Tube Sound” connected to a real sound system can do. We have to say that we were really impressed by the integrated sound on the demo-session. Also Aopen had a tasteful Prometeia package on place to show that they also are a little bit ”extreme”.


Prometeia cooled

Now it’s time to look at what Soltek has to offer.

Soltek had a whole lot of motherboards in all possible color combinations to show. Nice to see that more manufacturers are staking on the aesthetics.




The well tried 845PE/GE chipset were of course on place and a motherboard build on VIA’s KT400 and PT400 chipset.



nForce2 also appeared, with RAID and without RAID. The version without RAID is reviewed here.

nForce2 (w/RAID)


The Springdale-motherboards included the usual Serial ATA, 6-channel sound, Dual Channel DDR 333/400, AGP 8 and built-in LAN.

Springdale G

Springdale PE

The intel-motherboards were in silver, while the AMD motherboards were red or yellow brown.



Soltek’s coming Athlon 64 included, in principle, the same features as Springdale, 800FSB, S-ATA, AGP 8x, Lan, 6 channel sound and so on.

KT400A 2

Sl-KT400A2 is Soltek’s KT400A motherboard has among other things support for DDR400 and AGP 8x.

MX / Ti

MX / Xabre

Soltek also had some video cards on site, nVidia’s and SiS did stand for the graphic processors. Hardly some of the hottest cards in presence for us enthusiasts.

But we leave Soltek and the other big manufactures and take a closer look at some nice chassis that were at CeBit this year.

Lian Li don’t need any closer introduction. In their showcase was their latest version with some old retainers.


Look at the fishes

Not enough that the most of the chassis comes with a windows as a standard nowadays, now they also have a built-in aquarium in the side window. The Aquarium chassis is both in silver and black, but personally i don’t want any fishes in my computer.

The front


The PC9300 chassis looks like it been inspired by exclusive stereo components.

Classic boxes


Below you find a little family photo.

The family photo

As promised, here are some pictures of the plexiglass chassis we saw at the show out.

Plexi cube

DFI demo chassis

Most of the plexiglass chassis was as expected more lit-up than an American house around christmas time. Some didn’t settle with various lamps, but put in some plants in the chassis.


Something for the winter garden?

Plexi & Alu

The boxes below comes from the company SuperFlower, they showed out Alu-chassis in all kinds of patterns and colors. Since a picture says more than a 1000 words, I let the pencil rest for a while.

Flowers and wood imitation


Alu again

Group photo

Thanks to this company you can take the computer into the shower.

Pc in the shower

Sunbeam was without doubt the company that showed most products for pc-modders. Here were shining fans, cables, stickers, you name it. The showcase was dusky lighted and it more felt like a disco than a demo room for pc-products. An epileptic should stay away from Sunbeams show out room, for their own sake.


Cold-cathode fans

glowing cables .etc

Laser cut fan grills

Front panels

We can disclose that we didn’t go empty handed from Sunbeams showcase. The representative we talked to got so excited when we talked about our work that he immediately went to find some nice things for us. Soon we will deliver a first review of Sunbeam product’s. Now it’s time for a closely related subject, namely cooling.


AVC got famous for its Sunflower cooler, one of the first alternatives to Intel’s included heat sinks. On CeBIT they presented their new heat sink, the Sunflower II. They have now equipped the heat sink with more and thinner fins to increase it’s thermal efficiency. Sunflower II can handle P4s up to 3.2GHz. You can see the Sunflower II on the right picture, while the left picture shows a cooler made for AMD XPs up to 2700+.

AMD cooler

Sunflower II

On the left picture below you can see a cooler for the Pentium 4 entirely made by copper. This cooler can also handle speeds up to 3.2GHz. The cooler on the right picture is for AMD XPs up to 2700+.

P4 cooling

XP cooling

Below is AVC’s passive cooler intended for barebone systems and a few VGA/northbridge coolers.

Passive heatsink

VGA-, northbridge cooler

GlacialTech was also there, the target-group is easy to understand by just looking at the pictures.



The fan-manufacturer Delta was of course on spot with their products, fans in all kind of dimensions. Delta fans is famous for their sound level, the question is then how loud their Fan Tray will be.



Fan Tray

The chinese company Speeze showed that peltiers does not have to be used with watercooling. Their P4 cooler GlacierCool is delivered with a preinstalled peltier. Unfortunately could not the representatives from Speeze reveal the power of the peltier nor show it in action. Consequently we does not know if the cooler really got a good performance or if it is just a marketing-trick. What we know is that it is supposed to support P4’s up to 3.2 GHz. Another function is that the fan is temperature-controlled, the sound level is said to be between 21 and 43 dB.

Cooler with peltier

The peltier

Except for GlacierCool, Speeze showed a whole bunch of other coolers and accessories for modding.

More fans

Modding accessories

Koolance was there with their external watercooling EXOS together with a nice looking Plexiglass chassis. The cooling is not very new, it has been on the market for a while now. If you want to find out more about EXOS, read about it at Koolance homepage.

Koolance Exos

Exos again

How would a cooling-section look without Thermaltake? The left picture shows different coolers for the P4 and the right shows coolers for usage in servers.



More coolers

Watercooling is about to get a major breakthrough at the consumer market which we noticed at the exhibitors. TT did not want to be worse than their competitors, and showed up their own watercooling system.


Thermaltake does not only manufacture cooling devices, they did also show some other accessories and their Xaser chassis.

Xaser chassis

The power supply with a fan-controller

And with this we end our report from CeBIT 2003, we will of course come back next year, the next task is to get as many of these products as possible in our test lab.


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