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Gigabyte Technology, one of the world’s largest mainboard manufacturers, recently began sales of its GA-8IPE1000 Pro2-W mainboards equipped with Wireless Local Area Network adapters. The move indicates the ongoing attempt of leading mainboard makers to popularize Wi-Fi networks.

In the second half of 2003, another pair of successful mainboard producers, namely ASUS and MSI, started to offer platform products with either built-in WLAN logic and antenna, or capable of supporting certain special Wi-Fi upgrade cards. Just like in case of Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000 Pro2-W, mainboard makers nowadays offer only proprietary Wireless Network Cards, therefore, end-used cannot use ASUS wireless kits with MSI mainboards and otherwise.

Later in 2004, sometime in the second quarter, Intel will bring its own Wi-Fi technology for mainboards. The Caswell technology boasted by Grantsdale and Alderwood chipsets will use both software and hardware means to create extremely cost-effective 802.11b Wireless Networks. If a mainboard with a proprietary WLAN solution costs $150 to $200 today, with the introduction of Intel's Wi-Fi ICH6W technology built into upcoming chipsets, the cost of such platform will be significantly less than $150 and may reach less than $100 price-point by the end of the year.

Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000 Pro2-W mainboard for 478-pin Intel Pentium 4 or Celeron processors featuring up to 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus is equipped with 4 DIMM slots for up to 4GB of dual-channel DDR SDRAM memory at the speed of 400MHz, 1 AGP 8x slot, 5 PCI slots, 2 Parallel ATA-33/66/100 ports, 2 Serial ATA-150 ports with RAID support, FireWire (IEEE1394) and USB 2.0 connectivity as well as 6-channel AC'97 audio. In addition to Wi-Fi, Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000 Pro2-W mainboard incorporates Gigabit Ethernet controller for high-speed wired networks. Following the company’s traditions, Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000 Pro2-W packs the plethora of the firm’s premium technologies, such as Dual BIOS.

The innovative mainboard is available now in a number of stores in Tokyo, Japan. The novelty is priced in $155 - $170 range.


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