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EVGA mainboard team defects to Sapphire

Right now, the most hotly anticipated mainboard in a long time is the EVGA SR2. KitGuru has heard that the mainboard design team itself has moved to Sapphire. But is it true and what does it mean for the industry?

First, it needs to be said, that all of this is 3rd-party rumour that’s being milled around the halls of Nangang and WTC in Taipei. Second, no one has made any comments, official or otherwise. So let’s say that this story is PURE speculation.

Sapphire has Intel history. Roll the clock back to CeBIT, more than 5 years ago, and Rick Bergman (then top man for ATI) stood on stage an announced that the world’s most advanced fusion of CPU chipset and integrated graphics was upon us – with the RS400 series.

It was so good that when Intel had production issues later that year (could not make enough of the things), the blue team ordered TONS of ATI chipsets for its entry level boards. You can still see ATI announcements for Intel chipsets on AMD’s web site.

Because ATI is not stupid and Intel outsells AMD by a huge amount, all of the main focus for the 7-series chipsets was to have been on Intel.

But the takeover by AMD put paid to all that.

As a 100% loyal ATI partner, Sapphire only pushes AMD chipset mainboards. When you speak to them about chipsets, all they focus on is Fusion and how Sapphire expects to lead the market with Fusion technology next year.

Preamble over.

EVGA only does Intel.

ATI had strong experience of Intel.

Intel chipsets represent the single biggest market opportunity.

Sapphire ‘buying’ the EVGA mainboard team means only 3 things:-

1)      Sapphire is ready to get (very) serious about mainboards

2)      It will position itself as a key launch partner for Fusion in 2011

3)      Sapphire is likely to be offering some of the best Intel chipset mainboards on the planet within 6 months

We’ve heard a lot of interesting stories at Computex 2010 – but this wins some kind of prize.

AMD’s number one graphics partner is listening to the market and offering customers choice.

That’s a good thing, right?

KitGuru says: Very aggressive move from Sapphire. Sapphire will be happy that they can finally move to a leadership position in mainboards. As a company, it’s not used to following and KitGuru believes this move will re-energise its offering to an even bigger audience.

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