The boys at Intel have been working hard to sell us all on the beauties of Viiv at CES, particularly with its massive advertising campaigns visible for miles around the convention. However, the thing that has really stood out about the platform is how many manufacturers have signed on to it. Say what you want about the flexing blue muscle pushing the market, but the engineers of various companies appear genuinely excited
about it, really feeling thiat it provides them with a powerful next step due to its low power, dual cores, and robust feature set. We sat down with leading motherboard manufacturer AOpen to see its 2006 offerings and find out what the people there felt about Viiv.
AOpen has targeted the home theater market in a big way this year, and its board offerings all feature high quality composite video out, S-video out, and RCA video out buit in (as well as DVI and VGA). They come in all form factors from full ATX down to Mini-ITX, and all of them sport the Azalea high definition audio codec. But the biggest surprise? All of the boards that they will release this year are designed for Viiv or Pentium M (both single and dual core). This is an indication of the faith that the firm has in Intel's new architecture.
The xCube form factor has also come back, with new model lines specifically targeting the HTPC market. The model at the top of this bunch includes an onboard VFD and a Microsoft Media Center remote setup. Since all of the Viiv chipsets are PCIe, the systems now sport one PCI expansion slot and one PCIe for more powerful graphics. As with the motherboards, the xCube barebones kits include the coveted Azalea codec.
A lot of CES this year is about media content, both acquiring and displaying, and it's pretty clear that AOpen feel it's the future of PCs in the home. Got a thought on the new product line, or the direction they're taking? Drop it in our forums.