Dell MicroBTX, and MicroStar MicroATX and HP proprietary form factor motherboards combined in a single analysis. These 3 motherboards are barebones with no processors or memory cards. They are all fairly unremarkable mainstream products, two of which (the Dell and HP) share the same Intel North and Southbridge chips. The MicroStar is a standout using an ATI chipset. Pricing of all 3 boards are within a few dollars - to be expected.
As one would expect, the cost drivers for these 3 motherboards were very similar from model to model, and without DIMM cards or microprocessors, they come down to the main Northbridge/Southbridge and other I/O controller and interface chips.
Overall these motherboards are in line, in terms of cost with those previously analyzed.
Country of Origin / EMS Provider
It is assumed that all 3 of these motherboards were made in China, and manufacturing costs have been calculated to incorporate this assumption.
Motherboards are inherently complex in that they simply have a great number of discrete components on them, which ultimately has an effect on manufacturing and test costs. However, there is some divergence in the absolute component counts of the 3 boards. The MicroStar weighs in lightest in components at a total component count of 1090, versus 1142 in the Dell, and 1369 in the HP motherboard. This translates somewhat to manufacturing costs as is reflected in this analysis.
These motherboards are fairly standard chipset / reference type designs for which many of the component choices are determined by the choice of Processor/Northbridge/Southbridge combination.
- No CPUs Included on these motherboards
- The Dell and HP motherboards have the identical Intel QG82945GSL8FU chip, however the Microstar features an ATI RS482, Northbridge / Graphic Controller - PCI Express Chipset, 350MHz Graphics Core, 32-bit or 64-bit System Memory Interface, Built-In DirectX.
- For Southbridge / I/O Controller chips, the two HP and Dell motherboards again share a common Intel NH82801GBSL8FX Southbridge I/O Controller Hub, whereas the Microstar features an ATI SB400 Southbridge chip.
I/O Control & Interface Chips
- All 3 of the motherboards analyzed here use various SMSC controllers SCH5504-NS (Dell), SCH5307-NS (HP), and LPC47M997-NR (Microstar).
- Ethernet controllers are from Broadcom and Realtek (Broadcom BCM5751 (Dell), BCM5752 (HP), and Realtek RTL8100C (Microstar).
- Furthermore, the Dell is the only of the 3 to feature the Trusted Platform Module (from ST Microelectronics, ST19WP18-TPM-x). And the Microstar is the only of the 3 to feature IEEE1394 support.
- These boards were bare and had no DIMM's inserted. Memory chips used were standard, minimal NOR flash / EEPROM configurations.