DigiTimes reports motherboard makers are shocked that Intel H55 and H57 based motherboards from Asus and even Intel's own-brand are already available from Taiwanese retailers despite the fact that motherboard makers are prohibited by an NDA from launching their Ibex Peak motherboards before January 7, 2010.
Although this is by no means the first time a vendor has jumped the gun on a launch date, this case is particularly perplexing for other motherboard makers because Intel had gone to the trouble of making them sign an NDA prohibiting the release of any information about the chipsets before Intel's official launch announcement, one industry source explained. Ordinarily, makers are not required to sign this type of NDA.
Explaining the reasoning behind the NDA, the source said Intel has been very careful that the launch of these chipsets goes off without a hitch since they are the first Nehalem platforms targeting the mainstream market, and are expected to be a big sales contributor for Intel next year. Also, the chipsets are the first to introduce support for Flexible Display Interface (FDI), Intel's new architecture which will see integrated graphics moved from the chipset and onto the CPU. With such a radical change in design, Intel wanted to ensure any last minute bugs were ironed out of the new platforms, since negative reviews early on could impact sales, the source indicated.