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After having been available for a few months, AMD's "Thunderbird" Athlon has basked in quite a bit of success. During this time, the supporting platforms from both ASUS and ABIT have received acclaim for solid performance with a plethora of features. While both of these boards have garnered plenty of press, a quick price search will reveal that you pay dearly for these motherboards.
Although most enthusiasts bask in the quality engineering of such products, OEMs and System Integrators would rather see a motherboard without the frills and at a fraction of the cost. Even in the "value" market, competition is stiff with various manufacturers striving to maintain the utmost quality with aggressively priced boards. One such manufacturer has already enjoyed a great deal of prosperity providing "reference" boards for Compaq, not to mention the Thunderbird test system used by AMD in our 1GHz review.
FIC was on the KT133 scene early on with the AZ-11 Socket A motherboard. Instead of delivering a multitude of features, FIC was able to woo their OEM partners with stability and undoubtedly a low price. Since then, several other competing products have been released, applying pressure to a market dominated early on by FIC.