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AMD / Intel Hybrid Motherboard

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the grand-unification-theory dept.

Hardware 151

batgirl writes "ECS has taken advantage of their recent merger with PC Chips and released an interesting take on motherboards. Using the highly portable SiS chipsets, they were able to create a motherboard that supports all kinds of processors across all platforms. The PF88 starts as an Intel socket 775 motherboard, but different expansion cards can be purchased to add support for everything from a Socket 939 Athlon64 to a Socket 479 Pentium-M. The price is right, and performance is as good as can be expected. But how many people would make use of this?"

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151 comments

VVTF? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13801502)

Stupid Idea.

Re:VVTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13801985)

I agree. sounds very gay. Gayer than Timothy fucking Hemos up the ass while CmdrTaco pulls his pud and Zonk waits for sloppy seconds. And I haven't even mentioned Cowboi Kneel, wearing chaps, with a camera in one hand and his 4-inch cock in the other.



Re:VVTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13802965)

Damn... CowboyNeal is hung.

Not me (5, Insightful)

fuzzy12345 (745891) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801506)

I generally find that by the time upgrading the CPU is cost effective, a new motherboard makes sense as part of the package. YMMV

Re:Not me; Oh but it is (5, Insightful)

wondafucka (621502) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801590)

I generally find that by the time upgrading the CPU is cost effective, a new motherboard makes sense as part of the package. YMMV
If this company has done it's job right, this should reduce the overall cost of the board. If vendors have to keep fewer types of boards around then they are buying fewer types, giving them a price break. By having one mainboard that is common to all daughterboards, the total cost of delivering the motherboard is cheaper (one hopes).
My two cents.

Re:Not me; Oh but it is (2, Informative)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801670)

If this company has done it's job right, this should reduce the overall cost of the board.

I don't know what kind of reputation PCCHIPS and SiS have now, but I have 2 500Mhz PCCHIPS motherboards and, I believe, SiS chips for integrated extras like sound. Working with them, under Windows or Linux, was such a horrid experience, it'll take years of hearing every geek I meet telling me their work is great before I ever try anything with either of those names on it again. I remember having problems trying 3rd party parallel cables with their boards and not getting anything to work. When I Googled for info, I found that I was just one of many people with that same problem. I spent 3-5 years developing a unique software system on computers using their boards. Once I got Linux running, I stopped upgrading all packages because those boards are so flakey.

Twice bitten, everafterwards shy.

Re:Not me; Oh but it is (2, Informative)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801762)

I am reading this article on an mobile sempron powered laptop which is built on the sis chipset SiS-M760GX.

  Can't really say that anything is really bad over here, i know the sis graphics sucks, but since this is a work laptop and no gaming machine it doesnt really matter (i knew the lack of graphic performance on purchase already, there had to be something that made this thing that cheap :).
  Other than that, it works just ok, no weird "sis bugs" anywhere to see, the sound is ok for a laptop (even in cpu up/down throttling situations mplayer plays without glitches). I run Ubuntu 5.04 here, kernerl 2.6.12-5. Rock solid (i'm lying now, i crashed once, but that was a ndiswrapper bug). writing a cd or dvd with the dual layer dvd writer doesnt suck the whole perfomance out of the machine (old sis chipsets had serious concurrency issues), usb bus seems ok, and the broadcom wifi works also fine (i'm currently in my bed watching the chine F1 grand prix).

  However, from the past i must agree with you that i have seen some veeeryy bad chipsets from sis and pcchips too. But recently sis has evolved pretty well and still maintained the keep the prices low.

  I wish SiS would be more linux friendly and release a graphics driver or the specifications for their sis760 integrated graphics chip. the 3000+ cpu on my laptop can make compensations for the usual graphics stuff instead of the chip own features but the 3d performance is just slow as hell since the dri project of linux cant handle this chip yet (whereas under windows i can run enemy territory and colin mcrae rally 3).

Re:Not me; Oh but it is (1)

MentalMooMan (785571) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802412)

Interesting. If your laptop is an Acer Aspire 3003, then I considered getting it, but went with a different one, simply because of the bad linux support I'd read about. If there had been linux drivers for the SiS graphics and the broadcom WiFi, then I'd probably have got it. I know you can use ndiswrapper for the wifi, but kismet doesn't like that.

It's STUPID!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13802550)

Profiting Best Benchmarketing ($$$) and Worst Benchmarking (assful CPU):
  1. Worst Re-Engineering.
  2. Bad Performance.
  3. Much Noise (they don't analyze the Fourier signals, Maxwell waves,...)
  4. A lot of crashes
  5. Too bugs.
  6. False certificates/certifications.

J.C. Pizarro

Re:Not me; Oh but it is (4, Informative)

Limecron (206141) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801775)

Ditto on this for me as well. One PCChips (later coined PCShits) that I had for a Duron 600 was a nightmare. Two friends also got the same board and their experiences were none the better. After two years of BIOS updates, I finally had something that seemed stable, but I was wary of touching it. It was a releif once it stablized since I built the system for my parents and I got calls every few days tell me what the blue screen was saying this time.

I do have a more recent PCChips board, and it is not as bad. A merger with ECS doesn't bolster my confidence in them, though my experience with ECS is limited.

For now I stick to the mid-range Asus, Abit and BioStars and have had good luck.

Re:Not me; Oh but it is (1)

pigeon (909) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802438)

I had some bad experiences with sis chipsets, on asrock motherboards for socket a AMD and for socket 478 for intel. Running FreeBSD. Avoid like the plague, especially if you use freebsd. Most annoying problem was that activating the serial port killed the network connection.

Remember ALR? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13801814)

This reminds me of my old ALR 386. The processor was on a card, with the idea that you didn't need to replace the motherboard to upgrade, only the CPU card.

When I wanted to upgrade to a 486, the CPU card cost more than a new motherboard, CPU, and RAM.

There are two problems with the CPU card approach. The first is technical; new generations of processors are coupled with new generations of chip sets, and often, new RAM technology.

The second problem is economic; without a CPU card standard, you are locked into a specific vendor for upgrades. The vendor has no incentive to price the upgrade any less than just below replacement cost for the entire MB, CPU, and RAM package.

If this system had come out not too long ago, you'd be locked into PATA instead of SATA, slow RAM, and AGP instead of PCIe graphics. The CPU and MB should always be treated as a unit, and sufficient RAM should be purchased from the beginning, so memory upgrades should be fairly unusual. Graphics card, hard drive, and optical drive upgrades may make sense; not always, not for everyone, but often enough to consider.

Re:Not me (4, Insightful)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801685)

I generally find that by the time upgrading the CPU is cost effective, a new motherboard makes sense as part of the package. YMMV

So much is built onto the mainboard now... USB, firewire, support for various forms of DDR, sound, LAN... These don't change as often as CPUs, but they change.

Of course, this is meant to be a budget board, or at least they're using budget chipsets. The best I can see is that it provides whitebox manufacturers more flexibility. Use whatever CPU is on hand.

- Greg

Re:Not me (2, Interesting)

NotBorg (829820) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801718)

I'd be interested in how it affects case temperature with the case being divided in two by the processor board. But then again I guess it doesnt matter as much in low performance machines.

It's more or less a gimmick for penny pincher's who think they got a great deal on an e-machine.

I am who I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13802902)

>I generally find that by the time upgrading the CPU is cost effective,
>a new motherboard makes sense as part of the package. YMMV

I generally find that by the time upgrading intelligent life is cost effective,
a new universe makes sense as part of the package. YHWH

OS Support? (2, Interesting)

TehNSA (905740) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801519)

How good would the OS support be with this? Could an operating system be installed with multiple chipset support?

Re:OS Support? (3, Informative)

Captain Lobotomy (413428) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801705)

Well, that's just it. It's *one* chipset, with multiple *processor* support. It should actually make OS support easier.

Useful to who? (0, Troll)

bi_boy (630968) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801528)

Nobody.

Re:Useful to who? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13801599)

SiS, PCChips, and ECS! With those three heavyweights, what could go wrong?

Re:Useful to who? (1)

vspazv (578657) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801826)

Ever read any of Stephen Hawking's publications?

Re:Useful to who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13802378)

In Fark terms - The giant hole of suck?

Cost Cutting (2, Insightful)

x86eon (896508) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801759)

It would be useful to PC manufactures who are looking to cut costs while still offering both AMD and Intel processors to their customers. Then they could order one huge lot of the same motherboard, therefore getting a greater bulk discount.

Same as... (4, Interesting)

axonal (732578) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801529)

Same people who put new engines in their VW Bugs. If the rest of the car is still good, then just upgrade the engine to keep up with the times.

Why replace the engine? Go eco... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13801736)

After driving for several winters in Minnesota, I've found that by the time an engine is ready to call it quits, I can just put my fee through the floor and drive around Flintstone style.

Re:Same as... (2, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801818)

Usually the "engine" of a computer includes the mainboard (and RAM). What are the chances that CPUs of the future will work with the same sockets/RAM that we currently have? No matter how modular they maek it, they won't support the Athlon 128 with a 2GHz FSB, or whatever. Even if the socket remains standard, there will be a faster front side bus or RAM type to support...

-matthew
 

Re:Same as... (1)

jordie (604519) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802108)

Keep in mind we're moving more towards duplicating rather than increasing speeds.

Two cores where there were once one and all that :>

Re:Same as... (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802264)

A dual core processor doesn't do you much good if you have the same, single bus to get to the RAM.

-matthew

Re:Same as... (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802900)

Actually, the motherboard memory and chipset is "cut off" when the SIMA card is inserted. If you'll look at the SIMA card provided in the article you can see that the RAM is right on the card. PCIe is an emerging standard, I suspect that you will have a number of years before you have to worry about losing it.

As much as I'd never buy one of these, it does appear like they did their homework.

Re:Same as... (2, Insightful)

heson (915298) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802270)

I like your analogy, becuase I think it compares so well. You put a new powerful engine in the bug, and can drive theoretically 100mph, but the bug isnt made for it, and you need a fat front splitter to be able to steer it above, say 60. What I mean is, new fast CPU in an old computer is a waste of good computrons. I think the idea of a modular MB could be good but for other reasons.

What's the point? (3, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801544)

This has been done before, and even today you can buy adapters to get next-generation CPU's working on older motherboards. However, most of these hybrids have to make trade-offs that do not benefit the end-user. It would benefit ECS for economy of scale, but end-users would always be stuck with proprietary expansion modules that may or may not be available anymore by the time they want to change CPU.

IMO you're better off selecting the mobo+CPU that fits your needs today, and by the time you need to upgrade just select a new mobo+CPU du jour..

Re:What's the point? (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801839)

This has been done before, and even today you can buy adapters to get next-generation CPU's working on older motherboards. However, most of these hybrids have to make trade-offs that do not benefit the end-user. It would benefit ECS for economy of scale, but end-users would always be stuck with proprietary expansion modules that may or may not be available anymore by the time they want to change CPU.

IMO you're better off selecting the mobo+CPU that fits your needs today, and by the time you need to upgrade just select a new mobo+CPU du jour..


Such a design wasn't really all that common on desktop PCs since the ISA days, and even then it was very rare.

Swapping out your existing CPU and Motherboard do the new MB+CPU du jour requires at least two case screws, 1 to 7 card slot screws, and 9ish motherboard screws. Looks like would allow you to peform a major upgrade with three screws. You save time, you waste less materals, everything is happy. The only thing that would remain to be seen is if it would be cost effective to buy a new SIMA for the latest and greatest.

Re:What's the point? (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 7 years ago | (#13803003)

It would benefit ECS for economy of scale, but end-users would always be stuck with proprietary expansion modules that may or may not be available anymore by the time they want to change CPU.

I'm not sure what your complaint is. You can change the RAM and processor on both the motherboard and the expansion card. It's not like you'd be stuck with buying an expansion card that had a processor fixed to the PCB.

Maybe (2, Insightful)

JayDot (920899) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801557)

But only if the Intel and AMD chips that provided the features I want were close to the same price. By the time that I needed a new proc, though, I would probably want a new mobo to take advantage of 6 months to a year of new development.

Mark? (4, Interesting)

BrynM (217883) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801577)

Despite eveyone talking smack, I can see this being a valuable benchmark board. How well do these CPU/Chipset combos work? How well does this ATI card do with an AMD CPU? Okay now how about an Intel CPU? It's not a new idea to expand the CPU, but doing it across vendors like this is interesting.

Re:Mark? (1)

JayDot (920899) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801622)

The only problem with that is the possibility of a performance negative using the expansion. It may be negligable, but the speed freaks out there may very well still care. And none of the "love my proc comapany or die" people will like the thought of possibly being shortchanged in the benchmark process.

Re:Mark? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13802112)

Hi. Nobody cares what you think. Please kill yourself at the earlist possible convenience.

Thanks,
Everybody else in the entire fucking world.

Re:Mark? (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802364)

While a good idea I don't think it will work. How do you ensure that the board isn't able to make better use of one brand of CPU than another? I'm sure there wouldn't be intentional delays built in but you can't be sure that due to a quirk of the design AMD chips won't interently run faster than Intel chips etc etc. At the end of the day I don't think you can quantitativly compare such complex pieces of equipment. There will always be an element of qualitative comparison simply because they don't share exactly the same feature set.

Re:Mark? (1)

rabel (531545) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802868)

Unless you are also deploying this motherboard to all your users, your tests would be bunk.

The article stated it well (4, Insightful)

Gactaculon (709191) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801582)

The article summarized this idea well by calling it "a solution without a problem". The whole thing is just so amazingly ill-considered that it's very hard to take it seriously. The only need I could see for something like this is if someone with a P4 needed PCI-E now, and _also_ knew that they wanted to go AMD later. Even then, would they put up with buying a $50 expansion board and running their expensive new processor on that hacked solution?? If PCChips/ECS want to be ambitious, why not endeavor to bring affordable SMP to the masses? Even if the server-classed chips required are expensive, many people must be put off by $300, server-oriented mainboards. This way, they could grab some serious attention in the high-end market and gain credibility. What they're doing now is only going to leave people scratching their heads...

Re:The article stated it well (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801660)

Yeah. That's the ticket.

Mix-n-match SMP.

Whooo. eh?

Re:The article stated it well (1)

Gactaculon (709191) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801907)

Mix-n-match? SMP stands for symmetric mulitprocessing. Symmetric, as in the same on both sides. Any SMP system would obviously be a matching pair, and that is something that, while done often, has not been offered as an affordable option to consumers. I didn't think it was possible to misread my post that badly.

Re:The article stated it well (1)

nystire (871449) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802316)

Completely off-topic, but has anybody ever come across a MP system where the chips DIDN'T have to be matched?

Re:The article stated it well (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801687)

I would not put ECS/PCChips products in "server" systems, even as a home system, or even say they are worthy of consumer products. Just do a Google search on their names and you'll probably see what I mean.

I really don't think that system would work well, each architecture has its own means of addressing and signalling multiple chips. Server boards are expensive in part because they have niche components, such as SCSI or RAID chips on board, or have other features rarely found on consumer systems. In the past, part of the cost was due to extra board wiring and termination, workstations and servers had up to 133MHz 64 bit PCI-X slots, often multiple busses, which requires bridge chips, more wiring, larger boards and more testing.

SMP is already moving to the masses by means of multiple cores anyway, making this moot.

Its...Its...Its....like a ...^^rainbow^^^ (4, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801586)


Forget that it can handle all those processors. Look at all the pretty colors.

Maybe it was built by unicorns....

Re:Its...Its...Its....like a ...^^rainbow^^^ (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13801870)

I thought that we already established it was made by unicorns....

2 in 1 (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801642)

Is like partitioning the hard drive to have your two favourite operating systems in the same machine.
Untill there will be a way to have both of them running my programs at the same time (hybrid SMP), that solution would look like a trick.
Users that are concerned with CPUs and chipsets would like to have the real best, not the best of breeds.

PC Chips will never have my trust (5, Informative)

Mancat (831487) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801672)

I'm not buying anything from PC Chips, ever. Anyone else remember when they were making 486 boards with fake L2 cache? Yes, FAKE CACHE. The cache chips were empty, and the board had a modified BIOS that reported whatever cache size the motherboard was jumpered for.

Screw this company, even if it has somehow evolved.

Re:PC Chips will never have my trust (2, Funny)

cr3ative (881393) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801723)

I have to agree here. I had the misfortune of attempting to buy an Athlon motherboard from them, and I had 7 DOA before I got a working model.

Still, when the motherboard did work, it didn't break until at least 3 weeks after the purchase date, so I guess it's not TOO bad.

:)

Re:PC Chips will never have my trust (3, Interesting)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801859)

I'm not buying anything from PC Chips, ever.

I bought into PC Chips in the pentium age... under the Matsonic label IIRC. IBM/Cyrix and motherboard for under $100. I had issues with the motherboard catching fire somewhere around the PC speaker circuity. I had to return a few of those boards.

Re:PC Chips will never have my trust (1)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802739)

Whereas the last ECS motherboard I bought was so bad, I only wish it had caught on fire; would have saved me lots of time troubleshooting problems with its BIOS.

Re:PC Chips will never have my trust (2, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801992)

Anyone else remember when they were making 486 boards with fake L2 cache? Yes, FAKE CACHE

Some years ago, I owned a retail computer store - about 5 employees, you know the dig. Anyway, I sold tons of PC-Chips MB571 motherboards. They used socket 7, so anything fom Pentium-75 up thru AMD K6-2 450 was supported. They were incredibly reliable - I had maybe 3% bad - and made a good, cheap upgrade board for people's computers.

It was common for me to take a used 486, slap in a 571 MB, upgrade the RAM, and sell it as a "refurbished" computer. Funny enough, I had the LEAST problems with Windows and drivers with those boards, too.

But then, they "upgraded" to the 571 LMR, and it was horrid. Bad driver problems, flakey, crashed alot, etc. That was one of several bad turns that led to me selling out and going into full-time Linux and freelance software engineering as a consultant. (Where I continue to this day quite happily!)

Anyway, I can see that it's quite possible that PC-Chips deserves a bad rap, and make no mistake - they aren't a "high end" board manufacturer, but to this day I have 4 systems running on PC-Chips motherboards, two of them production servers, with great uptimes, decent performance, and good reliability, and two others have been working daily for years!

Re:PC Chips will never have my trust (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801995)

I note the bit about it being a 486 board. If you are still judging a company by the products they made 10 years ago, well... I am not sure what it makes you, but I can't thing of anything good to put in that blank. That is not to say that they have automaticly improved, but I think you should at least look at some more moden benchmarks or reports before writing them off.

Re:PC Chips will never have my trust (1)

Digital Pizza (855175) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802076)

I was once given a system with a Slot-1 motherboard that had a 333Mhz Celeron in it, and the board mysteriously lacked any form of identification. I wanted to see if there were any BIOS updates that would cure a bit of flakeyness, so I had to put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and do a bit of detective work (quality time spent with google.com) in order to find out who made the thing. It was PCCHIPS.

Apparently their reputation had become so bad that they choose to become a generic "no-name", rather than alert customers to their bad name.

Re:PC Chips will never have my trust (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802198)

Apparently their reputation had become so bad that they choose to become a generic "no-name", rather than alert customers to their bad name.

PC chips sold things under their own name. But being a rather major OEM they also sold stuff to be rebadged, like under the Matsonic or Amptron label. Buying under one of the no name labels you might end up getting a pirated bios. Quality was pretty piss poor though if you were lucky you got one that lasted for a while with only a few oddball problems.

There is more to motherboards than proc slots (0)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801716)

On the one hand, the technology could develop into something very cool. If you could use multiple cards and have a separate, different proc running on each one, it could be the coolest multiprocessor system around. Or simply using the motherboard as support for separate running systems in a system-on-a-card configuration (these are already available, but expensive). It currently could be a very useful little test bed if someone wanted to check performance across different processors. It could also be useful for large system builders like Dell who could simplify their parts management and support costs by having one motherboard used across all of their lineup.

That having been said, there is a lot on a motherboard that gets upgraded each generation: RAM style, upgrade card slots, video card slots, small device connectivity, HD connections, bus... I would guess that these are ultimately more important to the overall speed of the system than the processor. Can you imagine hamstringing an Athalon 64 with a 66mhz bus and an AGPx1 graphics card? I doubt this will ultimately be beneficial to the end consumer... they might get one upgrade generation for a nice little last speed boost, but as the motherboard needs to support more than just a processor, upgrading just a processor isn't as much help as it could be.

Re:There is more to motherboards than proc slots (1)

noc_man (917321) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801899)

Forget about some sort of Chimera with multiple different parts running. Why would you want a 64-bit CPU with an AGPx1 slot?
I'm curious if this can be twisted into a sort of multiple processor platform. Double your RAM, sure, but better still -- double your CPU! Triple it?!?
The plug and play requirements would be staggering I'm sure, and Linux better step up quick if that happens. It might even be something Micro$oft backs to keep their edge.

If it works.

*News* for nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13801744)

I saw these ECS boards at least 3 months ago....

plus: Who wants a board by ECS? They are my stereotype for crappy boards....

SIS chipset? Uh, no thank you... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13801746)

Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.

it would be more interesting if... (2, Insightful)

unfunk (804468) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801772)

...this board allowed you to use AMD and Intel CPUs at the same time...

Who Would Use: Schools (2, Insightful)

sarge apone (918461) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801779)

Upgradable, budget boards that will support a wide range of CPUs and memory would be useful in urban elementary and secondary schools where money for technology is limited, especially when administration considers 7-year old iMacs cutting-edge.

With Intel-based Windows/MacOSX dual-boot computers on their way to the masses, the ability to cheaply upgrade certain hardware to extend the life of these systems would be welcome. It would take years anyway for school officials to adapt (e.g., NYC Dept of Ed has a deal with Dell), but the future of the technology is interesting.

By the time I upgrade (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801784)

By the time I get around to upgrading to a new CPU, a new motherboard (and RAM) is required. I have never taken advantage of generic sockets/slots. If you are going to buy an Athlon 64, why not just buy a MB that specifically supports only it? My only guess is that ECS is just trying to cater to poential buyers with various different preferences for CPUs. I doubt that they expect many people will actually take advantage of the flexability. It is probably cheaper to manufacture a single design that will support many CPUs than to make boards that specialize in specific CPUs.

-matthew

obvious 'hidden' cost (1)

cuteintern (643644) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801807)

Ah yes, but when you upgrade from, say, an Athlon XP to a P4EE, how much is it going to cost you to get yourself a new 'SIMA' board?

good for OEMs (3, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801809)

Worried about the competition between Intel/AMD leaving one of the product lines un-fashionable?

Buy bulk in motherboards that will support both.

No dead stock you can't shift anymore.

Regardless of the performance, the words "AMD" or "Intel" is enough to sell things to most of the Joe public...

smash.

Re:good for OEMs (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802730)

you still have to buy the right adaptor cards for the cpus you finally end up shipping with though and i doubt those cards will be cheap.

i'm also pretty sure that keeping stock is a bad idea for pc manufacturers anyway as it depriciates so quickly.

Interesting but forgot one feature (2, Interesting)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801883)

I was doing packaging arch builds on x86 and x86_64 EM64T and ponder if it could be easier to have two types of processor on same board for regression testing and QA. Since cross compile is just a pain in the ass, it would be some what useful if I could flip a BIOS setting to switch between Intel P4 and AMD64 without swapping parts.

For my purpose, I think, if there was a BIOS flip switch, it would have been worth investment. However there isn't (if I'm wrong on this, correction is welcome), so it's just a fancy board with swappable processor which is fairly easy with any ATX casing with swappable motherboard plane without unscrewing bolts and wire works if such thing exists.

Better watch for cut corners and check the cache! (5, Interesting)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801888)

As I recall it was PC chips who produced the fake cache on the 486 motherboards. Look here:
http://www.redhill.net.au/b/b-bad.html [redhill.net.au] "PC Chips fake cache 486"

I do have an ecs board but it was before the merger. It was stable for years.

nevertheless - there are reputable manufacturers out their so why would I care about ECS/PC CHIPS?

Bigger Fish (1)

unixbugs (654234) | more than 7 years ago | (#13801911)

If this idea has a place in any shop its the big ones, and I would be willing to bet that is what the product is aimed at. Think about those crappy web hosting outfits that will slap whatever the hell they can find into a server. This would be great for those kinds of places because it might cut down on them having to buy newer shit. I worked at one where having boards like these would have been NICE considering how under-staffed we were - I would have drank alot less back then if I had the convenience of replacing just the board, or the chip, with whatever I could find in the mess. Man I hated covering for NOC duty... anyway, any bigger organization with a puckered asshole for management will find this useful in giving themself a raise. Just a shitty company making a shitty product for other shitty companies. Nothing to see here folks, move along...

As a side note I found a great place to work where things like this are out of the question. We buy top of the line parts for our devices and compromise nothing but our own effort to further the business.

Re:Bigger Fish (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802132)

We buy top of the line parts for our devices and compromise nothing but our own effort to further the business.
The rest of the world is going the other way very effectively - for instance where I work instead of getting more Sun, IBM or whatever high end machines I'm using what are effectively machines churned out in volume to be used by kids to play games. Take 24 dual cpu gaming godboxes sans video cards, each in a 1U case, and you've got yourself a nice little processing cluster for almost an order of magnitude less than what you would pay for Sun, IBM etc gear.

Um... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13801931)

I don't know if anyone else here has had experience with ECS boards, but they suck. Sure maybe they perform decently right now, but what good is that when the board is dead in 6 months. ECS, and PC Chips for that matter, will never be a company i purchase from in the future, no matter how innovative their products become.

-Psy

The first Pent-Athlon? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13801941)

Darn, and I was hoping I could have both CPUs at the same time and call it a Pentathlon. :-)

But what if it could ... (2, Funny)

asfaltboy (858493) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802017)

Support Apple G5 processors ? And both G5 and Intel or AMD on the same board ? And i could by hitting a switch tranfer to my Mac and Whatever :P ... that would be yumm.. and and and...

Re:But what if it could ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13802492)

Any number of of Athlon64 , G5 and IBM Power processors, sure, since they all have Hypertransport. Intel, no.

Maybe someone could make a Processor Expansion Board for Tyan Thunder K8QW (4+4 Opteron sockets) with sockets for PPC970fx or Power5+ CPUs.
Now if only all of them supported Pacifica.

s?hit? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13802031)

an 0pe8ating system

Has been done before... (2, Informative)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802047)

Digital DEC PC4100XL supported in this way:
  • Intel 486
  • Intel Pentium 60 & 66
  • Intel Pentium 75 and up
  • Intel Pentium Pro
  • DEC Alpha

Compaq used same approach in:
  • DeskPro XL
  • SystemPro XL
  • some ProSignia
  • ProLiant 2000

...there has allways been several problems with this solution:
  • price of daughterboard were at least as high (and often higher) as new mobo.
  • a full reinstall of OS and app's is often needed
  • daughterboards and a set with the CPU (it has not been cost-effective)
  • there has been problems with the CPU cooler

The only cheap and working solutions were the cpu converter sockets, f.ex. from a Pentium II slot to Pentium III socket.

Re:Has been done before... (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802534)

...there has allways been several problems with this solution:

        * price of daughterboard were at least as high (and often higher) as new mobo.
        * a full reinstall of OS and app's is often needed
        * daughterboards and a set with the CPU (it has not been cost-effective)
        * there has been problems with the CPU cooler


In this case, the motherboard costs $80ish and has this extra feature. The cpu is pointed tward the power supply so cooling isn't likely an issue if you choose to go with a daugherboard mounted cpu. And I don't know about your experence swapping out motherboards with different cpus / chipsets and such but in 99% of cases i've experenced windows detects the new chipsets, reboots and continues to operate perfectly well.

That leaves the cost of the daugherboard, which well you're right. While i'm fond of the idea of basicly a backplane and detachable cpu card for the purpose of lowering the work involved with upgrades not to speak of the modular nature. Right now we have full ATX, MicroATX, FlexATX which if they went with a card motherboard and a backplane it would eliminate the need for different form factors, just change the size and shape of your backplane to accomidate shoebox, pizzabox, or desktop. But
such things were never really standardized on the PC, not rarely seen save the rackmount market and a few odd balls here and there.

All kinds of processors across all platforms?? (2, Interesting)

Ulrich Hobelmann (861309) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802107)

Now that would be cool, if I could put a G4 or XScale in it.

But what the poster really meant is probably "all kinds of x86 CPUs".

Duh.

Re:All kinds of processors across all platforms?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13802583)

why would you want g4/g5? go for power pc, it is not castrated. And hopefully you won't be running macosx for server for reasons of bad networking performance (1/4th that of linux/bsd) and host of other issues.

Veiled ad for Creative (2, Interesting)

Willeh (768540) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802260)

Did anyone catch the quite obvious lip service they were giving to the Creative audio card? It got straight 6/6 across the board, as well as an ad at the bottom of the comparison, as well as advice on where to buy it (Buy it now for only ${AMOUNT})

You'd expect them to cover it up a bit more, sheesh!

It is useful (1)

timothykaine (821252) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802265)

For people who want to make multiple optimized kernels for distribution while using only one PC.

But not useful enough to justify the purchase. I do this, but I use separate PCs, and will continue to.

Niche uses (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802302)

I don't see why OEM's would stock these when the single-arch boards are cheaper, but one purpose I did imagine long ago when these were first announced, was for a test bench. As a PC technician I often had to put together testing rigs for four different chipsets: Intel s478, lga775, AMD Athlon/Sempron and finally an Athlon64 s939 (we were never too heavy on Socket 754). Having a single board that can take all CPU's using adapters would be great for people like me, just have one system ready to go, and swap the CPU whenever you need to test something. Running all processors on the same board means I can keep an OS installed with bench/test software. No driver shuffling, reliable networking... it would be awesome!

How many people will use this? (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802333)

I think I can answer that question for them. Note

Ok maybe none is a little harsh. There are always some people that will shell out for gimmicks and the like. I have to admit that I once bought a motherboard from PC Chips and it was the biggest pile of steaming faeces that I have ever seen. The first board was DOA the replacement failed after about 15 minutes the replacement for that managed a whole day before catching alight. I asked for my money back and bought a better board.

ECS mobos in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13802600)

I've worked at one of those mass-producing OEM places for a while and all of our low-end spec machines were using ECS boards so I got to tinker with just about every of their models at least a few hundred times...

I've never seen mobos with so many issues. While some models were worse than others, in general one out of 10 mobos from ECS was DOA and an average of one per five came back as RMA within a month. One of the weirdest issues was with some ECS-P4VMM2 which would get a ghost mouse cursor in the upper left corner of the screen after a few months if you used an AGP card with it (using the board's VGA-out was fine though).

What ECS doesn't get in quality, they make up for with gimmicks just like this new idea. Personally, I wouldn't touch any of their products with a ten-foot pole now.

Getting The (Pricey) Adapters Are A Pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13802811)

The problem with these kind of universal component concepts is that in the real world, unless all of the adapters are included as standard, then finding and gettings them (adapters) is uncertain and a pain. They are always comparatively pricey, and in the end the specific CPU motherboards are a better value. It's not as if your not sure what CPU your going to be using when you purchase them. CPU's ain't batteries.

Can be a great tool... (1)

sobeitchuck (922321) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802896)

I attempt to build persnal computers for my friends and others through " word of mouth" and I believe could be beneficial. In addition building systems, I also fix'em. Well, if I had a board that supported two processors I could then test these processors on the same board to discover if they were 'bad'. This could cut down on having so many extra "testing" systems around the shop. I don't really know how beneficial this is, but it is an idea. On the other hand, can't recall the last time I had good endeavor with ECS...

Been there, done that,... (2, Interesting)

Decker-Mage (782424) | more than 7 years ago | (#13802961)

burned the t-shirt. Mi Amiga 2000 could accept a daughter-board that could bus-master (or negotiate bus-mastering with SCSI controllers for that matter) the whole system. EXCEPT in it's case, that design was bright enough done to take advantage of other system components that were still left on the motherboard. Putting this through my computer hardware engineering lens here, especially where the various components are located (!!), and I see nothing of advantage to the USER. Not a thing. You are far better off purchasing similarly priced motherboards which will provide you with more capabilities. That does not even count the poor reputation that this (these) manufacturer(s) have with me, and others, historically.

Worse, putting my economist hat on, the only people that this makes sense for are the manufacturer and a few OEM's that may be crazy enough to go for this design. None of the top OEM's I know of would even consider it. Any who would have poor reputations from what I've been able to discern historically. Someone may surprise me and come up with an economic justification here aside from those two considerations, but I haven't seen it in the threads so far.

Nothing to see here. Move on.

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