Switch from Intel to AMD on the same motherboard?

ECS’ PF88 Extreme H is another interesting board we happened to encounter at the show.  By default, it is a SiS based Pentium 4 motherboard with two PCI Express x16 slots. 

But note the pink connector in between the two PCI Express x16 slots:

If you remove the jumpers along that connector, the connection between the South and North Bridges is severed and redirected to pink slot.  You can then install an ECS branded upgrade card in the pink slot to convert this Pentium 4 motherboard into:

A Pentium M motherboard:

A Socket-754 Athlon 64/Turion 64 motherboard:

or a Socket-939 motherboard:

The upgrade card features new memory slots, a new socket and a new North Bridge.  How’s that for flexibility? 

There are some limitations to the technology; first and foremost, you are stuck with SiS chipsets.  Secondly, the clock generator is on the actual motherboard itself, and thus the FSB frequencies supported by the board are limited to what the on-board clock gen can support.  In this case, the clock generator can support 800/1066MHz FSBs for Intel platforms, and up to 1GHz Hyper Transport for AMD platforms. 

With the card installed, the on-board CPU socket and North Bridge are no longer used.

Also, whenever you purchase an upgrade card it will come with a new BIOS chip that you will have to install on the motherboard.  There is an unpopulated BIOS socket on the motherboard for this very purpose. 

ECS estimates that the upgrade cards will retail for around $50. 

Gigabyte Brings Solid State Storage to the Mainstream ATI multi-GPU sightings
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  • dmctaggart - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link

    BTW where is the $50 ram card?
    Anandtech says:

    Newegg.com $88.00
    Amazon Marketplace $91.54
    Monarch Computer Systems $87.00

  • dmctaggart - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link

    Since when do you need hardware to have a ramdrive?

    Hookup a ups to a ram drive? Why not just hook it up to your computer if you don't want to lose the ramdrive?

    Buy the slowest ram you can for your hardware swap drive?

    Why not have a ramdrive using the fast ram you have installed on your computer and aim your swapdrive at it?

    I think everyone has gone buggy.

  • flloyd - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    Accroding to this article, the PCI slot powers it up while the computer is off and therefore the battery is only for when it is unplugged or during a power outage.

  • drag0n - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    how about this:
    1-set your PC to boot off SATA first as in:
    no OS goto harddrive
    OS goto SATA ramdisk
    2-mirror your xp install to your 4G ramdisk
    4-configured for ALL OS functions running off the SATA ramdisk (including swapfile, temps, etc.)
    5-never leave your PC off for more than 16 hrs.
  • MrHaze - Thursday, June 2, 2005 - link

    I'd really like to run the Gigabyte ramdisk for my pagefile.
    The key factor would be finding slow (cheap) RAM.

    My thoughts on more system memory vs. ramdisk:
    Yeah, more system memory is obviously better. But with system memory you're trying to milk every bit of speed you can--and that's expensive. Most folks top out around 2gb or even 1gb. 4Gb is troublesome.
    It seems that a cheap 2-4 gb ramdisk for the pagefile would be an excellent addition to 2Gb of system memory.

    Why don't DIMM manufacturers make something like this? Seems like they could build a big PCB with 4+ gb of appropriate and cheap RAM chips (instead of whole DDR DIMMS designed for a completely different application). One big-ass memory module. Wouldn't this be a more elegant and cost-effective solution?

    Mr. Hayes

  • myne1 - Wednesday, June 1, 2005 - link

    Actually, nevermind my last comment.
    This is an absolutely awesome way of doing it.

    Gigabyte; please pat your engineers on the back.

    Any word on eta/avaliability?
    I want one now! Now as in yesterday :D
  • myne1 - Wednesday, June 1, 2005 - link


    2 months ago I posted my ideas about a PCI-E based RAM card on OCAU and a couple of other forums. I even emailed a couple of big-name companies, but not gigabyte. My mistake it seems :/
    (link to my post : http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?t...

    The concept drawing is crude, but I still hope that someone makes it. Even in 1x mode it'll have nearly 4x the bi-directional bandwith of PCI.

    Gigabyte, if you're reading this, pretty please :)
  • EODetroit - Wednesday, June 1, 2005 - link

    Because you can buy cheap ram for the board, and it won't hurt performance. The limiting factor will be the sata connection, not the ram speed.

    Whereas there's problems with 4GB of system memory, such as many OS' not liking that much, many motherboards not supporting that much, and if you want to run at DDR400 you're going to have to buy expensive ram.

    Also some of that system memory would have to go towards the system and not the ram disk... in the end you'll probably max out at a 3GB ram disk or so. And finally with the add-in boards you could raid two of them together to create ram disks > 4GB in size, which would otherwise be impossible since no ram disk software seems to support sizes over 4GB, at least on Windows.
  • oupei - Wednesday, June 1, 2005 - link

    If you're willing to buy 4gb of ram to put on the ramdrive, why not just put it on the mobo and just have 4gb of ram?

    unless you want it for startup, i don't see why anyone would want it.
  • justly - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    Also, thanks for the URL. I haven't read it yet (SFF is not a priority for me) but I will make sure to read it. thanks again.

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