ECS shows dual Intel, AMD motherboard

Taiwan's ECS is showing a motherboard at Computex that is compatible with both Intel and AMD chips.

Computer motherboards, the main circuit board of a PC around which the entire system is built, are big business at the Computex exhibition and motherboard makers are showing walls full of the things. Almost all of the boards on display in Taipei this week are designed to be used with a specific chipset and processor but one of the more unique boards is able to cope with chips from both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

Elitegroup Computer Systems' PF88 offers a fairly easy switch between chips from the processor rivals. It supports Intel's Pentium 4 and Pentium M processors and AMD's Athlon 64 and Turion processors.

So how does this work?

At first glance the board doesn't appear too different from other motherboards on display. There's a socket for an Intel Pentium 4 processor on the main board and the usual slots for memory and expansion cards. But there are two PCI Express graphics card slots and a third slot, which looks almost identical to the other two, but it has a different purpose. There's also two sockets for BIOS (basic input output system) chips.

When used with an Intel Pentium 4, things are fairly straightforward. The processor goes into its socket on the board and the memory and graphics cards go into their respective slots and you're more or less in business.

To switch to a new processor requires a little shuffling around of components and an additional plug-in board. This board can be thought of as half-motherboard and there are three available: AMD Athlon 64 and Turion boards and a Pentium M board.

The first thing you need to do is to pull out the Pentium 4 chip, then switch the graphics card from one of the PCI Express slots to the other one. Next, the memory needs to be removed and inserted into slots on one of the additional boards so it remains close to the processor and can maintain a high-bandwidth connection.

These boards are plugged into the PCI Express-like socket mentioned above and it's through that connection that they interface with the rest of the motherboard. To complete the switch, a new BIOS chip supporting the new processor should be inserted into the second BIOS chip socket.

Working systems running both processors were on show on the ECS booth at Computex running the Pentium 4 and AMD Athlon 64 processors.

ECS is already selling the board and has seen some success in Europe, said Martin Grothe, a product manager with ECS' German subsidiary. He said the product has some appeal to specialist users who enjoy getting their hands dirty and building systems but says its not something for everyone.

"Normal users will not want to buy it because it's too complicated," he said. "But it's one solution [for running Intel and AMD systems] and it works."

The main board costs about Euro 100 (US$122) and the additional boards cost about Euro 30 each, without the processors, said Grothe.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?