ECS’ Mainboard for AMD and Intel Processors Previewed

@ 2005/05/14
ECS has developed a mainboard that can support both Intel Pentium 4 and AMD Athlon 64 processors in an attempt to offer an interesting solution for enthusiasts. While the general specifications of such a platform have been known for a couple of months already, it was unclear how well the product performs and whether it provides enough stability and reliability.

“ECS gave us the opportunity of evaluating the PF88 Extreme motherboard in the full knowledge that both AMD and Intel BIOSes are works in progress. The board was manually updated to the latest available at the time of writing, being 16/04 and 25/04 for Intel and AMD, respectively. However, even with these builds, a few problems were apparent. The board would often freeze on the OS-loading screen, necessitating a reboot. Reboots often didn't function correctly and a cold start was needed at times. Further, I was advised not to run AMD's BIOS with 5x HTT setting applied. Once successfully in Windows, though, the PF88 Extreme, with both Intel and AMD CPUs, was a paradigm of stability. I'm adamant that future BIOS releases will cure the test board's ailments,” Hexus.net web-site reports.

ECS’ PF88 mainboard designed for Intel Pentium 4 processors with up to 1066MHz processor system bus and based on SiS656FX + SiS965 chipset supporting dual-channel DDR2 667MHz memory, PCI Express x16, x1 in addition to Serial ATA-II with RAID capabilities and Gigabit Ethernet has a special slot can be upgraded with a special module designed to support AMD Athlon 64 processors in PGA939 form-factor. After the upgrade, the owner will still have a mainboard supporting Serial ATA II, Parallel ATA, PCI Express, USB 2.0, FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet.

“I've been pleasantly surprised by the ease of switching between Intel- and AMD-based systems. With this initial release, it would perhaps have been prudent for ECS to run with DDR1 memory throughout, mimimising the upgrade/sideways cost of moving to AMD's S939 CPUs, via the optional SIMA card. I'd also like to see greater levels of BIOS adjustment, thereby pandering to the needs of the enthusiast, and a slight PCB re-design, with a single switch, rather than 20-odd jumpers, for enabling the SIMA card would be nice,” Hexus.net notes.

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