ECS ships dual AMD-Intel mobo

Mix'n'match rival processors

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Here's an interesting plan. Elitegroup (ECS) has announced a mobo capable of supporting both AMD and Intel processors.

ECS PF88 moboThe board, the PF88, uses an old technique: the daughtercard. Out of the box, the motherboard sports an LGA775 socket ready for an Intel Pentium of Celeron D processor, be they single- or dual-core. The board is based on SiS' SiS656 chipset.

AMD fans may also purchase the A9S daughter card. This slots into a proprietary, 'SIMA' bus and provides a Socket 939 interconnect. Plug in a suitable Athlon chip and connect the card to the motherboard and the Intel chip is disabled.

Since AMD's chips have their own memory controllers, which support different memory types - dual-channel 400MHz DDR SDRAM - than those handled by Intel-oriented chipsets - dual-channel 667MHz DDR 2 SDRAM - the A9S has its own DIMM slots. Again, adding the daughtercard disables the mobo's own DIMM slots. It has its own North Bridge: the SiS756.

The PF88 provides a pair of x16 PCI Express slots and a single x1 slot. There are three old-style PCI slots too. There are two Ultra ATA-100 ports and four Serial ATA ports. It sports twin Firewire connectors, USB 2.0,

Expect further daughtercards, ECS said. It is preparing the A4S, which supports AMD's Turion 64 processor, and the I9S, which will allow you to add a Pentium M chip.

Why you'd want to add processors this way is open to question, but at least you can now make the switch if you wish - provided, of course, your case is large enough to accommodate the daughtercard.

There's no word yet on international availability and pricing, but the PF88 costs around ¥15,000 (£75/$136) in Japan, while the A9S will set you back approximately ¥7500 (£38/$68). ®