As you might have been able to tell from my recent post enews showing the upcoming CrossFire motherboards from ECS, I was recently in attendence at the ECS Editor’s Day in San Jose last week. ECS has always been one of the largest manufacturers of motherboards in the world, but they have not been known to be an enthusiast class motherboard maker. Recently, this has begun to change, as you can see by reading our KN1 Extreme and KN1 SLI motherboard reviews.
The day of presentations in San Jose was another way that ECS wanted to inform the media that they have indeed changed their thoughts on this market. Pushing the “new ECS” as one that listens to the community and make the best enthusiast motherboards on the market, ECS was eager to show off some new boards they are developing.
They first showed off the new PF88 motherboard that takes a unique approach to selecting a processor for motherboard. Using SIMA cards, ECS is touting the ability to change between AMD and Intel platforms with a small ($40) upgrade price of a new card. ECS already has the Socket 939 SIMA card shipping and has plans for a Socket 754 and Socket 479 pin card as well to cover both Intel and AMD’s mobile CPU offerings.
Their other, even more daring offering, is something called Scalable Dual Graphics Engine. SDGE is an attempt to make dual GPUs a more affordable and more open platform. Theoretically, you can buy a motherboard based on any chipset that comes with two x16 PCIe slots, one of which has no PCIe actually going to it. Then with the purchase of an SDGE card, that includes an NVIDIA HyperTransport chip like the nForce Pro 2200, you can add another full x16 PCIe slot to the board. It sounds rather interesting, though it looks kind of gimmicky right now. This technology is only in development stage and really will only have life if both ATI and NVIDIA open up their drivers on SLI and CrossFire support.
An SDGE motherboard with SDGE card installed
The NVIDIA HT chip on the SDGE card
So while these two new items from ECS may not fit into everyone’s view of motherboards, they are definitely a unique approach and attempt to revitalize the ailing motherboard market.