PF88 SiS 656 Mainboard and SIMA A9S SiS 756 upgrade card Intro 1/6
AMD and Intel CPUs used to share a common socket type in the past. Buying a board would be easy as you can either use a AMD or INTEL Socket 7 processor on it. There was not much worry if you would use either processors so long the chipset and board supports it. Unfortunately, this never lasted long and we ended up with Socket 370 and Socket A platforms and now we have Socket 775 versus Socket 939.
As you are probably aware, chipset vendors usually either go for a single chipset or a north south pair. Although some chipset makers finds that a single chipset performs better because there is less latency, the north south pair of chipsets does have its advantages over the conventional single chipset as it can be paired up with compatible north or south bridges.
For the SiS chipsets which our readers are familiar with, the north and south bridges communicate through the MULTIOL link between the two. As SiS south bridges controls PCI bus, LAN, modem, AC97, SATA etc, we always see a common south bridge. In fact, this is not new as another company has such a board based on the SiS 760GX which supports upgradeable Socket type.
ECS made a bold move to integrate an upgrade slot with a base board allowing the board to adapt to future CPU socket types that uses a common south bridge. The daughter board would come with the supporting north bridge, ram slots, power regulator built in. ECS calls it SIMA platform converter card.
ECS PF88 main board is based on the SiS LGA775 chipset, SiS 656 NB and SiS 965 SB. The board supports the Intel P4 LGA775 socket and includes 4 slots of DDR2 667 memory, a 1066FSB, SATA2, GigaLAN, 1394a Firewire. The board supports the Intel 6xx CPU and a BIOS update should be available soon to support the newer dual core CPUs. The PF88 also supports SATA II NCQ ports using the SiliconImage Sil3124 chipset.
Together with the PF88, we have the SIMA A9S converter card. The A9S comes with its own dedicated SiS756 Northbridge, 2 slots of DDR400, power management circuits. With the converter card, two rows of jumpers needs to be extracted from the base board PF88 to "patch" the MULTIOL so that it links up to the A9S North Bridge 756 instead of the 656 on board.
Not only does the board support and upgradeable slot Elite Bus, it also comes with a USB 802.11g dongle for wireless access.
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