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First Intel Quad Core Ready Desktop Mobo Spotted 68

MojoDog writes "Today Universal Abit launched their AW9D and AW9D-MAX motherboards based on the Intel 975X chipset. There has been much anticipation in the industry for this series and as far as looks go, these boards are built to please. One interesting bullet point in the spec list is that these boards are "Quad Core Ready", in line with a possible year-end release of Intel's Quad-Core Kentsfield CPU perhaps? Time will tell!"
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First Intel Quad Core Ready Desktop Mobo Spotted

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  • But! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:48PM (#15940920)
    Will that make the Mac Pro any cheaper? Or maybe a quad-core iMac a possibility?
  • by nxtw ( 866177 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:48PM (#15940921)
    I have a AB9 Pro Intel 965-based board here with a Core 2 Duo E6400, and I can't get it to boot half the time. I get an error code 8.7. on the motherboard's LCD, which means "Check CPU Core Voltage". When it does boot, I occasionally get an error or "Device Verify Failed" from the AHCI BIOS while identifying my hard drives.

    The system is impressively fast when it actually boots and works, but those two issues make the motherboard very difficult to actually use.
  • Re:Why no ECC? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ctr2sprt ( 574731 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @01:49PM (#15941148)

    Agreed, but bear in mind that a single-bit error doesn't have to crash your system (or an app). In fact, it usually won't, because the amount of "critical" memory is very small relative to the total amount of RAM installed. Instead it will silently corrupt data. This could result in a momentary glitch in what's shown on the screen; it could result in an app delivering nonsensical results; or, far worse, it could result in bad data being written to disk or an app delivering subtly wrong results. Since all modern operating systems use all memory in your box for something (cache, usually) pretty much every single-bit error is going to screw something up.

    I work with many ECC-using servers and there are typically one to five single-bit errors per month. Even though I understand the reasons for it, I am kind of bewildered that ECC isn't more common on high-end desktop systems. The RAM costs ~15% more, but gamers, for instance, are already willing to pay 50% markups (or more) for a 1% performance bump (if that). You could even market it as overclocker-friendly: the error checking will tell you when you're overclocking too high, and the error correcting will help you when you're right on the edge. It could also allow overclockers to identify DIMMs which can't keep up without the laborious process of "pull out a stick, run memtest overnight; put stick back in, pull out a different one, run memtest overnight; etc." (Or the worse one when DIMM has to be installed in pairs. Then you get the joy of testing every combination.)

  • Re:But! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tycho ( 11893 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @04:55PM (#15941749)
    Just for the heck of it I thought that I would list all of the things I could think of that would not allow one to use a quad core processor on a Mac Pro.

    First off the new Clovertown processors must use the same socket and bus protocols as the Woodcrest processors. Even if the Clovertown processors use the same socket, the new processor must have the same pinout and must be electrically compatible with the Woodcrest processors. Another potential problem is that Clovertown could require new VRM specifications.

    Finally that is all Intel can do to make the Mac Pro incompatable with the Clovertown processors. Additionally the proper microcode to support the Clovertown processor has to be in the firmware. (This may not be totally necessary as there are some x86 systems that will boot without the proper microcode for their processor. Additional software must be run to have the processor to work properly though.)

    Finally, Apple could release a firmware "upgrade" that could make it so that on boot up on detection of a Clovertown processor the computer would not boot. Apple did this with the Blue and White G3 systems before releasing the G4 towers. Even though there is a G4 tower that uses the same chipset as the B&W G3, in their default state, after the firmware upgrade the B&W G3 systems will not boot with a G4 processor in a B&W G3. However, some enterprising individual made a firmware patch of their own to bypass this G4 ROM Block. Someone else could add the proper microcode and remove any firmware block on the Clovertown, but the problem would be how to flash the new firmware. (I would imagine that Apple/Intel might make flashing a third party firmware hard to do though.)

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.