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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
    Will that make the Mac Pro any cheaper? Or maybe a quad-core iMac a possibility?
    • Re:But! (Score:5, Informative)

      by nxtw ( 866177 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:55PM (#15940950)
      no, these motherboards are for the LGA775 socket, not the LGA771 socket used by the Xeons in the Mac Pro or the Socket 479 used by the iMac/Mac notebooks/Mac mini.

      "Clovertown" may be a quad-core version of the "Woodcrest" Xeon chips used in the Mac Pro, although I couldn't find anything definitive.

      I'm not sure if Intel has any plans for quad-core mobile chips (the Core Duo used in the iMac/Mac Mini is the mobile-oriented chip, but has shown up in smaller desktop computers incl. the Macs).
      • Re:But! (Score:5, Informative)

        by FuturePastNow ( 836765 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @01:49PM (#15941147)
        Clovertown and Kentsfield are identical except for the socket and bus speeds they use. So, yes, Clovertown is the quad core version of Woodcrest (like Kentsfield, it's actually two dual-core processors on one package) and will work fine in the Mac Pro (unless Apple does something silly and uses firmware to block upgrades).
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Tycho ( 11893 )
          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 specificati
          • Well, the motherboard should support the new processors just fine, as far as electrical and bus compatibility. It may well require a firmware update to work, but unless Apple plans to redesign the Mac Pro's motherboard in January, they will have to make such an update. If they don't make that update available to existing Mac Pros, someone will get their hands on it and release it. Likewise, if Apple modifies the firmware to exclude newer CPUs, someone will hack it pretty quickly.

            I can think of one other
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I think he was actually meaning that because quad-core will be available in a 'desktop' chip, the 'quad core' systems Apple is selling should drop in price. (After all, if you could get a quad core iMac at 2.93 GHz, why pay $2000 more for a quad core Mac Pro at 3.0 GHz?)

        But, I have it on good authority (inside information, hence my AC posting,) that the server quad-core chips will come out first. So it will be more likely that the Mac Pro will become an eight-core system. (I have no inside info at Apple,

        • by WoLpH ( 699064 )
          You'd pay $2000 more to get a double quad core cpu, but still I do agree with you that the price of the Mac Pro isn't justified, the iMac's aren't that much worse for a _really_ big difference in price.
  • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by binarysins ( 926875 )
      I'm assuming that you've actually checked the power supply to make sure that it's putting out consistent power, considering how some brands of motherboards are notoriously sensitive to fluctuations.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Sadiekiller ( 966454 )
        haha yea. I have a Intel-945PVS. untill i got a decent power supply, you woudl have to turn it on and off two times to get it to boot. then it tookout my Graphics card with itself one day. now i have a good PSU, but it still refuses to boot after a restart. i have to turn it off all the way, or it wont boot.
      • Unfortunately, I can verify the AHCI problem. In my case, it claims the device verification fails whenever I soft-reboot. It's annoying enough that I just run the SATA controller in Legacy IDE mode.

        Otherwise, though, my AB9 Pro has been reasonably solid. Considering the dearth of good 965 motherboards -- and the expense of Conroe-compatible 975 motherboards -- it's probably the best of a limited pack right now.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    What is "Universal Abit"? I always thought the company was just called "abit". But my ignorance is boundless.
  • Why no ECC? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 5pp000 ( 873881 )
    How can a motherboard have all this stuff and leave out ECC? I would never buy a motherboard without ECC. Don't people want their machines to stay up more than a week at a time???
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gothmolly ( 148874 )
      Gamers don't. I don't. My workstation at work doesn't stay up for more than 9 hours or so.
    • You need a xeon cpu for that and a server / workstation chipset
      • I don't know if it has changed, but previous Intel desktop chipsets have offered ECC capability, but I think enabling it is a board specific capability, maybe they fail to wire up extra lines.
    • Re:Why no ECC? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @01:29PM (#15941051) Homepage Journal
      How can a motherboard have all this stuff and leave out ECC? I would never buy a motherboard without ECC. Don't people want their machines to stay up more than a week at a time???

      I've run multiple systems with non-ECC memmory. Uptime was originaly limited by time between brownouts/blackouts (~3 months). Then I got a UPS and uptimes have only gone up. If you need ECC to keep your system up for more than a week, you've got problems.
      • 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: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          ECC is usually slower, hence are automatically worse to a lot of people.
      • Re:Why no ECC? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DrDitto ( 962751 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @03:23PM (#15941483)
        If you live in high altitude areas, ECC RAM is really necessary if you want reliable computing. Even with ECC, higher-end servers will "scrub" memory by periodically reading out every memory block to correct single-bit errors before they become double-bit errors.

        The Virginia Apple Supercomputer initially used non-ECC nodes. Couldn't keep the machine up and they ended up selling off all of the original Xserve machines to get ECC Xserve's.

        At Los Alamos altitude, the problem is even worse. It isn't uncommon for non-ECC workstations to crash every other day.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Ironsides ( 739422 )
          Uh.. What does altitude have to do with ECC? I'm guessing you mean the Virginia Tech apple supercomputer. Altitude in blacksburg VA is maybe 1000 feet above sea level.
          • Re:Why no ECC? (Score:5, Informative)

            by VENONA ( 902751 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @05:03PM (#15941770)
            Cosmic rays can flip a bit, and have biological effects. Cosmic ray arrival rates are related to your altitude. Blacksburg VA may be only a thousand feet up, but Los Alamos is more like 8-9K--can't remember, exactly. But it's considerably higher than Santa Fe, which is about 7K.

            Also, you may not be able to accept single-bit errors, even at the lower rate you'd experience at sea level. What's good enough for a Joe Gamer's PC in Denver (5K feet) may not be remotely good enough for mission-critical servers. Wall Street is at sea level, for the purposes of this discussion. But you can bet they don't always look at random bit-flips kindly.

            As usual, how you spec a machine depends upon what you're planning to do with it. That even filters down into whatever spares you may stock for a server farm. Compare mfg. memory prices for large multi-CPU (think 8-64 CPUs, not some generic 4-way) servers running Solaris or HP-UX to memory available from the mass market vendors. Last time I did that, the mfg. memory was about 10X more expensive than something generic that would at least boot your system.

            In that environment you need to be sure that the memory you're buying really is equivalent--not just that the machine will still boot. In that case, BTW, it turned out that there was equivalent memory available, without paying a huge vendor markup. It wasn't as cheap as the rock-bottom stuff (which would still have yielded a bootable machine) but it was cheap enough to justify buying a (much cheaper) machine just to stress test it before adding it to the ready spares bin for production systems. Sometimes a four hour support contract is still too slow, but you don't want to pay six figures for a hot backup system. Which also has to be under that expensive service contract.

            If you have TB of memory to deal with, and mission-critical means minimize or eliminate flipped bits, the rules change considerably. It's a whole different world.

            God only knows what gyrations the NSA must go through. Oh, wait, they just pay vendor rates, no matter the cost. My tax dollars at work...
          • by tuxicle ( 996538 )
            At high altitudes, there's less atmosphere between you and outer space, so cosmic rays and other ionizing radiation don't face as much resistance through scattering.

            I work at a research radar near Fort Collins, CO (alt: 1432m), and we have a Sun Blade 1000 with ECC, whose motherboard emits a curious "burp" sound each time it detects a memory error. It seems to do this about once every two hours. Also, the radar transmitters can sometimes emit small amounts of X rays. I've not noticed any increase in the "bu
    • by Ant P. ( 974313 )
      If you've got problems with your OS crashing after a week, consider using a more stable OS. I don't use ECC, or even name-brand hardware, and I've never had to reboot because of the RAM. Then again I run it at 2/3 its rated speed.
  • One interesting bullet point in the spec list is that these boards are "Quad Core Ready"
    Why aren't they claiming "Quad Core Support?" "Ready" sounds like you can plonk in those CPUs, but can't really use all four cores. Is this just marketing speak?
    • The Quad Core chips are not final yet and that will say support in till they are out and you may need a bios update or newer mother board rev.

      Any ways AMD is Better because they say that am2 cpus will work with am2 boards not like Intel where some boards with the same chip set do not alleys support new cpus.

      With the mac pro you may be able to put in quad-core xeons but apple will have to come out with a bios update to make them fully work.
    • You'll be able to use all four cores, but it is marketing speak. I'm pretty sure all of the 965-chipset motherboards will support quad-core processors, which means this "bullet point in the spec list" applies to a couple dozen mobos, some of which have been on sale for the last month.

      In Fark-speak, submitter is an idiot.
  • Not terribly suprising for a new board, considering that existing boards can already support early kentsfield chips. Including a kentsfield benchmark run [] on a MSI 975X Platinum 2.b
  • insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @01:39PM (#15941104) Homepage

    Of course some people are always going to want to have the fastest game machine on the block. But seriously, it's amazing the kind of performance you can get these days with cheap, low-end hardware. Yesterday I built a machine for $300 with a 3 GHz P4 and 1 Gb of ram. (I reused a hard disk, so that cut the price a little.) Sure I could have built a dual-core system, but I would have ended up with a machine that cost many times more, used tons of power, and had almost identical performance except when I had two cpu-intensive processes running at once (i.e., almost never).

    • I guarentee you your P4 3Ghz pulls more power than a 3Ghz core duo, or a 3Ghz Athlon X2 would have. probably by a factor of 4.
      • Nonetheless, as I've outlined in the past, it would take approximately 3 years of constant high-usage for the price of the extra energy to reach the higher upfront cost.

        Moreover, money spent upfront is more expensive than money spent over time. The easiest way for the layman to understand the concept is as follows: I'll give you a million dollars.

        One dollar a year.
      • OK, I could be misinterpreting things here, but I used a P4 524, which draws 84 W, whereas it looks like the 3Ghz Athlon X2 draws 110 W. []
    • For non critical application systems, (home computers, or systems with small databases, you can do without ECC memory. Just as you can do without car insurance.

      Suppose you have a terrabyte database and you have not used ECC memory. Suppose that a single bit error got into the database undetected. And some months later, the records or pointers or tree of data with the corrupted bit is corrupted. What would be the cost of repair against the cost of having ECC memory installed?

      My understanding of ECC Mem
  • by bmchan ( 986258 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @02:40PM (#15941345)
    I'm not ready to state that GA-965P-DQ6 is the "fist", but it's the first one I found out about (months ago). I've already got this MB running with a Core 2 Duo E6600, and it specifically states on the manufacturer "Ready for next generation Quad Core processor". roducts_Overview.aspx?ProductID=2295 []

    I vote to change the name of the article "Intel Quad Core Ready Desktop Mobo Spotted" to "Another Intel Quad Core Ready Desktop Mobo Spotted".
  • I'd guess that there are at least a few Apple employees who have been looking at quad-core-ready boards for some time now :)
  • The quad-core Kentsfield is a subsitute for the previous anounced 3.20GHz Core 2 Extreme, which has been cancelled: 24626.html []
  • A new generation of processing power is coming
    to us in less than 6 months!

    2 physical CPUs on a Mainboard with each
    2 Woodcrest units, 4MB 2nd each with each
    2 cores

    8 cores!

    I'm looking forward to it. Put 16GB RAM into it and you'll
    have a perfect setup for huge Websphere/Weblogic cluster
    tests on a _single_ workstation!

    See: []

  • I'm still going to wait for the eight-core boards, until then I will cherish my 486.
  • For those who use their computers for finding aliens, cures for diseases or other distributed computing projects, quad core machines would be great.

    The amount of potential distributed computing power available has to be staggering, and its growing every day.
  • Probably both. AMD released there press announcement [] on Tuesday. Intel, are you slacking off or are you not as fast as AMD?
  • In queuing theory, and in practice, it is well known that in a multiple server environment, the shortest time to service occurs when there is a single queue facing multiple servers. The first task in the ready queue goes to the next available server. Service is from task initiation to task completion.

    With this above configuration, the average queuing time, and hence service time is much less than if there is a dedicated queue per server.

    From what I have seen, with multiple core systems, there appears to
    • And we are all sooo proud of you!
      • You should be, I survived 50 years in the business and still going strong. And I have a well respected reputation. I love what I do and I do teach others. I even soldered an old backplane computer together. Thank you for the accolades.
    • Are you sure you didn't make that up after watching an episode of the tv show called "Numbers"?

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan