The Elitegroup PF88 Extreme: An Athlon 64 or Pentium 4 Motherboard

Testing With The Athlon 64 3800+

We tried out two different Athlon versions : an Athlon 64 3200+ with 90 Nm Winchester core, and an Athlon 64 3800+ with the Newcastle core and 130 Nm structures. Both worked on the first try without problems. We were also able to use AMD’s Cool and Quiet immediately as well.

But when booting with the Athlon CPUs, there were intermittent problems when the system did not recognize the hard drive. After a couple of warm restarts, however, these hiccups appeared to be cured. More troubling was our conclusion that it’s impossible to clock the HyperTransport at 1 GHz ; only when we backed it off to 800 MHz did the system run reliably. Excessively long signal paths shouldn’t be the problem here, because HyperTransport is designed to operate between the CPU and the Northbridge and both of those components are available on the A9S sister board. We hope that ECS can fix this problem before the final version of the motherboard is released, because this can have an influence on overall system performance.

Ready For Dual-Core CPUs ?

We couldn’t resist the temptation to test an Intel Dual-Core Pentium Extreme Edition 840, but the PF88 wouldn’t boot up at first. Indeed, board revision 1.1 definitely is Smithfield compatible according to ECS. Be sure you are using a power supply with at least 450 W and a minimum of 19 A at 12 Volts.

The situation is different for AMD processors, because the official word from the Texan chip-builder indicates that boards that work with 90-nm Athlon processors that also support power consumption of up to 95 W, only need a BIOS update to accommodate Athlon 64s that use the Toledo core. Naturally, this applies to the A9S sister board as well.

As we’ve already indicated, this architecture could even support other sister boards as long as they’re interoperable with the SiS Southbridge 965. This could conceivably apply to a sister boards for dual-core processors, or even - and here we’re taking a wild leap of faith - an option for future Athlon processors that can use DDR2 memory modules. But it’s possible this might never happen since that combination is unlikely to be available any time soon.

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
No comments yet
Comment from the forums
    Your comment