Saturday, September 19th 2009

DFI Mashes Two Systems into One, Rolls out Hybrid Motherboard

The term 'Hybrid' these days probably relates most to hybrid cars. DFI has taken the concept of two machines - a high-power one, and an energy-efficient one, to a whole new level with its Hybrid P45-ION-T2A2 socket LGA 775 motherboard. This motherboard literally packs two motherboards sharing a PCB: one P45+ICH10R based socket LGA-775 system, and another portion holding an Intel Atom processor powered by NVIDIA ION chipset. Each has its own memory and storage subsystems, and share the machine's IO (input devices and display) in a somewhat KVM-style. So even as the major system is busy playing games, transcoding media, or running other power-hungry tasks, the minor system is quietly running the downloads, playing music, etc. When the major system is not needed, the minor system provides enough juice for media consumption and internet browsing, and general productivity at a really low energy footprint. A pretty neat concept. DFI's engineers describe it further in this YouTube video.

Source: TweakTown
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82 Comments on DFI Mashes Two Systems into One, Rolls out Hybrid Motherboard

#1
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Watch the video people.
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#2
ObSo-1337
Wow, this looks pretty interesting. Wonder what the pricing is like D:
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#3
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: ObSo-1337
Wow, this looks pretty interesting. Wonder what the pricing is like D:
399 USD.
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#5
lemonadesoda
Rubbish. This is just 2 independent machines in one box on one PCB, with an audio mixer and an interal ethernet hub. You need 2 copies of Windows to be legal, and 2 copies of any productivity software you might want to use.

A FAR better solution is to a LV i5 system. Faster. Also low power on idle. And cheaper (once you consider the additional cost of the extra HDD and OS license required here).

Asymetric processing, low power, all good ideas. But this is no better than running 2 machines with a KMY switch or with DameWare Remote Control. In fact running 2 separate machines is smarter, since you can upgrade each independently... AND use them in separate locations if you wish... and allow 2 users as and when.

"Share files".WTF? I think we have been sharing files between networked PCs and NAS systems and adding desktop shortcuts for years.
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#6
Cuzza
Niiiice, this is the most interesting thing I have seen in a long time. Really have no idea how it works, kind of fucked up concept, complicated! makes me want one just so I can try to figure it all out. Don't know what he was up to, talking about shared files and whatnot.

JESUS! $399, ok I don't want one.
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#7
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Uh, that's still cheaper than having two machines (two monitors, two sets of speakers, two chassis, a gigabit switch, its cabling, a KVM...), let's be honest, having a second 24/7 system is a trend that's catching up. At $399, this makes life better by a long shot. Any cynicism is unwarranted. (unless you don't believe in having two systems at all).

by: lemonadesoda
A FAR better solution is to a LV i5 system. Faster. Also low power on idle. And cheaper (once you consider the additional cost of the OS).
I doubt that i5 LV system will draw 30W (the entire machine sans monitor), and I doubt if i5 LV processors sell for that cheap.
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#8
Cuzza
Fair enough. But I don't need 2 systems. I just wanted one for fun. But by the time it gets to NZ you can call that NZ$800 and it's just a board.
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#9
Cuzza
by: lemonadesoda
Rubbish. But this is no better than running 2 machines with a KMY switch or with DameWare Remote Control. In fact running 2 separate machines is smarter, since you can upgrade each independently... AND use them in separate locations if you wish... and allow 2 users as and when.
As I understood him, you can have 2 users as and when, he talked about that at the end "husband and wife" and so forth.

I guess thw whole point of this is to only have 1 machine, and obviously in one location. This would be a seriously good thing if you were very cramped for space, say in your 10x10foot tokyo apartment (which I clearly have)
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#10
wiak
lol cool he said you can run both platforms independently :P
so you wife can use the ION part and you can use P45 part :rolleyes:
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#11
lemonadesoda
by: btarunr
Uh, that's still cheaper than having two machines (two monitors, two sets of speakers, two chassis...), let's be honest, having a second 24/7 system is a trend that's catching up. At $399, this makes life better by a long shot.
You dont need two monitors. KMV switch works just fine. You dont need to sets of speakers. KMV switch or audio amplifer and you select the source... or you just monitor both... depending on your system.

Two chasis: yes that is the gain on this system. Only one box and one PSU.

DONT FORGET THE DOWNSIDES.
  • Two HDDs needed
  • Two memory systems
  • Two sets of licenses for all software
  • Software updates need to be installed twice. Twice the time and effort. What a pain.
  • Applications get "stuck" on one side of the machine. Want to do it faster? You need to move everything across
Price the above plus add $200 for the "extra" cost of this mainboard over an i5 board, and you have more than paid for an i5 LV plus you have spare change. Alternatively, Zotac does a nice ION s775 system, and you can buy a low power Q9400s for less than the price of this hybrid motherboard
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#12
troyrae360
by: Cuzza
Fair enough. But I don't need 2 systems. I just wanted one for fun. But by the time it gets to NZ you can call that NZ$800 and it's just a board.
haha yea, we get fully ripped here :mad:
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#13
tigger
I'm the only one
So you can be on the net looking at pron and when the wife comes in just switch to the other system ;)

Its pretty cool,you could be downloading yer torrents on the smaller machine,while gameing on the p45 setup.Nice but expensive.
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#14
lemonadesoda
On reflection, I'll take back my rubbish statement and say that there IS a very valid application for this:

1./ User/student living in studio/tokyo apartment

2./ The Atom side is NOT used for Windows but has a Linux webserver distro on it for running a small webserver/NAS

That does make sense. Windows on one machine only. Processor independent webserver (or such like) on the other. Especially for a developer. Running VMware is a PITA for the "small" user.
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#15
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Yup that's the thing. The Linux and Windows machines can still share files, and Linux is everything you'd need from the minor machine (internet/productivity/entertainment).

by: lemonadesoda

DONT FORGET THE DOWNSIDES.
  • Two HDDs needed
  • Two memory systems
  • Two sets of licenses for all software
  • Software updates need to be installed twice. Twice the time and effort. What a pain.
  • Applications get "stuck" on one side of the machine. Want to do it faster? You need to move everything across
Price the above plus add $200 for the "extra" cost of this mainboard over an i5 board, and you have more than paid for an i5 LV plus you have spare change. Alternatively, Zotac does a nice ION s775 system, and you can buy a low power Q9400s for less than the price of this hybrid motherboard
But then all those requirements stay with having two machines over KVM too right? it only gets more expensive that way.
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#16
Cuzza
You could have fun building a cooling system for that board though. OC the atom.
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#17
DaedalusHelios
Great engineering, Great Product.... but if its really 399USD...... awful pricing! :laugh:

ION2 when released maybe, but regular ION is just not so great TBH. It cannot handle HuluHD stutter free even when heavily OC'ed occording to a review I had seen.

You can move to i7 at that price. :o
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#18
mitch88
I think they have missed the point, had they shared everything other than the processor this would have been much more useful. That way you could switch off the external GPU and swap to the atom processor. Would make it cheaper to build as you would only need one set of RAM and HDD's.

As it is just 2 computers, except 2 very limited computers as they are stuck with each other.
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#19
Homeless
the concept is interesting, I just don't see a huge market for it
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#20
wahdangun
wow, it's really wicked man,

i wonder if they can combine AMD and INTEL platform, it will super duper totally uber cool (maybe socket AM2+/AM3+socket LGA 115)
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#21
Rexter
Well, well, what do we have here?

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#22
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: wahdangun
wow, it's really wicked man,

i wonder if they can combine AMD and INTEL platform, it will super duper totally uber cool (maybe socket AM2+/AM3+socket LGA 115)
It's possible. Using that design, they can mash an AM3 / LGA-1156 socket major system with this ION minor system. With LGA-775 and AM3/AM2+ being possible on ITX, they can even make minor system with another socket (preferably using single-chip chipset from NVIDIA such as MCP79/MCP7A).
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#23

I don't see the point personally especially when you can get KVM's with built-in and switchable USB hubs. But I have to assume that DFI did some market research before building this puppy so there must be a fair number of people who are looking for something like this. The only practical use I can see is for lan parties where you don't want to carry around multiple boxes. A KVM setup for home use is one thing, but it ain't what you would call "portable."
#24
oily_17
by: Rexter
Well, well, what do we have here?

"the minor system is quietly running the downloads,"
:laugh:
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#25
choppy
by: tigger
you could be downloading yer torrents on the smaller machine,while gameing on the p45 setup.Nice but expensive.
you can do this on one machine anyway!
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