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
HalfAHertz
I think that it would have beet a much greater design, if instead of using a totally seperate cpu/memory/hdd system, you could just switch between CPUs and Dedicated/ Integrated graphics on the fly. It seems as an impossible task at this point of technology but moving from a total power package of 150W+ (Desktop CPU+Dedicated gfx) to an atom ion one using just ~20-30W would be a great leap forward in green technology.

Their current implementation is one for a very small niche market and I don't think it will be widely accepted.
Posted on Reply
#2
pantherx12
lemonadesoda said:
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
Unless your tricksy sort of guy and make a 2 -1 sata connector.

That deals with the HDD and license problems etc.
Posted on Reply
#3
Jizzler
I'd thought it might save me from dual booting XP 32 and Seven 64, but my biggest reason for doing so is for games and dual boot is the best solution in my case. And I already have six separate boxes running here, so this isn't really for me.


A little OT, but if this thread interests you, this article might as well: http://linuxgazette.net/124/smith.html

At work our training room is four of the oldest machines in the company with one of them running a very old copy of our ERP. What I'd like to try to do is build a four-user box, but each station has a set of VM images for training. No worries on the training data, a clean image of the clients/server will be loaded for the next training class. Less power, more performance, easier to manage.
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#4
robodude666
Holy shit, finally! I've been waiting for one of these for years. Yea, it's a tad expensive @ 399$ but it's a fantastic idea. It's perfect for people who don't have a lot of space, and need two systems.

I'm soon moving over to a small HTPC case but require a second system to run as my FreeNAS box. This solution would allow me to have my Gaming PC, as well as my FreeNAS Backup/Storage box in one case without doing any mods. $399 is a tad much, but that's cheaper than the cost of a ION system + a 775 mobo. An all-in-one ION now sells for a little over $350 making this a good value for someone who needs two systems.

Way to go DFI!

On a side note, did anyone notice what slots are available to the ION? I think I saw PCI and a PCI-Express 1x or 4x? And maybe something else.

-robodude666
Posted on Reply
#5
wahdangun
lemonadesoda said:
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
i think oem license was tied to mobo, that's why if your mobo died your license died too

so it's possible to just have one license legally because actually you just using ONE board despite it have two system
Posted on Reply
#6
robodude666
lemonadesoda said:


*snip*

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
*snip*
Keep in mind though, this product will only be appealing to people who currently have two machines, or need two machines for whatever reasons. These people already know that they'll need two HDDs for two separate machines, two sets of operating systems and softwares for the two machines, as well as keeping both machines up to date. In addition, running two machines will include extra costs such as the KVM switch if you need it, hub/switch if you plan to network them, and a case + optical drive for both.

This solution would allow a person with the above needs (for two machines) to get it all on one motherboard. They'll still require two HDDs, two sets of software, etc. -- but they will be able to use one computer case, without the need of buying a KVM switch. Perfect idea honestly.

Like mentioned in the video, the ION only sucks down 30w -- that's the same as any NAS box on the market. Imagine an ION system running FreeNAS as your storage box, and a P45 system running your gaming machine. Shutdown gaming machine, and your low-power ION NAS Server keeps on running allowing anyone else in the household to access their NAS share for content.

I'd agree with you though, if one doesn't have a need for two systems this product is fairly pointless and will be a waste.

I, however, find it a fantastic idea and looking forward to its launch. I primarily use a Mac, but like to have a gaming machine around when I get bored. I also have a dedicated NAS box on my desk. I plan on getting an HTPC case, to reduce space used on my desk, and find that this product will allow me to combine my Gaming machine + NAS into a single slim HTPC case making room on my desk for a 3rd monitor.

-robodude666
Posted on Reply
#7
lemode
I like the concept however, I just do not see a big market for that here in the US.
Posted on Reply
#8
happita
This is madness!! *insert 300 joke here*
Posted on Reply
#9
angelkiller
I think this is a really good idea. Like many have said, this isn't gonna be mega popular. It's more of a proof of concept thing. I think this platform does have some solid applications though. But overall, it's alot of good ideas working together. Even though it doesn't have a huge market, it's a solid step forward to whatever comes next.

HalfAHertz said:
I think that it would have beet a much greater design, if instead of using a totally seperate cpu/memory/hdd system, you could just switch between CPUs and Dedicated/ Integrated graphics on the fly. It seems as an impossible task at this point of technology but moving from a total power package of 150W+ (Desktop CPU+Dedicated gfx) to an atom ion one using just ~20-30W would be a great leap forward in green technology.

Their current implementation is one for a very small niche market and I don't think it will be widely accepted.
I think the idea of switching from one high powered system to another low powered one is in the future. I would think that this idea was definately discussed when making this board, but they realized just what you've said: that's its not (easily) possible yet. But the technology is coming. Everyone does remember Hybrid SLI or whatever that let you switch from discrete graphics to integrated? It wasn't polished, but still. I think a similar thing was created for notebooks. So overall, I think what everybody wants is coming and this is just another step towards it. I'm excited. :D
Posted on Reply
#11
temp02
Wow amazing.
TBH I don't think that sticking an Atom system into a mATX board is that amazing, not to talk that it needs a second power supply and another set of peripherals like lemonadesoda said.
Posted on Reply
#12
CyberDruid
If they could make a seamless interface it would be the next logical step for Power Users that don't need all the power all the time. I can really appreciate that as my rig draws 542 Watts at idle and close to 800 under full load. If I could cycle from 100 watts to 800 that would be strictly awesome.
Posted on Reply
#13
pantherx12
temp02 said:
TBH I don't think that sticking an Atom system into a mATX board is that amazing, not to talk that it needs a second power supply and another set of peripherals like lemonadesoda said.
It only needs one PSU.
Posted on Reply
#14
temp02
pantherx12 said:
It only needs one PSU.
I beg to differ:
Posted on Reply
#15
lemonadesoda
CyberDruid said:
If they could make a seamless interface it would be the next logical step for Power Users that don't need all the power all the time. I can really appreciate that as my rig draws 542 Watts at idle and close to 800 under full load. If I could cycle from 100 watts to 800 that would be strictly awesome.
What?! My twin Xeon rig idles under 200W. (E5420's on ASUS DSEB). I know you have your Xeons running faster but over 500W at idle is insane.

Consider dumping the skulltrail and get the ASUS DSEB. You can BSEL mod the Xeons to OC them (no BIOS oc'ing on server mainboards)

Anyway, this DFI system wont let you get anywhere near the HorsePower of your system. So consider getting yourself an Atom 330 box like I did for 24/7.

http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=82785

However, dont get this mainboard, it is too noisey with the silly intel chipset. Get an ION based version: http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=98175 or http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=91879
Posted on Reply
#16
pantherx12
temp02 said:
I beg to differ:
http://i38.tinypic.com/4zuk8.jpg
I stand corrected, I couldn't understand what the guy was saying.

Still the PSU comes with the board so its not as if you have to buy it.
Posted on Reply
#17
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
I just have to say that this concept is interesting and worthwhile, though I Wish it was priced a little less.
Posted on Reply
#18
wahdangun
i hope this thing can come to laptop, imagine when you need power you use main system but when you traveling you can use minor system to save battery, it will be perffect
Posted on Reply
#19
temp02
pantherx12 said:
...
Still the PSU comes with the board so its not as if you have to buy it.
As like any Atom system on the market (all of them have one PSU on the box when you buy it).
My point is that if you are going to need another set of devices (free wall plug included) and SO, it would be cheaper just to stick a nettop inside your main computer case.
Posted on Reply
#20
rampage
great idear, but needs work

for the $400 UDS ($500 AU) you could build a micro machine for that easy, like what has been said a few times or just go out and buy a cheap ass notebook

its prity much what i do, use the big rig for games and the lappy for almost every thing else
Posted on Reply
#21
robodude666
rampage said:
for the $400 UDS ($500 AU) you could build a micro machine for that easy
For that same $400, can you buy a P45 motherboard, and stick a Micro machine, kvm switch, a usb switch, an extra nic and a gigabit hub into that same exact case?

Sure, there are a lot of alternative solutions to this very expensive motherboard but for the cost you can't complain with the amount of space you'll save.
Posted on Reply
#22
HalfAHertz
I think the next logical step is to add an atom core to an Nehalem\Lynfield CPU die - a MCH design and have the CPU itself switch between power/performance component
Posted on Reply
#23
Cuzza
pantherx12 said:
I stand corrected, I couldn't understand what the guy was saying.

Still the PSU comes with the board so its not as if you have to buy it.
The reason for that second power supply is so you DON'T have to run your main power supply to run the Ion system. Your big ATX PSU will be rather inefficient when packing out only 30W. As the man says in the vid, the small power brick will run at near 90%.
Posted on Reply
#24
Binge
Overclocking Surrealism
I was wondering why I haven't seen DFI do much of anything recently. This is a great idea from them, and I wish them the best with sales.
Posted on Reply
#25
robodude666
Binge said:
I was wondering why I haven't seen DFI do much of anything recently. This is a great idea from them, and I wish them the best with sales.
Indeed. While buying a new LGA 775 motherboard feels silly now, it seemed more practical for a test run than a new Core i platform. Hopefully if sales are decent enough, DFI will release Hybrid ION + P55/X58 boards.
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