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
DaedalusHelios
robodude666 said:
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.
Now if it was that with a $299 price tag I would consider it. :) Good idea. :toast:
Posted on Reply
#2
mlee49
YO Dog We Heard You Like To Browse The Internet And Game At The Same Time So We Put A Computer In Your Motherboard!

All joking aside, this is a very interesting concept. Perfect for moderate gaming while downloading um 'files'(google dark_knight.mkv people).
Posted on Reply
#3
Jakl
Double the crunching and folding?
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#4
parelem
it's definitely a nice concept but at that price point it's not too attactive. would love to see this in an x58 variant
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#5
newfellow
Don't really even care what this costs. This is absolute most pick. 24/7 bootable system with minimum power consumption when not at machine.

No way, this could cost 500 euros and I'd still get it for just what it can do been looking this kind of board now for past at least 2 years.
Posted on Reply
#6
Wile E
Power User
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
And to build 2 independent systems, you still have all the EXACT same caveats you just mentioned, except now you need to put them into 2 cases.

I have to disagree with your take on this. This is for people who would build a main computer, and then buy an Atom system to use for surfing and downloading. This is targeted at people that already planned to buy 2 computers. You're points are pretty much moot.

The biggest downside of this is price and the fact that the main system is still S775.
Posted on Reply
#7
lemonadesoda
You're missing the "take on this".

1./ If it wasnt clear to anywone, (see early posts), this is TWO independent systems in one box
2./ There are no system management gains. Maintenance on one side needs to be replicated on the other
3./ Software licensing seems to be a "grey zone". We need an official statement on this. This is clearly "two systems"... not just "one mainboard" and hence 2 software licenses required for both sides... so no gain here
4./ It is far cheaper to build two independent systems, as shown by links in my other posts
5./ Two physical systems gives much more flexibility. For upgrading. And for positioning them physically. Want to move your PC? Then BOTH will be powered down. Want to take your PC with you... then your Atom system moves too. This is an issue if you want to have a 24/7 webserver/NAS parked safely at home. But it is a benefit if you WANT to bring your little system with you.
6./ The ONLY gain is the space consolidation. Nothing more. Well, Did you know that a microATX system and a separate miniITX takes less space than a full ATX system.
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#8
steelkane
Seems they put allot of work & thought into the board,, I would buy one.
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#9
ShadowFold
I love the idea, I just wish it was on AM3 or 1156.
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#10
audiotranceable
I like it but it's over kill. If I was paying 399.99 for something like I rather just get a dual core atom setup and spend the rest on another motherboard.

They should bring back those asrock motherboards with the slot to add another socket processor. Hell having a i7 setup than slot card with a 775 processor would be nice.
Posted on Reply
#11
Mussels
Moderprator
the price is too high, but otherwise a lot of useless negativity in here.

I'd sure like one of these - i'd put the gaming system into S3 sleep and use the ION system for chat/IM/web browsing/media playback.



While lemonade seems to think its a bad thing to have twice as much 'maintenance' i find that an odd train of thought - its two systems. of course you have to do things twice. its also capable of running two seperate OS's (as has been said) meaning you can run whatever you want, XP on the ION and 7 on the other, for example.

Its pretty clear that if you dont have a use for two PC's to begin with, you shouldnt even consider buying this.
Posted on Reply
#12
lemonadesoda
Mussels said:
While lemonade seems to think its a bad thing to have twice as much 'maintenance' i find that an odd train of thought - its two systems. of course you have to do things twice.
Please keep my comment in context. The comment is to help people understand it is two systems. I'm not knocking a two system approach. From early postings it was clear that some people thought this was one system.

There is only one reason to be interested in this system, and that is space consolidation. There are no other benefits. Every OTHER feature can be had/built at a lower cost and with greater flexibility.

What Intel needs to think about... to really solve this power issue... is a chipset feature to "deep down sleep" 3 of the 4 cores via software. That way power savings can be achieved by knocking out (or waking up) cores via software switch.

Want to game... all cores.

Want to idle... turn off 3 of 4 cores.

**edit**
Note that this is a slightly different approach (and much more aggressive in terms of power saving) that Speedstep approach which just adjusted the multiplier of all cores by a small amount, e.g. 6x to 9x and back again. This is different from Intel current philosophy of "speed up, get it done, idle". Perhaps Intel is right... but the idle power of the OTHER system components, like memory and GPU are the problem. The Atom part has ION GPU, the Intel part has a watt sucking PCIe16 device. Similary, 4 sticks high speed memory, vs. 1 or 2 sticks slower low power SO-DIMM.
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#13
Mussels
Moderprator
lemonadesoda said:
Please keep my comment in context. The comment is to help people understand it is two systems. I'm not knocking a two system approach. From early postings it was clear that some people thought this was one system.

There is only one reason to be interested in this system, and that is space consolidation. There are no other benefits. Every OTHER feature can be had/built at a lower cost and with greater flexibility.
i was in fact trying to keep that context in place.
Posted on Reply
#14
wolf
Performance Enthusiast
put the Atom 330 on this, and have gigabyte make a UD3 version and we're set :)
Posted on Reply
#16
Mussels
Moderprator
lemonadesoda said:
Highest performance, lowest power "one system" is probably this MSI Fuzzy GME965, http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=proddesc&maincat_no=388&prod_no=1267

What a shame Intel doesnt do a 4 core socket P. :(

We will have to wait for a LV i5.
965 vs ion, at least the ion system has enough power for HD playback thanks to cuda, not to mention VGA vs HDMI.


its not so much low power, as their goal with this system was to find a way to lower the power consumption of gaming systems - i get annoyed by the fact my PC is utterly overkill for 90% of the tasks i do, but they still havent got good idling characteristics down (i5/i7 and the ATI 5 series cards seem to be a big improvement over my generation of hardware for this)
Posted on Reply
#17
Geofrancis
i would like this board to replace my gaming rig and atom server and put it all into one case.

my main problems with this board is i would use the atom cpu for data storage and server dutys and the 775 chip for a main pc.

the main problem with this motherboard is that there is a lack of bandwidth between the 2 computers gigabit is just not enough! a pci-e link would be ideal with 250mb bi directional bandwidth you could setup raid on the atom and use iscsi to connect to it from the 775 machine then you would have a raid array running on an (almost) fully independent storage system that would be imunne to crashes or corruption on the main computer.


they should have put a modern socket and chipset instead of the 775 p45 combination. i5 would be the best combination for this as it only needs 2 chips cpu and southbridge.
Posted on Reply
#18
Mussels
Moderprator
Geofrancis said:
i would like this board to replace my gaming rig and atom server and put it all into one case.

my main problems with this board is i would use the atom cpu for data storage and server dutys and the 775 chip for a main pc.

the main problem with this motherboard is that there is a lack of bandwidth between the 2 computers gigabit is just not enough! a pci-e link would be ideal with 250mb bi directional bandwidth you could setup raid on the atom and use iscsi to connect to it from the 775 machine then you would have a raid array running on an (almost) fully independent storage system that would be imunne to crashes or corruption on the main computer.


they should have put a modern socket and chipset instead of the 775 p45 combination. i5 would be the best combination for this as it only needs 2 chips cpu and southbridge.
if they linked them any other way, the operating systems wouldnt be able to communicate without some fancy drivers or software. They wanted it to be compatible.

775 was probably easiest for them to test this on, as it would have been under design for a year or so - hard to make fancy prototypes with something that doesnt exist when you start designing.

Also, i5 is a CPU type, not a socket/motherboard. You obviously meant socket 1156/P55, but i thought it best to clear that up.
Posted on Reply
#19
hat
Enthusiast
mlee49 said:
YO Dog We Heard You Like To Browse The Internet And Game At The Same Time So We Put A Computer In Your Motherboard!
Yo dawg we heard you like computers so we put a computer in your computer so you can compute while you compute!!
Posted on Reply
#20
Mussels
Moderprator
hat said:

[quote="mlee49, post: 1559797"]YO Dog We Heard You Like To Browse The Internet And Game At The Same Time So We Put A Computer In Your Motherboard!

All joking aside, this is a very interesting concept. Perfect for moderate gaming while downloading um 'files'(google dark_knight.mkv people).
Yo dawg we heard you like computers so we put a computer in your computer so you can compute while you compute!![/quote]yo dawg, i heard you like to quote quotes, so i quoted a quote in your quote!

can we please stay on topic :)
Posted on Reply
#21
lemonadesoda
Mussels said:
i get annoyed by the fact my PC is utterly overkill for 90% of the tasks i do, but they still havent got good idling characteristics down (i5/i7 and the ATI 5 series cards seem to be a big improvement over my generation of hardware for this)
Fully agreed. "Idle" power is way too high. CPU/chipset and GPU just dont get down to the power efficiency of their mobile cousins. Intel needs to work on this. Just like PSU's have power efficiency categories, so there should also be system efficiency ratings for "going idle"... which means ON, not hibernate or standby, but inactive.

TV manufacturers do this. Washing machine and fridge/freezer units all have efficiency ratings. But PCs dont. A rating system might help get the ball rolling.

A TPU idle power rating system standard? Bring it on.
Posted on Reply
#22
CyberDruid
I think the main idle draw on my rig is the GFX. 99% of the time I am doing 2D stuff. ATI dual GPU seems the worst at this.

Then again the D5400XS is notorious for wasting power.

If I could offload to onboard GFX good enough to run a 1080 screen except for 3-D and a low power CPU until I need to fire off the V8 muscle that would be ideal.

MFRs are heading in the right direction with "hybrids" and the DFI offering is pretty edgey.
Posted on Reply
#23
wahdangun
lemonadesoda said:
You're missing the "take on this".


3./ Software licensing seems to be a "grey zone". We need an official statement on this. This is clearly "two systems"... not just "one mainboard" and hence 2 software licenses required for both sides... so no gain here
but MS always say that oem license was tied with motherboard and they never say SYSTEM, so by the logic you just need ONE license for ONE motherboard despite it have TWO system
Posted on Reply
#24
Mussels
Moderprator
wahdangun said:
but MS always say that oem license was tied with motherboard and they never say SYSTEM, so by the logic you just need ONE license for ONE motherboard despite it have TWO system
that would be interesting, you'd have a fun time arguing it with MS
Posted on Reply
#25
hat
Enthusiast
Wouldn't this be the same thing as running a virtual machine... just not so... virtual?
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