Dual graphics in one form or another seems to be all the rage at the moment and motherboard manufacturer ECS seemingly doesn’t want to be left out of the party. It has just announced a complete line of motherboard featuring its proprietary Dual Graphics Engines.
This isn’t a SLI solution but in fact refers to motherboards that have both a PCI Express x16 and an AGP slot. This gives users a cost effective way of upgrading their systems as they can move to the latest Intel and AMD CPUs, and without having to buy a brand new PCI Express card.
Though the Dual Graphics Engine doesn’t provide SLI support, you can at least use both slots at once, enabling you to use up to four monitors at once, which can be used not only to give more space for 2D applications but can also be used by certain supporting 3D applications.
The AGP slot isn’t however a true AGP 8x slot as support for his standard has been dropped by Intel. Instead it's referred to as an AGP Express slot. What ECS has done is to rather cleverly combine the voltages and bandwidth of two standard PCI slots. The AGP card therefore runs in PCI mode and so can’t offer any of the AGP specific features such as direct memory access mode. It’s also has to share bandwidth with any other PCI devices. While this causes a performance hit the Dual Graphics Engine is still worthwhile for its ability to allow for staggered upgrades and multiple monitor support.
The first board to be released is the 915P-A, which incorporates the Intel Pentium 4 processor in LGA775-pin package couple with Intel 915P and ICH6 chipsets that support 800MHz FSB.
This board also supports both 400MHZ DDR1 RAM and 533MHz DDR2 memory further easing the upgrade path.
Here is a list of its Dual Graphic Engines motherboards:
Socket 775 Premium
915G-A (915G, PCIEX16 or GMA900 +AGP Express)
915P-A (915P, PCIEX16 +AGP Express)
915-A (915GV, GM900 +PCIE Lite +AGP Express)
RS400-A (RS400, X300SE +PCIEx16)
Socket 775 & 478 Mainstream
915-M5 (915GV, GMA900 +PCIE Lite)
661FX-A7 (661FX, AGP 8x or embedded PCIE Lite)
RS400-M (RS400, X300SE +PCIEx16)
Socket 478 Value
845GV-M3 (845GV, IEGT +AGP Express)
Socket 939 Premium
RX480-A (RX480, PCIEX16 +TV-Out)
756-A (756, PCIEX16 +AGP Express)
RS480-M (RS480, X300SE +PCIEX16)
Socket 754 Mainstream
760GX-A3 (760GX, Mirage2 or AGP 8x PCIE Lite)
Socket 462 Value
741GX-M3 (741GX, Mirage or AGP 8x +PCIE Lite)