ASUS board with no memory slots

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by Rob Williams, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    ASUS... are innovative and crazy at the same time. TweakTown reports on a motherboard that has built-in DDR3 modules. They are kept passively cooler with ASUS' usual usage of copper.

    http://www.tweaktown.com/computex2007/38/asus_goes_memory_slot_free/index.html

    Check out how much copper that board has! :eek:
     
  2. Tech-Daddy

    Tech-Daddy Tech Monkey

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    'Oly sheet!!!!
     
  3. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    Just ask anyone with one of those older notebooks with the memory soldered on how good of an idea this is. Really stupid unless you don't plan on stressing it out since if you kill one IC then you need to RMA your board.
     
  4. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    Yeah exactly, this board is not for overclockers at all. It's meant for those who use their rig at stock. I am doubtful Qimonda would overclock very far anyway.
     
  5. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    Board would be nice for a full passive PC though.
     
  6. ccdarkness

    ccdarkness Obliviot

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    i don't think it's good for anykind of pc... if one DDR module get's busted?? what to do? change whole MoBo? & i don't think it will be cheap board :)
     
  7. drewd

    drewd Obliviot

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    Actually, this could be an excellent overclocking board. It removes one of the most stubborn problems that memory modules introduce: the socket. The socket presents an impedance mismatch, a break in the return current paths and a source of radiated noise.

    With good quality memory (which is not a comment on Qimonda), this board could be an outstanding overclocker. Asus doesn't have to be concerned over what kind of module or memory parts will be used and the engineers can place the memory parts and rout the buses to perfectly suit the parts that they chose.

    From a performance point of view, it can be a real winner. From a replacement point of view, I, too, would hate to have to replace the motherboard AND the memory because of the failure of either system. Still, this is the easiest solution to the problem of routing crazy-fast signals on low cost PCBs and still get everything to work. I'm sure that Asus isn't the only company that's looking at the problem this way.
     
  8. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    I could have been a good idea but we all know they will use crappy memory that will be hardly overclockable if it is at all and it is just gonna cost too much. I for one do not want a motherboard company telling me what ram I can run. This is a great idea for a HTPC or someone that will never overclock at all, but it is definitely a major bad idea for any enthusiast.
     
  9. Greg King

    Greg King I just kinda show up... Staff Member

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    For a stand alone PC, I love this idea. For the enthusiast, we switch out components far to often for this to even be a consideration. I like the idea, in certain situations, like B1lk1 said but for most of us (Techgage readers) this isn't a practical solution.
     
  10. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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  11. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    My guess is a $1K street price if not more. Atleast they are putting good memory on it.
     
  12. NicePants42

    NicePants42 Partition Master

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    Mar 6, 2007
    ..And hopefully leaving very shortly.

    I don't even understand how their 'perfect T-tree' is supposed to help - they say it'll 'reduce clock cycle timing by 50%'. WTF does that mean? All the timings get cut in half? So it's the motherboard that causes RAM to require higher timings? :confused: It's going to take more than that Power-Point slide to get ASUS' T-tree to fly.

    Seriously, who would want this?

    Enthusiast overclocker: Stuck with only 2gb of RAM, can overclock to 1500mhz but can never upgrade RAM for higher frequencies or lower timings, and since the board is using DDR3, it's going to cost an ass-load (as of now) compared to DDR2.

    Cheapo low end system builder: DDR2 is way cheaper right now. If DDR2 prices rise and DDR3 prices plummet (not an unlikely scenario) then this might turn into a decent deal. Unfortunately, by the time RAM prices might make this a good idea, we'll have some new chipsets and (cheap) RAM to choose from.

    On a lighter note, the heat pipe design looks good.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2007
  13. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    I would understand it better if the board was more for workstations or pure stability, but it's catered to the enthusiast crowd. It doesn't make much sense at all, but I might still get one of these in, just to see. The problem I feel is that if a ram stick dies, you have to RMA the entire board. That's more than a little inconvenience.

    Reducing of the clock cycle timing doesn't make much sense, but I assume it might be talking about the CPC, which might run at 1T instead of 2T... something P35 are already capable of with the latest BIOS' available.
     
  14. drewd

    drewd Obliviot

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    In the standard DDR3 "fly by" topology, there is a significant delay from the time that an address or command signal reaches the first DRAM on the module to the time that it reaches the last. That's a fair amount of latency across the bus that has to be accounted for in memory timings. In a "tree" design, the idea is that the command and address signals hit all of the DRAMs at the same time. Obviously there is still some latency, but it's not related to the flight time across the length of an entire module (which is a significant fraction of the address and command bit period).

    The problem with a classic tree design is that it's hard to properly terminate the signals on a module. There just isn't enough room for one resistor per signal per DRAM. So, DDR2, the last memory technology to use a tree, put the termination on the motherboard. But that wasn't so great for signal quality, which put an upper limit on just how fast the modules could run.

    DDR3 is a balancing act between speed, latency and signal quality. Asus' approach of "memory down" takes the best of DDR2 (the tree topology) and (I'm assuming) the best of DDR3 (termination close to the DRAMs). That makes for low latency with high data rates. Also, no connector also means no impedance discontinuities which means no reflections and no signal loss. And just as important, Asus can design the memory subsystem to be optimized for that particular topology and one particular DRAM type.

    And I don't even want to get into the problems with the data and strobe nets themselves and why it's a lot easier to do things the way that Asus did.

    Believe me, every time a new memory technology is introduced, we wipe the sweat from our brow and wonder how long it will be before memory goes from modules to on board. AMD has moved slightly in that direction, incorporating the memory controller into the CPU - they recognize the difficulty of moving high speed parallel signals across a PCB.

    DDR3 was a pretty significant change from DDR2, particularly dealing with the tree routing problem. DDR4 will probably be an incremental change over DDR3, but after that, I would not be surprised to see things radically change, either to a fully buffered DIMM type of module or some kind of serial memory bus...and maybe even (perish the thought) on-board memory. And why not? We do it with video cards - there haven't been memory sockets on video cards for ten years or so!
     
  15. moon111

    moon111 Coastermaker

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    I wonder what the cost is to make the sockets and extra circuit boards the Ram comes on? I don't think onboard video or sound is a good idea, but it's here. For an OEM, this would solve allot of problems. Just the time spent diagnosing problems... just RMA a new MB and be done with it.
     

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