Mini-motherboards: the shape of things to come?

Dave James at

So motherboard makers ECS have just announced their new mini-ITX motherboard introducing the AMD Kabini platform to the desktop masses. It’s got a soldered-on SoC (system-on-a-chip) AMD A6-5200, housing four 28nm Jaguar cores and the Radeon HD 8400 Graphics Core Next GPU.

With a whole suite of expansion opportunities in this tiny mobo footprint too is this motherboard the shape of our future PCs? Of course not, after all who would be crazy enough to build a mid-level gaming PC using just AMD Jaguar cores? Oh, hold on a second

But this has still gotten me thinking about the future of the desktop PC and whether we really need to have those chunky ATX mobos anymore.

EVGA discounts upgrading mobos and graphics cards: future proof or spendthrift?

PC Gamer at

Graphics card and motherboard manufacturer, EVGA, is offering the chance to upgrade any product you buy in Europe from it for up to six months after purchase. As part of its standard Step-Up program, folk that register their new EVGA graphics card, or mobo, have the option to trade in for a better model and just pay the difference.

Normally you’re only able to take advantage of the service for 90 days after purchase and only if you’ve bought into the extended warranty, but EVGA is upping the ante and doubling that to 180 days and waiving the warranty shenanigans. The offer is only running until the end of December, but that does mean you’re looking at being able to swap out your graphics card anytime up until June.

How to identify a motherboard when you want to upgrade

Adam Oxford at

I often get emails asking for advice on upgrades, most of which I try to answer as quickly as I can, but one that came through the other day struck me with a problem that I imagine is more common than you'd think.

The writer wanted to know what the best graphics card would be for his motherboard, and proceeded to list all the bits and bobs inside his PC. Some of them were nearly ten years old. Two things were immediately obvious from his mail. Firstly, that a graphics upgrade alone wasn't going to get Crysis 2 running at full speed. Secondly, that he'd obviously made a mistake identifying his components. According to the email he was running an Athlon FX chip from the middle of the last decade with a Pentium 4 motherboard circa 2001.

Since he also reckoned he was using two GeForce graphics cards in SLI configuration, I surmise that the writer is probably right about the chip, wrong about the mobo (since that predates SLI technology). Or that it was someone deliberately being silly and trying to catch me out.

The serious question the story raises, though, is how do you know what motherboard is inside your machine, and what its compatible with when you come to upgrade?