Gigabyte has developed a special converter that allows DDR memory modules to function in DDR2 slots for its GA-PT880Pro Combo mainboard. The device should ease upgrade path for those who migrate to the platform from a system that only supports DDR memory.
Gigabyte GA-PT880Pro Combo mainboard is based on VIA PT880 PRO chipset that supports Intel processors with up to 1066MHz processor system bus, PCI Express x16 as well as AGP 8x slots for graphics cards as well as sports dual-channel DDR/DDR2 memory controller that can operate with up to PC3200 (667MHz) or PC2-5400 (667MHz). Due to the nature of VIA PT880 PRO memory controller and peculiarities of Gigabyte’s mainboard design, the company supplies special converters that allow to use DDR memory in DDR2 slots, reports HKEPC web-site.
DDR SDRAM utilizes 184-pin slots, whereas DDR2 use 240-pin slots. Furthermore, DDR requires 2.6V voltage, whereas default setting for DDR2 is 1.8V. Gigabyte’s DDR-to-DDR2 converter does not feature any additional logic, but utilizes peculiarities of VIA’s PT880 PRO chipset and is not compatible with any other mainboards, but GA-PT880Pro.
The converter may be required for price-conscious customers, who already have DDR memory, but want to switch to a new platform that would support PCI Express bus and LGA775 processors. The reason why Gigabyte decided not to install four DDR2 memory slots is unclear, as installing two types of slots may harder than putting four similar slots onto the board. Furthermore, four DDR2 slots would provide better expandability for the future.
According to performance measurements by HKEPC, Gigabyte GA-PT880Pro performs slightly better with DDR2 533MHz memory compared to the DDR 400MHz. Still, the difference in speed is negligible. The web-site also notes that when four DDR memory modules are installed, computer systems performs faster than the same system with a pair of memory sticks.
It is unclear when Gigabyte GA-PT880Pro reaches retail and how much will it cost.