Products > Computers

What are the most expandable, backwards compatible, modern computers?

(1/6) > >>

When I bought my current decktop, now almost a decade old, one of the selling points of the motherboard was their alleged use of long life components, also the MB had an old style ATA disk connection and a single old style PCI slot (non-PCI-e, along with a normal number of PCI-e slots.. I guess its target market was cheapskates like me.. Anyway, its served me well and continues to do so, mostly. I may upgrade it fairly soon, though. What are other motherboards that share this design philosophy, where they make it possible to use both modern tech and "trailing edge" tech from yesteryear at the same time?

I dont like to be forced to buy new hardware.

Ditto for my current motherboard (2011-era).  I like having the old PCI slot.  On reflection however: the most I've really used it for are TV tuner cards and diagnostic cards.  I can't think of much else.

There are bridging chipsets used to make adaptors to provide PCI or ISA over PCIE.  Never tried them but I presume they're reliably and well supported given that some PCIE cards actually contain these chips on them. 

You can buy some specialist "industrial" motherboards that come with PCI and/or ISA slots on them.  They cost a lot more and are rarer.  I assume they just put the same PCIE-to-PCI/ISA bridge chipsets on the motherboards instead?  I wonder if southbridges still expose ISA or if it's an internal-only bus now? (modern chipsets still report ISA temperature probes and other stuff to the OS).

PCIE is fully backwards compatible, so anything that currently works in your PCIE slots will continue to.

I don't think any motherboards have gotten rid of SATA yet, which is good.  M.2 is getting more popular but all of the disks I have are SATA and I want to keep using those.

Some motherboards use the new ATX12V specification for power, I'm of the opinion of avoiding those.  You need a different style of power supply (or an adaptor) and if any of the switchers on the motherboard fail then the whole motherboard is junk.  I've been known to mysteriously kill motherboard parts with my magic touch :)

Avoid OEM motherboards (those that come in pre-built computers), those tend to be non-standard in weird and wacky ways.  An off the shelf motherboard is always the better option.

In terms of CPU sockets: I don't know what to recommend at the moment.  You'll have to look at both Intel & AMD's offerings to see which looks like it's going to be better in the long term.  I'm using one of the "newest" processors that my motherboard supports, released well after the motherboard itself, because I had a few years of good CPU support.  It wasn't high end but it's now pretty cheap.

I am now at a point where I'm interested in upgrading my CPU, but it's an expensive proposition for me.  Around $200 for a new CPU, $125 for a new motherboard and $100 for new DDR4 RAM (I only have DDR3).  The rest of my parts should continue to work, however :)

if it ain't got a good old isa card , it's not backward compatible. some will even say if it doesn;t use gpib to connect external harddisks or can run rocky mountain basic programs it's not backward compatible. real greybears will tell you if it can;t run OS260 or emulate an IBM360 instruction set it ain;t backwards compatbile. The real crufty ones will reach for their stack of punch cards and 5 bit paper tape.

what's the point ? how long do you want to drag along all that old stuff ? I'm using 7 year old Z-book machines. has everything you could wish for and runs even the heaviest programs. Plenty of them on ebay. Can drive 3 external screens and has 4 storage bays. ( 2 x 2.5 inch drive bays , a cdrom bay and an eSata module bay. slap in a terabyte of emmc , two 4 terabyte laptop drives , 32 gig of ram and a dvdrom. hook it to its dock station ( where you can slap in another desktop harddisk and a cdrom drive ) and off you go. it has usb 3 , displayport , thnuderbolt and all you could possibly want.
Get one with a Quadro K4100 or K5100
if you look around you can find Gen II machines for like 500$

If building a modern desktop (from scratch), I'd find the best combination of mobo, cpu, and ram that is in the price range you need. For me, the sweet spot is always a gen or 2 back from whatever is current; as long as it has SATA, USB3 or later, etc., I can hook up anything to it. I escape the temporary "premium" price in this way.

If you've got some really old stuff that you have to drag along, I wouldn't cripple the new mobo with old stuff. See if any of the "industrial" designs still have ISA or whatever you need, in a small-form industrial package. I'm amazed at how many of these are still supporting ISA, older Windows OS's, and so on. Apparently, industry still runs things on DOS ...

Hook both up over the network, but by separating in this way, old stuff doesn't cripple new stuff. You should be able to "remote in" to the old stuff from new systems, and control hardware and software. A VGA/keyboard/mouse switch, and one monitor handles both, if remoting in isn't a good fit.

Hope this helps ...

David Hess:
Do you have any PCI cards that you actually want to use?  My previous system, built around 2011, lasted until last year when I decided that I needed more RAM than it would economically support.  Its replacement lacks PCI slots, but there was nothing I could not find in a PCIe card if necessary now and I made sure to get a motherboard with plenty of PCIe slots.

New motherboards with PCI slots through a bridge chip are available if you need that level of backwards compatibility.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

There was an error while thanking
Go to full version