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Old 07-17-2012, 06:27 AM   #1
stf92
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Ancient times: PCI vs ISA, construction.


Hi:
ISA cards traditionally had their components facing right, if you look the machine from the front. But I have a PCI card whose components face left. Either this is a blunder or else I'm in need of clarification. Am I?
 
Old 07-17-2012, 06:49 AM   #2
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It's a design standard. Originally ISA and PCI shared the same main board - and slots were mounted closely together to share the same opening/slots in the case chassis (this was usually only involving a pairing of one ISA slot and one PCI slot). It obviously became redundant fairly quickly as PCI made ISA completely obsolete. As far as I know there was no other reasoning behind mounting the components on the opposite side.

Of course all of this was thought out long before tower cases became the standard, so now your components face down - I've often wondered how this affects dissipation of heat? For a graphics card GPU with a heatsink and fan, it seems to be a good thing, as the fan pulls in the cooler air from lower in the case, but for other components, such as RAM chips, maybe not so much.

Last edited by cynwulf; 07-17-2012 at 06:51 AM.
 
Old 07-17-2012, 06:56 AM   #3
stf92
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Thanks for commenting but I still do not understand. I have only two slots: leftmost, ISA, rightmost PCI. So its impossible to plug both a PCI and an ISA, which was obviously the intention of the motherboard manufacturer!
 
Old 07-17-2012, 07:11 AM   #4
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The PCI and ISA specifications are what they are, some manufacturers did design their boards with "dual slots" (two slots quite close together sharing the same opening in the chassis) other board manufacturers did not.

If your board only has two slot's in total, it's likely that space saving was not an issue anyway. People often forget that motherboards back then could have 3 or 4 ISA slots and often just as many PCI slots. This was mainly because onboard devices such as LAN, graphics, modem and sound, etc were not as common as they are today. A board with only two or three slots was pretty much useless to someone who needed to connect, their modem, sound card, graphics card, scsi card, tv card and NIC. The specification with the slot sharing idea was designed with this in mind. If you google image search for "isa pci motherboard" you should see some images of old boards with e.g. 3 ISA slots and 4 PCI slots. Where the two groups meet, that is often the "dual slot" - but as I said it's down to the board manufacturer.

I once had two old socket 7 boards - the Gigabyte GA-5AX and FIC PA-2013, if you look for images of those one you'll see there are only 2 ISA slots and between 4 and 5 PCI slots, the ISA slot closest to the bank of PCI slots is very close. You cannot install an adapter in both - they are "dual slots".

Last edited by cynwulf; 07-17-2012 at 07:13 AM.
 
Old 07-17-2012, 07:14 AM   #5
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ISA and PCI slots sharing a single backplane is standard.

You cant blame (just) the motherboard manufacturers for what become industry standard. Or the industry standard for your motherboard only having one useable slot.

What ISA card would anybody want to run these days anyway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by caravel View Post
Of course all of this was thought out long before tower cases became the standard, so now your components face down - I've often wondered how this affects dissipation of heat? For a graphics card GPU with a heatsink and fan, it seems to be a good thing, as the fan pulls in the cooler air from lower in the case, but for other components, such as RAM chips, maybe not so much.
With ATX cases with 'flipped' motherboard mounts the PCI/PCIe cards face 'up'. They also face 'up' with BTX....not that many people use BTX cases/boards.

RAM chips can be mounted anywhere on the motherboard. Most boards have the RAM chips 'high' on the board, but not all. System RAM doent normally need cooling, but if it really worries you- 'flipped' ATX cases to the rescuse, again.

The differnce between a video card facing 'up' or 'down' is very small, virtually nothing if the numbers I saw a few years ago were right. Even if there was a major difference, with modern video cards it would only matter for 'gamers' cards anyway....good cards for desktop dont output huge amounts of heat, and GPUs can take big temps much better than CPUs.
 
Old 07-17-2012, 07:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
ISA and PCI slots sharing a single backplane is standard.
Yes, that's the point I was making.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
You cant blame (just) the motherboard manufacturers for what become industry standard. Or the industry standard for your motherboard only having one useable slot.
The side the components are mounted on is defined in the PCI standard, it was up to board manufacturers whether they implement the shared slot or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
What ISA card would anybody want to run these days anyway?
That was the idea at the time, a dual slot while ISA was being phased out. Later boards only had one dual ISA/PCI slot before it vanished altogether. The objective was saving space and not dedicating too many case openings to legacy ISA adapters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
With ATX cases with 'flipped' motherboard mounts the PCI/PCIe cards face 'up'. They also face 'up' with BTX....not that many people use BTX cases/boards.
I've also seen some HP OEM desktop systems where the motherboard is mounted "upside down".

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
RAM chips can be mounted anywhere on the motherboard. Most boards have the RAM chips 'high' on the board, but not all. System RAM doent normally need cooling, but if it really worries you- 'flipped' ATX cases to the rescuse, again.
I was referring to RAM on an adapter card, not RAM on the motherboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
The differnce between a video card facing 'up' or 'down' is very small, virtually nothing if the numbers I saw a few years ago were right. Even if there was a major difference, with modern video cards it would only matter for 'gamers' cards anyway....good cards for desktop dont output huge amounts of heat, and GPUs can take big temps much better than CPUs.
But when the PCI spec was introduced, this wasn't the case. Modern graphics cards are PCI-e and AGP has been along in the meantime as well...

According to wikipedia it was a big factor in the design of BTX:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BTX_%2...9#Enhancements
Quote:
Thermal design - The BTX layout establishes a straighter path of airflow with fewer obstacles, resulting in better overall cooling capabilities. A distinct feature of BTX is the vertical mounting of the motherboard on the left-hand side. This results in the graphics card heatsink or fan facing upwards, rather than in the direction of the adjacent expansion card.
It's odd that with AGP and PCI-e the components are still facing the same way as PCI.
 
Old 07-17-2012, 09:58 AM   #7
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Just turn 'em around and stick 'em in the other way. (If they don't go in easily, use a hammer and a jackknife.)
 
Old 07-17-2012, 10:46 AM   #8
stf92
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You do not make me laugh. I do not use computers to play multimedia or anything else than implementing math algorithm. And believe me. You won't benefit from a fast, modern desktop. It is the algorithm which has to be fast. So, my hardware is old. But I don't need newer one.

As for the monkeys who worked in the PCI specification, I could say where exactly their brains must located, but can't do it here.

Last edited by stf92; 07-17-2012 at 10:53 AM.
 
Old 07-18-2012, 06:00 AM   #9
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caravel View Post
The side the components are mounted on is defined in the PCI standard, it was up to board manufacturers whether they implement the shared slot or not.
I've seen one PCI card with the ICs on the 'wrong side'. Cant remember what it was though...

Quote:
Originally Posted by caravel View Post
I was referring to RAM on an adapter card, not RAM on the motherboard.
Fair enough. Even less of a problem than system RAM IMO, most RAM you see mounted on PCI cards is fairly slow and doesnt need cooling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caravel View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
The differnce between a video card facing 'up' or 'down' is very small, virtually nothing if the numbers I saw a few years ago were right. Even if there was a major difference, with modern video cards it would only matter for 'gamers' cards anyway....good cards for desktop dont output huge amounts of heat, and GPUs can take big temps much better than CPUs.
But when the PCI spec was introduced, this wasn't the case. Modern graphics cards are PCI-e and AGP has been along in the meantime as well...
They only cards that most users will ever have that draws large amounts of power, and outputs large amounts of heat, is a video card. When PCI (and AGP for that matter) come out, nobody expected the huge increase in power draw and heat output from video devices.

PCI (IIRC) is limited to 25watts....same as AGP was orginially (it was upped later). 25 watts isnt that much power, and I cant think of a single hot running PCI card offhand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caravel View Post
It's odd that with AGP and PCI-e the components are still facing the same way as PCI.
Not really. Either you believe that the components shoudl face 'up', then get a flipped ATX or BTX case. Or you believe the components should face 'down', just get a 'normal' case.

IMO its better that components face down. If they faced 'up', then the dust sits on all parts. If they face 'down', the dust just sits on ther back of the card...much safer IMO. We all know what dust does to electrical components....

Quote:
Originally Posted by stf92 View Post
As for the monkeys who worked in the PCI specification, I could say where exactly their brains must located, but can't do it here.
I dont see any serious problems with the PCI spec.

Are you really that annoyed at not beign able to run a PCI + a ISA card in your system?....even though from the above post, you arent going to use anything that would go into your PCI or ISA slot.
 
Old 07-18-2012, 06:10 AM   #10
stf92
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In fact, I am. A tolerably good Yamaha OPL3, this is ISA, and provisionally a network card, PCI. They both work separately but, I now see my machine is one-or-the-other. Why on earth didn't they made the componentes face the same side as in ISA???
 
Old 07-18-2012, 09:12 AM   #11
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stf92 View Post
I do not use computers to play multimedia or anything else than implementing math algorithm.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stf92 View Post
In fact, I am. A tolerably good Yamaha OPL3, this is ISA, and provisionally a network card, PCI. They both work separately but, I now see my machine is one-or-the-other.
If you 'dont use your computers to play multimedia', then why are you worried about a FM synthesis sound chip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stf92 View Post
Why on earth didn't they made the componentes face the same side as in ISA???
If ISA and PCI didnt 'share' a backplane, you would have no choice at all. They would be either a ISA slot or a PCI slot.

If you wanted to use both the PCI and ISA cards, you should have got a motherboard that suppotred them. Complaining that they both wont fit is like compaining that you have a 2 door car when you wanted 4 doors....
 
Old 07-18-2012, 01:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
If you 'dont use your computers to play multimedia', then why are you worried about a FM synthesis sound chip?
That was an incomplete truth, to abuse vocabulary. Frankly, why have sound chips to have FM synth? I think the ADC is enough. Even in the case of a composer, why would he want FM? A composer should be good at orchestrating and the timber of instruments lies in his brain. Only in the case of the electronic music composer it could be helpful but, in that case, he generally uses sophisticated special purpose computers. And electronic musical synthesis is yet in such a poor state! Unless you devote huge amounts of money and labor to it, which doesn't justify the end. I could comment much longer on this if it were not for the sake of the forum. More or less: if you like music, learn to play an instrument (of course, in order to generate it).


Quote:
If ISA and PCI didnt 'share' a backplane, you would have no choice at all. They would be either a ISA slot or a PCI slot.

If you wanted to use both the PCI and ISA cards, you should have got a motherboard that suppotred them. Complaining that they both wont fit is like compaining that you have a 2 door car when you wanted 4 doors....
I can't dialogue with you about this as you seem to know a lot about computer implementation. A backplane plain seems to be no more than the physical realization of the concept of bus, I see. But I, end-user, still say a desktop with two slots, one excluding the other, is of no use. By going to the car example, two seats, but you can't use both of them at the same time!
 
Old 07-18-2012, 03:39 PM   #13
jefro
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I doubt there is some law that says how to populate and configure a board. I have seen many commercial type boards that do odd stuff. It is possible that your board is odd or non-standard.

The only rule is they have to fit in a slot and be usable in some OS.
 
Old 07-19-2012, 03:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stf92 View Post
That was an incomplete truth, to abuse vocabulary.
I knew that....I'd seen enough '.flac' questions from you. I just dont get why you decided to lie.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by stf92 View Post
Frankly, why have sound chips to have FM synth? I think the ADC is enough.
Sound cards that have FM synth were standard for the time. Theres more than one reason why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stf92 View Post
Even in the case of a composer, why would he want FM? A composer should be good at orchestrating and the timber of instruments lies in his brain. Only in the case of the electronic music composer it could be helpful but, in that case, he generally uses sophisticated special purpose computers. And electronic musical synthesis is yet in such a poor state! Unless you devote huge amounts of money and labor to it, which doesn't justify the end. I could comment much longer on this if it were not for the sake of the forum. More or less: if you like music, learn to play an instrument (of course, in order to generate it).
I dont know why you did this, either. Well, if you want to show your allegiance to 'real' music and have a few digs at electronic music, there was a point. IMO you dont know much about electronic music, but that is besides the point......

Quote:
Originally Posted by stf92 View Post
I can't dialogue with you about this as you seem to know a lot about computer implementation. A backplane plain seems to be no more than the physical realization of the concept of bus, I see. But I, end-user, still say a desktop with two slots, one excluding the other, is of no use. By going to the car example, two seats, but you can't use both of them at the same time!
'Blackplane' is just the 'removeable plate over a hole in the back of a the computer where the connections from the cards pop out'.

Seems to me that you made an assumption- the board has an ISA + PCI slot, and both are useable. Well, if its a 'shared' slot, no they arent (well....maybe they are, but I wouldnt suggest trying it). If you wanted to use both an ISA and PCI slot, you should have got a different board.

Put it down to experience, next time you should know what a 'shared' slot looks like.
 
Old 07-19-2012, 04:13 AM   #15
stf92
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Ok. I'l give a touch to the rudder for I do not want this to become an argument bacause you are a poster whom I respect for your knowledge and accuracy. But I'd like you to single out those posts you speak about.

On the other hand, I call your attention on the fact that your definition of backplane is in contradiction with that of the person who wrote the corresponding article in wikipedia. See, for example, what a backplane was in the age of minicomputers (DEC PDP-8, photograph). Although there could be more than one meaning, the main meaning is made clear by the article.

As to electronic music, it is really called electro-acoustic music these days, pressumably in a effort to separate the concept from its pop connotations. It began in Radio Cologne, in the hands of Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Last edited by stf92; 07-19-2012 at 04:50 AM.
 
  


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