IBM Think Center S50: 8183 Motherboard

 Motherboard Specifications
CPU Interface Socket-478
Chipset Intel 82865PE MCH (North Bridge)
Intel ICH5 (South Bridge)
Bus Speeds Not Adjustable
AGP/PCI Speeds Not Adjustable
Core Voltages Supported Not Adjustable
AGP Voltages Supported Not Adjustable
DRAM Voltages Supported Not Adjustable
Memory Slots 2 x 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots
DDR320 only
Expansion Slots 2 PCI Slot
Onboard Graphics Intel 865G Extreme Graphics 2
Onboard RAID None
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394 Eight USB 2.0 supported through ICH5
No Firewire
Onboard LAN Intel PRO/100 (Pro/1000 Optional)
Onboard Audio SoundMAX Cadenza (ADI1981B)
Onboard Serial ATA 2 SATA drives supported by Intel ICH5

The Corporate Desktop is not where would you expect to find overclocking options, and there are none available on the Think Center S50. A few of the IBM decisions, though, need some explaining. While we suspect that IBM chose DDR333 for maximum stability in the S50, the Intel 865 chipset limits actual memory performance to DDR320. The real difference between DDR320 and DDR400 performance is not that great, so we understand IBM's decision. However, we do wish the BIOS had at least an AUTO function that would see and recognize DDR400 for those Corporate clients who chose to use it. When we installed 2 X 512mb of DDR400 for our tests, the system still set it up as DDR320 — though it did recognize and set the aggressive 2-2-2-5 SPD memory timings.

While IBM shipped our Evaluation unit with just one DIMM, we would strongly recommend purchasing the S50 with 2 DIMMs or a quick upgrade to 2 DIMMs. Sandra 2004 confirms that with 2 DIMMs, the S50 operates in Dual-Channel memory mode, which is faster than the Single-Channel mode used by a single DIMM. Dual-Channel memory is one of the defining features of the Intel 865/875 series, and eliminating that feature has a significant impact in performance — making the 865 no faster than the venerable 845 chipset. IBM also limited on-board memory to 2GB in 2 DIMM slots. This will not likely be a significant limitation with a Corporate desktop system.

In our recent Biostar SFF review, we were impressed that you could assemble, upgrade, and change memory without having to remove the drive cage from the case. The IBM extends this ease of use/ease of upgrading to an even higher plateau. You can add, remove, repair, and troubleshoot virtually anything in the Think Center S50 without even so much as a screwdriver.

IBM Think Center S50: S50 Chassis IBM Think Center S50: BIOS
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  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - link

    You are missing the point #9, the machine isn't designed for high performance enthusiasts. Its designed for people who call the computer case a modem.
    If you want a high performance machine, you will rarely pick up machine designed for a corporate enviroment.
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - link

    Shalmanese, what the hell is the point of selling an SFF with a 3.2GHz processor if you claim that no one buying this SFF is going to notice the difference between a 3.2GHz CPU and a 500MHz CPU? You're missing the point; IBM is selling a high-end PC with a high-end CPU that doesn't perform nearly as well as other SFFs, and that's a big deal for high performance enthusiasts.
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - link

    Try inserting a USB-memory-dongle, Bluetooth-dongle etc. in the front USB-ports here... will not work...
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - link

    does anyone know who designs ibm computer cases?

    whoever it is, must be the same guy that has been designing them for the past 10+ years.
    they all kind of look the same from, as long as i can remember...unlike some other companies (hp/dell etc) that seem to change every couple of years...

  • Shalmanese - Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - link

    Seriously, how many people in a typical office environment would notice a 10% drop in performance in content creation? The average user would probably not be able to tell a 500Mhz and a 3.2Ghz apart in typical usage.
  • Joony - Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - link

    Personally, I think the Dell GX270 is a better looking SFF PC. Performance is also quite decent! only thing bad compared to the IBM is only a half height AGP and PCI slot. The place I work at have hundreds of these and servicing them is very easy for IT people like me. Go Dell, whoo!

    (Posting from my Dell Latitude D600 :D)
  • AgaBooga - Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - link

    Its good to see more SFF competition. Hopefully they will become increasingly popular over time.
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - link

    Wow, this computer kicks ass for non-gamers/graphics designers. I wouldn't mind having one!!
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - link

    Not so fast #1. The law office that i worked in just replaced all 40 of their workstations with Shuttles!
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - link

    Where are the comparisons to Dell SFF business systems and Compaq EVO business systems!??

    Apples to apples, people... it would be rare that a business would buy a SFF kit and build their own PCs..

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