ECS KA1 MVP

Review

posted 4/26/2006 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
As with a few of the Extreme boards, the KA1 MVP has two integrated LAN ports and like the others, one is a Gigabit LAN and the other is a 10/100 variant. I’d like to have seen both support Gigabit but that’s a relatively small issue.

Recent ECS boards in the Extreme line have come with a lot of cables and add-ons and the KA1 MVP is no exception. Besides the various SATA and IDE cables, ECS has included a nice little front plate if you rather have the extra USB and Firewire ports on the front of your computer. Top Hat flash is included as well in case you need to be saved from a BIOS update gone wrong. The CD packaged with ECS software has some nice utilities to go along with the motherboard.

The KA1 MVP was one of the few boards that are ATI certified when we received it a few months ago. This means that ECS has participated in the program to be tested and certified by ATI. It’s a voluntary certification and it’s nice to see ECS go through program to ensure their motherboard adheres to ATI’s specifications. You can see all the certified products here with ECS leading the way on motherboards with 3.

The BIOS used by the KA1 MVP is the AWARD BIOS and as such offers some decent overclocking options. Max CPU voltage is at 1.550V while memory tops out at 3.0V. If you want to increase the clock in the CPU, the BIOS lets you increase in 2MHz increments with a max increase of 30MHz. One thing I do know about ECS is that whenever I had problems they were quick to turn around with a BIOS to help fix the situation.

There are a few issues I have with the board layout. One is the two very small clips on the PCI-E x16 slots. ECS has been inconsistent with how these clips should be with some boards having a combination of a long and short clip such as the ones in the KN1 Extreme board. It’s really hard to get finger in there to pop the card lock with such a short clip so if you change cards out a lot like I do, this is rather annoying. Another issue is the placement of the 12V connector for the CPU. Situated near the green vent fan, a capacitor, and a fan connector, this plug is very hard to reach at times. The Molex connector to provide more juice to the board during dual card operations sits on the far opposite end by where most power supplies would sit. That means you have to route a long Molex connector across the motherboard to the connector on the other end. Finally if you have a long video card, one of the SATA connectors is pretty much unusable as the card will block the connection. As you can see in the picture, a better place for the SATA connectors would be the large Extreme sticker on the motherboard. A swap of the two would’ve been perfect so that none of the SATA connectors would be blocked.

So our test setup included:
  • AMD64 3800+
  • 512MB PC3200 RAM
  • ECS KA1 MVP Crossfire motherboard (of course)
  • Leadtek PX6600 GT TDH
  • Windows XP w/ Service Pack 2
  • Maxtor 120 GIG 7200RPM HDD
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