ECS KN1 SLI Extreme

Review

posted 9/16/2005 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Generally the layout of the board isn’t bad but I do have a few issues. As with the KN1 Extreme, the ATX12V plug that supplies the CPU with power is in an awfully tight space depending on how close your power supply is to your motherboard. Another is the placing of the floppy drive connector. It’s placed all the way on the other edge away from the hard drive connections so you’d have to string the cable a long ways. A nice spot would’ve been where the ECS sticker is. The SATA connectors are cleared from the PCI-E x16 line now so you should be able to reach them a lot easier with cards in place. The top PCI-E slot does line up with the clips of the memory slots though so that might pose a problem when you want to exchange memory chips. While the KN1 Extreme’s area around the CPU was clear of capacitors, there are a few too many lined up to the one on the SLI board. I would’ve liked to have seen ECS take a cue from ABIT whereby keeping the capacitor height no higher than the HSF housing if they couldn’t get away with moving the capacitors to another location. If you have a large HSF, you might run into some problems as the spacing is tighter on this board than the non-SLI one.

A concern for purchasers could be the appearance of OST capacitors on this board. Now, there’s been talk about the unreliability of these capacitors. Now the OST capacitors have a reputation for bulging and leaking. Of course, the time needed to complete this review won’t really allow me to see if the capacitors will fail over a long period of time. I have an ECS K7S5A working for a good three years at 12+ hours a day without any problems and they have OST caps. So in my personal experience, I can’t say I’ve had any problems with ECS boards failing due to this. But I thought I’d at least mention that the board does have a few OST caps in place.

For the BIOS, the board uses the Phoenix-AwardBIOS setup. Top Hat Flash is also included with this board and it’s really a helpful tool. Say you flash the BIOS and kill your machine. By popping the Top Hat Flash chip in and turning on your computer, you’ll have a fully working computer to re-flash the BIOS. Top Hat Flash can save your bacon a few times if you are a tweaker and accidentally corrupt your BIOS. The options available are the same as the KN1 Extreme motherboard and you can see what they offer in the screenshots below.



For testing, here are the specs of the components that were used:
AMD64 3800+
2 sticks of 256MB OCZ PC3200 ram
2 Leadtek PX6600 GT in SLI configuration
Maxtor 80 GB 7200RPM HD
Windows XP Professional w/ Service Pack 2
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