ECS PN2 SLI2+ Extreme

Review

posted 4/16/2007 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Around this area you'll find two connectors that you don't normally see here. First off are the front panel connections. Normally they sit to the far right of where they are on this motherboard but the 680i reference board has them in an interesting place. Right above the front panel connectors is a 4-pin molex connector for stabilizing SLI configurations. I've seen this connector on the south-west area of the motherboard or even near the first PCI-E slot but the PN2 SLI+ has it near the DIMM slots. I personally liked this placement the best as it's near where hard drives or optical drives are sitting so you should have a molex connector that can easily fit this area. On other motherboards I had to run an extension cable but I didn't have to with the PN2 SLI+.
Four SATA II connectors are positioned to the right of the molex connector as well but they aren't the only ones. Two more sit on the edge to the left of the four and they are positioned outward instead of facing up like most connectors. This also happens to be the same way the floppy connector is to the left of the two SATA connectors. I've experienced the positioning of these connectors on ABIT motherboards before and I do like them that way. They can make it easier for some cables to run into.

SATA

To troubleshoot any problems, the motherboard features two LEDs that will show you the error code in case something happens. This is certainly a lot better than listening to beep codes. While it's certainly not the first motherboard to feature an LED display, it is a nice touch to include it on here. Near the LEDs are a couple USB headers so you can expand the amount of USB connections you have. If you have front connectors like I do on my case, here's where you can connect them.

LED

Another really cool feature on this motherboard are onboard power and reset buttons. If you fiddle with your board a lot or if you use it to test like I do with the motherboard sitting on a test bench, you no longer have to connect power switches as the onboard buttons will turn on and restart your computer. While I would've liked it in a better and less obstructive position I am happy it is on there nevertheless. Since the two buttons are close to the last PCI slot, you might have problems reaching it if you have a card in there.

Buttons

When you look at the connectors available, the one thing that should pop out to you is that this board features three PCI-E slots. Two of course is used for SLI but the third one is going to be for future use such as using a video card for physics, which is probably something you heard of a little while ago. While the technology isn't out there yet to let you do this, the PN2 SLI2+ is ready to go when it does launch. You won't have to throw out those old PCI-E video cards now as they might be used one day to accelerate some physics in your games. The first two PCI-E slots run at a full 16X speed while the third one runs at 8X. I'm very happy ECS did away with the tiny clips they used to have on some of their PCI-E slots as this motherboard features side clips. They are a lot easier to reach and they also sit on the side opposite the second slot one dual slot video card would take so you shouldn't have too much trouble reaching them to take out your video card. Sitting on either side of the first PCI-E slot is a PCI-E x1 connector. Two PCI slots round out the expansion slots that this motherboard has.

PCIE
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