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ECS KA1-MVP Extreme Xpress 1600 Motherboard Review

ECS KA1-MVP Extreme Xpress 1600 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Gaming knows no loyalties, and on paper ATI CrossFire looks quite solid. The technology ATi has developed is apparently pretty good if you can actually track down a Crossfire compatible motherboard and the elusive Crossfire master videocard.
 75% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ECS Apr 27 2006   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ECS KA1-MVP Extreme

Rear I/O Exhaust Fan / BIOS Backups

Round back, the I/O ports consist of a pair of network jacks (one 10/100, the other GbE), the audio jacks and in place of where the parallel port traditionally goes, a fan exhaust. The bright green plastic air scoop and 40mm fan are intended to quickly remove some of the hot air generated by the socket 939 AMD Athlon64 processor and power MOSFETs from the case, thereby lowering overall internal temperatures.

The concept is good, but we're left wondering why the I/O shield is still just cut for a parallel port? A real vent for this exhaust fan should have been incorporated in to the I/O plate. In any case, the fan is 40mm fan (which is replaceable) is very quiet and does a decent job at expelling hot air from the system.

BIOS Backup and Protection?

ECS has come up with a novel way of protecting end users from the experience of a bad BIOS flash. Rather than mounting two BIOS chips on the motherboard itself, a second BIOS is supplied in a specialized double-sided BIOS socket. ECS call this backup solution the "Top-Hat" flash module.

Since the surface mounted BIOS ROM contacts are exposed on the actual motherboard, the backup ECS "Top-Hat" flash module can simply be clipped into place on top of the board mounted BIOS chip when needed.

Should there be a bad BIOS flash, the ECS Top-Hat flash module will take over from the onboard BIOS, and once the board is up and running take off the Top-Hat device and proceed to re-flash your motherboard. The process is very simple and it works quite well, just make sure you keep the Top-Hat module in a safe spot that you will remember!

Random Points and Usability

The board comes equipped with a 24-pin ATX power connector, but if you're still holding out with an embattled 20 pin ATX power supply it will still work in most circumstances.

But, if you have any intention of running twin videocards you had better be prepared to pop in a higher wattage power supply that can pump out at least 400-450Watts.

Among the short list of things we would have liked to have seen done is moving the auxiliary molex power connector from its current position at the base of the motherboard to something more central, with A/C and parking perhaps? The other big let down was the motherboard manual.

The information on how to install two Crossfire videocards, or even just one with the shunt card is skint and insufficiently detailed.

If you've been living in nVidia's world and never had an ATI Crossfire board under your fingers, the whole ATi Shunt system can be kind of confusing.

Finally before we get into the ATI Xpress X1600 overview, we should note that the brand of capacitors used on the ECS KN1-SLI Extreme motherboard are OST, G.LUXON and a brand only identified with a capital M as its logo.

Now, let's take a closer look into the ATI Crossfire X1600 chipset.

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Contents of Article: ECS KA1-MVP Extreme
 Pg 1.  ECS KA1-MVP Extreme Xpress 1600 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Rear I/O Exhaust Fan / BIOS Backups
 Pg 3.  ATi CrossFire Xpress 1600 Chipset
 Pg 4.  It's a question of overclocking
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: SYSMark2004
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: PCMark05, 3DMark05
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: 3DMark06, FarCry, X3 Reunion, UT2004
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Doom 3, Quake 4, Conclusions

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