ECS KV2 Extreme Review :: The Board

09-02-2004 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
ECS KV2 Extreme
† Voltage and Physical support for previous generation of AGP
‡ Not just pin headers onboard
ECS KV2 Extreme Review
Board RevisionV1.0
BIOS VersionK8T800P-8237-6A7L1E1AC-00 06/10/2004
Default Clock Speed (MHz)2399.7
North BridgeVIA K8T800 Pro
South BridgeVIA VT8237
Number of PCI slots5
Number of PCI-E slots0
Memory typeDDR 400
Number of memory slots4
Maximum Memory (GB)4
Universal AGP support †No
AGP Pro SupportNo
Number of Physical USB 1.1 ports ‡0
Number of Physical USB 2.0 ports ‡6
Active Cooling on ChipsetYes
Adjustable AGP VoltageYes
Adjustable Memory VoltageYes
Southbridge UDMA 133 SupportYes
IDE or RAID Controller other than SouthbridgeSIS 180
Auto speed-down/shutdown on fan failureNo
Auto speed-down/shutdown on heat alarmYes
On-board SoundRealtek ALC655
On-board LANDual Gigabit LAN controllers

The ECS KV2 is a board based upon VIA's K8T800 Pro chipset. As such it is a Socket 939 based motherboard that should take all current Socket 939 Athlon 64 and FX products. Note specifically, you cannot use the Socket 940 FX CPUs or any of the Socket 754 CPUs on this platform. At the moment that means 3800+ and FX53 CPUs are top of the heap, with various other CPUs filling in the middle price range.

ECS KV2 Extreme Review Memory


ECS KV2 Extreme Review Socket 939

Socket 939

ECS KV2 Extreme Review VIA SB


ECS KV2 Extreme Review AGP


Memory support for the KV2 Extreme is found in 4 DIMMs (Dual In Memory Modules) arranged in 2 pairs of color-coded slots. You can fit up to 4GB of DDR400 unregistered non-ECC memory. To do DC memory simply fit two of the same memory into one of each of the color-coded slots (1+2 or 2+3) and you're good to go.

Expansion on this board is rather mundane in terms of PCI slots and the graphics cards slots. While the Intel platform has moved to PCI Express, the K8T800 platform and all AMD chipsets still use AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port). The AGP 8X slot found on the ECS KV2 supports all of the AGP 4X/8X 3.0 compliant cards on the market. Quite honestly, if you still have an AGP 2X card, a 939 CPU will not be the bottleneck for the system.

ECS includes five 32-bit PCI slots on the board. One of the slots (#4 on the board) is colored a strange yellow color. According to the documentation on the manual that ECS included with the board, there are 5 PCI slots without any further embellishment on the functionality of the yellow one. 5 PCI slots may seem a small number in this day and age where many motherboards come with 6, but with the included peripherals is not a major issue.

The theme of this board is multicolored goodness. When the board is in operation and working properly, there is a light show of blinking lights on the side of the PCI slots. Further, the North Bridge has a active cooler and has a blinking light show as well when in proper operation. Anyone with a window on the side of their case will want to watch the board run for a while as it is innovative.

ECS KV2 Extreme Review NB Cooling

NB Cooling

ECS KV2 Extreme Review SATA 1 and 2

SATA 1 and 2

ECS KV2 Extreme Review IDE 1 and 2

IDE 1 and 2

ECS KV2 Extreme Review SATA 3 and 4

SATA 3 and 4

Hard disk and IDE drive support is varied and full featured on this board. There are 2 SATA controllers, one by VIA and a second SATA controller made by SIS. The two controllers control a total of 4 SATA connectors. One nice thing about this board is that ECS also included 3 PATA connectors and a floppy disk connector. This allows for up to 4 SATA devices, 6 PATA devices and the floppy disk devices. I'm pretty amazed as to the amount of devices this board supports, with only an ASUS 915 board supporting more devices, in my experience.

ECS KV2 Extreme Review 12v Power

12v Power

ECS KV2 Extreme Review PCI


ECS KV2 Extreme Review Firewire


ECS KV2 Extreme Review Jumper


The rear input/output panel of the board is rather well appointed for a board of this type. On this board are two RJ-45 jacks for Ethernet. Dual LAN was a concept first introduced on the nForce2 platform by NVIDIA for the Athlon CPUs in 2003. Now many other manufacturers are following suit including VIA, Intel and others. Also on the rear panel are PS/2 keyboard/mouse ports, a parallel port, a COM1 port, a Coaxial S/PDIF output port, an Optical S/PDIF output port, 4 USB 2.0 ports, a Line in jack, a Line out jack and a Microphone jack.

ECS KV2 Extreme Review I/O


Audio is provided by a Realtek ALC655 CODEC. This is based upon the AC'97 standard that seems to be everywhere in computers today. The replacement for the AC'97 standard, Intel's Azalia standard is just now making it to the market place. It should be noted that Creative Labs, the number one provider of audio solutions in the world today is a bit overdue for a updating of their sound cards and the EAX standards. For now the Realtek CODEC is more than sufficient for the average user. The ALC655 supports 6 channel surround sound (5.1) with SPDIF output right on the board.

ECS KV2 Extreme Review Sound Effect

Sound Effect

ECS KV2 Extreme Review SPDIF-Out


ECS KV2 Extreme Review Speaker Setup

Speaker Setup

ECS KV2 Extreme Review Equalizer


ECS KV2 Extreme Review Speaker Test

Speaker Test

ECS KV2 Extreme Review SPDIF-In


ECS KV2 Extreme Review HRTF Demo


ECS KV2 Extreme Review Smart Connector

Smart Connector