ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review :: The Board

07-31-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
ECS KN1 Extreme Spec Sheet
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Motherboard Photo
Part NumberKN1 Extreme
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ChipsetNvidia nForce4 Ultra
North BridgeNvidia nForce4 Ultra MCP
SocketSocket 939
Processor TypesAthlon 64, Athlon 64 FX
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1GHz HyperTransport Bus Link
Memory TypeDDR
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory4GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
South BridgeNvidia nForce4 Ultra MCP
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1
FirewireIEEE 1394a
Expansion Slots
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

Being based on the nForce4 Ultra chipset, the KN1 Extreme supports all current AMD Socket 939 CPUs. The CPU support list includes listing for the Athlon 64 X2 dual core CPUs. One thing about the AMD platform is support for CPUs on the same interface. Intel dual-core CPUs require a separate chipset (945 or 955) from the previous ones (925X and 925XE or 915). The nForce4 Ultra chipset supports HyperTransport speeds of up to 2GHz.

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review Memory Slots

Memory Slots

The KN1 Extreme supports 4 184-pin DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Modules) bringing maximum memory on the board to a total of 4 GB of non-ECC unregistered DDR memory. AMD has the memory controller situated on the CPU die itself, alleviating the need for a separate memory controller on the motherboard. NVIDIA does include a MCP chip to take over the North and South Bridge duties. Memory support includes DDR400/333/266/200 memory.

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review Exp Slots

Exp Slots

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review PCIe x16

PCIe x16

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review PCIe x1

PCIe x1

Expansion is important to me. After all, there are times I install a TV Tuner, a SCSI controller card, an Audigy 2 ZS, and other devices onto my computer. The ECS board comes outfitted with 1 PCI Express x16 slot for the graphics card, 2 PCI Express x1 slots for PCI Express devices and 3 PCI 2.3 compliant slots for legacy expansion. There are few PCI Express x1 devices on the market today, but that situation is changing. We'll likely see PCI Express x1 devices replace PCI devices over the next few years.

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review SATA Ports

SATA Ports

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review IDE Ports

IDE Ports

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review 3rd IDE Port

3rd IDE Port

Drive expansion on the board is excellent. ECS outfits the KN1 Extreme with 6 SATA ports, 3 IDE ports and a floppy drive port. The nForce4 Ultra chipset supports 4 SATA drives natively. The other two ports are controlled by a SIS 180 controller, providing RAID 0, 1, 0+1 support for the two IDE connectors. nForce4 Ultra supports SATA2 functionality, providing up to 300MB/second transfer capability. The SIS controller supports SATA150 functionality. One thing I wish ECS had done was include a SATA2 controller.

Input/output devices on the rear panel consist of dual RJ45 jacks, allowing you to make a mini-network without a network hub, PS/2 Mouse and Keyboard ports, 4 USB 2.0 ports, 2 Digital SPDIF (Optical and Coaxial outputs), Serial port, Line-In, Line-Out, and Mic-In ports for the onboard audio. The onboard LANs are controlled by a Realtek 8100 10/100Mbps fast Ethernet controller and a Marvell 88E1111 Gigabit LAN PHY chip. Onboard audio is provided by a Realtek ALC655 5.1 surround sound capable CODEC. The ALC655 is an ok sound solution, though I would prefer a ALC850 to provide 7.1 support.