ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review :: BIOS and Overclocking

07-31-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review

The ECS KN1 comes with a Phoenix Award Workstation BIOS, which is interesting. The Advanced Chipset Features page is where you set the chipset multiplier, the bus speed and the voltge settings. You can set the CPU Frequency from 200-400MHz in 0.5MHz increments. HyperTransport is configurable from 1x-5x with 5x being optimal. You can also change the bandwidth settings of HyperTransport from 8 bits up 8 bits down to 16 up 16 down.

CPU voltage controls on the board is quite good. You can modify the CPU voltage from base to +375mVs in 25mV increments. Memory voltage is adjustable from 2.55-3.11V in 0.08V increments. Setting up hard drives is a simple matter. If you want to set up the drives in RAID simply set the RAID setting to enabled on the SATA connectors you want and install Windows XP. XP install will find two drives and you're good to go.

I was able to overclock the 4000+ Athlon 64 we use for testing up to 2.6GHz successfully. This is about the maximum I've seen this particular CPU overclock. The ECS board was stable throughout testing, after fixing a problem relating to the memory we use for testing. As we'll see in the performance section of the review, the board was not the fastest nForce4 board I've tested, but also not the slowest. I tested an Athlon X-2 4800 with the board without issue.


ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review Top Hat BIOS

Top Hat BIOS

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review Phoenix BIOS

Phoenix BIOS

ECS KN1 Extreme Motherboard Review Top Hat Flash

Top Hat Flash


ECS includes a special chip called Top Hat BIOS. Flashing BIOS is an easy process. Sometimes, however, the BIOS to be flashed get corrupted, or the power goes out in the middle of a BIOS flash. Some manufacturers like GIGABYTE have dual BIOS's so if one crashes the other takes over. But ECS went a step further. With Top Hat, you position the Top Hat over the BIOS chip and plug it in. Upon a reboot, the system will boot off the BIOS on the Top Hat, even if your ECS BIOS on the board is totally gone. This saved my bacon when updating my BIOS with corrupt BIOS from ECS's website. While I wasn't thrilled with the corrupt BIOS, it did give me an opportunity to test Top Hat out, which in the end saved the day.