ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review :: KA3-MVP Extreme

07-11-2006 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
ECS KA3 MVP V1.0A Spec Sheet
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Part NumberKA3 MVP V1.0A
ManufacturerECS
Price CheckFind Best Price
DownloadsBIOS
Drivers
Manuals
ChipsetATI RD580 SB600
North BridgeATI RD580 AMD
SocketSocket AM2 (940)
Processor TypesAthlon 64, Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2 dual-core
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1GHz HyperTransport Bus Link
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory32GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGPATI Radeon X1900XTX (R580)
South BridgeATI SB600
Audio8-channel
IDE133/100/66/33
SCSINone
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1, 5, 10
LAN10/100/1000
FirewireIEEE 1394a
USBUSB 2.0
Expansion Slots
  • 2 x PCI
  • 1 x PCI Express x1
  • 2 x PCI Express x16
BIOSAWARD
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

AMD launched the AM2 platform early last month. The replacement for the Socket 939 platform AM2 brought AMD into the modern era of DDR2 memory. The Xpress 3200 chipset supports all current AMD AM2 Socket 940 CPUs including the FX-62 and the 5000+ that we reviewed recently. AMD released a slew of new CPUs based upon older models with a few new CPUs.


ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review Memory modules

Memory modules

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review DIMM slots

DIMM slots


DDR2 has taken the place of DDR as the dominant memory specification. Intel moved to DDR2 in 2004 with the introduction of the LGA-775 platform. AMD has lagged behind, but felt it was a better choice to wait until DDR2 memory was a more mainstream product. Today AMD CPUs offer support for DDR2 memory. AMD CPUs currently support up to DDR2 800 memory, with DDR2 1066MHz memory entering the market, but not supported.


ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review PCI Extreme

PCI Extreme

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review SDGE

SDGE

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review Expansion slots

Expansion slots

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review PCI Express x1

PCI Express x1

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review PCI Express x16 slots

PCI Express x16 slots


ATI introduced their multi-GPU video card solution in late 2005 with the release of the Crossfire chipset. The KA3-MVP board has two PCI Express x16 slots allowing you to install two ATI RADEON cards into a motherboard and improve performance over a single card. A PCI Express x1 slot, a PCI slot and a PCI-Extreme slot round out the expansion options on the board. I installed an X1900 Crossfire Edition card and a Gigabyte X1900XTX to see if Crossfire would fire up. No problems were detected. The Xpress 3200 chipset supports up to 2 x16 lanes simultaneously. Early Crossfire motherboards only supported 24 PCI Express lanes with 2 x8 lanes supported for the graphics cards.


ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review 4 SATA ports

4 SATA ports

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review 2 SATA ports

2 SATA ports

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review IDE2

IDE2

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review IDE1

IDE1


SATA drives have taken over from IDE hard disk drives as the primary storage medium. Many motherboards come with 6 or even 8 SATA ports. ECS chose to outfit their KA3 board with 6 SATA II compliant ports and an external SATA port. Port multiplier allows you to attach up to 5 SATA devices on one external SATA port bracket. This allows up to 9 total SATA devices on the board. A FDD controller and two IDE connectors comprise the remainder of the drive expansion on the motherboard. One of the IDE controllers and the two additional SATA ports are controlled by a Jmicron JMB 363 chip. The Xpress 3200 supports up to 4 SATA II devices at a time natively.


Audio Panel Screenshots


ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review
ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review


ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review Realtek ALC882

Realtek ALC882

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review Audio connections

Audio connections


Onboard audio is handled by a REALTEK ALC882 CODEC. This CODEC supports the High Definition Audio (H.D.A.) standard that was introduced with Intel's 925x chipset in 2004. The onboard audio is sufficient for the vast majority of users on the market for this motherboard, and you can add a Creative Labs X-Fi if you want an add-on card for sound. The onboard ALC882 CODEC supports EAX 1.0 and 2.0, A3D 1.0 and DirectSound, the major sound APIs on the market.


ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review I/O

I/O

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review S/PDIF

S/PDIF

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review Back funnel

Back funnel

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review Full I/O

Full I/O

ECS KA3-MVP Extreme Motherboard Review Dual LAN

Dual LAN


The rear of the board has a fairly unique design due to the fan that cools the CPU area on the rear of the I/O area. Two RJ-45 jacks are present for the onboard LAN, controlled by an Agere chip and the ATI North Bridge. There are four USB 2.0 ports on the rear, 6 jacks for the onboard audio, S/PDIF In/Out ports, a COM1 port, and a PS/2 Mouse and PS/2 Keyboard port.