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ECS KN1 SLI Extreme (NVIDIA nForce4 SLI)
By Zachary Chan
Category : Mainboard
Published by Vijay Anand on Saturday, 10th September, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars   (Most Value For Money Award)


Introduction

In our recent review of the MSI K8N SLI, we took a look at a no-frills nForce4 SLI board made for a lower price bracket. This time around, we take on a feature-packed enthusiast level nForce4 SLI motherboard that is also selling at a lower price bracket. That's right, we didn't make a mistake, the ECS KN1 SLI Extreme comes with the typical features found in all high-end power user boards, but sports a mainstream pricing that ECS has always been able to leverage upon.

The ECS KN1 SLI Extreme is basically the big brother to the nForce4 Ultra based KN1 Extreme. However, this isn't just a chipset update to a PCB template scenario, ECS has actually made use of the time between these two product launches to make multiple improvements to the KN1 SLI Extreme. Whether these improvements will make it a better board or not is to be seen, so let's get on with our review without further ado.

The ECS KN1 SLI Extreme motherboard.

Like all of ECS' Extreme motherboard series, the KN1 SLI Extreme comes with a great bundle with plenty of cables and brackets to make the most out of the board's onboard components.
  • 4 x SATA data cables
  • 1 x SATA power converter cable (dual plugs)
  • 1 x 80-conductor Ultra ATA data cable
  • 1 x 40-conductor Ultra ATA data cable
  • 1 x floppy drive data cable
  • SLI high-speed digital link interface bridge
  • 1 x RJ-45 cable
  • Top-Hat Flash Module
  • IEEE 1394a (2 port) and USB 2.0 (2 ports) bracket
  • External SATA (1 port) bracket
  • Parallel port bracket
  • USB and IEEE 1394 connector front panel 3.5-inch face plate
  • I/O shield
  • Driver CDs
  • Hardware installation guide

    ECS KN1 SLI Extreme Technical Specifications
    CPU Support
    • Supports AMD socket 939 Athlon 64 CPU
    • Supports AMD socket 939 Athlon 64 FX CPU
    • Supports AMD Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
    Chipset
    • NVIDIA nForce4 SLI MCP
      • Bi-directional 1GHz (2000MT/s) HyperTransport interface to processor
      • 20 lanes flexible PCI Express configuration
      • NVIDIA SLI Dual GPU architecture
      • Supports up to six PCI  v2.3 slots
      • Supports up to ten USB 2.0 ports
      • Dual controller SATA II architecture
      • Dual-channel Ultra ATA-133 IDE controller
      • IEEE 802.3 NVIDIA MAC for 1000BASE-T
    Memory
    • Dual channel memory architecture integrated into processor
    • Four 184-pin DDR DIMM sockets
    • Supports 2.5v DDR SDRAM DIMM modules
    • Supports up to 4GB using PC1600 (DDR200), PC2100 (DDR266), PC2700 (DDR333) and PC3200 (DDR400) unbuffered DDR SDRAM DIMM
    Storage
    • NVIDIA nForce4 SLI MCP
      • 4 x SATA II (Serial ATA II 3.0Gbps interface)
      • NVIDIA MediaShield Technology
      • Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1 
      • Supports RAID Morphing
      • Supports cross-controller RAID
    • Silicon Image Sil3132 SATAIIRAID controller 
      • 2 x SATA II (Serial ATAII 3.0Gbps interface)
      • Supports RAID 0, RAID 1
      • Support external SATA devices through eSATA bracket
    Audio
    • Realtek ALC850 8-channel audio CODEC
    • Coaxial & Optical S/PDIF Output
    Networking
    • NVIDIA Gigabit LAN co-supported by Marvell Alaska 88E1111 PHY chip (Transceiver)
    • Realtek RTL8100C PCI 10/100 LAN
    IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
    • Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A
    • 2 x 1394a ports @ 400 Mbps speed
    I/O Interface
    • 1 x Floppy connector
    • 2 x Ultra ATA IDE connectors
    • 6 x SATA connectors
    • 10 x USB 2.0 ports (4 x rear, 2 x bracket, 4 x header)
    • 2 x IEEE 1394a ports (1 x rear, 1 x bracket)
    • 2 x RJ45 LAN port
    • 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output 
    • 1 x Optical S/PDIF Output
    • 8-Channel Audio I/O ports
    • 1 x CD-IN
    • 1 x 9-pin serial port
    • 1 x parallel port (header)
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
    Expansion Slots
    • 2 x PCIe x16 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 1 x PCIe x1 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 3 x 32-bit PCI slots, PCI 2.3 compliant
    Special Features
    • Dr. LED
    • PCI Extreme
    • Top-Hat Flash
    PCB
    • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.4cm)


    The KN1 SLI Extreme packs a functional rear panel despite the large rear exhaust. Two LAN ports, four USB 2.0, full analog and digital audio outputs are available. Missing functions like FireWire are provided via brackets.
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