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Review: ECS PF4 Extreme

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 11 August 2004, 00:00

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qazq

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ECS PF4 Extreme

ECS PF4 Extreme
CPU Support All LGA775 processors
Northbridge Intel i915P 'Grantsdale'
Memory Support 4 slots, DDR-II, 4GB max, dual-channel
AGP None
PEG16X One slot
Southbridge Intel ICH6/R
Audio C-Media CMI9880 HD Audio CODEC from ICH6/R feed
Audio Connectivity 8 port backplane speaker, 2 S/PDIF backplane optical input and output
PCI Conventional 3 x 32-bit 33MHz PCI 2.3 slots
PCI Express 2 x 1X slots
IDE 1 ATA133 compliant port from ICH6/R, 1 ATA133 compliant port from SiS180
IDE RAID RAID0/1/0+1/ and JBOD on ICH6/R port, RAID0/1/0+1/ and JBOD on SiS180 port
SATA 4 ports from ICH6/R, 2 ports from SiS180
SATA RAID All 4 ICH6/R ports using Intel Matrix Storage, RAID0/1/0+1/ and JBOD on SiS180 ports
Networking Realtek 8100C Fast Ethernet Controller, 10/100Mbit. Marvell Yukon 88E8001 Gigabit Ethernet Controller, 10/100/1000Mbit. ECS 802.11b Wireless USB2.0 Ethernet
USB ICH6/R, 4 x backplane USB2.0, 2 x I/O USB2.0
FireWire FireWire400, 1 unpowered backplane port, 1 x powered I/O port from VIA VT6307 OCHI controller
Other I/O PS/2, Parallel, 1 x Serial

Yikes, ECS pack the PF4 with features. Alongside the platform givens like PEG16X for graphics, Matrix Storage and HD Audio (in this case using C-Media's CMI9880 CODEC and featuring optical input and output), you get extra SATA and IDE (with RAID) from an SiS180 ASIC, three Ethernet networking controllers including Gigabit and 802.11b WiFi, 6 USB2.0 ports and FireWire400 to boot.

ECS also swap the PCI Conventional and PCI Express port counts compared to boards like the ABIT AA8, giving the PF4 three PCI Conventional and two PCI Express. For users looking to bring more than two PCI Conventional cards to their new LGA775 system, they'll appreciate it.

ECS equip the PF4 with a quartet of DDR-II DIMM slots, allowing you drop in 4GB of unbuffered DDR-II PC2-3200 or PC2-4200 memory.

So if you can find a PCI Express graphics card that you like, and DDR-II memory appeals, the PF4 seems like a very nice place to put them both, especially if you want to hook up plenty of disk storage.