IntroductionProvided other reviews of the ECS PF4 Extreme vindicate my own conclusions when I reviewed it, it appears that ECS have overcome old quality control issues and are now in a position to create mainboards that the enthusiast would consider buying. So with that LGA775 offering out of the way, my attentions turned to the second board in the triplet that ECS supplied, post Computex.
AMD's Socket 939 Athlon 64 platform is slowly gaining acceptance with the enthusiast, those enthusiasts turned on to the performance gains that a dual-channel memory controller brings. And while AMD are yet to fill out the available CPU choice on that socket with the low-end models that are available on Socket 754, meaning a slightly high cost of entry at the time of writing, that's not putting many people off. So with a good performance CPU choice and a dearth of utterly brilliant DDR400 memory modules on the market, what's the final piece of a good Socket 939 puzzle? Exactly, the mainboard.
At the moment, maybe the most disappointing part of Socket 939 is the mainboard selection. On the surface, things seem excellent. You get boards from all the major manufacturers, implementing the two big core logic sets at the moment, full of features and generally at keen prices. Brilliant for the user that wants to run at stock clocks. But when the enthusiast wants to open the pipes a little for some extra performance, either the host clock locking doesn't work, or there's no multiplier adjust in the BIOS, or the voltage ranges are poor when everything else is great. There's always something to niggle away at the experience.
The more boards that show up the better then I guess. Someone's bound to get it right sooner or later surely? Returning back to that positive experience with the PF4 Extreme, I was hoping ECS's flagship Socket 939 board would get it right.
Let's take a closer look at the KV2 Extreme.