IntroductionI've covered what feels like a renaissance at ECS recently, with reviews of a couple of excellent mainboards for both the Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64/FX and LGA775-owning Pentium 4 crowds.
Back when I covered the PF4 Extreme, I noted that ECS sent over three mainboards for testing, covering all their new bases. I also noted that I was saving the most interesting board for last. The 915P-A is a board that combines PCI Express for graphics, with a form of AGP. It's also a board that combines DDR memory support with support for DDR-II. It also adds in the rest of the new Intel P4 platform components, like PCI Express for peripherals, HD Audio and the new ICH6 southbridge.
Supporting LGA775 processors, it's by far the most interesting board in ECS's current line-up, squarely targetting the user who wants to upgrade to LGA775, but in the smallest steps possible. By virtue of its AGP graphics slot and support for DDR memory, it means you can jump to the new P4 platform with current graphics cards and memory, and upgrade to PCI Express for graphics and DDR-II in the future, without another mainboard change. I'm not aware of any other mainboard available that lets you do so.
Add in a nice twist with the way the graphics card setup can work and you have one hell of a potential product. It's implementation and performance that'll define whether it's worth considering, so lets jump right in. But before we do so, let's also go over the main features again, just for the disbelieving among you.
It supports both AGP and PCI Express graphics slots and both DDR and DDR-II memory. It adds those to Intel's new P4 platform with support for LGA775 CPUs and features like HD Audio and ICH6. Got that? Good, let's take a closer look.