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AMD's 690G Chipset Arrives - ECS AMD690GM-M2 Motherboard (Page 5)

By Cameron Johnson | Feb 11, 2007 11:00 pm CST
Rating: 80%Manufacturer: ECS


Being a budget board, it's based on the Micro ATX form factor. The PCB used is purple in colour - definitely something different and quite attractive in its own right.

Unfortunately being budget based means there is a major gripe about the board - power connectors. The 24-pin power connector is located sensibly behind the memory slots along with the single IDE and FDD port. The 4-pin power connector for the CPU is placed between the Northbridge and the rear I/O ports.

In a small case environment with PSU's that follow the budget line, the cables aren't very long, requiring you to route the cable around or across the CPU heatsink, again in a small case, air flow is at a premium and routing cables around the CPU is a real big no no.

Next we come down to the CPU and memory area. The board gives the CPU a 3 phase voltage system, for a budget non-overclocker board, this is more than adequate for the Athlon processor. Since AM2 are all based around the same architecture, unlike LGA775, there are no rogue energy hungry processors.

One thing that was interesting is there are two memory slots missing; however, there are solder points on the board? Why the extra DDR-2 DIMM's weren't included is a mystery to us.

The rear I/O is pretty bare compared to most boards, but what you really need is included. It was a shame not to see any form of digital audio output capabilities such as optical or digital coaxial. It's looking more and more like this motherboard is not so much designed for home theatre computers but for an office PC or basic home system. Since this board is designed with integrated graphics, there are two video ports - one DVI and one CRT. You can use dual monitor configuration on the board without any hassles as we proved during testing. It's unclear at this stage if the onboard DVI port provides HDCP support for playback of HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies but it looks unlikely.

Lastly we come down to the expansion setup and there are a total of 4 slots. First is a PCI Express x16 slot which is coloured orange. If you prefer not to use the onboard graphics, you can simply stick an external PCI-E graphics card in and be down with it. A Single PCI Express x1 slot make up the PCI-E expansion possibilities. For legacy setups, 2 PCI slots are included. The only additional extra that is not provided by the Southbridge is a Realtek Gigabit Ethernet chip that runs off the PCI Express x1 bus.

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