Due to the early nature of our review we did not get a retail package box, just a driver CD and user manual, so we decided to skip those parts and go right on to the board. Like ECS's 650i SLI motherboard, the PCB colour is purple/pink, the size however is a lot different measuring only 30cm in length and 19cm in width. This makes it a very small board for an ATX layout and does cause some problems.
The 24-pin power connector is located behind the 2 DDR2 memory slots, which is a plus, however this is pretty much where the good part ends. Nevertheless we won't be overly critical as this board is designed for budget use, not performance and overclocking. The 4-pin power connector is located between the MCH heatsink and rear I/O ports on the left hand side of the board meaning that you have to route the extra power cable around the CPU.
Another problem is the location of the IDE and FDD ports on the bottom of the board below the last PCI slot. This raises problems with routing the large cables though the case.
The ECS 965PLT-A only uses a 3-phase voltage regulation system meaning it is just about adequate for Core 2 series CPUs, but for the Netburst series you are really pushing it.
The ECS 965PLT-A board has reasonably good rear I/O ports, however there is no parallel port for "old skool" printers, so if you have one, this board will not support it.
Lastly we come down to the expansion slots and for a budget board there is certainly something that is not budget, dual PCI Express x16 slots. The orange slot is controlled by the northbridge and has 16 lanes routed to it, whereas the blue slot only has 4 lanes, similar to how the P965 works its dual graphics card configurations. We did not have any luck with getting Crossfire to work at this stage, however, with the rumours that AMD might make this technology an open platform we could soon see these boards running dual-GPUs in the future.
In between the 2 PCI Express x16 slots there is a single PCI Express x1 slot and below all these are 3 PCI slots for legacy expansion.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications]
- Page 3 [The Board]
- Page 4 [BIOS and Overclocking]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Memory Performance]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - PCMark05]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - WorldBench]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - HDD Performance]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks - 3DMark06]
- Page 11 [Benchmarks - PREY]
- Page 12 [Benchmarks - Far Cry]
- Page 13 [Final Thoughts]