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ECS G31T-M - Intel Core 2 on a Budget

By: Cameron Johnson | Socket LGA 775 in Motherboards | Posted: Oct 25, 2007 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 77%Manufacturer: ECS

The Board



Now to the board itself, being a low-end model and to keep things cheap, ECS has gone for the MicroATX form factor. Since this board is really intended for OEM, office use or the basic home PC, MicroATX is just fine. ECS has placed the 24-pin power connector behind the two memory slots, that's right; only two slots are included on this board however they do support dual channel so you're fine there.


The 4-pin power connector gets placed in our most hated spot, between the northbridge heatsink and the Rear I/O ports below the CPU socket. In cases that MicroATX boards go into, space is already at a premium. If you have to route a cable around the CPU that most always means restricted air flow, not good in cases that are lucky to have one extra case fan in them.


The four SATA ports that are provided by the ICH7 chipset are lined up along the right hand edge of the board near the southbridge itself which is cooled by a passive heatsink with the ECS logo on it. The IDE and FDD ports are located along the bottom edge below the PCI expansion slots.



The area around the CPU is extremely clean. ECS has used the older Electrolyte capacitors, no solid state ones on this board which isn't surprising given ECS would have wanted to keep costs as low as possible. The CPU is fed its voltage though a 3 phase voltage regulation system. While this is enough to keep the Core 2 series CPUs happy (and also the Pentium dual core based on Conroe-L architecture which draws even less power then the standard Conroe CPUs), quad core CPUs might find it a bit limiting, and Pentium-D will suck this dry very quick causing heat build-up in the case. This will also mean overclocking will be limited if possible at all.



Moving to the rear I/O ports, ECS has a good assortment on the back. We would have preferred to see a DVI-I port in place of the CRT port which would give you better video quality on LCD monitors, you can always use a DVI to CRT converter if you don't have a DVI monitor.



Finally we come down to the expansion slots. While the GMA3100 graphics core is good for the basic video options, if you want to play any games you're going to have to upgrade. For this situation a single PCI Express x16 slot is included for this purpose. A single PCI Express x1 slot and two PCI slots make up the additional expansion possibilities.


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