ECS 945G-M3 and C19-A SLI Motherboards - HotHardware

ECS 945G-M3 and C19-A SLI Motherboards

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As ECS continues to gain respect and attention in the enthusiast motherboard market, the company is of course extending its reach into the segment it is best known for - the budget segment. While high-end and enthusiast-level boards often cost $150 or more, budget and entry-level motherboards can usually be had for $70-90. Entry-level doesn't necessarily equate to a lack of great features though, as demonstrated by the two review candidates on the test bench today.

The ECS 945G-M3 motherboard is based on Intel's 945G chipset, while the ECS C19-A SLI motherboard is based on NVIDIA's nForce4 SLI XE chipset. Both boards sport an LGA775 socket, 667MHz DDR2 support, 1066MHz FSB support, gigabit ethernet, SATA 3Gb/s ports and 8-channel audio.

We're going to start this review with a closer look at the 945G-M3. ECS proudly displays the Intel Viiv logo on the box of this board. Put simply, the Viiv logo is supposed to indicated to the consumer that a product is entertainment PC friendly. When you see Viiv, you're supposed to think of media and home theater PCs.

ECS 945G-M3 (1.0B)
Specifications & Features
CPU
LGA775 socket for Intel Pentium 4 / Pentium D processor
FSB 1066/800/533 MHz
Support Hyper-Threading Technology

CHIPSET
Intel 945G & ICH7
North Bridge: Intel 945G
South Bridge: Intel ICH7

GRAPHICS
Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 ( GMA950 )

MEMORY
Dual-channel DDR2 memory architecture
2 x 240-pin DDR DIMM socket support up to 2 GB
Support DDR2 667/533/400 DDR2 SDRAM

EXPANSION SLOTS
1 x PCI Express x1 slot
1 x PCI Express x16 slot
2 x PCI slots

STORAGE
Supported by Intel ICH7
-- 2 x Ultra DMA100/66 devices
-- 4 x Serial ATA 3Gb/s devices

IEEE 1394a
VIA VT6307, support 2x IEEE1394a ports

AUDIO
Realtek ALC880 8-channel audio CODEC

LAN
Realtek RTL8110S Gigabit Mbps Fast Ethernet Controller


REAR PANEL I/O
1 x PS/2 keyboard & PS/2 mouse connectors
4 x USB ports
1 x Serial port (COM1)
1 x VGA port
1 x Parallel port (LPT1)
1 x 1394a port
1 x RJ45 LAN connector
1 x Audio port (Line-in,4x Line-out, Mic_in)

INTERNAL I/O CONNECTORS & HEADERS
1 x 24-pin ATX Power Supply connector
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V connector
1 x FDD connector supports two 360K~2.88MB FDDs
1 x IDE connector
4 x Serial ATA connectors
2 x USB 2.0 headers support additional 4 USB Ports
1 x SPDIF out header
1 x Front panel switch/LED header
1 x Front panel audio header
1 x IrDA for SIR header
1 x 1394a header
AUX-in header
CPUFAN/SYSFAN connectors

SYSTEM BIOS
Award BIOS with 4Mb Flash ROM
Supports Plug and Play 1.0A, APM 1.2, Multi Boot, DMI
Supports ACPI revision 1.0 specification

FORM FACTOR
Micro-ATX Size, 244mm*244mm

Opening the 945G-M3 box reveals a rather skimpy bundle, which actually isn't surprising considering that this is an entry-level board. The package includes a User Guide, rear I/O shield, one SATA cable, one SATA power cable, one floppy cable and one IDE cable. Extravagant packages can be fun and exciting, but simple and practical bundles have their place as well.

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