The ECS P4IBAD is equipped
with a version of an Award BIOS that is similar to the
vast majority of boards currently available. If you
take a look at the screenshots below, you'll probably be
familiar with most of the items listed.
We did not find anything new
in the P4IBAD's BIOS, but there was a full compliment of
options to manipulate and tweak all of the on-board
components and other features. In the "Frequency /
Voltage Control" section we found all of the overclocking
As we browsed through the
Voltage Control" section of the BIOS, it was obvious to us
that ECS did not have serious overclockers in mind when
they were designing the P4IBAD. That's not to say
you won't be able to overclock your CPU though. In
Voltage Control" section, users have the ability to adjust
the CPU core voltage from 1.1 to 1.85 volts, in .25 volt
increments. Users are also able to adjust the Front
Side Bus from 100MHz. to 130MHz., in 2 or 3MHz.
increments. (Look at the last screenshot for the exact
FSBs available). Missing from the BIOS is the
ability to adjust the DDR and AGP voltages though, and we
would have liked to have seen the FSB adjustable in 1MHz.
increments. While overclocking with the P4IBAD, we
were able to a maximum FSB of 111MHz. (at default voltage)
with our 2.2GHz. Pentium 4, brining our top overclocked
speed to 2.442GHz.
The ECS P4IBAD
Nice and Clean!
We were pleased with many of
the physical attributes of the ECS P4IBAD. The most
obvious "feature" of the P4IBAD, was it's lavender PCB.
I know some of you might think the color is a little
feminine, but I think it's really cool. In any case, it's
far more appealing than the boring green we've been forced
to endure over the years!
The 6 PCI / 1 AGP / 1 CNR slot
configuration was also a pleasant find, and we wish that
other manufacturers would adopt it. This slot
configuration offers the most expansion possibilities with
virtually no drawbacks. The AGP slot had a locking
mechanism that will help keep your video card locked in
place while your machine is in-transit. Next to the
AGP slot, we can see the passive heatsink mounted to the
Northbridge. We prefer active cooling be applied to
the Northbridge, but throughout testing the heatsink
barely got warm.
The P4IBAD had two DIMM slots
allowing for a maximum of 2GB of memory. Also
visible in the picture are the floppy and IDE connections,
which are all grouped together, and mounted parallel to
the edge of the board. In the second picture we can see
the locations where the third and fourth IDE connectors
would be, should you opt for the version of the P4IBAD
that is equipped with on-board RAID. The only thing
we didn't like about the P4IBAD's layout was the ATX power
connector placement. Its mounted right behind the
external connectors, way down near the AGP slot.
Looking at the external connectors, the only things worth
pointing out are the game port and audio connectors.
The P4IBAD may not be loaded with extras, but it does have
on-board AC'97 compliant sound! It's not Hercules
Game Theater, but it's better than nothing! :)