CrossFire Xpress 1600 Motherboards: DFI, Asus, ECS

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ECS KA1 MVP Extreme: Intro, Specs. & Bundle

The final entrant in our CrossFire Xpress 1600 motherboard round-up is the ECS KA1 MVP "Extreme".  This motherboard is somewhat of a cross between the DFI RDX200 CF-DR and the Asus A8R-MVP. It has a similar, but somewhat better, feature set than the DFI offering, yet the ECS KA1 MVP is priced only slightly higher than the relatively inexpensive A8R-MVP.


Specifications & Features
Socket 939 for AMD Athlon 64/ Athlon 64 FX processor
High-performance Hyper Transport CPU interface
Support transfer rate of 2000/1600/1200/800/400 mega-transfers per second

ATI RD480 & SB450
North Bridge: ATI RD480
South Bridge: ATI SB450

Dual-channel DDR memory architecture
4 x 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM socket support up to 4 GB
Support DDR400/333 DDR SDRAM

2 x PCI Express x16 slots
2 x PCI Express x1 slots
2 x PCI slots

Supported by SB450
-- 4 x Ultra DMA133/100/66 devices
-- 4 x Serial ATA devices

Supported by SiI3132
-- 2 x Serial ATA2 devices
RAID0 & RAID1 configuration

IEEE 1394a (optional)
VIA 6307 support 2 x IEEE1394a ports

Realtek ALC880 8-channel audio CODEC

Marvell 88E8053 PCI-E Gigabit LAN controller
Realtek 8100C 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet controller

1 x PS/2 keyboard & PS/2 mouse connectors
4 x USB ports
1 x RJ45 LAN connector
1 x Serial port (COM1)
1 x Audio port (Line-in,4x Line-out, Mic_in)

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 IrDA for SIR header
2 x IDE connectors
2 x 1394a headers (optional)
2 x USB 2.0 headers support additional 4 USB Ports
1 x SPDIF out header
6 x Serial ATA connectors
1 x Front panel switch/LED header
1 x Front panel audio header
CD in/ AUX in headers
1 x 26-pin LPT header

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

ATX Size 305mm*244mm



ECS included a wise assortment of accessories with the KA1 MVP. The board shipped with four (two in each baggie) orange SATA cables, a Molex-to-SATA power cable adapter, a pair of IDE cables, a floppy cable, an Ethernet cable, and a couple of case brackets that housed an external SATA port and a parallel port. ECS also provided a pair of driver and utility CDs, a case badge, a user's manual, and a custom I/O shield with the KA1 MVP. On top of these items, we also found a PCI Express terminator card, and a case bracket with two USB ports and two Firewire ports.  We should also note that this bracket can be disassembled and used in conjunction with a plastic insert than can be installed in any available 3.5" drive bay for easy access.

Lastly, ECS included their "Top-Hat Flash" device with the KA1 MVP. We've encountered the Top-Hat Flash device before, but to reiterate, it's basically a Flash ROM with a double-sided socket. Should the BIOS on the board fail for whatever reason, users can simply snap the Top-Hat Flash Device over the existing chip to boot the system. Then you can remove the Top-Hat Flash device and re-flash the board. This isn't the most elegant BIOS backup solution we've encountered, but it is effective and does the job its designed to do.

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