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.

  

ECS KA1 MVP
Specifications & Features
CPU
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

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

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

EXPANSION SLOT
2 x PCI Express x16 slots
2 x PCI Express x1 slots
2 x PCI slots

STORAGE
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

AUDIO
Realtek ALC880 8-channel audio CODEC

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


REAR PANEL I/O
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)

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 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
CPUFAN/NBFAN/SYSFAN connectors
1 x 26-pin LPT header

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
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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