Full ATX, HDMI, eSATA... And skimp on the rest.
August 27, 2008
System monitoring (ITE IT8726F-S, according to BIOS Setup)
- CPU and memory voltages
- Rotational speed of CPU and system fans
- CPU and board temperatures (by the corresponding embedded sensors)
- Smart Fan, automatic control of a CPU fan; you can specify a temperature threshold, when the system starts adjusting fan speed, and a temperature, when the fan accelerates to its full speed. You can also specify how much fan speed should grow with each degree of temperature rise. Fan speed control works with 3- and 4-pin fans.
Onboard ports, sockets, and connectors
- Processor socket (Socket AM2, Socket AM2+ compatible, officially supports Phenom, Athlon 64/X2, and Sempron processors for Socket AM2 and Socket AM2+ with TDP up to 95 W, the list of products, tested for compatibility, is published on the website)
- 4 x DDR2 SDRAM DIMM (up to 32 GB of DDR2-400/533/667/800/1066, dual-channel mode, the list of compatible devices is published on the website)
- 1 x PCIEx16 2.0
- 2 x PCIEx1 1.1
- 3 x PCI
- Power connectors: standard ATX 2.2 (24 pins, you can use a usual 20-pin connector), a 4-pin ATX12V connector for a processor
- IDE (Parallel ATA) for two ATA133 devices -- "chipset-based"
- 5 x SATA II (Serial ATA II) for five SATA300 devices, chipset-based, connected drives can form RAID 0, 1, and 0+1
- 3 connectors for rear panel brackets with 6 x USB
- 1 x CD/DVD audio connector
- Connectors for analog audio ins and outs on the front panel
- Connector for a bracket with S/PDIF-Out
- Connector for a bracket with a COM port
- IrDA connector
- Four fan headers, CPU fan speed (4-pin header) can be controlled manually and automatically in BIOS.
Back panel (left to right, blockwise)
- PS/2 mouse and keyboard
- 2 x USB
- eSATA300 and 2 x USB
- 2 x USB and 1 x RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
- 6 x Analog Audio (Center/Sub, Side-Out, Rear-Out, Line-In, Front-Out, Mic-In).
It's nice to have six USB ports on the rear panel as well as eSATA. But in our opinion, an HDMI port is not the best choice as a single digital output for an inexpensive motherboard, many users will have to buy a DVI adapter.
- Package: a small box of the original Black Series design
- Documentation: User's Manual and a poster in many languages with installation instructions
- Cables: 2 x SATA (with latches), 1 x ATA66
- Rear I/O shield
- CD with drivers and Adobe Acrobat Reader.
This bundle does not include a proprietary utility for updating BIOS and system drivers, which can also search for the latest versions on the manufacturer's website. However, all BIOS packages on the website include the standard AMI utility to flash BIOS in Windows.
- HD Audio based on IDT 92HD206 codec -- 7.1 channel, front I/O headers, S/PDIF-Out, CD-In.
- Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mbps on Realtek RTL8111B PCIE controller.
Quality of integrated audio codec was tested in 16 bit 44 kHz mode using RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.0.5 and the ESI Juli@ sound card:
|Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB:
|Noise level, dB (A):
|Dynamic range, dB (A):
|THD + Noise, %:
|Intermodulation distortion + Noise, %:
|Channel crosstalk, dB:
|IMD at 10 kHz, %:
General performance: Good. As we have already mentioned in previous reviews, this codec (used only in ECS products) is generally similar to Realtek ALC883, except for cropped low frequencies. Hence the low mark in the first test and audio quality worthy of cheap speakers or headphones.
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