ECS P965-A - A First Look At A Conroe Motherboard
The majority of leading motherboard manufacturers are already finishing their work on products based on Intel P965 (Broadwater P) that is to be officially announced by Intel early in June. As you remember, Broadwater (P965 and G965) chipsets support Intel's next-generation processors with Core architecture, including Conroe, and are designed for masses. G965 (with DirectX 10 based integrated graphics) is to be released later, in Q3 2006, since it's graphics core is still under development.
Our colleagues from HKEPC managed to have a look at an engineering sample of an Intel P965 board by ECS, the P965-A. It supports 1066MHz FSB (266MHz x 4) and DDR2-800 memory. Its circuitry meets the VRM11 specs and the board is able to power Conroe CPUs, including the Extreme Editions. P965-A features a single PCI Express x16 slot, a single PCI Express x4 slot, a couple of PCI Express x1 slots, and three PCI slots.
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Also onboard: 10 x USB 2.0, 6 x SerialATA II, Intel Matrix Storage Technology (AHCI and RAID 0/1/5/10), and dual Gigabit Ethernet.
Since there's no Parallel ATA controller at all, we wonder what to do with existing optical drives, most of which have PATA interface. Perhaps, ECS will consider an additional IDE controller in the final modification.
Speaking of sound, ECS P965-A features the Realtek ALC885 codec, certified for Microsoft Vista Premium.
As you can see, ECS P965-A looks a solid value offering, though we doubt the first Conroe motherboards will be cheap. But there will be some affordable products (like ASRock 775i65G Rev 2.0) anyway.
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