ECS KN1 Extreme Mainboard on NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra: Where Extreme and Value Meet :
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ECS KN1 Extreme Mainboard on NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra: Where Extreme and Value Meet

Date: 2005-3-1

[Abstract]
   Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), the major mainboard maker, used to lack popularity among power users as most of its products were targeted at the low price category. ECS solutions us...

[Content] PCDigitalMobileGame


The chipset is cooled with a massive aluminum cooler. It is good ECS took this problem seriously as the nForce4 Ultra is a really hot chip. The installed cooler can keep it really cool, but ECS seems to have saved on the fan. The fan on sleeve bearings is rather noisy ?it is rotating at a constant speed of 5800rpm, which cannot be adjusted.

ECS KN1 Extreme Mainboard on NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra: Where Extreme and Value Meet

The CPU voltage regulation module on the ECS KN1 Extreme is based on the three-channel design. The MOSFETs of this circuit are rather hot at work, and ECS took care of their cooling. There is an additional 40mm fan at the mainboard back panel, under a plastic casing. This fan is creating airflow around the MOSFETs and exhausts hot air outside.

ECS KN1 Extreme Mainboard on NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra: Where Extreme and Value Meet

Although this solution does help to keep the power components cool and contributes to the cooling of the CPU, too, it is not free from drawbacks, especially in this particular implementation. Like with the chipset cooler, the problem is with the fan, again. This sleeve-bearings fan is rotating at 6500rpm and its speed remains always constant. As a result, the two fans of the ECS KN1 Extreme mainboard join their voices in a duet that is loud enough to kill the noise from the other coolers and hard disk drives of your system.

The CPU voltage regulator circuit isnít perfect too. The problem comes from the electrolytic capacitors by OST used in it. Users sometimes complain about their low reliability ?they are prone to lose the electrolyte and bloat out.

The CPU socket has enough free space around it to allow installing massive coolers. However, the Zalman CNPS7700Cu cooler mounts on the ECS KN1 Extreme with difficulty because of the plastic casing around the voltage regulator cooling system.

Now letís take a look at the back panel of the mainboard. It carries two PS/2 ports for the mouse and keyboard, one serial port, the output of the cooling system of the CPU voltage regulator, optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs, four High-Speed USB ports, two network RJ-45 connectors with diagnostic LEDs and three audio jacks.

ECS KN1 Extreme Mainboard on NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra: Where Extreme and Value Meet

Unfortunately, the parallel port is missing on the back panel of this board, but you can attach one to the onboard pin-connector laid out on the PCB.




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