ECS P45T-A Intel P45 Chipset Motherboard Review
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ECS P45T-A Motherboard Review
Enthusiasts have experienced a rash of motherboard chipset releases as of late, with no shortage of such releases coming from the Intel camp alone. The new introductions have ranged from the X38, X48 and the P45. Compound that with the fact that both DDR2 and DDR3 flavors generally exist for each, and you have a large number of models making their way to the market. The P45 can be considered the spiritual successor to the P35(die shrunk from 90nm to 65nm), while playing host to a slew of new features. Intel's P45 chipset, codenamed "Eaglelake" is designed and aimed at the mainstream and performance market. The P45 chipset also brings Intel's ICH10R Southbridge to the table, and supports the latest Intel 45nm processors. Rounding out the P45 feature list is support for 1600 FSB, and DDR2 ram up to 1200Mhz, and DDR3 ram up to 1600Mhz. The only potential downside to the P45 variant, is that while two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots are provided, as soon as you utilize a dual GPU configuration, the x16 slots will work at the speed of x8. However, this is most likely not a limiting factor, as most Crossfire configurations will not oversaturated a dual X8 bus.
Today in particular, we will be looking at ECS’s P45 powerhouse, The ECS Black Series P45T-A. The board arrives in a fantasy themed box, and features a nice slick black PCB. The “Black Series” is the ECS moniker that is supposed to stand for ECS’s new focus on an enthusiast product line. ECS has long been a OEM powerhouse, but they have often failed to crack the DIY enthusiast level market. So its a refreshing change of pace, to see them embrace that market segment. However, a few quick features listed on the box does raise an eyebrow. While even most budget P45 based motherboards support at least FSB1600MHz/ DDR2 1066 speeds, the P45T-A only lists support for FSB1333/DDR2 800 speeds respectively.
Beyond that initial discrepancy the board seems to be a standard P45 based product, featuring an ICH10R Southbridge that supports RAID5 on all six of its SATA 3 Gb/s ports. An additional JMicron JMB361 controller provides one eSATA port and one UltraATA/133 IDE port. It also offers two PCI Express 2.0 slots, which will run a pair of ATI CrossFireX compatible graphics cards.
The rear panel I/O ports are also somewhat sparse by today’s standards, but feature 1 x PS/2 keyboard & PS/2 mouse connectors, 6 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x RJ45 LAN connector, Realtek (ALC883) 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio ports, 1 x Serial port (COM1) and 1 x External SATA connector.
So lets move on and take a look at the official feature rundown on this board...