Review Index:

ECS K7S6A SiS 745 Motherboard Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Elitegroup

Features and Layout

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The layout of the motherboard is fairly plain but doesn’t sacrifice functionality for space. The processor socket is well placed with ample room around the base to allow for easy heatsink installation. You will still want to remove all the DDR memory from its clips before attempting any kind of installation or removal of the heatsink, but you should do that on nearly all motherboards. Also, the socket is turned in my preferred way, allowing the user to be able to remove the heatsink after the motherboard has been installed in the case.

There are three DIMM sockets on the board supporting up to 1 GB of memory each for a total of 3 GB. The addition of the DDR333 memory bus is the biggest upgrade for the new SiS 745 chipset. Though still backwards compatible with the DDR266 (PC2100) and DDR200 (PC1600), the addition of the DDR333 support means the board now has an option to increase the speed of the memory bus without affecting the processor bus. This means, just like in the KT333 chipset, a return to the CPU Frequency + 33 option in the motherboards bios.

The chipset of the SiS 745, unlike the VIA chipsets or AMD chipsets, is a single chip design. This means there is no north and south bridge on the motherboard – only a single chip that controls all the functions. The pros of this method are a lower cost and a more concise motherboard design. The downfall is that the chipset cannot be upgraded one part at time (such as VIA being able to use new south bridges with their chipsets). On the ECS K7S6A motherboard, the 745 chipset is covered by only a standard heatsink because SiS is known for making lower power chips.

The ATX power connector is well placed out the way of any other components. The board comes with only the standard AC components such as PS/2, USB, etc. and adds to it an AC’97 compatible audio chip and header. This audio is nothing to write home about, but for everyday users that don’t play games or listen to high quality music, it should do fine.

The expansion slot configuration gives the user a 4x AGP slot with a retention clip, 5 PCI slots and a CNR slot that is mostly going to be saved for OEMs adding modems. There are two standard ATA100 IDE channels and a single floppy channel. ECS has no plans to offer any kind of RAID version of their motherboards, as the majority of their market has no need for it.

The bios on the motherboard offers just a bit of tweaking and overclocking, which will be covered quickly on the next page. The only particularly interesting option is the one to set the memory bus at 166 MHz against a 133 MHz FSB, so be sure to find it. Again, ECS is offering the buyer a no-frills board (and bios too) that you can take at face value.