Layout and Features
As most system builders have learned through experience, board component layout can be key to producing a clean system build. One connector out of place can create a mini wire routing puzzle game. Let’s take a look at the ECS KN3 SLI2’s layout.
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Looking at the motherboard above, at the center of the board, under the passive heatsink, is the north bridge controller (NVIDIA C51XE), while a little further down, under the fan cooler, is the Southbridge Controller (NVIDIA MCP55XE).
The CPU is pretty clean and free of obstacles that would hinder large CPU cooler installation. One thing of note here is the light green fan duct on the back of the motherboard to help remove heat from the board.
Four DIMM slots means the KN3 SLI2 board can support up to 32GB of unbuffered DDR2 memory (according to the ECS website). Considering the lack of 8GB memory modules and OS limitations, that number doesn’t seem practical. The board’s memory banks are color coded to differentiate the dual channel memory banks. The ATX power connector and single IDE channel are seen here as well.
There are two PCI Express x16 slots on the board. Also present on the board are two PCI slots and two PCI Express x1 slots. If you look closely at the bottom you’ll also see three headers for USB 2.0 and two for 1394 firewire.
There are seven SATA ports on the board, five controlled by the MCP55XE Southbridge, and two SATA ports controlled by the JMB363 controller. MCP55XE supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, JBOD and NCQ. JMB363 supports RAID 0, 1 and RAID 0+1 configurations.
The ECS KN3 SLI2 comes with an external SATA port on the rear IO, a PS/2 mouse, a PS/2 keyboard port, 4 USB 2.0 ports, a COM port, 2 RJ-45 for the onboard Gigabit Ethernet controlled by two Marvell 88E1116 PHYs, 7.1 channel Audio (6 jacks) and a fan to cool the MOSFETs and the CPU area.
The ECS board comes with an extensive bundle. 1x printed manual, 1x CD-ROM with drivers, 1x CD-ROM with applications, 1x I/O shield, 1x USB+1394 PCI Bracket & Housing, 1x D-Sub25p cable, 1x SATAII External Bracket, 1x LAN cable (UTP), 4x SATA cables, 1x SATA Power cable, 1x Bracket for SLI, 1x SLI card Bridge, 2x cables for HDD, CD-ROM, 1X Floppy cable and 1x Top-Hat Flash toolkit. The Top Hat Flash is a great addition to the bundle; it allows you to recover your BIOS without sending the board back to the manufacturer.