The ECS P45T-A comes loaded with the features that most P45 based boards should. The ECS P45T-A features the new Intel 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 CrossFire compatible graphics cards. Throw in the Realtek ALC883 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio codec, and you have the makings of an adequate Intel P45 motherbard. The only discrepancy that stands out, is that most P45 based motherboards support at least FSB1600MHz/ DDR2 1066 speeds, the P45T-A only lists support for FSB1333/DDR2 800 speeds respectively.
The included accessories are somewhat sparse, but should include everything you need to get up and running. Included with the P45T-A is the manual, a driver CD, an IDE cable, four SATA cables, and an I/O shield. The SATA cables have 90 degree angles, which aids in connecting the cables in small form factor cases
The stock performance of the board was right were it should be. Even though it utilized memory bandwidth that was about 33MHz slower (DDR2-800 vs. DDR2-1066), it was not enough to cause more than slight variances in benchmark numbers. I would have liked to see ECS include support for the faster FSB and Memory speeds, as the chipset clearly seems to support it on almost all the other P45 based products. Why ECS choose not to follow suite remains a mystery to me. When more processors show up on the market with FSB 1600 support, it would be a nice upgrade path to have available to the end user.
This board is going to leave the enthusiast level user wanting. The BIOS options to tweak the board are almost non-existent. With only very limited voltage adjustments, two memory ratios and no CPU multiplier adjustment available, if you looking for any decent OC experience, you may want to look elsewhere.
Pricing and Availability
As of this writing, the ECS P45T-A can be found at several retailers for around $110.00. That places the ECS P45T-A as one of the more value orientated P45 motherboards you will find. Still when you consider that the GIGABYTE EP-45-DS3R is priced only about $20.00 more, its hard recommend this board over that. The DS3R offers a more robust BIOS, larger heatsinks, more features including a powered eSATA bracket, for a minimal price increase. Still if your a user striving to pinch every penny, and only cares about stock performance, the ECS board could still be a very valid selection.
ECS produces a P45 based motherboard that performs fine at stock settings, but seems to fall short of their “Black Series” enthusiast level aspirations.
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