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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [07.18.05]
Manufactured by: ECS



Once I was able to find the mutliplier setting under "Power Management", I was looking forward to a great OC experience. I've poked enough fun at ECS and the "EXTREME" moniker they gave this board, but it is clear they are going for the overclocker crowd, so I put it to the test.

Armed with Kingston PC4300 memory, I was not to be bus limited.

Using an 8x multiplier, I was able to push the bus as high as 232 MHz. Not very impressive when you consider how high we were able to push the Abit AN8 SLI (to be reviewed this week). Lowering the multiplier didn't seem to help either; for some reason I couldn't get the board to boot up in anything lower than 8x.

So while there are some nice overclocking options in the CMOS, getting them to actually work is another story.

But just look up a bit, at our pricing guide for this board. $100. For an NF4 Ultra board.

There's a bit of a Catch-22 when marketing a budget board. On one hand, you need to have it stand out from the rest. For an example of how NOT to do this, just look at what Foxconn is doing.

On the other hand, adding a bunch of fans and funky colours to the board doesn't give a product instant credibility. And calling it "EXTREME" is pushing it.

Poor overclocking performance, cheap onboard components, lacklustre bundle. Silly inclusion of fans and glowy-things. It must seem like I have been ripping on the KN1 all along.

Just look at the price though. What other Socket 939 PCI-E motherboards can be had for that price? Various microATX boards from Foxconn, Gigabyte, and Biostar. And they are all based on the old, slow VIA K8T890 chipset.

So while the KN1 fails to impress as an "EXTREME" overclocker board, it is damn fine as a budget solution. In fact, if you're building a system on a budget, the ECS KN1 is quite possibly as far as you need to look right now.

It's not without its shortcomings, but I am quite impressed with it as a budget solution. In fact, it has earned our very first budget-oriented award: The BFB Award recognizing it as a great "Bang for Buck" deal. We're not going to call it "Hardcore" but it's definitely worth looking at for the budget-minded.

  • Bang for Buck!
  • Nice layout
  • Performs on par with other NF4 Ultra boards

  • Fans, lights, shrouds, and other unnecessary things
  • Poor overclocking performance
  • Limited bundle; not enough USB plugs, IDE cables, etc
  • Secondary LAN is 100 mb/s
  • No fan controls or temperature warnings

Final Score: 86%