important aspects to watch out for when weighing the pros
and cons of different motherboards is the future compatibility of each candidates' chipset. For
example, if you opt for "Board A" with "Chipset
Y" right now, will it be any good a few months down the road? AMD & Intel are always
set to unveil a fabulous new processor technology just around the corner, after all. Since
computers are always changing, there is never a "best time" to
buy into the technology. Yet, if you keep informed you'll at least jump onboard a
ship that's going in the right direction.
The last few nVIDIA nForce chipsets have been pretty good in
this forward-looking respect; the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition supported both dual core
Intel CPUs and Extreme Edition processors at 1066 MHz Front Side Bus (FSB), well
before either was officially announced. nVIDIA is at it again with recently
introduced budget-minded chipset called the nForce4 SLI XE.
nForce4 SLI XE
chipset is destined for the Intel Pentium 4 platform (socket 775), but it
has the potential to dish out full nForce4 SLI Intel Edition type performance!
Nice. Motherboards based on the nForce4 SLI XE are going for
a little over $100 CDN, and at these prices
it's looking like a pretty good bargain for basic computer needs.
C19-A SLI motherboard is one of these affordable nForce4 SLI XE-packing
motherboards, and it's paired with the nVidia MCP51 Southbridge. With a retail
price of about $105 CDN ($90 USD/£52 GBP), the ECS C19-A SLI incorporates a pretty concise set of features: 7.1 channel audio,
Gigabit LAN, a bunch of USB and SATAII ports, and 20 lanes of PCI Express.
In terms of expansion, the motherboard boasts two PCI Express x16 slots for single or dual videocard configurations, two PCI Express x1 slots for higher bandwidth devices, and three 32 bit PCI slots for legacy peripherals. There are only two IDE channels on this board, so if you have high storage requirements it's best to make use of the four SATAII channels.
The ECS C19-A is full size ATX motherboard (30.5 x 24.4 cm) that mounts to
the case via nine screws. The layout of components on the board is pretty good,
although the four DDR-2 RAM slots may not be entirely accessible with the
primary PCI Express x16 videocard installed. While the ECS C19-A SLI motherboard
comes with a 24-pin power connector, there's no reason to toss out that old 20
pin ATX power supply just yet - well, unless it doesn't have enough power to
support your PCI Express videocards of course.
The 24-pin power connector is compatible with older style
20-pin PSU's as long as they're up to snuff. The
documentation recommends that power supplies be capable of delivering at least 26-30 Amps on the 12V line. You can find this out by looking at the side of the PSU, there will be a break down of all the different amperages per power line (3.3, 5.0, 12V, etc.). Of course the motherboard is also compatible with current 24 pin power supplies.