For some reason or another, Intel is in a huge rush to
drop the IDE standard. Luckily other chipset manufacturers are not. The ECS C19-A SLI motherboard comes with the basic two IDE channels. Most current Intel boards support just one... so it's good news for anyone seeking out an inexpensive upgrade alternative. It's not always worthwhile to upgrade the hard drives to Serial ATA, or buy a PCI IDE controller card just because you're getting a new motherboard.
The ECS user manual that accompanies the C19-A SLI
motherboard is fairly well detailed, and it will guide novice computer users
down the path of installing their PC well enough, everything from how to correctly
insert a socket 775 Pentium 4 processor, to snapping the big LGA775
heatsink in place and inserting dual channel DDR-2 memory. Of course, you can always rely
on PCSTATS guide to building your own computer for some handy computer
building and hardware installation tips too.
One of my pet peeves with most of the ECS motherboards that
arrive at the test bench are the miniature PCI Express
slot locks - these are the little tabs of plastic at the end of the slot that
keep the videocard from wriggling out position. The locks used on the C19-A SLI
motherboard are difficult to disengage, and are frankly going to be nearly impossible to access by hand with any large PCI Express videocard installed. We'd advise using the backside of a pen to toggle them open, rather than a screwdriver just it case there's a slip up... Still, whomever orders components for these motherboards should definitely be urged to switch to a better part.
Ultra-mini PCI Express x16 locks make disengagement difficult
I would have also liked to have seen a few more USB
2.0 slots at the rear I/O, especially since ECS does not include any USB
header expansion brackets in the package. There are two sockets available at the base of the motherboard for this express purpose, so you might be in luck if the case has built-in USB jacks. On the whole, four USB jacks is really not enough; it would be great if motherboard manufacturers started packing int six or even eight USB ports on the back I/O.
Now, let's move on to the the Nvidia Nforce 4 SLI XE chipset!