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ECS C19-A SLI nForce4 SLI Intel Edition Motherboard Review

ECS C19-A SLI nForce4 SLI Intel Edition Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The 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!
 77% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ECS Apr 10 2006   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ECS C19-A SLI

nForce4 SLI XE and ECS = Hardcore Overclocking?

Hello nForce4 SLI XE

The nVIDIA nForce4 SLI XE chipset is built for the Intel platform only, and is essentially the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition minus nVIDIA's ActiveArmor Secure Networking Engine. It is paired with the nVidia MCP51 Southbridge in this case. The rest of the features are between the two chipsets are nearly identical; 20 PCI Express lanes (16 of which are devoted to the videocards), nVIDIA DualDDR2 support, Serial ATA II support as well as RAID 5 support.

The nForce4 SLI XE also supports nVIDIA's ActiveArmor Firewall, native Gigabit Ethernet and nTune.

Experts Tip: A Fix For SLI Troubles

nVIDIA's SLI technology generally works flawlessly, but sometimes it's not enabled even though the drivers say it is. After a lot of frustration, we've found that the fix is rather easy. It seems the problem lays with the motherboard driver instead of the videocard, but both need to be removed completely. Simply uninstall the driver via the Add/Remove option and reinstall the motherboard drivers, followed by the videocard drivers. That order of installation seems to resolve the SLI not functioning issue in most circumstances.

Comments and Feedback? Suggest a Tweak.

Overclocking Tests

Overclocking Results:
Stock Max. OC
Motherboard Speed: 200 MHz

250 MHz

If you're new to Overclocking and not sure what to do, check out these two excellent Guides for some pointers:
Overclocking the CPU and Memory
Overclocking the Videocard

ECS and overclocking have not historically gone well together... but that reputation is definitely starting to change. The companies latest retail motherboards have been pretty good overclockers on the whole, and it will be interesting to see if this trend is continued with the ECS C19-A SLI motherboard we're evaluating in this review.

First things first, before we start to overclock the C19-A SLI we'll need to lower the memory frequency down to 533 MHz mode, this way the memory will not hold the system back.

Starting at 200 MHz FSB, we began overclocking in 5 MHz intervals. The ECS C19-A SLI motherboard handled these increases smoothly, and there weren't any bottlenecks until 230 MHz. To achieve higher speeds the processor voltage had to be increased to 1.45V, otherwise the system would crash while loading Windows XP.

At 240 MHz, the system hit another blip and again it was the processor that was the limiting factor. This time voltage had to be increased to 1.5V. Eventually the system maxed out at 250 MHz FSB, although I have a suspicion that it's the retail Pentium D 840 processor which is giving out first and not necessarily the motherboard.

Overall, 250MHz FSB is a pretty nice overclock from a budget motherboard like the ECS C19-A SLI!

The ECS BIOS:

Inside the ECS BIOS there are a fair amount of options to fiddle with, however the only one's likely to be of interest to enthusiasts and tweakers are shown below.

nVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition motherboards list the motherboard clock speed as the processor bus speed, to figure out the FSB you'll need to divide that value by four. The motherboard can be adjusted in 1 MHz intervals between 800-1300 MHz (200-325 MHz FSB) and the memory can be independently adjusted between 400-1300 MHz (100-325 MHz). In the Performance Options section, users will also find some memory timing adjustments.

ECS only includes the basic memory tweaks but that should be enough for the entry level user. CPU voltage goes as high as 1.6V and memory up to 2.2V.

Prelude to Benchmarks

The details of how the ECS C19-A SLI motherboard test system was configured for benchmarking, including the specific hardware, software drivers, operating system and benchmark versions are indicated below. In the second column are the general specs for the reference platforms this nVidia NForce4 SLI XE Intel Edition system is to be compared against. Please take a moment to look over PCSTATS test system configurations before moving on to the individual benchmark results.

PCSTATS Test System Configurations
Test System Reference System
Processor:

Intel Pentium D 840

Clock Speed:

16 x 200 MHz = 3.2 GHz

Motherboard: ECS C19-A SLI (NF4 SLI XE)

Foxconn 955X7AA-8EKRS2 (955X)
Foxconn 945P7AA-8EKRS2 (945P)
Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI Royal (NF4-SLI)
MSI P4N Diamond (NF4 SLI)
Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 (NF4 SLI)

Videocard: MSI NX7800GTX-VT2D256E
Memory:

2x 512MB OCZ Gold GX PC3500 DDR

Hard Drive: 74GB Western Digital Raptor WD740
CDROM: AOpen Combo 52x
PowerSupply: PC Power & Cooling TurboCool 510 SLI
Heatsink: Thermaltake Jungle 512
Software Setup:

Microsoft WindowsXP SP2
nVIDIA Forceware 7.22
nVIDIA Forceware 84.21

Benchmarks:

SYSMark 2004
Business Winstone 2004
Content Creation 2004
Super Pi
SiSoft Sandra 2005
PCMark05
3DMark05
3DMark06
UT2004
FarCry
Doom 3

Quake 4

< Previous Page © 2017 PCSTATS.com Next Page >

 

Contents of Article: ECS C19-A SLI
 Pg 1.  ECS C19-A SLI nForce4 SLI Intel Edition Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Further Features of the ECS C19-A SLI
 Pg 3.  — nForce4 SLI XE and ECS = Hardcore Overclocking?
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: SYSMark 2004
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: PCMark05, 3DMark05
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: 3DMark06, Farcry, X3 Reunion
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: UT2004
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Doom 3, Quake 4, Conclusions

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