Quite a few OEM companies have branched out into the
retail market, Foxconn and ECS are the biggest two that come to mind.
ECS with its Extreme line of motherboards has done an
excellent job at changing public perception that it's an entry level or 'value'
focused company. ECS is getting into the mainstream and high end markets, and so
far we're seeing good results on the whole.
PN1 SLI2 Extreme motherboard is a prime example of what ECS has done right.
Based on the nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI Intel Edition chipset, the motherboard sports
a whole load of integrated goodies like six Serial ATA II channels (with RAID
support), 7.1 channel High Definition audio, dual Gigabit network cards ten USB
2.0 slots, two IEEE 1394a and one IEEE 1394b slots.
Everything you'll need to take advantage of all the
integrated goodies comes, which is a nice change from a lot of other boards that
lack most of the 'optional' brackets to take full advantage of the feature
set. In this case, the PN2 SLI2 Extreme includes a USB, IEEE 1394a and
parallel port expansion bracket. The latter is often forgotten by most
other manufacturers, but is especially handy if you have an old
printer. It's quite a treat to find a full length eSATA and network cable
bundled in, this is something that's generally not included.
In the benchmarks the ECS PN1 SLI2 Extreme motherboard
performed quite well on the whole; it was near top spot no matter what
benchmark PCSTATS threw at it. The board handled Office style tasks very well,
raw CPU crunching and of course gaming. It easily kept up with nVIDIA nForce
680i and Intel 975X Express based motherboards - certainly nice company to
When it comes to overclocking the ECS PN1 SLI2 Extreme
was mediocre. It may prove satisfactory for the casual overclocker but 350 MHz
FSB will not get a hard core overclocker very excited. On the other hand, does
anyone really even bother with overclocking anymore?
On the whole, PCSTATS found the ECS PN1 SLI2 Extreme
motherboard to be a good well rounded platform that performed well, and
certainly came with a lot of goodies. The biggest issue with this
board will be finding it.... It's been rumored that ECS has already
discontinued production of the PN1 SLI2 Extreme. Too bad, it's a pretty good
option for Intel users on a budget.
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