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Upgrading and Repairing PCs (21st Edition)
Upgrading and Repairing PCs (21st Edition), by Scott Mueller (Que Publishing), starting at $33.88
Home » Motherboard
ECS KA3 MVP Extreme Motherboard Review
Author: Gabriel Torres
Type: Reviews Last Updated: June 6, 2006
Page: 2 of 10
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Since Radeon Xpress 3200 supports CrossFire technology, this motherboard has two x16 PCI Express slots, each one truly running at x16 transfer rate. This motherboard has one x1 PCI Express slot and two standard PCI slots. One of these PCI slots (the yellow one, see Figure 5) is called PCI Extreme and has a better filtering circuit (it uses a better electrolytic capacitor, the silver one between the white and the yellow PCI slots in Figure 5), being recommended for the installation of audio boards or any other PCI device that needs a better filtering circuit.

ECS KA3 MVP Extreme
click to enlarge
Figure 5: KA3 MVP Extreme slots.

As all other motherboards from Extreme series from ECS, KA3 MVP Extreme also has some high-brightness blue LEDs next to the expansion slots. These LEDs, called Doctor LED, indicate if the PCI slots are working correctly or not. The problem, in our opinion, is that the motherboard indicates that the busses are working correctly by blinking the LEDs – and they blink in a random order! So when this motherboard is working fine it looks like a nightclub!

ECS KA3 MVP Extreme
click to enlarge
Figure 6: Doctor LED in action.

On the storage side, this motherboard has a lot of HDD ports. The south bridge used by Radeon Xpress 3200 – SB600 – brings one ATA-133 port and four SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID0, RAID1 and RAID10. The additional Jmicron JMB363 chip brings one more ATA-133 port and two extra SATA-300 ports, supporting NCQ, Hot Plug, Port Multiplier and RAID (0, 1 and 0+1).

ECS KA3 MVP Extreme
click to enlarge
Figure 7: HDD ports available on this motherboard.

Even though it has two parallel IDE ports, since the second one is attached to this Jmicron JMB363 chip, it becomes operational only after you install its driver on the operating system.

As for port multiplier, it is a technology targeted to external hard disk drives, allowing you to connect up to five Serial ATA hard disk drives to a single SATA-300 port. This motherboard comes with one I/O bracket that allows you to use one of the SATA-300 ports controlled by Jmicron JMB363 chip this way. In order to use five SATA HDDs on this port you need an external port multiplier bridge, which is an external device sold separately. The hard disks are connected to this device, while this device is connected to this port multiplier bracket, which, in turn, is connected to one of the SATA ports controlled by this extra chip.

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