|ECS P35T-A Motherboard Review|
ECS P35T-A is based on the latest Intel mainstream chipset, P35. This motherboard, however, does not have DDR3 sockets but on the other hand it has some extra features like one eSATA port, six SATA-300 ports and two x16 PCI Express slots. Let’s see the features and performance from this new ECS release.
click to enlarge
Figure 1: ECS P35T-A motherboard.
Intel P35 succeeds Intel P965 chipset, being targeted to mainstream motherboards. The difference between these two chipsets is the support for DDR3 memories and the new 1,333 MHz bus on P35. Please note that DDR3 support does not mean that all motherboards based on P35 accept DDR3 memories: since DDR2 and DDR3 sockets are different, is up to the manufacturer to decide which kind of memories the motherboard will accept. This is the case of P35T-A: it has only DDR2 sockets. We think this was a smart choice. DDR3 isn’t easily found yet, its performance gain is questionable and usually when the motherboard features both DDR2 and DDR3 sockets the maximum memory capacity is cut in half, plus you have only two memory sockets available, so in this case if you want to add more memory in the future you have to replace your old modules – i.e., there is no way to simply add two additional modules, meaning more cost (in this case, for example, if you have two 512 MB modules for a total of 1 GB and you want to have 2 GB total on your computer, you would need to buy two 1 GB modules and remove the old ones; you couldn’t simply add two 512 MB modules).
Another difference between P35 and P965 is the south bridge chip. Intel P965 uses ICH8 chip, while P35 uses the new ICH9 chip, which comes in four flavors. The vanilla ICH9 is identical to the “old” ICH8 chip found on Intel P965 chipset but supporting 12 USB 2.0 ports instead of 10. The ICH9R variant supports RAID, six SATA-300 ports (the plain ICH9 support only four), Viiv support (i.e., support for Quick Resume technology, which allows the PC to imitate the behavior of TV sets, where by pressing the power button located on the remote control the screen goes dark, the sound is muted and the keyboard and mouse stop responding) and the new “Intel Turbo Memory” technology, codenamed Robson Technology, which is a disk cache technology using flash memories, available through the installation of a x1 PCI Express card. Click here to learn more about this technology. ICH9DH (a.k.a. Digital Home) has the same specs of ICH9R but no RAID support, and this is the model used on ECS P35T-A. And ICH9DO (a.k.a. Digital Office) has the same specs of ICH9R but no Viiv support – i.e., no support for Quick Resume technology.
ECS P35T-A is based on the ICH9DH chip, so this chip controls the six SATA-300 ports available on this motherboard, but has no RAID support. The eSATA port and the ATA-133 port are controlled by a JMicron JMB361 chip.
This motherboard has two x16 PCI Express slots. They don’t support SLI, as SLI is a feature found on NVIDIA chipsets only, however they support CrossFire. The main PCI Express x16 slot, which is orange, works at x16, but the second PCI Express x16 slot, which is blue, works only at x4, so even though this motherboard has two x16 PCI Express slots it is not the ideal platform for CrossFire configuration. We see the second x16 PCI Express slot more like a way for you to expand the maximum number of independent video monitors you can have connected to your PC.
This motherboard also has one x1 PCI Express slot and three standard PCI slots, as you can see in Figure 1.
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