ECS KN1 SLI Extreme Motherboard Review


KN1 SLI Extreme is a high-end motherboard from ECS for socket 939 CPUs (Athlon 64, Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2 and Opteron) based on NVIDIA nForce4 SLI chipset. This is the first SLI-based motherboard from ECS that we reviewed, so let’s see how it performed.


ECS KN1 SLI Extreme Figure 1: ECS KN1 SLI Extreme Rev 1.0 motherboard.

Its design follows the same standard used on other motherboards from ECS Extreme series. Its metallic purple color really catches the eye and ECS decided to eliminate almost all silk-screen from the board (that small letters and coded printed on the motherboard), what gave a clear and even sophisticated look to this motherboard.

We have some criticism to this motherboard layout, however: its extra SATA ports can be blocked when two video cards are used and it is necessary to remove the main video card whenever you need to install or remove memory modules, what can be really annoying if your PC is already built.

On the positive side, ECS has finally used a quieter fan to cool down the chipset.

ECS KN1 SLI Extreme Figure 2: nForce4 SLI chipset active heatsink.

As all motherboard from ECS Extreme series, KN1 SLI Extreme also has some high-brightness blue LEDs next to the PCI slots. These LEDs, called Doctor LED, indicate if the PCI slots are working correctly or not.

Another interesting feature from this motherboard is a duct with a fan inside installed on its back, which cools down the voltage regulator transistors and also removes hot air from the voltage regulator area. The only thing missing to make this system perfect was the installation of heatsinks on top of those transistors.

ECS KN1 SLI Extreme Figure 3: Back duct that helps on the motherboard cooling.

No special procedure is required to activate SLI mode on KN1 SLI Extreme. Just connect two compatible video cards and the SLI mode will be activated. It is necessary, however, to connect an extra power supply cable when SLI mode is used, and we recommend you to use a good quality power supply with at least true 450 watts.

ECS KN1 SLI Extreme Figure 4: PCI Express slots.

As you can see in Figure 4, on this motherboard there is more room between the two x16 slots compared to older SLI motherboards. This helps the installation of bigger video cards and the system ventilation.

KN1 SLI Extreme has four DDR-DIMM sockets, supporting up to 4 GB RAM DDR266/333/400. ECS used blue color on sockets 1 and 2 and yellow color on sockets 3 and 4. To use DDR Dual Channel mode just install each module on sockets with the same color.

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Author: Daniel Barros

Daniel Barros lives in Brazil and used to be our motherboard reviewer. He is a partner at a local PC sales and maintenance store.

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