More Features

Now talking about its storage capacity, it has two ATA-133 ports and four Serial ATA II ports controlled by nForce4 SLI chipset. These ports support NCQ (Native Command Queuing) and NVIDIA RAID feature, which allows the use of up to eight hard disk drives (four Serial ATA and four ATA-133) under RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 or JBOD.

The reviewed motherboard also has two extra Serial ATA II ports controlled by Silicon Image SiI3132, supporting RAID0 or RAID1.It comes with four orange Serial ATA cables, one power adapter for up to two Serial ATA devices, two IDE cable (one 40-wire and one 80-wire) and one floppy disk cable, all black.

ECS also has included an adapter for installing a Serial ATA device outside the computer case, however the motherboard doesn’t come with any external Serial ATA power adapter, so you need to use an external power supply for this external Serial ATA device, which may not seem very practical.

ECS KN1 SLI ExtremeFigure 5: Six Serial ATA-300 ports, four controlled by the chipset and two controlled by SiI3132 chip.

ECS KN1 SLI ExtremeFigure 6: Cables and accessories.

On its networking side KN1 SLI Extreme has two LAN ports. One is Gigabit Ethernet (1,000 Mbps), controlled by the nForce4 SLI chipset supporting hardware-base firewall by NVIDIA and needing only one small chip for making the physical layer interface (in the case of this motherboard Marvell 88E1111 was used). The other one is Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps), controlled by Realtek RTL8100C chip.

This motherboard comes with a crossover networking cable, which can be used to connect KN1 SLI Extreme to other PC without using a hub, switch or home router.

Its on-board audio features eight channels (7.1 format) and is produced by nForce4 SLI chipset together with Realtek ALC650 codec, which has a signal-to-noise ratio of 100 dB.

As you can see in Figure 7, it has coaxial and optical SPDIF outputs and individual center, side, rear and subwoofer outputs soldered directly on the motherboard.

ECS KN1 SLI ExtremeFigure 7: KN1 SLI Extreme back connectors.

KN1 SLI Extreme also carries 10 USB 2.0 ports, four soldered on the motherboard and six through the use of I/O brackets (this motherboard comes with just one adapter for two USB ports, so four ports are left unavailable) and two FireWire (IEEE 1394a) ports, controlled by Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A chip.

The motherboard comes with I/O brackets for two USB power and two FireWire ports (see Figure 8), one regular-sized and another miniature-sized. The FireWire bracket can be installed on the back of the computer or on its front, using a 3.5” bay adapter.

Because of the ventilation duct located on the back of the motherboard, there wasn’t room for the installation of the 25-pin parallel port connector on the motherboard. This connector, however, is available on an I/O bracket.

ECS KN1 SLI ExtremeFigure 8: More KN1 SLI Extreme accessories.

ECS also has included a BIOS protection copy called Top-Hat Flash. Its use is very simple. If the motherboard doesn’t turn on after a bad BIOS upgrade or a CIH/Chernobyl-like virus attack, just install Top-Hat on top of the original BIOS (which is soldered on the motherboard), turn the PC on, remove Top-Hat and then perform a BIOS upgrade. After the BIOS is correctly upgraded the motherboard will work just fine again.

ECS KN1 SLI ExtremeFigure 9: Top-Hat flash.


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