ECS P35T-A Motherboard Review

Hardware Secrets Silver Award

Introduction (Cont’d)

Officially Intel P35 chipset supports DDR2 memories up to DDR2-800 and DDR3 memories up to DDR3-1066 (this motherboard does not support DDR3 as it doesn’t have DDR3 sockets). However, just like it happens with Intel P965 chipset, P35 unofficially supports DDR2-1066, but contrary to all other motherboards based on Intel P35 chipset we’ve seen around ECS P35T-A does not have a way to configure your memory to run above 800 MHz. A pity.

This motherboard has four DDR2 sockets, supporting up to 8 GB. On this motherboard sockets 1 and 3 are orange and sockets 2 and 4 are purple. In order to enable dual channel you just need to install your memory modules on sockets with the same color.

This motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by the south bridge using an Intel 82566DC chip to make the physical layer interface. This motherboard has 12 USB 2.0 ports (six soldered on the motherboard and six available through I/O brackets, which don’t come with the motherboard). FireWire ports are optional, not present on the model we reviewed.

On the audio section this motherboard has eight channels provided by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC883 codec. While this codec provides a good output quality (95 dB signal-to-noise ratio and 192 kHz sampling rate), it does not provide a good input quality for today’s standards (85 dB signal-to-noise ratio and 96 kHz sampling rate). Thus this motherboard isn’t recommended for professionally capturing and editing analog audio. For this kind of application look for a motherboard with at least 95 dB SNR on its input.

On the other hand, this motherboard provides full 7.1 analog audio jacks on the rear panel, feature not found on all mainstream motherboards. So you can easily hook an analog 5.1 or 7.1 set of speakers to this motherboard. But this motherboard does not have any on-board SPDIF connector, which is a pity. The motherboard has a SPDIF out header, but the board doesn’t come with any SPDIF bracket to use it. On the rear panel (Figure 2) you can find the PS/2 mouse and PS/2 keyboard connectors, one serial port, one eSATA port, six USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port and analog audio inputs and outputs. As you can see this motherboard doesn’t have a parallel port, not even through an I/O bracket.

ECS P35T-AFigure 2: Motherboard rear connectors.

ECS is finally using good capacitors on their motherboards. On their P35T-A, ECS used a mixture of solid, Japanese (Chemi-Con), and Taiwanese (Toshin Kogyo, TK, which is a Japanese vendor that sells rebranded OST caps) on the voltage regulator circuit. ECS also added a passive heatsink on the MOSFET transistors from the voltage regulator circuit, which is great (see Figure 3). The capacitors used in the other sections of this motherboard are from Taiwanese vendors – OST and G-Luxon. Of course we think all capacitors could be either Japanese or solid and they could also have used ferrite coils instead of iron coils, but this would be asking too much.

ECS P35T-AFigure 3: ECS is finally using solid aluminum and Japanese capacitors on the voltage regulator circuit.

Besides the regular ATX12V power plug this motherboard has an extra power plug that needs to be installed when two video cards are used.

There is one thing that ECS must correct immediately: the motherboard manual. The feature section of the manual is totally incomplete, not specifying the chips this motherboard uses and also not explaining that the second PCI Express slot runs at x4.

Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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