C19-A SLI is a socket LGA775 motherboard from ECS based on nForce4 SLI XE chipset, which is a new version of nForce4 SLI Intel Edition from NVIDIA, correcting its incompatibility with Pentium D 820 processor and also adding support for Intel high definition audio. ECS C19-A SLI apparently offers an excellent cost/benefit ratio, let’s see if this is true in our review. Let’s check it out.

This motherboard supports the following CPUs: Pentium 4 5xx, 6xx and EE series; Pentium D 8xx and 9×0 series; and Celeron D. It supports 533-, 800- and 1,066 MHz external frequencies.

 ECS C19-A SLIFigure 1: ECS C19-A SLI V. 1.0A motherboard.

Its design follows the same standard used by mainstream motherboards from ECS. nForce4 SLI XE chipset is cooled down by an aluminum active heatsink (i.e., with a fan). The NF430 south bridge chip also has a small aluminum heatsink and during our tests both chips didn’t heat a lot, contrary to its predecessor, nForce4 SLI Intel Edition, which heated a lot.

ECS C19-A SLIFigure 2: Heatsinks used on the chipset.

No special procedure is needed in order to enable SLI mode on C19-A SLI. Just install a second SLI-compatible video card and SLI mode will be enabled. With SLI mode activated, the transfer rate for each x16 PCI Express slot drops to x8 (only on nForce 4 SLI X16 and nForce 590 SLI chipsets both slots work at x16). With SLI mode enable it is necessary to install an extra power supply cable on the motherboard, and it is advisable to use a good “true wattage” power supply with at least 450 W.

Attention: This motherboard has a flaw where its main x16 PCI Express slots works at 8x even when there is just one video card installed. We will address this problem in our Conclusions section.

ECS C19-A SLIFigure 3: PCI Express slots.

As you can see in Figure 3, the distance between the two PCI Express x16 slots is the same one used on motherboards based on the first versions of SLI – very close to each other –, which may cause your video cards to overheat and also make it hard to install wider video cards or video cards using non-standard cooling systems.

C19-A SLI has for DDR2-DIMM sockets, accepting up to 16 GB of DDR2-400, 533 e 667 memory supporting dual channel configuration. On this motherboard memory sockets 1 and 3 are orange and memory sockets 2 and 4 are purple. Just install your memory modules on sockets with the same color and you will be using dual channel configuration.

ECS C19-A SLIFigure 4: Memory sockets detail.

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