ECS RS482-M is a very simple socket 939 motherboard based on ATI’s chipset with embedded graphics, Radeon Xpress 200 – which uses the same graphics engine from Radeon X300 –, supporting Athlon 64, Athlon 64 FX and Athlon 64 X2 CPUs. We were very curious to benchmark Radeon Xpress 200 and compare its performance to cheap add-in video cards, like GeForce 6200, and also to its main competitor, NVIDIA’s GeForce 6100.

ECS RS482-MFigure 1: ECS RS482-M Rev 1.0A motherboard.

There is nothing special about RS482-M visual aspect. RS482 and SB400 chips that together form Radeon Xpress 200 chipset use passive (fanless) heatsinks.

ECS RS482-MFigure 2: RS482 north bridge and SB400 south bridge passive heatsinks.

Since it uses microATX form factor, its layout is very compact. It uses Taiwanese capacitors from OST, which are also used by ASUS, and some from G-Luxon, which don’t have a good reputation because of the infamous electrolytic capacitor leakage problem.

This motherboard has on-board video, audio and LAN using SB400 south bridge, bringing also four 150 MB/s Serial ATA ports (with RAID 0 and 1 support), but with no NCQ (Native Command Queuing) support.

It would be more interesting if this motherboard had only two Serial ATA ports but supporting SATA-300 and NCQ.

ECS RS482-MFigure 3: Four Serial ATA-150 ports.

It has two DDR-DIMM sockets, accepting up to 2 GB of DDR266/333/400 memory. Please pay very close attention here. ECS should have used different colors on the memory sockets to let you know that this motherboard supports DDR dual channel feature. You need to install two identical memory modules in order to achieve the maximum performance this motherboard can provide.

Of course people that buy a socket 939 motherboard knows that the CPU memory controller is capable of running under dual channel mode, but using the same color on both sockets may lead users to think that this motherboard uses single channel mode. Several users may install only one memory module on this motherboard because of this, reducing the PC performance.

So with this motherboard you need to always use two identical memory modules in order to use dual channel feature, which increases the system performance.

ECS RS482-MFigure 4: Detail of memory sockets.

Its on-board audio is controlled by SB400 south bridge together with 6-channel Realtek ALC655 codec; its on-board 10/100 LAN is controlled by Realtek RTL8100C chip; this motherboard also has eight USB 2.0 ports, four soldered on the motherboard and four available through I/O brackets, which don’t come with the motherboard.

The reviewed model came with two FireWire (IEEE 1394a) ports controlled by Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A chip, one soldered on the motherboard and another available through an I/O bracket, which doesn’t come with the motherboard. This feature is optional.

ECS RS482-MFigure 5: ECS RS482-M real panel.

Since it is a very simple motherboard, it doesn’t come with a lot of accessories: just one Serial ATA cable, one Serial ATA power adapter and one IDE 80-wire cable.

On the CD-ROM that comes with this motherboard you will find only the motherboard drivers and utilities.

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