It is a very difficult thing when you get a board and have such great feelings about it, and yet come away just not being satisfied. As I write my conclusion, the best way I can put my feelings about this ECS offering is by making an application from my life. As I write this, I am watching my youngest, who is 10 months old, walk around the house holding on to the furniture. She is actually doing quite well for herself as she is learning to walk. Every once and a while, she will let go of the furniture and look like she is about to take a step, and I watch her with great anticipation, just knowing something good could happen, only to have her turn and grab the chair or couch, or me to keep safe. What a let down! I think I am gonna see her first steps, and then… not!
This board reminded me of my daughter. I watched it and used it with great anticipation, only to be disappointed at the last. I was not disappointed in the features or the bundle. ECS has some great ideas included with the board, like the Tophat bios. But the lack of control in the memory timings and in the vcore options just took the air out of my sail. The only thing that I could hope for was for ECS to come through with a bios that would allow us to have a little more control over things. Not long after I finished this review, that happened, and this board went from sheer disappointment to a decent board at a reasonable price compared to other feature rich boards. If this new bios had not come out, this board could be like many other that have put out. Great potential, but in the end, just a puff of smoke! Not only did the new bios take this board from just another board to a decent option, but the price of the board has just taken a major drop as well. The ECS KA3MVP is available for $94.99 after a $30 rebate making this motherboard the lowest price ATI XPRESS 3200 on the market today.
The Legit Bottom Line
ECS made a noble attempt at an Extreme enthusiast board. Their features are outstanding, but the early bios releases lacked the necessary ingrediants to make it a stellar board. ECS is certainly to be commended for their work in making this board something to talk about. And now that it has full memory control, and can be considered a decent overclocker, I would say that this board is certainly deserving of our value award!