ECS KN1 Extreme NF4 SLI motherboard ReviewMon, Oct 10, 2005 - 12:00 AM
Well, the KN1 Extreme SLI ends up being pretty nice board! One thing I hate is that companies are making our jobs harder as reviewers by raising the bar and releasing higher quality products. For so long it has been fairly easy to point out flaws with products and separate the really good boards from the really poor ones, but not anymore. I think very shortly we will be reassessing our tests and testing method to really show the differences between components.
Up until a week ago, I always recommended Chaintech’s VNF-4 Ultra as my “budget minded” motherboard, but then along came DFI and their Infinity Series and now ECS and their KN1 Extreme Series to muddy the market. While NVIDIA’s marketing labels this as “mainstream”, I have a hard time considering the KN1 Extreme SLI a “mainstream? motherboard, but given its price point, that?s exactly where it sits. Comparatively speaking, the ECS KN1 Extreme SLI sits toward the bottom of SLI motherboard pricing… But this is in no way indicative of its performance. At stocks speeds the KN1 Extreme SLI ran neck and neck with every other SLI board, regardless of price, however I still found the overclocking ability a bit lacking… No doubt because of the inability to adjust the chipset voltage from within the BIOS.
When it came to the included bundle, the KN1 Extreme Series is a great value. Featuring every possible cable you could need, a rear PCI slot adapter for extra USB ports, and even one for an external SATA port the KN1 Extreme is a full featured package.
If I had to find a flaw with the KN1 Extreme SLI, it would be one I touched on with the KN1 Extreme Ultra as well, the BIOS. The BIOS is very short on options, something that will undoubtedly limit this boards market as people who want to tinker or squeeze every last bit of performance out of their system lean heavily on the BIOS to do so.
Lastly, when it comes to price versus performance the ECS KN1 Extreme SLI ranks high on the list with it’s low retail pricing. At $115 plus shipping it is easy to overlook some of the minor gripes about this board and focus on the good. It is amazing how far down pricing has come on motherboards and this board by ECS brings many of the newest enthusiast features down to a price point that even college students and first time system builders can afford.
The Legit Bottom Line
With the release of the KN1 Extreme SLI, ECS has made a believer out of me. Featuring very good performance, a great bundle, and most importantly a great price, ECS has jumped headfirst into the mainstream motherboard market.