ECS P45T-A Black Series Motherboard ReviewTue, Aug 26, 2008 - 12:00 AM
Board Layout and Features
Glancing over the board I initially noticed a few things. I fell in love with the black PCB, and the color scheme used for the DIMM and PCIe slots didn’t clash at all. I also took note of the incredible clean PCB. Typically the motherboards I see are cram-packed with components, but the EP45T-A was unusually bare.
This is by far the most important image. A quick visual search and Google search confirm that the PWM feeding the CPU socket is a 4-phase design with solid state capacitors and ferrite chokes. For those interested in volt-mods, the PWM controller used on my sample is the ISL6312 with spreadsheets easily located on Google. It should be noted that there are no heatsinks on the MOSFETs so those of you running high frequency quad-core processors may wish to apply heatsinks to the MOSFETs.
This board supports dual-channel DDR2 with a maximum of 16 gigabytes of addressable memory. There is a single-phase PWM feeding the DDR2 which is sufficient for your typical memory frequencies and timings.
The EP45T-A features the ICH10R southbridge. The board has 6 SATA ports provided by ICH10R and 1 eSATA port provided by the J.Micron JMB361 controller. In addition to this eSATA port, an ATA133 port is also provided, supporting 2 ATA devices. There are 3 USB 2.0 headers on the corner of the board, each capable of supporting 2 USB ports apiece. In the bottom right corner there are handy Power and Reset buttons which greatly ease the troubles of overclocking.
The expansion slot spacing on the board is rather well thought out. In a worst case scenario it is possible to insert 2 PCIe x16 devices while retaining both PCIe x1 slots and 1 PCI slot. Unfortunately, the CMOS battery and clear CMOS jumper are located in the PCIE area, making clearing the CMOS a difficult issue for those with less than nimble fingers. Nestled in the bottom left corner of the board is the Realtek ALC883 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio codec providing onboard audio while the Athlos L1 PCIe gigabit Ethernet controller provides connectivity. Unfortunately the floppy and ATA connectors are at the absolute bottom of the board, potentially making utilizing these ports an issue.
The backplate contains PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, a serial port, an eSATA port, six USB 2.0 ports, and six audio ports. I was surprise to see the serial port there, I was all but certain they had faded into memory. Some people may have a vendetta against the PS/2 ports but I personally enjoy having them as occasionally during extreme overclocking USB ports start to drop out.