ECS G31T-M Mainboard (G31/ICH7) review

Mainboards 323 Page 2 of 12 Published by


Page 2


Intel recently added a new Bearlake IGP chipset into their entry level segment. G31 Express chipset supports 1333FSB, DDR2-800, PCIe x16, GMA X3000 architecture and is paired up with the ICH7 series Southbridge chip.

G31 is an entry-level integrated chipset with functionality completely comparable to the previous 945G chipsets. In that topic, and we already mentioned it, it uses the (old) ICH7 south bridge.

Integrated by all means as is harbors the GMA X3100 integrated graphics processor as well. This new graphics core is able to hardware accelerate and improvement (deinterlacing + color correction) of video playback (including HD).

The GMA 3100 graphics core supports Microsoft DirectX 9.0c and Shader Model 3.0 (software only though) to deliver good performance for multimedia application. It also has full support for the Aero interface in Vista, just don't expect to be able to play games with it okay ?

When we take a closer look at the mainboard (and we'll do the photo-shoot on the next pages) we'll additionally find a PCI Express x16 slot is available for upgrades. The G31T-M's micro-ATX form factor is designed for entry-level users and for general usage. The motherboard supports up to 4GB of dual-channel DDR2 800 memory with the help of two DIMM slots.

If you look closer at the specs you'll notice that integrated also comes in the form of sound with the Realtek ALC662 6-channel HD audio codec. The downside however is that you'll only have three mini-jack outputs at your disposal, so no 7.1 sound here mate, merely 5.1 can be assigned to the jacks. We also notice that we have one Ethernet connector available and this was a little disappointing, it's 100/10 MBit/sec only. In 2007 I believe all Ethernet adapters should be 1000/100/10. It's no biggy if you transfer an occasional file or two and use it for internet connectivity mainly though.

We already mentioned the PCI-Express x16 slot, there is also a 1x PCI-Express slot and two additional PCI slots. HD and optical wise you can connect two IDE Parallel ATA devices and 4 Serial ATA II devices. Not bad for a mainboard at this price range.

What's absolutely lovely and I do say this with a HTPC in mind; this little mainboard is 100% passively cooled. In fact the ICH7 Southbridge chip doesn't even have a heatsink on it.

ECS ecs-g31-tm mainboard review

Bundle wise... well what can you expect for roughly 50 bucks, right ? The mainboard, a SATA cable, IDE cable, backplate, manual and driver CD. That's what you'll get, and that's all. It's enough to get you started; which is exactly what we'll do right now.

Share this content
Twitter Facebook Reddit WhatsApp Email Print