ECS X48T-A review mainboard

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2 - ECS X48T-A (Intel X48 + ICHR9)


The ECS X48T-A (Intel X48 + ICHR9)

As you guys know Intel recently released that cool yet expensive Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processor which runs on a really high clocked front side bus, an astounding 1600 MHz FSB. For that frequency alone Intel had to update it's last-gen chipset. Next to that fact DDR3 memory was up and coming, therefore something else is new in the X48 chipset is full DDR3 memory support.

Though price wise the DDR2 memory right now still has the preference, with a 1600 MHz based processor you'd really want faster frequency memory thus DDR3. I have to say here that DDR2 memory at a 1200 MHz frequency is not an issue for this mainboard and timeframe. And yes there are plenty X48 based mainboards out there with DDR2 support.

The X48T-A Black-Extreme product thus supports theFSB1600 MHz processors and DDR3 1600/1333, which equals great performance. Some of the more prominent features of the mainboard include a it's completely passively cooled design. Also present of course 6 SATA devices can be connected, you'll have six USB 2.0 connectors on the rear, as stated earlier on, two PCI-Express gen 2.0 ports. Also when you first glimpse at the mainboard you'll notice some subtleties, the first is that ECS is trying to tackle heat in an original manner.

ECS's X48T-A fitted quality ferrite core chokes, solid capacitors and MOSFETs onto the mainboard, which are more efficient than traditional components so they save power and reduce heat output. Next to that (we'll show it all in out photo gallery) you'll just instantly spot that huge passive cooling (QoolTech II) system. Pure copper, on the chipset and power regulation. Pretty nice, but I do have some comments on it. But again, I'll show you in the photo shoot.

Another nice attribute are the two Gigabit LAN connections, and eSATA port and obviously 7.1 channel sound. For your sic SATA drives obviously RAID support through the ICHR9 Southbridge chip. RAID 0 (Striped disk array), RAID 1 (Mirroring disk array), RAID 5 (Block Interleaved Distributed Parity), RAID 10 (A Stripe of Mirrors) are supported, though be warned this feature is what I call FRAID.
Virtually none of the integrated RAID controllers on a mainboard are true hardware RAID controllers. Instead, they are simply multi-channel disk controllers combined with special BIOS configuration options and software drivers to assist the OS in performing RAID operations. This gives the appearance of a hardware RAID, because the RAID configuration is done using a BIOS setup screen, and the operating system can be booted from the RAID.

To install Windows onto a RAID device, you must provide a driver (usually on a floppy disk) to the Windows installer in order to access the RAID array. Under Linux, which has built-in softRAID functionality that pre-dates these devices, the hardware is normally seen for what it is -- multiple hard drives and a multi-channel IDE/SATA controller. Hence, fakeRAID, the CPU still ends up doing the work.

Audio wise included is the Realtek ALC 888S which sports 8-channel HD audio. The HDA compliant CODECs includes multiple audio streams (7.1 channel). Unfortunately I find the lack of a good manageable GUI for Realtek's audio a missing feature. Good audio, definitely not in the same league as an X-Fi or Auzentech though. Anyway, let's take a peek of the primary features of the mainboard followed by our photo gallery, overclocking and benchmark results.

ECS X48T-A Black-Extreme Technical Specifications

CPU Support
  • Supports all 90nm/65nm Intel LGA775 processors
  • 45nm ready (Wolfdale & Yorkfield)
  • Quad-Core ready
  • Northbridge: Intel X48
  • Southbridge: Intel ICH9R
  • Supports four unbuffered DIMM of 1.5 Volt DDR3 SDRAM
  • Max 8GB Dual-channel configuration up to DDR3-1600
  • Intel ICH9R Southbridge
    • 6 x SATA 3.0Gbps interface
    • 2x PATA
    • Intel Matrix Storage Technology
    • Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID 5, RAID 10
  • Intel High Definition Audio (Azalia)
  • Realtek ALC889A HD Audio CODEC
  • Protected path content encryption/decryption (Microsoft WLP 3.0 compliant)
  • Optical and coaxial S/PDIF
  • Realtek RTL8111B PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
  • Intel 82566DC GigaLAN Controller
I/O Interface
  • 1 x Floppy connector
  • 1 x Ultra ATA IDE connectors
  • 6 x SATA connectors
  • 1 x eSATA
  • USB 2.0 ports 6x rear, 3 x header)
  • 2 x RJ45 LAN ports
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF Output
  • 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output
  • 8-Channel Audio I/O ports
  • 1 x COM port header
  • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
Expansion Slots
  • 2 x PCIe x16 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v2.0 compliant
  • 2 x PCIe x1 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.1 compliant
  • 2 x 32-bit PCI slots, PCI 2.3 compliant
  • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.4cm)

ECS X48T-A mainboard

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