Articles: Mainboards

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One of the typical features of Elitegroup mainboards is the shape of the chipset cooler installed on the North Bridge. These coolers used to be quite of a nuisance because of their noisy operation on nForce based mainboards. This time, either the chipset cooler fan worked quieter, or the Zalman CNPS-9700LED CPU cooler was too, loud, but we couldn’t complain about the noise from the chipset cooler any more. Unfortunately, the fan rotation speed can not be adjusted depending on the conditions despite the three-pin connector on this fan.

Since we came to speak about cooling, we have to mention that ECS NF650iSLIT-A mainboard features four fan connectors. It is a good improvement for Elitegroup products.

The chipset South Bridge is cooled with a small aluminum heatsink. It doesn’t have any ribs but very short pins, more like bumps, I would say:

The location of IDE connectors is not the best one. Besides here is another distinguishing feature of all Elitegroup mainboards – black front panel connector set. The pins are not color coded and there is no marking on the mainboard textolite next to the connectors indicating their purpose.

We have recently started paying special attention to the reverse side of the mainboards’ PCB right beneath the processor socket. We discovered that sometimes the mainboard makers use simpler way of fastening the LGA775 socket, when the retention goes all the way through the PCB. In this case there are numerous pins and contact surfaces on the reverse side that may get closed if you are using a metal backplate for the processor cooler. This way the whole system may get out of order. Elitegroup ECS NF650iSLIT-A mainboard is free from this drawback. However, it has something else instead: large electronic components beneath the processor socket that will not allow you to install some of the cooler backplates at all.

As for the mainboard connector panel, it looks very decent:

The keyboard and mouse connectors, four USB ports, RJ45 network connector – these are the standard features already. It is very nice to see optical and coaxial SPDIF connectors besides the six audio-jacks, and a COM-port is a definite advantage, as well. The absence of a Parallel printer port as well as the pin layout for this port on the mainboard PCB may be considered a drawback, but obviously a very insignificant one.

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