Articles: Mainboards

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To test the overclocking potential of our today’s hero, ECS NF650iSLIT-A mainboard, we assembled the following open test stand:

  • ECS NF650iSLIT-A mainboard, rev 1.0, BIOS 1.0i;
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 CPU (1.86MHz, FSB 266MHz, rev. B2);
  • 2x1024MB Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5D;
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB graphics card;
  • Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6L200M0 HDD, SATA 200GB;
  • Zalman CNPS9700 LED CPU cooler;
  • Sunbeamtech Nuuo SUNNU550-EUAP PSU (550W).

Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 processor we used in our test session could work stably at 490MHz FSB. Unfortunately, even when the FSB frequency was set at not very high 400MHz mark, ECS NF650iSLIT-A mainboard refused to boot. In the process we revealed one more inconvenience with this board; it doesn’t know to restart with default settings in case of over-overclocking. So, we have to use the Clear CMOS jumper and reset all the BIOS Setup parameters anew. The maximum FSB frequency when the mainboard remained stable and reliable during our test session was 375MHz.

There is an opinion that successful overclocking of Core 2 Duo processors is determined by the board’s ability to work stably at 400MHz FSB, not more than that. It is true, if you get beyond this frequency level, high latencies may eat up the performance gain from successful overclocking. As for the CPUs, you can always go with the most economical solution - an Intel Core 2 Duo E4300. Their relatively high clock frequency multiplier of 9x will allow maximum overclocking in most cases without ever going beyond 400MHz FAB. More demanding overclocking fans may go with Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 with the same high clock frequency multiplier. The price for these processors has dropped to $250, which makes them very affordable these days. Unfortunately, ECS NF650iSLIT-A mainboard will not be powerful enough if you decide to go with any other Intel Core 2 Duo processors between E4300 and E6600, including the new and very interesting E6320 and E6420 models.

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