ECS nForce3-A K8 HT1600 Motherboard 

PCQ Bureau
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The ECS nForce3-A motherboard is meant for both business and personal desktop users. It could even be used by some entry-level gaming. The board uses older technology, such as the older 754-pin AMD 64 and Sempron processors. Plus, it has an AGP 8x slot, while the world has moved to PCI-Express. Memory on the board is upgradable to 2 GB of DDR400 on its twin DIMMs. The board has an ample five PCI slots. Plus, it has both IDE as well as SATA connectors, giving you a choice of hard drives to connect to it. The board has 4 USB ports on the rear and two for the front-panel. There is the standard onboard sound and 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port. Three other features worth mentioning about the board include onboard RAID, overclocking capability, and 6-channels audio. 


To test the board, we used an ATI Radeon 9600 PRO AGP VGA card with 256 MB video memory. Plus we used a Sempron 3400+ processor with 512 MB DDR RAM and a 7,200 rpm IDE hard drive. The performance of the motherboard was tested using Sysmark 2004. This benchmark stresses the board by running applications that are normally used to create Internet content and office productivity applications. It gave us a score of 145, which is higher than most other boards we reviewed this time. We didn't test it out with an Athlon 64, but the performance would have improved with that. 


Given the board's features set and attractive price tag, it's a good buy. Plus, support for both Sempron and Athlon 64 processors makes it a good choice for both regular users and gamers. However, the only caveat is that it uses the older AGP bus, apart from the older 754-pin socket for the CPU. Overall, this board is good value for money, if you can find the older AGP

cardsand socket 754 based Athlon 64 CPU. 

Anubhav Verma