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Review: ECS ELITEGROUP PF22 Deluxe - First Look

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 4 December 2005, 12:05

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qad54

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ECS PF22 Extreme

ECS PF22 Extreme Specification
Board Feature Implementation
Northbridge Intel i955X
Southbridge Intel ICH7R
Processor Support All Intel LGA775 microprocessors including
Extreme Edition
dual-core Pentium D
HyperThreading Technology
Memory Support DDR2
DDR2-667 Maximum
8GiB total, 4 slots
Graphics Support PCI Express
2 PEG16X slots
ATI Crossfire
PCI Express 1 x PCIe 1X slot
PCI Conventional 3 x PCI 2.3 slots
Networking Intel PC82573V on PCIe; Gigabit Ethernet
Realtek RTL8110S on PCI; Gigabit Ethernet
Firewire VIA VT6307 on PCI; 1 FW400 backplane port, 1 FW400 pin header
Audio Realtek ALC880; HD Audio, 8-channel
Disks Intel ICH7R; 4 SATAII, 1 ATA133 IDE, Intel Matrix Storage
Silicon Image Sil3132 on PCIe; 2 x SATA300 NCQ, RAID0,1

As far as i955X boards go, there's not much the PF22 does wrong. If there's one thing I'd change, it'd be the provision of the second networking controller on the PCI Express bus, given there's 5 1X chunks of bandwidth sat doing nothing, coming from the ICH7R. ECS only plumb in one slot to the ICH7R, and one PCIe-based ASIC, so there's four lanes of bandwidth left. Having the Realtek 8110S as the second Ethernet controller is a bit daft.

Otherwise there's a mass of SATA2 (6 ports in total, 4 from the ICH7R and Matrix Storage) for disk connectivity, with a single ATA133 port letting you know that SATA is the only real way to connect mass storage to the board, that lone ATA port realistically only usable for optical hardware.

Crossfire support comes from the two PEG16X slots. Each slot can get a maximum of 8 PCI Express lanes, splitting the 16 available from the i955X northbridge. DDR2 memory is all you can connect to i955X, the four 240-pin slots on the mainboard giving you 8GiB max, ECC support, and up to 667MHz in officially supported speeds.

i955X also means dual-channel memory, up to 266MHz bus processors (including dual-core chips and all Extreme Editions), HyperThreading, and support for 64-bit EM64T processors. It's the top of the Intel tree until the silicon monstrosity releases i975, Conroe and a huge bag of related goodies due sometime soon.

In short, if Intel is your thing, there's not much missing on this i955X board bar support for future processors that are on the way. Let's look at the board that implements them.