ECS GF9300T-A ReviewRA1D -
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As part of ECS' new Black Series, the GF9300T-A sports an attractive, black PCB color. Overall layout of the board is simple and uncluttered. You will find plenty of room around the CPU socket area if you decide to install an oversized heatsink and the open area surrounding the memory slots let you remove or install RAM sticks easily. With exception of the SATA ports, most of the data and power connections are found along the edge of the board. A couple more fan headers would be useful.
The GF9300T has four DIMM sockets as you can see here. It supports dual channel DDR2 800 or 667MHz modules. The lack of DDR2-1066 support is a bit of a head scratcher considering the budget basement prices for DDR2 memory these days. Given the fact that this is a new chipset supporting 1333 front side bus speeds really makes the DDR2-800 limit look like a step backwards. Each slot supports 8GB for a total of 32GB of system memory which is an interesting feature since RAM tops out at 4GB modules. I suppose it's a nice option to have if 8GB sticks were to be manufactured in the future, but I highly doubt it.
This board comes with two yellow PCIe x1 slots, one red PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, and three black PCI slots. Only one PCIe x16 socket means no discrete videocard SLI action, but that matches up with the budget focus of the board.
This motherboard features six orange USB ports located between the memory sockets and the red PCIe slot. This is an odd place to put them and I would much rather have them along the edge of the board. This design requres a bit more SATA cable length along with a more cluttered look, escpecially if you are making use of all six ports. But at least they don't interfere with the installation of long videocards in the PCIe slot.
The small red and yellow buttons found on the corner of the GF9300T are actually onboard power and reset switches. I like the addition of these switches as they come in handy if you ever need to troubleshoot the board out of the case.
There is a complete set of I/O ports on the rear panel, including PS/2 connectors, a VGA port, an HDMI port, six USB ports, one LAN port and audio ports. A DVI port would have made a nice addition here though. Additionally, the lack of a DVI port for this board almost requires the inclusion of a VGA-DVI adapter in the bundle, which it lacks.