Well it is that time again... you are either craving that new computer, or looking for a bit more performance out of your current machine. Perhaps you already have a 'new' video card, a big powerful processor, and more RAM than you could shake a stick at; so where does that leave you? You guessed it, a motherboard. For the typical user a motherboard is simply that, a motherboard. For the computing enthusiast it is much more; it is the backbone of the machine, and most are looking for a fusion of features, performance, and cost. One of NVIDIA's latest chipsets, dubbed the 650i, may be just what the doctor ordered. The 650i chipset is a clipped down version of its bigger brother the 680i, which is currently NVIDIA's flagship chipset. The 650i is aimed to give the masses the performance of the new architecture, while at the same time not breaking the bank.
ECS was kind enough to send over one of their new motherboards that features the 650i chipset, model number NF650iSLIT-A (V1.0). While the name is a bit of a mouthful, I am curious to see how it performs. While ECS has not been looked on historically as a manufacturer of performance or enthusiast grade motherboards, they have done much to change that reputation recently, and are no longer simply a source of mainstream, budget motherboards.
The acronym ECS stands for Elitegroup Computer Systems, and they have been a manufacturer of motherboards since their founding in 1987. Having been around for so long, ECS is one of the pioneers in mainstream motherboards, as well as being a tried and trusted name. With the NF650iSLIT-A (V1.0) up on the test bench today, we are really going to see how they handle some of the latest in enthusiast grade, high performance designs.
The packaging for this motherboard is pretty much standard; featuring the company name and model number, some of the key features and specifications, and for a bit of artistic flavor a picture of a Rubik's like cube on the front. The back of the box has a picture of the board with more detailed notes about some of the key features.
Inside the box, all of the accessories sit on top of a cardboard divider, and under that divider is where the motherboard can be found in an anti-static bag. Again, all of this is pretty much the norm for motherboards.