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ECS GF9300T-A Black Series GeForce 9300 Motherboard
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: ECS
Source: ECS
Comment or Question: Post Here
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ECS GF9300T-A Black Series GeForce 9300 Motherboard
October 15, 2008

Software Configuration and Overclocking:

The final configuration for the system used during this review consisted of and Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Dual Core processor, an OCZ Technology Vendetta 2 CPU cooler, a G.Skill Pi Series PC2-6400 4GB DDR2 dual channel memory kit, a Maxtor MaxLine III 250GB SATA 3Gbps hard drive and a Nesteq 700W modular power supply.

With the physical installation completed with ease, I proceeded to install Windows Vista, and it wasn't long before I ran into an issue. I had planned on using Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit, but when I loaded the driver's disk into the computer it informed me that no drivers were available for this operating system. Checking with the manufacturer confirmed that there weren't any available elsewhere, either, so I started all over with the 32-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium.

This time around the driver's disk ran through the process without issue. The setup application installs all drivers and utilities in one step, which requires a few automatic reboots and about zero user interaction. Once complete I loaded up a few diagnostic applications and benchmarks and began to investigate the system propeties.

The screenshots below were taken from's CPU-Z 1.47. Despite having DDR2 memory rated for 800MHz and 4-4-4-12 timings installed, what we see in the below left image is that the memory defaults to running at 667MHz, and atrocious timings of 15-15-15-63. The "FSB:DRAM" ratio seems to be locked at 1:1 no matter what changes are made in the BIOS, and the options seemed binary without overclocking; you either run at 667MHz or you don't run at all (CMOS was cleared several dozen times to recover from failed fixes). Digging around the BIOS revealed that you do not have control over the memory timings, except to adjust the CAS latency.

Click Image For Larger View Click Image For Larger View

As it turns out, the only way get the memory to get to 800MHz is by overclocking. Much to my surprise, the FSB was able to overclock to 1600MHz, which lead to an 800MHz memory speed (see above right image). The timings were stil 15-15-15-63, but at least this kit was running at its rated speed. The BIOS allows for multiplier adjustment, so the stock 9x 333MHz (3.0GHz) settings had been changed to 8x 400MHz (3.2GHz) for this overclock. Pushing much further resulted in system instability, and it lead to another discovery about the BIOS' short comings... There are no CPU voltage adjustments available.

While the ECS M.I.B. page in the BIOS is a step in the right direction for offering enthusiast level features, it misses the mark on being truly ready for overclocking. It is definitely possible to overclock, but control over key elements is lacking or flawed. Some sort of CPU voltage control, better memory voltage control, and better memory timing controls would be the minimum things I would expect to see to make things more interesting, and perhaps a BIOS update is all that is necessary.

The next set of screenshots were taken from's GPU-Z. The below left image shows the motherboard configured for 256MB to be dedicated to the fram buffer, while the below right image shows 512MB. Many of the data locations are unpopulated, which could be due to the newly released status of the chipset, as well as due to the reliance on CPU and system memory to determine the values. What we do see is that the GPU is rated at 450MHz and the Shader Clock is rated for 1200MHz.

Click Image For Larger View Click Image For Larger View

Despite the less than impressive overclocking and optimizing features, setup with 32-Bit Vista on the ECS GF9300T-A Black Series GeForce 9300 motherboard went smoothly, and the system was ready for testing rather quickly.

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