On paper, the Elitegroup Computer Systems motherboard looks like an impressive offering with its vast array of innovative features such as the Top-Hat Flash, Doctor LED, and ECSonic II, but when it came down to its real-world performance we were left in a state of perplexity. The motherboard did offer dual PCI Express x16 ports in the fashion of D.G.E. (Dual Graphics Engine) as well as a Cooling Accelerator to assist in cooling one of the warmest areas of the motherboard. In addition, it did feature LM_Sensors detection as well as overall respectable Linux compatibility, when using Fedora Core 4. However, to the dark side of the motherboard, its direct comparison against the Abit AW8 and ASRock 775XFire-eSATA2 left the PF5 Extreme a great deal of room for improvement. Consistently in the gaming benchmarks the ECS product had fallen behind its competition when running stock speeds and in the other real-world scenarios the PF5 Extreme had often fallen short. When it came to overclocking, there too was room for improvement as we were unable to successfully boot above 230MHz FSB. The enthusiast/gamer options in the BIOS could also certainly be reworked to yield better results. As far as the board layout is concerned, the PF5 Extreme motherboard does include a wealth of connections, however, there continues to be a great deal of bare areas on the PCB. For being a sub-$120 LGA-775 motherboard it was not truly too bad. The motherboard uses Intel's 945P Chipset, two PCI Express x16 slots, six Serial ATA ports, and a great deal of bundled accessories. Although this was largely a miss for die-hard enthusiasts and gamers, ordinary users seeking a great deal of extras from Firewire to an additional SATA controller should not be too petrified of this competitively priced ATX solution from the folks over at Elitegroup Computer Systems. The ECS PF5 Extreme does also flaunt support for Intel's Pentium D processors and 1066MHz FSB CPUs.
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Phoronix Product Rating: 7 / 10