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Reviewed by: Kevin Luck [10.06.01]
Manufactured by: ECS Elitegroup


The Board Itself

Looking at the board, you get the following:

  • 2 SDRAM sockets
  • 2 DDRAM sockets
  • 2 IDE interfaces
  • 1 Floppy
  • 5 PCI slots
  • 1 4X AGP
  • 1 Audio modem riser (AMR) slot

The board layout is surprisingly clean, very few chips or jumpers about. Indeed, there are only two jumpers to be found: one to toggle keyboard power on, and the obligatory Clear CMOS. The board is dominated by the SiS chip, right smack in the center of the board, under its big yellow heatsink (if you're thinking of slapping an aftermarket cooler on it instead, be warned: ECS doesn't provide a fan power plug for the chipset, just one each for the CPUFAN and SYSFAN. Of course, you could always use a Y-connector to piggyback off the CPUFAN power connector, but in any case the OEM heatsink has been fixed on with an adhesive, so removing it would probably be quite a chore).

Overall, this is a well laid-out board. ECS has opted for two each of SDRAM and DDRAM slots, allowing for a maximum of 1GB (2x512MB). The DIMM slots are tucked in the corner, making an upgrade difficult as you will probably have drives in the way. There's just enough space to move around, though, and with a little work and dexterity you can manage it. Anyway, this is a common enough "feature" of most motherboard layouts, so really no surprise.

The board pretty much follows the standard pattern for full-size ATX boards nowadays: 2 IDE slots, floppy, 5 PCI slots, a full backboard of I/O ports. One complaint I do have, is the close proximity of the capacitor bank to the CPU; this makes installing the heatsink/fan rather difficult, as you don't really have a good working area to latch the heatsink down. It could, obviously, also be a problem with oversized models (for example, I would not want to try to put an Orb in this thing).

That aside, it's a nice looking layout. There are always things that could be better--if they swapped the positions of the chipset and CPU socket, for example--but overall the K7S5A gives you room to move and get the system set up.


I shut down my old Slot-A system on a Monday night, and prepared to pop in the new board and CPU. I was using a 1.4GHz T-bird and a generic heatsink/fan that came bundled with it. Installation was fairly straightforward; my only real problem being a bank of capacitors right next to the CPU that made mounting the heatsink frustratingly difficult; I eventually had to remove the fan to get the clip mounted properly. I was able to connect up most of the jumpers for power, reset, etc, but the onboard jumper for hard drive LED was 2 pins, and my (generic) ATX case used a 3-pin connector. Other than that, It went rather well (the K7S5A also has connectors for a USB extension bracket, infrared, and LED for the onboard LAN). I put in 2 PC133 sticks of 128MB Mushkin to start with, to see how it handled SDRAM...

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