In Figure 1 you can have a good look at ECS GF8200A Black Series. It is a socket AM2+ motherboard, meaning that it supports the new HyperTransport 3.0 and the “split plane” technologies used by AMD CPUs based on K10 architecture (i.e., Phenom CPUs). For more information read our Inside AMD K10 Architecture tutorial.
As you can see this motherboard has one PCI Express x16 2.0 slot, allowing you to install a “real” video card in the future if you want to play games on your PC. As mentioned, the chipset supports GeForce Boost technology, where the on-board graphics engine can work in parallel with the video card installed under SLI mode in order to increase performance. But in order for this technology to work, you must install a compatible video card (GeForce 8500 GT or GeForce 8400 GS, for example). You can install any video card you want, but you won’t have GeForce boost with non-compatible models.
This motherboard also has two PCI Express x1 slots and three PCI slots. That is a very good number of expansion slots for an entry-level motherboard with on-board video.
Another highlight from this motherboard is the presence of four memory sockets. Usually low-end motherboards have only two memory sockets, so having four of them on this board is a blessing, as it will help you adding more memory in the future without needing to replace your current memory modules.
It is always good to remember that with AMD processors the memory controller is embedded inside the CPU, so the amount and types of memory the system supports depend on the CPU, not on the motherboard. Socket AM2 and AM2+ processors support only DDR2 memories, with AM2 processors (i.e., Athlon X2) supporting up to DDR2-800 and with AM2+ processors (i.e., Phenom) supporting up to DDR2-1066.
All socket AM2/AM2+ CPUs support dual-channel feature so for the best performance you must install two or four memory modules (do not install just one memory module). For enabling dual-channel feature you must install the modules on sockets with the same color, if you are installing two modules.