While a massive company, ECS doesn't have the brightest name when it comes to the more mainstream retail segment. Talking to a motherboard manufacturer the other week, I heard something very interesting. They mentioned that ECS actually makes some fantastic motherboards and the quality of the components they use are excellent. But they're let down when it comes to the BIOS side of things. It's something we'd have to totally agree with from past experience.
Out of the box ECS boards have never caused a problem for us. Overclocking on the other hand, while not being problematic, isn't exactly what we would call a pleasure. Like most people we don't like the BIOS and since the introduction of the UEFI interface, ECS is in a category with so many other companies in where we just feel the BIOS is unpolished and clunky.
We've got a bit of an update with the BIOS now, though, and we're hoping it stands out for the right reasons this time. We've got to look at a few things before we look at the updated BIOS. The first thing we'll do is check out the package to see what's going on in that department.
Once we've taken the time to look at the package we'll move onto the board itself before moving onto the BIOS. From there we'll check out our test system today and also cover the overclocking side of things. We'll quickly go over the other setups that you'll see in our graphs here today before finally getting into the performance side of things.
The front and back of the box are actually identical with the company logo in the top left, the model number in the middle of the box and a logo for the Black Extreme name. We've of course got a whole shiny golden theme to remind us that this is part of the "Golden" Series from ECS. Opening up each side of the box is where all the main information comes from.
Opening up the box you can see we've got a heavy focus on the "Golden" side of things including mention of Gold Plating throughout the I/O panel. We can also see some of the main improvements across the bottom including Golden Quality, Golden Stability, Golden Cooling and Golden Royalty. On the right hand side you can see our first look at the motherboard with the model number again shown. Across the bottom you can see we're dealing with a Socket FM2 motherboard and a number of other logos are seen.
As we flip over the box and open up the other side you can see the left side gives us a run down on some more features that are on offer including Hyper Alloy Choke, Nonstop Technology, THX Support and friendly design to name some of the few. As for the other side we see mention of the RAM Overclocking ability, CrossFire support and more on the Hyper Alloy Choke.
As we move inside the bundle there's not a whole lot to see. Apart from some paperwork and a driver CD, we've got a gold I/O back plate along with seven SATA cables to round off the bundle.
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- Page 1 [Introduction and Package]
- Page 2 [ECS A85F2-A GOLDEN Motherboard]
- Page 3 [BIOS]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Overclocking]
- Page 5 [CPU Benchmarks]
- Page 6 [System Benchmarks]
- Page 7 [USB 2.0 and 3.0 Benchmarks]
- Page 8 [SSD Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [Memory Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Gaming Benchmarks]
- Page 11 [Power Consumption]
- Page 12 [Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts]