ECS A790GXM-AD3 (Socket AM3) DDR3 motherboard review -
Final Words & Conclusion
So this review in the first place was to show you the performance difference between an AMD 790GX motherboard with DDR2 memory and the exact same platform, yet with with DDR3 memory. Well, you've seen the difference, it's just so little. If you already are on an AMD 780/790 DDR2 platform, there's no reason whatsoever to opt for the DDR3 platform over the DDR2 version, really.
What you need to do is simply focus on what offers the best bang for buck to you. DDR2 memory right now is cheaper than DDR3 memory. It would only make sense to go for the DDR2 version, as performance wise it hardly matters.
Don't get confused though, the DDR3 platform is certainly not a bad thing, yet the reality of the situation is that right now in-between the two the performance benefit is NIL. Looking at the long term, if you have to buy everything new anyway... DDR3 might be the way to go. Future platforms will all be AM3 based and thus DDR3 based whereas DDR2 memory is as fast as it can really be. Why is there so little performance difference between DDR2 and DDR3 you ask? Well, DDR3 memory has a higher frequency, yet slower timings. Vice versa DDR2 memory has a lower frequency yet often tighter latency timings. So in terms of memory bandwidth there is just very little to gain here. Unless DDR3 would have had higher than 1333, say 1600 MHz support.
Now the second part of this article is of course the motherboard we have been reviewing. I must admit, ECS is making progress with every product that we test. I liked the ECS A790GXM-AD3 as it is a very feature packed and resourceful motherboard. The black design is great, the color schema looks lovely as well. We have an integrated GPU, HDMI connector, 8 channel sound, passive cooling, heck even an optical audio output. Then the little things like CMOS clear switch and reset and power on button. The board being cooled the way it is, yet does not run warm. I like that.
Our overclock was a pleasure as well, though we were forced to use AMD's overdrive software to achieve it as the BIOS is lacking a CPU multiplier option. On the topic of that BIOS, we are starting to see progress for sure, the layout for tweaking has been optimized and it's features expanded. It still needs work though, voltage selection could be more clear, voltage ranges could be wider and some bugs still need to be patched. But ECS is moving forward with it's overall design and I certainly like what I see. This board will not be an overclocking monster based on BIOS overclocking though.
The trick is that ECS has been improving their products a lot lately, especially the build quality I find to be a very positive note. The features are diverse, the tweaks offered are reasonably okay. And then the design and aesthetics let's face it... that is just a good looking motherboard.
ECS will offer their product priced, as always, really competitively on the market as well. You'll be able to purchase this motherboard for roughly 125-150 USD. And that's the trick, value processors with value motherboards is a big market in these rough times. As such we'd like to recommend the product as it offers exactly that, great aesthetics, decent tweakability and a grand amount of value for money.
When we reviewed the 1st batch of AM3 processors, we did so on Socket AM2+ to prove how sound that chipset really is. We also promised to review a Phenom II AM3 processor on the new DDR3 (AM3) platform. And that's what we'll be doing today. We will review the A790GXM-AD3 motherboard from the folks at ECS Elitegroup. This article will entail two primary focuses. The first being a review on this motherboard, the second... to observe if we actually see a performance increase from DDR2 over DDR3 memory.
ECS A790GXM mainboard review
A790GXM mainboard test - ECS is trying get a more reach in the enthusiast market, I wasn't surprised to see them release the product as shown today. A mainboard in the 100-125 USD range, yet ECS style - with a bucket load of features like integrated graphics, HDMI connector, passive cooling, 8-channel sound, dual GigE ethernet, Crossfire ready ... and decent tweakability.