ECS A890GXM-A review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 03/16/2010 02:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
Final Words & Conclusion
ECS did a really good job with this A890GXM-A motherboard. It offers just as much functionality and a very decent feature set as the competition does. Granted the overclock options and features from brands like MSI and ASUS are definitely better. It didn't stop however us from lifting the processor towards 4 GHz. And that really will be your maximum though as the BIOS will not allow voltages to go higher than 1.55V on the processor. But still that was good enough.
With the 890GX you get to have some more features and compatibility over the previous 785 chipset, let's talk about that for a second. Not only will you be ready for the upcoming 6-core Phenom II X6 processors, the chipset also harbors a slightly faster IGP within the Northbridge, it's a daunting similar to AMD785 though, but sure, it offers the benefit of UVD 2.0 and armed with 40 Shader processors that simply opens up gateways to proper post-process of high-definition video. Especially with software like Media Player Classic HT, edition this is a tremendous feature.
So the Northbridge SB890GX ASIC definitely is creepy similar to the AMD 785 Northbridge, but we do see a very nice update for the Southbridge. The SB850 can now support 14 USB 2.0 devices, it has an embedded Gigabit Ethernet and the most prominent feature is of course the support of six SATA 6G storage devices, and that my friends is the sweet butter on top of the waffle. By doing so AMD is separating itself from Intel and takes a large step forward.
Lacking on the A890GXM-A is something pretty much all other motherboard ODMs do, integrating a NEC USB 3.0 chip. It's a bit of a loss for ECS as I feel a Black series motherboard should have gotten that integrated. ECS will however offer a U version (A890GXM-AU) of this motherboard that comes with a USB 3.0 add-on card. The flipside of the coin is that ECS manages to bring a 890GX motherboard to the market that is as fast as the competition, has roughly the same features as that competition, a board that looks good and is nicely built. All that at a cheaper price. I just check the price on the ASUS board we reviewed last week, it's selling for 169 USD. Now this A890GXM-A, you'll be able to spot for roughly 115 USD / 100 EUR. And that is saving you on your money.
Much like any other 890GX based motherboard, this A890GXM-A is an awesome net PC, it's a great desktop and work PC that is quite power efficient while delivering good performance. The wide connectivity (monitor output), feature set and embedded IGP make this motherboard a truly excellent HTPC as well. You can go nuts as the package has plenty of features and performance to deal properly with high-definition content.
The last segment is the more enthusiast user and the gamers which are served by this motherboard as well. Though we do feel that one high-end graphics card should be the limit. Use two and the PCIe lanes will already divide up in x8:x8 which we feel does not make sense for high-end gaming. Again the board offers a lot, the combination of SATA 6G will make sure your RAID is as fast as can be, and current and future SSDs will receive the bandwidth they deserve alright.
What does catch my eye, is that ECS is improving on the overall quality of their motherboards. The A890GXM-A features a 6+1-phase voltage regulator but we now also spot activity LEDs on the motherboard. We spot solid capacitors, ferrite chokes, we see a passive heatsink featuring a heatpipe, good board design and as stated, reasonable overclocking options.
Over the past two years we have seen ECS growing in terms of development. With the A890GXM-A ECS certainly brings a worthy motherboard to the market that has good looks, offers great performance and has a nice feature set. All that combined with a fair price makes this product something to be recommended.
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We test the ECS A890GXM-A. AMD's new 890GX chipset is merely out for what, two weeks ? This already will be the third AMD 890 based motherboard review. This time around from the good folks at ECS. The AMD 890GX based motherboard chipsets proof their strength and by all means is really fun to work and play around with. When you plant the two chips from AMD on a mainboard from ECS, they'll try to do some more stuff. It's the ECS Black series style - with a bucket load of features like integrated graphics sub-D, DVI, HDMI and display port connectors, passive cooling, 8-channel sound, dual GigE Ethernet, Crossfire ready ... and pretty decent overclockabilty.