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ECS A890GXM-A 890GX Review

jlqrb    -   March 3, 2010
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Conclusion

The ECS A890GXM-A arrived with a lot of potential and in many ways it did not disappoint. The new Qooltech III heatpipe cooler worked very well, keeping the Northbridge efficiently cooled, which also helped decrease the CPU temperature due to there being little rising heat coming from the chipset. The new implementation of the 890GX/SB850 was great, with the SATA 3.0 connectors working perfectly, as well as adding support for AMD's upcoming six core processors. The use of gold contacts and solid capacitors throughout the board seem as if to make it more durable and stable even during extremely demanding situations. Additionally The easy to reach Clear CMOS switch on the rear I/O panel could come in real handy while overclocking. All of these were great and, initially, the board was on track to be a great mid-level board, but when it came to overclocking, the ECS A890GXM-A would just not play nice and I could not manage even a small 100MHz overclock. This is the second ECS offering that would not clock my AMD 955BE processor, but I have had luck with other CPU's and ECS boards, so it might just be the parts I am using. Another issue I had with the board was that even though it had strong gaming performance, the real life benchmarks were very similar to the older AMD chipsets, with the ECS 890GX board sometimes coming out ahead, sometimes behind, but most of the time is was right at the same level as the older models. This is not really an issue as the performance was great and, like I said before, the gaming performance was top notch, I would of just liked to see this board outpace the older 785GM models.

This is not to say the board is at a loss though and, in fact, it offers many great features that in some cases are a step beyond its competition. The A890GXM-A motherboard comes with all of the great aspects I listed in the first segment (leaving out the overclocking) and also some others that help the board stand-out.  It somehow manages to squeeze four video ports on the rear I/O panel, which makes this a very flexible motherboard, giving the user any number of connection options. These video ports are VGA, DVI, HDMI 1.3 and a Display port, which is impressive as most high-end boards with an integrated chip don't include four display options. The board also has dual Gigabit LAN ports with teaming, which will let the two ports work as one when each is occupied with a Ethernet connection.  This will increase the bandwidth and, if one port goes down, the other will keep working without disconnecting you from the network. Also, thanks to the 890GX chipset, you will get the new HD Radeon 4290 integrated graphics processor that comes clocked at 700MHz, has a Memory Side-Port, and supports features that will enhance HD content and general computing. This IGP isn't meant for gaming, but it is very strong when it comes to mainstream games and full 1080p HD playback. Another cool feature you will get is a streamlined version of Linux that ECS includes on the installation disk. Once installed, it can be used to quickly boot into instead of Windows. This OS works very well for accessing the internet and looking at photos, however, it is not meant to be a replacement for Windows, but rather an enhancement to your computing lifestyle.

When taking a look at the ECS A890GXM-A as a whole, you can see that it really does have a lot going for it. It is oozing with features and expandability, and even though I was not able to overclock this board it still had some very decent gaming performance. The 890GXM-A  might not perform quite as well as some of the other 890GX offerings, but small performance decreases in benchmarks rarely translate into a noticeably slower PC . So, I  would say that this board is a good choice for mainstream users that just want a stable product and not much else.

 

Pros:

  • 890GX/SB850 chipset
  • Six core processor support
  • Good gaming performance
  • Clear CMOS button on rear I/O panel
  • Has HDMI,DVI,VGA and Display ports
  • 15u Gold contacts
  • Qooltech III cooler
  • Dual Gigabyte LAN with Teaming
  • eJIFFY

 

Cons:

  • No overclocking (with my setup)
  • Non-gaming performance similar to older AMD chipsets
  • CrossFire runs at x8/x8



 

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