ECS A970M-A Deluxe Motherboard Reviewformerstaff -
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ECS A970M-A Conclusion:
The ECS A970M-A is a good demonstration that the 970/950 chipset gets short shrift, or is merely misunderstood by the DIY's out there. The fact is that the items that are not present are connections and features that would many times go unused by many people. If you're not a heavy 24/7 overclocker trying to get to the top of the leader board of the benchmarking scene and are among the 95% who do not run crossfire, perhaps the $50-$150 you can save by going with the 970 chipset is right up your computing alley.
The ECS A970M-A is equipped with all of the high-end components you will find on the ECS 990-equipped motherboards. the PCB is populated with high quality Japanese solid capacitors, Hyper alloy chokes, and the ECS 3 x industry standard gold contact content for great connection and capacitance. It is also equipped to handle the most power hungry AMD octo-core CPU's like the FX-8150 used today. The relatively high overclock of the FX-8150 surprised even me with the analog power delivery and lack of load line calibration, but the board handled the extra voltage and frequency like a champ throughout the benchmarking session, returning numbers that were within margin of the higher end 990FX boards
The M.I.B.X. or Motherboard Intelligent BIOS X is referred to as "user friendly', and as you might suspect that translates to a bit simpler interface and does not have all of the options of the more sophisticated UEFI BIOS's. It did not, as you have seen, keep us from getting the FX-8150 overclocked to almost 4800MHz
The ECS A970M-A is part of the ECS 3 x Gold lineup that in this case includes gold accents for the eyeballs as well as the real thing in critical contact points. Like the A85F2-A "Golden" on the FM2 side we looked at from ECS last week, the golden accents are tastefully done and not gaudy or overpowering. The difference between the two models is that the A970M-A has anodized heatsinks and plated inductors/chokes while the capacitors remain the stock factory color. The ADS or Anti Dust Shield in place on the A970M-A is something I am hesitant to comment on for it's effectiveness. For one, I used a closed loop water cooler on this setup, not giving the ADS a chance to do it's thing. I can see how it may be effective in keeping your graphics card heatsink from accumulating, or at least less frequently, the dust bunnies between the fin array that can be difficult to remove with even a blast of compressed air.
The ECS A970M-A is a terrific value at its current price of $69.99. If your needs do not include 8 SATA ports, three or four PCIe x 16 slots, or a BIOS that gives you dozen different ways to obtain an overclock, the ECS A970M-A may fit the bill and look good doing it.
- Gold accents look great
- Performance close to the 990FX
- Gold contact points
- Good overclocking capability
- BIOS can be a bit "clunky" at times
- 8-Pin CPU poorly located