ECS G33T-M2 MicroATX Motherboard

Makaveli - 2007-07-29 14:49:36 in Motherboards
Category: Motherboards
Reviewed by: Makaveli   
Reviewed on: August 6, 2007
Elite Group
Elite Group
Price: $105.99

Introduction:

It's just about time for school, and everyone is looking to upgrade their current computer or to build an inexpensive computer that will get the requested tasks done. Maybe you just need another computer for the kids or grandparents, but you don't want to break the bank getting one. At today's prices, you can build yourself a decent machine without spending more than five hundred dollars. All you'll need is a motherboard, processor, memory, hard drive, CD drive, power supply, and a case. You don't necessarily need a video card if you have onboard graphics on the motherboard. The ECS G33T-M2 motherboard is what we'll be looking at today and it has onboard video, which will save you at least one hundred dollars since you don't have to purchase a graphics card. Can this motherboard give you the performance you need while keeping your wallet full? Remember, this is not going to be used in your main rig or gaming computer, but rather in a computer that you can build with components lying around the house. Join us as we examine this ECS G33T-M2 motherboard.

ECS (Elite Group) has been designing and manufacturing motherboards since 1987. The company continues to provide all ranges of motherboards and now manufactures complete and barebone systems to cater to the needs of a variety of  users. ECS strives to stay among the elite of its respective markets by delivering honest and high quality products.

Closer Look:

The box that the ECS G33T-M2 motherboard is shipped in is a really nicely designed box that looks very professional. On the front of the box, there is a cool looking cube that is exploding open. The back of the box has a diagram with all of the features and their descriptions. Once you open the box, you'll see all of the accessories on top of the motherboard, which is in an anti-static bag.

 

 

Closer Look:

The ECS G33T-M2 is a MicroATX motherboard, which is ideal for smaller cases.

 

 

 

 

This motherboard is an Intel LGA 775 motherboard, which means you'll need a processor for this particular socket. Notice the two DIMM slots; they support up to 16GB of DDR2 memory. The orange and purple color combination isn't too bad in my opinion. Also notice the 24-pin power port on the motherboard and the FDD port.

 

 

On this board you can connect up to four 3.0GB/s SATA drives that can be set to work in RAID 0, 1, or 0+1. The onboard graphics have a heatsink with the ECS logo on it, but there is no fan for active cooling. The board has four additional USB 2.0 connectors. Notice the single PCI Express x16 slot, PCI Express x1 slot, and two PCI slots.

 

 

The I/O ports on the back of the motherboard include PS/2 connectors, a VGA output for the onboard video, four USB 2.0 connectors, onboard 8-channel HD Audio, and gigabit LAN or 10/100 for networking.

 

Included with the motherboard is the rear I/O plate, driver CD, SATA 3.0GB/s cable, an instruction manual, and an installation guide.

Installation:

To install the ECS G33T-M2 motherboard, you'll need to remove your current motherboard. Since it is a MicroATX form factor, you'll need to adjust the motherboard standoffs inside your case. Once it's in place, screw your motherboard securely into place and install your processor, heatsink, memory modules, and 24-pin power cable. This motherboard does not have IDE ports, so you'll need to make sure you have a SATA hard drive and CD drive handy. Don't forget to plug in all of your front panel connectors too!

 

 

 

 

Closer Look:

The BIOS:

The ECS G33T-M2 uses the American Megatrends, Inc BIOS. You'll notice that the BIOS has most of the standard BIOS features that you'll find on most motherboards, but I'm going to go ahead and examine the options and comment on the features that stick out for me.

Standard CMOS and Advanced Setup Functions:

In these two options, you'll see the common options that you'll find on every motherboard's BIOS, but in a different order. In the Advanced Setup, they have a few more options integrated, such as Thermal Management.

 

 

Advanced Chipset Setup:

In the Advanced Chipset Setup option, you'll find that you can change your DRAM frequency from 800MHz to 667MHz if desired, among other things.

 

Closer Look:

Integrated Peripherals:

With these options, you can set your onboard devices. You can also set all of your USB and SATA configurations.

 

 

 

 

PC Health Status:

Here you can monitor all of your hardware temperatures and fan speeds.

 

 

Frequency/Voltage Control:

In this menu, you'll be able to enable the overclocking features and be able to change all of the voltages for your memory and CPU.

 

Configuration:

The drivers for this motherboard are on an auto-setup CD that you install by inserting it into your optical drive after you've installed a fresh copy of your operating system. I'll show you some of the files on the CD so you can see what drivers are used for the different components on the motherboard. Below is the screen you'll see once you insert the disk.

 

 

 

If you click "Browse the files on the CD," you'll notice the different components that you install drivers for. These components are the chipset, LAN, RAID, sound, and VGA. For the LAN and sound, you can see that you'll be installing Realtek drivers. RAID drivers are by JMcron. The disk includes various common utilities such as Adobe Reader and Pro Magic Plus.

 

 

 

 

Specifications:

 
 

CPU
  • LGA775 socket for latest Intel® Core 2 Quad(95W)/Core 2 Duo /Celeron D 400 series processor
  • FSB 1333/1066/800 MHz
Chipset
  •  Intel® G33 & ICH9
  • North Bridge: Intel® G33
  • South Bridge: Intel® ICH9
Graphics
  • Integrated Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 (GMA3100)
Memory
  • Dual-channel DDR2 memory architecture
  • 4 x 240-pin DDR2 DIMM socket support up to 8 GB
  • Support DDR2 800/667 DDR SDRAM
Expansion Slot
  • 1 x PCI Express x16 Slot
  • 1 x PCI Express x1 Slot
  • 2 x PCI Slots
Storage
  • Support by Intel® ICH9
  • 4 x Serial ATA2 devices
Audio
  • Realtek ALC883 support Intel 8-ch HD Audio
LAN
  • Realtek GigaLAN 8111B (Realtek 10/100 LAN 8101E optional)
Rear Panel I/O
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard & PS/2 mouse connectors
  • 4 x USB Ports
  • 1 x VGA Port
  • 1 x Serial Port (COM1)
  • 1 x Parallel Port (LPT1) (Optional)
  • 1 x 1394a Port (Optional)
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN Connector
  • 1 x Audio Port
Internal I/O Connectors & Headers
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX Power Supply Connector
  • 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Connector
  • 1 x FDD Connector (Supports two 360K~2.88MB FDDs)
  • 4 x Serial ATA Connectors
  • 1 x COM2 Header (Optional)
  • 4 x USB 2.0 Headers (Supports additional 8 USB ports)
  • 1 x 1394a Header (Optional)
  • 1 x Clear CMOS Header
  • 1 x Front Panel Header
  • 1 x Front Panel Audio Header
  • CD in Header
  • CPUFAN/SYSFAN connectors
System BIOS
  • AMI BIOS with 8Mb SPI ROM
  • Supports Plug and Play 1.0A, APM 1.2, Multi Boot, DMI
  • Supports ACPI revision 1.0 specification
Form Factor
  • Micro-ATX Size, 244mm*244mm

 

 

Features:

Testing:

For the ECS G33T-M2 motherboard, we'll be testing it with a series of rigorous benchmarks that will test every aspect of the motherboard. We will be comparing this motherboard to its AMD counterpart - the ECS AMD690GM-M2. Since the G33T-M2 has onboard graphics, we're going to be doing all of our game benchmarks with resolutions at 800x600, 1024x768, and 1280x1024.

 

Testing Setup:

Comparison System:

 

 

The system tests we will be using are listed below:

 

We will start with Apophysis, which renders images. We will be using these settings for the test:

The measurement used is time to render, in minutes, to complete.

 

Lower is Better

 

WinRAR compresses large files into smaller, more manageable sizes. Time is measured in seconds and we'll be timing how long it takes for a 10MB, 100MB, and 500MB file to be compressed. Lower is better in these WinRAR tets.

 

 

 

 

The WinRAR results really depend on the hard drive you use. In both systems, we used SATA 3.0GB/s hard drives so it wasn't suprising when they achieved similar times. Since Apophysis is an image rendering program, it's really going to stress the onboard graphics for both motherboards. Looks like the ECS G33T-M2 pulls out by a slight margin.

 

Testing:

Specview is a OpenGL performance benchmark. The tests that we ran are listed below. All default settings were used and higher is better in all tests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's clear that both motherboards were neck-and-neck in the tests, but the G33T-M2 took home four wins out of the seven tests.

 

 

Testing:

PCMark05 is a program used to benchmark a total system and all of its components. We will be running various tests within the program for this motherboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This test is where you're really going to see the differences between the test systems. The Intel system's memory and hard drive were better than those on the AMD system. I was suprised to see the G33T-M2 get a lower score in the graphics test because I didn't think the AMD's onboard graphics were up to par.

 

 

Testing:

Sisoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program which allows you to scrutinize your hardware. We will be running a broad range of benchmarks to gauge this motherboard's performance.

 

 

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

 

 

Multi-Core Efficiency

 

 

Memory Bandwidth

 

 

Memory Latency

 

 

Cache and Memory

 

 

File System

 

 

Physical Disks

 

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

 

Again with Sandra, results were very alike but may have differed because of the slightly different hardware used for each system.

Testing:

Sciencemark tests real world performance instead of using synthetic benchmarks. We will be recording the overall combined score.

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

Cinebench is a benchmark testing your CPU and OpenGL capabilities using the software program CINEMA 4D. For this benchmark, we'll be using the default settings.

 

Higher is Better

 

HD Tune allows you to see your disk performance and also lets you compare with the results of other hard drives.

 

Higher is Better

 

Lower is Better

 

For real world performance, you can see that the AMD board fares better than the G33T-M2, graphics-wise. The gaming benchmarks will give us a better idea of how the onboard graphics perform. Let's go ahead and get on with the gaming benchmarks!

Testing:

 

 

The game tests that we use are as follows:

 

The first game that we'll run is Far Cry. This is an older first person shooter that can still push a video card, or in this case, onboard video. We'll be reporting the average frames per second on this test.

 

The program that we'll be using is Hardware OC Benchmarking Utility version 1.8 with the following settings.

 

 

 

With the first test, you can see that the G33T-M2 did only a few frames better than its competitor.

Testing:

F.E.A.R. is one of the most popular first person shooters on the market today. It has an in-game benchmark that we'll be using and we will be recording the average frames per second that was achieved.

 

The settings we will use are below:

 

 

 

Wow! The G33T-M2 surpassed the AMD board in F.E.A.R. by atleast 17 frames. I was extremely suprised to see this big of a difference between these motherboards because of the previous benchmarks. Will the results for the upcoming games have as big of a difference such as this? Let's find out!

Testing:

Call of Duty 2 is a World War II first person shooter. We will be playing on the multiplayer map of Stalingrad, Russia. The results are the average frames per second.

 

The settings used are listed below:

 

 

 

 

I'm not sure what happened here. The G33T-M2 is back to just slightly beating the AMD board just after it slaughtered the competitor in the F.E.A.R. benchmark.

Testing:

Quake 4 is a popular first person shooter that lets gamers fight in space. The Hardware OC Quake 4 Benchmark Utility version 1.5 is what we'll be using to complete the testing of this game. To get Quake 4 to work correctly, you'll need to update to the most current version for the latest bug fixes. Average frames per second is what we'll be recording at three different resolutions.

 

The settings we will use are listed below:

 

 

 

After we tried multiple different combinations of drivers and settings on the AMD board to get Quake 4 to run with the onboard ATI graphics, we received errors of incompatibility. The G33T-M2 got the exact same error and if you choose to play Quake 4 with the board, you cannot install any patches past 1.3. Any higher of a patch will cause an initialization error, which means that the onboard graphics or driver combination will not work with this setup. A new driver update could possibly fix this issue.

Testing:

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is one of the more recent installments of the Need for Speed racing game series. We'll be reporting the average FPS (frames per second).

 

The settings we will use are listed below.

 

 

 

 

Here we can see that the G33T-M2 is only slightly better than the AMD board, but I'm still unsure why the G33T-M2 did so well in F.E.A.R. but couldn't smack the AMD board around in any other games.

Extras:

Many members at OverclockersClub.com are enthusiasts and hardcore gamers - myself included. Most will tell you that we go through hardware very frequently and so the closet gets more full with old components that we no longer need. It's always nice to be able to put those components to work, whether it be in a home theater PC (HTPC), folding rig, or just another machine to have for use around the house. Personally, it gets pretty tiresome when family members are constantly on my computer when I need to get on to work and to keep my reign in the gaming playground alive.

That's where inexpensive computers come into play. You can easily build a solid, working computer that gets simple tasks done, such as surfing the Internet, playing the occasional game by gathering components around the house, or by spending a couple hundred dollars. The place to start is the motherboard because you will have to build around what the motherboard supports. With the ECS G33T-M2 motherboard, you get onboard video that is decent. If it's not enough for you, you can easily upgrade by buying a PCI Express x16 video card to plug into the respective slot on the motherboard.

A common stereotype about MicroATX boards is that since they are small, they don't support the latest technologies. I beg to differ, because this ECS G33T-M2 motherboard supports DDR2 800, which is a standard for DDR2 memory. It also supports HD audio and PCI Express x16, which is the newest video card format. The board also has four SATA 3.0GB/s ports, which is the new format for hard drives and CD drives. With Microsoft's new operating system, Windows Vista, a lot of people are having compatibility and driver troubles, but fortunately this motherboard is certified for Windows Vista, so you won't have any issues with the operating system working with this board. You might be surprised, but this motherboard supports Intel's quad-core processor line.

Do you have some components laying around the house that you can use to build an inexpensive computer that is still up-to-date? Look into this G33T-M2 motherboard because the possibilities with a system built around this board are near endless. Plus, with a price of only $105.99, your wallet won't be cleaned out.

Make sure to check back at OverclockersClub.com because we will be posting multiple reviews of various components to build a very functional and up-to-date computer without breaking the bank. We will also be showcasing the parts and steps to building an HTPC that eliminates half of the equipment that you use to watch high definition TV, listen to music, watch family slide shows and much more.

 

Conclusion:

The ECS G33T-M2 motherboard is a decent board that does what it says it can. In the gaming results, we can see that the onboard graphics did slightly better than its AMD competitor. When you look at all of the results as a whole, this motherboard came out slightly on top. I was impressed with the onboard graphics because I was sure that they were going to be worse than how it turned out to be. If you look at the results from F.E.A.R., the G33T-M2 completely destroyed the AMD board, but it didn't make too much sense as to why that happened because in all of the other results, both boards were practically neck-and-neck. Some of the synthetic benchmark results can be a result of the slightly different hardware setups for each motherboard, but for the most part, both systems were very similar in all of the components. I didn't have any problems with installing this motherboard or getting it all set up, so that is a plus. I was really disappointed that this motherboard did not have IDE ports on it, but it does have the newer format - SATA. The connectors on the motherboard were plentiful and I never wished there was another port for use. For the price of this motherboard, you really get good performance from the onboard graphics. This motherboard would be a great solution for anyone looking for an inexpensive motherboard who may occasionally play a game or two and is needed for rather basic tasks.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: