ECS GF8200A Reviewajmatson - August 19, 2008
Price: $90.00 - $108.99
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With the success of the GeForce 8200 chipset from Nvidia, we are seeing more and more motherboards coming out based on this technology designed for mainstream computer users and system builders. The GeForce 8200 chipset takes older, proven technology and combines it with new, interesting technology for a fast, feature-packed platform for today's users. The biggest feature of the GeForce 8200 chipset is the integrated motherboard graphics processor - or mGPU - which brings to the table DirectX 10, Shader Model 4.0, and Hybrid SLI Graphics technology for a well-rounded motherboard base. What is this Hybrid SLI technology, you ask? Basically, it is a dual-GPU setup using a discrete graphics card (dGPU) and an mGPU in combination, which together provides a graphics power increase from GeForce Boost, or power savings - HybridPower - when paired with the correct card. Unfortunately, only certain 8-series cards can enable GeForce Boost, and certain 9-series cards will support HybridPower.
Today, we are looking at one GeForce 8200 based board from ECS - Elitegroup Computer Systems - which is part of their "Black Series" of motherboards aimed towards enthusiasts and gamers who want top-end technology on a budget. Earlier this year, we took a look at the ECS A780GM-A board, which is based on the AMD 780G chipset, and the two boards look strikingly similar, which is not surprising, since the GeForce 8200 chipset was Nvidia's answer to the 780G chipset. The ECS GF8200A supports the latest AMD processors, including the 50 series tri and quad core Phenom CPUs. With all that said, now let's take a closer look at the ECS GF8200A motherboard.
The ECS GF8200A comes packaged in a black box sporting the Dragon mascot that ECS has been using for their Black Series motherboards. The front of the box lists some of the features in a logo type format, and there's another logo that states that this board is a "Gamer's Buy." The back of the box offers a glance at what the motherboard looks like, for people wanting to see the layout prior to purchase, as well as an in-depth look at highlighted features.
Opening the box, you get a peek at the accessories that come with the ECS GF8200A motherboard. On the top layer are the accessories, and underneath is the motherboard, so it is protected during shipment. Packaged with the ECS GF8200A board is the standard line-up of accessories, including one IDE cable, two SATA cables, and I/O plate, the manual, and the driver CD.
Now that everything is out of the packaging, let's go and get a better view of the board up close.