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ECS Black Series A990FXM-A Review

Price: TBD


The processor is to the brain, as the motherboard is to the central nervous system. Without one, the other is rather useless. Each plays an integral part in the functiality of a very beautiful system. It can be argued, based on relative amounts of advancement over a given period of time, that processors and motherboards are the more advanced of the two systems. Not because they have surpassed or even met the level of a human's, but because of how far they have advanced in the half-century that each has been around in one form or another. Given the rate of progression, AI may indeed be quite close.

The utilitarian nature of these electronics is one reason why they have developed so rapidly. As opposed to waiting millennia or centuries for the simplest change in architecture or design to change, when one part has outlived its usefulness and can no longer meet the demands of the rest of the system, it can be replaced immediately by a better part. The beauty in this is that these new parts are in constant development, and as soon as the newest part is released, so work is begun on making it better. This artificially created system of evolution is responsible for bringing computers where they are at this very moment.

AMD has been more value oriented than Intel for quite some time, though this is not to discredit their performance in any way. Despite being just a tick behind the evolutionary scale, AMD remains competitive. AMD may have a trick up its sleeve with its next-generation octo-core processors called Bulldozer, which may meet or perhaps pass Intel and regain the evolutionary performance crown. Preceding this by rather a long way off, however, are new motherboards sporting the newest chipset and PGA package. ECS is one of those manufacturers and has created and submitted a high-end AM3+ board for review that sports the newest AMD 990FX/SB950 chipset and AM3+ socket, the A990FXM-A. Let's have a look.


Closer Look:

The glossy, green box that enshrouds the A990FXM-A advertises all of the nifty features it offers, some of them courtesy of the new chipsets. Take for instance the reunification of AMD and SLI. The 990FX chipset has support for both Tri-SLI and tri-fire. No longer is it necessary to pay Big Money to play with Green Power, assuredly a welcome change. Beyond simple marketing attempts to spruce up features that have been standard and approaching archaic for some time, ECS highlights some of the more interesting things that this board can do. Tri-Fire/SLI, support for DDR3-2133, and eSATA3 being the more notable features.




With the board come a standard bunch of accessories, which include the User manual, Installation foldout, Driver/Utility DVD, I/O backplate, six SATA cables, three SLi bridges, twelve USB port plugs, one 3.5" bay USB3 with two ports. Nothing out of the ordinary, and in fact the SATA cables are a mild letdown, as right-angle connections are absent. Making up for that, however, is the inclusion of a 3.5" USB3 bay, which can also be transformed with the included hardware to use one of your case's backplates. Onward to more visual stimulation!

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (The Motherboard)
  3. Closer Look: BIOS
  4. Closer Look: Drivers & Programs
  5. Specifications & Features
  6. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  7. Testing: Apophysis, WinRAR, Geekbench 2.1, Bibble 5
  8. Testing: Office 2007, POV Ray, PCMark 7
  9. Testing: SiSoft Sandra 2011 SP3
  10. Testing: ScienceMark, Cinebench, HD Tune
  11. Testing: Alien vs. Predator
  12. Testing: Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 2
  13. Testing: Batman: Arkham Asylum
  14. Testing: 3DMark 11
  15. Conclusion
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