We've tried and tried and tried over the last few months to get this motherboard to work, and eventually we sometimes just have to call it a day. And that's often one of the hardest things to accept because we've ploughed so much time into it.
One of the benefits of our new blog is that there's now a medium for us to forewarn you about those products that come into our labs but don't make it through the review process after many, many man hours trying - for example, this board has been on and off the test bench for nearly three months now. It gives us a chance to name and shame products that really don't meet the grade at all - we hope it won't happen too often but you never know... this could become more regular than we'd expect.
To cut a long story short, our first board was sent back to ECS in Taiwan after our initial failed attempts to get it working. The company claimed it was faulty and sent another they guaranteed as working - it even came with a nice "It works!" sticker on the box.
Except, it doesn't work... Maybe the "It works" and "It doesn't work" stickers got mixed up? It has the exact same problem as the first board and it's a rubbish BIOS that's at fault.
Running 3GB of single sided memory works perfectly fine, but a dual sided 6GB kit just won't. Both our 6GB kits and mixed modules of Samsung HFC0 actually do work
but they get the same crippling performance that destroys memory bandwidth. Vista takes a good three to five minutes to actually boot up (that may not be an exaggeration to some, but it is for a Core i7 system), the raw memory performance tops out at 11,000MB/sec compared to a normal 17,000MB/sec and the latency is about 50 percent higher.
The BIOS in general is, well, you've probably guessed already - craptacular.
Nothing works properly: select a custom multiplier and the default option is 60, so there we are manually hitting the negative key like it was dishing out diamonds to reach the desired setting. Your brand new memory requires custom memory timings? Forget it, because nothing apart from automatic SPD and XMP settings worked with any of our 6GB memory choices.
The feature set is about five years behind the rest of the industry and unless ECS puts some serious investment into it (and we're more likely to see the Devil wearing ice skates to go to work), its Black Edition products will only ever live up to their name when left in a locked cupboard.