There’s one thing I have to give ECS credit for – its PR and marketing tries hard. While its products are sometimes less than fantastic
at least its new X58 motherboard has come a long way from what they once were
and the design below actually looks
pretty neat: sort of, flamey.
Although, on second thoughts, maybe the association with fire is not a good one.
Anyway, ECS was keen to tell bit-tech
that its Black Edition products are of higher quality than before, while not targeting the very high-end, ECS will try to appeal to the more value concious "middle-high level". At just US$260 the ECS X58B-A Black Edition should certainly appeal to more cost concious upgraders.
The board has a simple design – six phase power regulation and just one phase for north bridge and another for all six memory slots. ECS claims support for an impressive DDR3-1600 XMP, although we’ll have to see for ourselves if this works. ECS does include solid aluminium capacitors and environmentally sealed chokes, but the MOSFETs are old school and there’s no attempt for fancy power regulation like other companies are now using.
There are two Realtek Gigabit Ethernet chipsets that include the usual teaming function, as well as Realtek ALC888S High-Definition sound. The JMicron JMB362 chipset offers a couple of eSATA ports, but there is only the base level six SATA included.
There’s simple onboard power and reset buttons and clear CMOS button on the rear I/O, in addition to a two digit POST LED readout, a pair of PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots, one x4 slot, two x1 slots and one PCI. The board is also both SLI and CrossFire multi-GPU certified as well.
It’s a decent mix but feels a little “check box.” In some ways, having simple features that work will certainly suit those looking for an uncomplicated purchase – after all, simple momentary buttons can be depressed just as well as fancy backlit ones, and its QoolTech II (Qool? yea, I died a little inside also) should work to cool the chipsets sufficiently, while remaining silent. What about six phase power regulation versus 12-16? Well, ECS still conforms to Intel’s latest VRD 11.1 spec so it should work just fine, but there might not be much overhead though.
Not everyone wants an expensive, super-OC motherboard with tons of features that they'll probably never use, and ECS is not one rated to build the best BIOSes in the world so we agree: why waste money adding extra hardware if the software isn't up to taking advantage? In a market where X58 board prices could likely be spiralling out of control, the X58A-B might possibly be worth a second look, and we always retain a cautious optimism about new products - after all, recently companies like Biostar have proven an extreme overclocker favourite. When it comes to pushing the boundaries though, the “Black” series has a long
way to go before it’s anywhere near enthusiast.
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