ECS A890GXM-A AMD 890GX+SB850 Mainboard
When I first reviewed this board, I was quite surprised by its layout and design. Finished in black and bright red/orange/yellow connectors, the ECS Black series looks outstanding among the other boards we received for review.
Features wise, the most noticeable difference from the other AMD 890GX boards is that this board supports 4 display modes. That is HDMI, DVI-D, D-SUB and DisplayPort. To make up space, it removed the PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse connectors. There are also power on/off, reset buttons on the PCB and a Clear CMOS button at the back panel which aren't found on other boards we tested so far which are very useful for DIY users. ECS also throws in eJIFFY which is very similar to ASUS ExpressGate, thus saving you time booting into Windows to access the web, social media tools.
Probably to reduce unnecessary features, this board does away with USB 3.0 and Jmicron SATA2 (for IDE channels). Another model has a USB3 though. The board also comes with 3 full length PCIe 2.0 slots supporting CrossFire X. So you have the extra PCIe 2.0x4 slot for an additional graphics card for 3 way crossfire.
In terms of performance, the ECS A890GXM-A performs on par with the other boards if no overclocking of sideport is involved. If ECS is willing to open up the BIOS for selection of higher RAM settings for the Sideport memory, I am sure it would do equally well. In our overclocking tests, we managed to o/c it to 3.25GHz (13x250) by bumping voltages of +50mv to CPU, DIMM +10mv, NB/HT +120mv, SB +10mv sideport 1.6v.
Overclocking features are plenty less the sideport memory selections. With a 6+1 Phase with 7 Phase LED, the board supports a dynamic range of parameters for you to tweak. You can refer to this page for more. Documentation is very concise with tables of QVL of DDR3 and installation instructions. Packaging is rather simplistic probably all features are already found on board.
In conclusion, ECS give us a slightly different design from the rest putting too much effort on power saving and integrated USB 3.0 support. A890GXM-A would have been better if it fine tune some of the BIOS features, it would have been perfect.
Here are my ratings out of 10.