ECS A770-M Socket AM2+ Motherboard

overviewI have finally gotten my chance to review one of their products. The product on the bench here today is the A770-M socket AM2+ motherboard. Before I even received the board I browsed a few online stores to get a good ideal on pricing. In the case of the A770M-A we were able to find it for roughly $65. This is in range of Asrock and some of the board they manufacture. But is the ECS as stable as the competition? We will find out.

 

overviewI have finally gotten my chance to review one of their products. The product on the bench here today is the A770-M socket AM2+ motherboard. Before I even received the board I browsed a few online stores to get a good ideal on pricing. In the case of the A770M-A we were able to find it for roughly $65. This is in range of Asrock and some of the board they manufacture. But is the ECS as stable as the competition? We will find out.

Introduction

Not until five or six years ago had never heard of ECS but they have been around for some time now. The brand can be seen in many retailer and online markets. Often being bundled with a processor advertised in your local newspaper at an incredible price that can’t be beat. With this being said ECS is aimed at the individual that wants extreme stability and want a board that won’t broke them.

I have finally gotten my chance to review one of their products. The product on the bench here today is the A770-M socket AM2+ motherboard. Before I even received the board I browsed a few online stores to get a good ideal on pricing. In the case of the A770M-A we were able to find it for roughly $65. This is in range of Asrock and some of the board they manufacture. But is the ECS as stable as the competition? We will find out.

Word from ECS

The A770M-A motherboard support the most powerful and efficient new socket AM2+ for AMD Phenom processor. It based on AMD 770 Chipset with SB600, and equipped with new technologies PCI-E Gen.2 and HT3.0 bus for faster I/O. It supports dual-channel DDR2 memory up to DDR2 800. A770M-A motherboard is the fantastic model for AMD platform.

 

Packaging

The packing for the A770M is not at flamboyant as we have seen. It is plain for the most part but very informative. The front of the box advertises some of features that most people would look for when looking for a new motherboard: Phenom, HT 3.0, DDR2 and Vista compatibility.

This motherboard doesn’t come with a lot of accessories just a SATA, IDE, floppy and I/O shield.

Specifications

CPU
AMD Phenom processor (Socket AM2+)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core/ Athlon64 / Sempron processor
High-performance HyperTransport 3.0 CPU Interface
Support transfer rate up to 5200 mega-transfers per second
Note: This board supports CPU up to 95W TDP only; you can refer to AMD website to check your CPU.
 CHIPSET
AMD 770 & AMD-SB600
North Bridge: AMD- 770
South Bridge: AMD- SB600
 MEMORY
Dual-channel DDR2 800 memory architecture
4 x 240-pin DDR2 DIMM socket support up to 32GB*
Support DDR2 800/667/533/400 DDR2 SDRAM
* (Due to the DRAM maximum size is 2GB at present, the memory maximum size we have tested is 8GB)
* Please refer to the QVL memory for supporting DDR2 1066
 EXPANSION SLOT
1 x PCI Express x16 Gen2.0 slot (Support Hybrid SLI)
2 x PCI Express X 1 Gen1.1 slot
3 x PCI slots
 STORAGE
Support by AMD SB600
2 x Ultra DMA133/100/66 devices
4 x Serial ATAII 3.0Gb/s devices
RAID0, RAID1, RAID10 configuration
Supported by JMicron- JMB361
1 x External SATA 3.0 Gb/s port
Realtek ALC883 8-channel audio CODEC
Compliant with HD audio specification
 LAN
Realtek RTL8101E/8111B Gigabit Fast Ethernet NIC
 REAR PANEL I/O
1 x PS/2 keyboard & PS/2 mouse connectors
6 x USB ports
1 x Ethernet Port
1 x External SATA port
1 x Serial port (COM1)
1 x Audio port (Line-in, Line-out, Mic-in)
 INTERNAL I/O CONNECTORS & HEADERS
1 x 24-pin ATX Power Supply connector
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V connector
CPUFAN/PWRFAN/SYSFAN connectors
1 x IDE connector
4 x Serial ATA connectors
1 x Speaker header
1 x Front panel switch/LED header
1 x Front panel audio header
1 x SPDIF out header
1 x CD in header
2 x USB headers
 SYSTEM BIOS
AMI BIOS with 8Mb SPI ROM
Supports Plug and Play, STR/STD, Hardware monitor, Multi Boot, DMI
Supports ACPI revision
 FORM FACTOR
ATX Size, 305mm*210mm

Features

Certified For Windows Vista
The latest generation Microsoft O.S., delivers better personal productivity and digital entertainment on your PC through its improved reliability, security, and performance.
AMD Phenom
Being inherited from the excellent architecture of multitasking, AMD Phenom processors lead to a new milestone in the computing performance with its powerful multi-core as well as the support for HT 3.0 technology.
Dual core
Outperforms single-core processors on most multithreaded applications while running at lower clock speeds and consuming less power.
Dual Channel DDR2 800
Doubles the bandwidth of your system memory up to 12.8GB/s and pumps up the system performance.
Serial-ATA II
Support N-ports SATAII running at 300MB/s at 2x double speed than SATA. Fully compatible with soon-to-be-released SATA HDD, CD-ROM and other cutting edge devices with NCQ function support.
ATA133
Supports Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 IDE devices, data transfer rate up to 133MB/s
HT3.0
The highly scalable Hyper Transport 3.0 is capable to provide incredible bandwidth of the system bus up to 20.8GB/s which would dramatically elevate the efficiency of computing performance.
Gigabit LAN
Delivers transfer speed ten times faster than conventional 10/ 100 Ethernet connections, supporting a high transfer rate up to Gigabit/s. Gigabit LAN is the networking standards for the future and is ideal for handing large amount of data such as video, audio, and voice.
USB 2.0
The latest connectivity standard which delivers transfer speeds up to 480Mb/s for easy connectivity and ultra-fast data transfers.
8 Channel High Definition Audio
Integrated 8-channel HD Audio CODEC delivering advanced multi-channel audio and bringing you the experience of home theater-quality sound.
Over-Clocking
Maximizes your system performance by selecting from these overclocking options
(1) Flexible CPU/DDR core voltage adjustments
(2) Adjustable FSB/DDR ratio

 

Closer look

The A770M-A was one of the first motherboards on the market that gave support of the Phenom processor. And on release to the market the one advantage the board had was the price which the customer would pay for it. At $65 it was a lot cheaper than the ASUS M2N that followed later. With support for DDR2 800 and AM2+ the mainboard offered a great upgrade path for anyone still using the older X2 chips.

For a budget board the A770M-A has a pretty nice layout compared to the Asrock motherboards that we have reviewed many times before. The first thing that I looked for was the placement of the ATX power connector and ECS did it right and put it on the edge of the board where it belongs, right before the four DIMM slots and beside the IDE connector. ECS makes it clear this board supports up to 32GB of DDR2 ram but due to the unavailability of eight modules only eight gigs has been tested.

Looking at the CPU socket from above you can see things are pretty tightly pack. But with that being said the user still should not have any issues using taller or bigger coolers.

For cooling ECS decided to use passive heat sinks instead of active this allowed them to keep cost to a minimum. This does a decent job at keeping the AMD 770 and SB600 cool.

For slots the A770M-A is plentiful as there are two 1x PCIe, one 16x PCIe and three standard PCI slots. The only issue I could see here is if you wish to use all three standard PCI slot and the single 16x one. The 16x slot blocks the top 1x if occupied.

The lower right of the board is pretty busy with the SATA ports and many headers for the front panel and USB add-ins. For $65 you even get Raid 0, 1 and 10 not too bad for an entry level mainboard.

The rear of the board sports a lot of useful connections even the old school PS/2. What I will continue to point out during any motherboard review, the A770M-A even has an eSATA connection to go with the six USB 2.0 it has to offer.

 

BIOS

The A770M-A does not have the most feature rich BIOS of the ones out there. Voltages setting are minimum and are displayed in a way that I wasn’t too fond of. DIMM and CPU voltage values are measured in mV instead of overall voltage as I am accustom to seeing.

HT Frequency: Auto, 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000MHz
Memory Clock Values: 200, 266, 333, 400 and 533
CPU Voltage: +5mV and +10mV
DIMM Voltage: 1=+10mV, 2=+20mV up to 63=+630mV

 

Testing

Testing Hardware:
AMD A64 x2 6400+
DDR2 Crucial Ballistix PC6400 (5-5-5-18)
Maxtor 100GB SATAI
Leadtek 6800GT
Thermalright Ultra 120
Thermaltake TP1000

Testing Software:
Futuremark PCMark05
Futuremark 3DMark06
SiSoftware Sandra
Everest Ultimate
SuperPi 1.5 mod
Prey
F.E.A.R.

Competition:
Asrock A780 A780FullDisplayPort
Asrock A780 A780FullDisplayPort + Sapphire HD3650

 

Results

CPU results

Futuremark PCmark05 Build 1.1.0

PCMark05 is everything you need to reliably and easily measure the performance of your PC and determine its strengths and weaknesses. With PCMark05, you will be able to select the optimal upgrades for your existing PC, or choose the right new PC that fits your specific needs. This easy-to-use product gives you the same tools and knowledge that virtually every professional tester in the industry uses.

Super PI Modded 1.5

In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.

 

Ram results

Futuremark PCmark05 Build 1.1.0

PCMark�05 is everything you need to reliably and easily measure the performance of your PC and determine its strengths and weaknesses. With PCMark05, you will be able to select the optimal upgrades for your existing PC, or choose the right new PC that fits your specific needs. This easy-to-use product gives you the same tools and knowledge that virtually every professional tester in the industry uses.

SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2007 SP1

SiSoftware has announced the availability of Service Release 2 (SR2) for SiSoftware Sandra 2005, the latest version of its award-winning utility. The focus of this service release has been improved support, compatibility and reliability rather than new features. We have been working closely with more hardware vendors than before to be able to bring greater direct support of an increased market share of commodity and server technologies.

Lavalys Everest

Lavalys EVEREST Home Edition is freeware system information, system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for home PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. It offers the world’s most accurate system information and diagnostics capabilities, including online features, memory benchmarks, hardware monitoring, and low-level hardware information. EVEREST Home Edition is uniquely available for home users without any charges, based on the freeware license.

 

HDD results

Futuremark PCmark05 Build 1.1.0

PCMark05 is everything you need to reliably and easily measure the performance of your PC and determine its strengths and weaknesses. With PCMark05, you will be able to select the optimal upgrades for your existing PC, or choose the right new PC that fits your specific needs. This easy-to-use product gives you the same tools and knowledge that virtually every professional tester in the industry uses.

Simpli Software HD Tach 3

HD Tach will test the sequential read, random access and interface burst speeds of your attached storage device (hard drive, flash drive, removable drive, etc). All drive technologies such as SCSI, IDE/ATA, 1394, USB, SATA and RAID are supported. Test results from HD Tach can be used to confirm manufacturer specs, analyze your system for proper performance, and compare your performance with others. HD Tach is very easy to use, quick, and presents data in easy to read graphs, including the ability to compare two storage devices on screen at the same time for easy analysis.

 

Video and Gaming results

Futuremark 3DMark06 Build 1.0.2

3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests. 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. Futuremark’s exclusive Online ResultBrowser web service tracks and compares 3DMark06 scores.

Sierra F.E.A.R. Update 1.08

F.E.A.R. : (First Encounter Assault Recon) is an intense combat experience with rich atmosphere and a deeply intense paranormal storyline presented entirely in first person. Be the hero in your own spine-tingling epic of action, tension, and terror and discover the true meaning of F.E.A.R.

3drealms Prey

PREY takes full advantage of the Sound Blaster,  X-Fi sound card. PREY supports OpenAL hardware acceleration, EAX, ADVANCED HD,5.0 features of 4 reverberation effects at once, and uses Sound Blaster, X-Fi, XRAM feature to load audio samples on the cards with 64 megs of RAM.

 

Power Consumption

We started the testing with a WattsUp Pro meter to measure watts use by the components listed above. And we used a standard digital multimeter to measure the rails of the power supply. To implement a load on the system, we ran Futuremark 3DMark06 at the highest settings with SuperPi and OCCT running in the background.

Overclocking

Here we have the more exciting part of the review which was not too exciting at all. The A770 reached a maximum of 211MHz not too outstanding but you have to remember this motherboard has no CPU ration adjustments. And is not aimed at the overclocking community but for those looking for inexpensive but reliable performance.

Conclusion

Will the ECS A770M-A win any overclocking benchmarking contest? No. Will it save you some major bucks and provide you will some stability and reliable? Yes. Like we stated before this motherboard isn’t going to set any overclocking records but if you are looking at a decent office or small workstation build maybe you should take a look at this board.

What I did like about this ECS offering is that it did come with an eSATA port and RAID supports which is something we don’t see and a lot of entry level motherboards. And it is nice to see they offer four DIMM slots as some of their boards only have two.

Honestly you can’t beat the price of the board as it can be had for as little as $65.

We would like to thank ECS for sending over our test sample.


Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments