ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review :: ECS A780GM-A Black Layout

04-30-2008 · Category: Motherboards

By Ben Sun

You might wonder why ECS is calling this board as part of the “Black” series. ECS has gone with a black PCB for the ECS A780GM-A board. The CPU area of the board is completely free of obstructions, allowing the use of after-market CPU coolers like the Cooler Master CPU cooler I used in this review. The board uses a four-phase power system.


ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  CPU Area

CPU Area

ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  PCI-E x16 slot

PCI-E x16 slot

ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  PCI-E x16 lock

PCI-E x16 lock

ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  PCI Slots

PCI Slots


ECS has designed this motherboard as a mid-ATX board. Most boards with integrated graphics sport a mini-ATX format, limiting expansion options. ECS offers a single PCI Express x16 2.0 expansion slot for discrete graphics, two PCI Express x1 slots and three PCI slots. This gives the end-user maximum flexibility on expansion while containing the best integrated graphics available on any platform at the same time.


ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  Memory Slots

Memory Slots

ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  PCI-E x1 Slots

PCI-E x1 Slots

ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  USB Headers

USB Headers

ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  SATA Ports

SATA Ports


Four DIMM slots are on the board, allowing the use of up to 8GB of DDR2 memory clocked up to 1066MHz. Note, the memory controller is on the CPU and not on the motherboard, meaning that the type of memory supported is dependent on the CPU being used. DDR2-800MHz and below is fully supported, but the 1066MHz memory is supported by the Phenom Triple Core X3 and Quad Core X4 CPUs.


ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  IDE and Floppy

IDE and Floppy

ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  24-pin Power

24-pin Power

ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  Capacitors

Capacitors

ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  Front Panel I/O

Front Panel I/O


The more SATA ports that a board has the better the hard drive support is. The SB700 SB supports up to six SATA ports natively and the ECS board has 5 onboard. The sixth SATA port is on the rear I/O for external SATA support. RAID 0, 1 and 0+1 modes are supported, though I have a problem with the SATA controller on AMD chipsets working properly with Western Digital Raptor drives. Every time I try to set RAID 0 with two Raptors, the drives fail to work together.

Onboard audio is provided by an IDT 92H206 audio chip. The 92H206 has support for 5.1 audio+ another audio stream simultaneously or for 7.1 audio by itself. IDT says that their solution fully supports Intel’s High Definition Audio standards. The use of an IDT chip rather than a Realtek or other company may seem like an interesting choice.


ECS A780GM-A Black Series Motherboard Review  Rear I/O

Rear I/O


The onboard LAN is a 10Mbps/100Mbps/1000Mbps solution from Atheros Attansic L1 controller that is to the left of the two PCI Express x1 slots. The board has a single RJ-45 LAN jack on the rear I/O. The rest of the rear I/O includes six USB 2.0 ports. There are three headers to add up to six more USB 2.0 ports, bringing the total to 12, the maximum that the chipset can support. Some 780G motherboards have a Dual –Link DVI on the rear I/O but ECS chose to include a single D-sub port and HDMI port for the new monitor standard.