Impressions & Conclusions
Taking a look back at the test results, I can’t help but feel amazed by the performance of the ECS 755-A2. Like many people, I have always been under the impression that cheaper chipsets are inferior, but as SiS and Elitegroup have proven, this is clearly not the case. The ECS 755-A2 performed as well as the generally more expensive nForce 3 250Gb and the VIA K8T800 Pro, and even beat both in multimedia tests (Winstone and DiVX encoding)! For business and general day-to-day computing, the ECS 755-A2 will beat your expectations thanks to price and performance.
However, where the ECS 755-A2 falls behind is in game performance. In OpenGL games like Doom 3 and Warhammer: Dawn of War, the motherboard could not keep up with the pack. It showed significantly lower average frame rates with an unplayable minimum (i.e. below 30 FPS). With overclocking, this improved a little, but still wasn’t enough to really match the performance of the other chipsets. DirectX games were a little slower than the nForce 3 and the K8T800, but not as significantly as OpenGL.
Performance aside, the ECS 755-A2 is minimally appointed in features, but it has SATA RAID 0 and RAID 1, 6 channel sound, and an 800MHz HyperTransport bus. However, among the list of features not supported, there is no Firewire, no more advanced RAID options (like RAID 5, and 1+0) , no dual-channel memory (though this made little difference in our non-game testing), and no digital audio.
Overclocking is barely present as all it has are HT multiplier adjustments (makes little difference without a CPU multiplier), RAM voltage controls, and bus frequency. Though there are little overclocking features, the BIOS has a good selection of memory controls.
Another point worth mentioning is warranty and support. ECS is known for their value-packed products. As a result, their warranty is only 1 year in duration which is much less than other manufacturers. However, having used this board for a few weeks playing games and doing general work, I can tell that the workmanship is pretty solid.
Support is a more serious issue since ECS has a reputation around the community for updates that aren’t very prompt or very frequent. This may not be a real huge deal to many of you if all you’re using the ECS 755-A2 for is general computer work. If your hardware is pretty standard, then I can’t see driver and BIOS support being a big factor.
But Why Bother?
I know some of you out there are thinking why you would even bother with the ECS 755-A2 when you can buy a VIA or NVIDIA socket 754 board for a little more and maybe get better support and warranty. If you feel this way, then obviously the ECS 755-A2 isn’t for you!
The ECS 755-A2 really shines for businesses where the bottom line can be improved by spending less and getting more in return. This is even more applicable if buying in larger quantities. The ECS 755-A2 is also a very inexpensive way to go 64-bit without spending much, you can even go with Sempron first and wait for Athlon 64 prices to drop. OEM builders and system integrators should add the ECS 755-A2 into their arsenal of solutions as it has proven itself very capable in our test lab.
For home use, it’s perfectly suited for everyday general use. It’s fast enough for games and quick enough for more advanced usage like video authoring and encoding. It may not have all the features like digital sound, but many of you don’t need it anyway.
The only cautionary note would be that you should weigh the support and warranty issue for your particular situation. I feel that for most general users a 1 year warranty and the ECS support should be sufficient, but I would recommend doing some research anyway if you are unsure.
All in all, the ECS 755-A2 is a very fine product. It spares some of the features and accessories, but it comes through in value and performance. The quality is very good and I didn’t have any problems in installation or usage even in overclocked situations for over one week.
I think for those looking for an inexpensive Athlon 64 solution that performs like a more expensive board, the ECS 755-A2 is a strong candidate for your dollar.
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