ECS 760GX-M BIOS & Layout

BIOS

The BIOS for the ECS 760GX-M has all your basic functionality and essentially zero enthusiast features.

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Memory and HT adjustments.

For memory settings, you can adjust your CAS latency and your memory clock and nothing more. In the same menu, you can adjust the Hyper Transport I/O width and speed.

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Frequency controls minus voltage adjustments.

Oddly, in the frequency and voltage controls section you will find no voltage controls whatsoever. There are frequency settings for AGP/PCI and CPU.

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Mirage2 memory adjustment.

If you are using the onboard video, you can adjust the quantity of system RAM allocated for video. You can select from 32MB, 64MB, and 128MB.

The rest of the BIOS is laid out like any other BIOS you see on motherboards these days. The above features are the more interesting bits.

Physical Design and Layout

In buying any micro-ATX motherboard, you will expect some compromises on ergonomics and design layout due to the lack of PCB space. There is an issue supporting non-stock heatsinks, so read below if this concerns you.

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Click for a larger image.

The socket area is cramped as expected. Using larger heatsinks on the socket will be a challenge since the RAM and the North Bridge heatsink may block installation.

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Pretty cramped.

The biggest issue I had with the design of the motherboard is the fact the heatsink retention backplate is bonded (glued?) to the back of the motherboard. As a result, you can not remove the backing to install a non-standard heatsink like the Zalman CNPS7700-Cu we use in our reviews.

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The backplate can not be removed and therefore makes
the ECS 760GX-M incompatible with many heatsinks.

There are no problems with installing AGP video cards and worrying about blocking off the RAM dims because the DIMMs are located above the 754 socket.

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Fan headers, and other pin headers are usually next to a capacitor or some other motherboard component which may make installation a hassle but not impossible.

The ECS 760GX-M is the only motherboard we are reviewing today that has the front panel pins color coded, and using newer style SATA connections that keep the SATA cables more secure. This is a nice touch.

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The BIOS chip uses a socket instead of being soldered onto the PCB. This is useful if you need to swap BIOS chips quickly without having to send back the board for RMA.

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Looking closely at the board, there are traces for COM2, and Firewire but oddly there aren’t any other SiS760 models from ECS with these features.

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