Features and Layout
The ECS A780GM-A motherboard is part of the new enthusiast Black series by ECS so it features a black PCB. The board complements that with a yellow, red and orange color scheme.
Click to Enlarge
Again, as you can see from the picture, this is a full sized ATX board. The 780G Northbridge and the SB700 Southbridge are both cooled by passive heatsinks.
On the back of the board, you can see the large retention bracket for the CPU heatsink bracket.
The CPU socket is fairly open with the capacitors and MOSFETs at appropriate heights and spacing to allow for most cooling options.
Located at the bottom storage section of the board are three USB 2.0 headers and the front panel audio header. Five SATA ports are located in this area as well, which also support RAID modes 0,1,10.
Located at the top right of the board are four DDR2 RAM slots that support speeds up to 1066MHz with a max capacity of 32GB. There is also the 24-pin main power connector as well as one IDE and one Floppy connection.
The board features four phase power regulation and uses a 24-pin ATX power supply header and an additional 4-pin ATX power connector.
The ECS A780GM-A expansion ports from top to bottom are two x1 PCI-Express slots, one full x16 PCI-Express 2.0 for those who wish to upgrade the GPU, and finishes it off with three PCI slots for extra add in card configurations.
Located on the back I/O panel, you will find the following connections: PS/2 ports for keyboards and mice, a VGA D-Sub for the IGP ATI 3200 graphics, an HDMI-Out for high definition video output, six USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, one Gigabit Ethernet port and the and 7.1 High Definition audio ports.
Two things of note here. First, no DVI port exists for the integrated graphics. I find this strange, as most of the current monitors on the market feature today feature the DVI interface. Most of the 780G boards have this feature. Secondly, ECS dumped the traditional Realtek HD audio codec in favor of the IDT 92HD206 audio codec. On paper the specs look okay “High performance HD Audio CODEC provides Theater Quality Audio and enables systems with 7.1 audio or 5.1 audio playing with simultaneous Real Time Communication (RTC) channel such as VoIP or separate stereo audio stream. IDT’s High performance SD technology provides high fidelity with a DAC SNR of 95dB and 90dB ADC SNR”. Whether this is any better than the standard Realtek audio codec remains to be seen.
The included bundle is somewhat limited but consists of two SATA cables, one IDE cable, an I/O shield plate, support CD, quick start guide, manual and an ECS Black Series case badge.