Power Consumption and Conclusions
The power consumption was recorded from the P55H-A was on par with the other P55 boards we tested. There’s a substantial decrease in power when we compare the P55 to its older brother the X58 chipset.
While the P55H-A did keep up with the other P55 motherboards we tested against it today in most of our benchmarks, we would have liked to have seen some better results during the gaming and PCMark Vantage tests. ECS is really putting a lot of energy on letting consumers know that these Black Series boards are geared toward gamers, but I didn’t see any performance gains from using their board over any of the other offerings we tested. In fact, some had higher FPS scores in Crysis and Far Cry 2. The PCMark Vantage scores we recorded were also a bit disturbing because the P55H-A seemed to lag behind the other boards a bit in productivity and communications, which are two essential components that consumers use their PCs for. Lastly, the P55H-A didn’t seem to overclock very well and we had issues adjusting memory voltages and timings to increase stability.
Their are a host of cool features the ECS P55H-A has to offer. One we didn’t touch on much was the eJiffy function, which is a Linux
based interface that provides users with quick web
browsing, photo reviewing and online chat that can be accessed before the system boots into Windows. This board also supports Windows 7, 8-channel high definition audio, dual video cards in CrossfireX configurations (x8 each PCI-E lane), and DDR3 2130 (OC). While those features aren’t earth-shattering to most enthusiasts, the fact that this board is reselling for $99.99 after $20 MIB should definitely make consumers do a double-take when they are looking for their next LGA 1156 motherboard upgrade.
Pricing and Availability
As of Nov 11, 2009, the ECS P55H-A is available at Newegg.com for $99.99 (after $20 MIB) with free shipping. This board is also available at TigerDirect.com for $129.99 and ZipZoomFly.com for $119.99.
We’d like to thank our friends at ECS for providing the P55H-A for our review today. While we had difficulties performing moderate overclocking and some of our benchmarks, we did have an enjoyable experience using this board. Its feature set and benchmarks scores aren’t going to make consumers put it on lay-away for the holidays, but its ease-of-use and no-frills functionality are great selling points along with the $100 price tag. We’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs with ECS’s “Black Series” motherboards and we’ve seen where they’ve had to cut corners a bit to bring the price of the product down. We hope future BIOS updates and other driver updates will improve the board’s overall productivity numbers we saw in PCMark Vantage and hopefully ECS will be able to come up with some creative ways to get a few more FPS out of this board during gaming too. All in all, this board is definitely at the right price point for people looking to make a quick jump to the P55 platform as well as get to experience the joy of using one of Intel’s new LGA 1156 processors.