ECS A890GXM-A2 review

By on November 25, 2010
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High-end performance, mid-range pricing.

Good: Great price, loads of overclocking potential, onboard graphics adapter
Bad: MIB III overclocking interface is overwhelmingly confusing
Price: AED 600
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

We initially used the ECS A890GXM-A2 while reviewing the updated AMD X6 1075T and X4 970BE where it performed superbly. Now however, it’s time for the actual motherboard itself to take on the limelight and show us what all it really has.

Being a socket AM3 based motherboard, the ECS A890GXM-A2 will support pretty much any processor released by AMD in the last 2 years, including the latest X6 processors. The specialty here is that it has the ability to unlock some of the hidden cores on some of the Phenom II and Sempron 140 processors through the BIOS itself. Unfortunately we didn’t have any AMD processor from that range otherwise this would have been a really fun little experiment to conduct.

Being a Black Series motherboard, overclocking is something that was factored into the board’s design from inception. So things like dual heat pipes and large fins for heatsinks are quite a common sight. One other interesting thing on the ECS A890GXM-A2 is the onboard AMD HD 4290 graphics chip with 128MB GDDR3 memory onboard. This little card allows you to connect the motherboard to any monitor or TV via VGA, DVI, HDMI or a DisplayPort. A good option for those who just want to use their PC for more computing tasks than gaming, but let’s face it, nobody will buy a Black Series motherboard just for its onboard graphics capability, minuscule as it is. This is why the ECS A890GXM-A2 also features two PCI-e x16 slots for 2-way CrossFire setup.

Apart from all that, the ECS A890GXM-A2 features your, now usual, features like USB 3.0 and SATA 3G (@ 6GBps). Then there are the BIOS and Drivers update utility along with the eJIFFY interface based on LINUX. Think of it like a UI system present in many netbooks and laptops that basically allows you access to the web and IM service. This is, of course, additional software for you to install, so users can skip it entirely if your Windows 7 boots up in 10 seconds on your RAIDed SSDs.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

  • Swzaske

    Some review you have here talking about the boards ability to unlock cores and you don’t even have a CPU to test it with. Also, you say the board is ready for SLI or Crossfire. What are you smoking? Yeah, some review you have there..

    • Taimoor Hafeez

      Yes, we didn’t have an AMD CPU which has hidden cores to test that feature because this is not a feature usually touted by motherboard manufacturers. It would be unreasonable for us to have all sorts of CPUs to check some unusual feature that a motherboard has.

      As for CrossFire, yes, that was my mistake. This is what happens when you’re reviewing too many motherboards at once.

  • Arman

    For this motherboard I like the usb 3.0 and SATA 3G support because it’s supports fast data transfer.

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