Budget board with budget performance.
For testing the ECS A55F-A, I have used an AMD Llano A8-3850 APU, Kingston HyperX T1 4GB DDR3-2133MHz RAM (running at 1600MHz) and WD VelociRaptor 300GB HDD running Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. The whole system is powered by OCZ 1250W ZX Series PSU. For cooling the A8-3850 I used the Noctua NH-U9B with one fan running at default speeds, this kept the APU at 16°C during idle and going up to 30°C during benchmarks. For comparisons I have used the Gigabyte A75M-UD2H ($110) and ECS A75F-A ($85).
While the A55F-A certainly trails behind the A75F-A Black Series and A75M-UD2H motherboard between 4% and 8%, also consider the fact that it costs almost 20% to 40% cheaper than them respectively. Of course, it doesn’t come with all the bells & whistles, but this is what running budget components mean.
As such, I have no qualms about recommending the ECS A55F-A as a definite consideration if you’re planning to build a Llano gaming system, but need it to be light on the wallet. Consider that the extra money you save by not buying an A75 based motherboard can be spent towards higher speed RAM or buying the additional graphics card for a CrossFire setup.