First Looks: ECS A75F-A Black Deluxe – Upper Mainstream
A75 Arrival Imminent
Motherboards and other forms of computing products that are based on the AMD A75 chipset have already made their way into the local circulation. Nevertheless, if you are still unfamiliar with the A75 chipset, do visit HardwareZone’s previews on some other A75-based motherboards and, more importantly, the Llano APU, which were published weeks ago.
Among the manufacturers who have joined the A75 band is ECS, whom at present has three motherboard offerings that are based on the chipset mentioned. Occupying the topmost of ECS’ hierarchy is the A75F-A ATX motherboard that belongs to ECS’ elite Black Deluxe Series. The two other models, namely the A75F-M and the A75F-M2, belong to the lower end category and these boards come in microATX form factor.
Although the Black Deluxe Series belongs to ECS’ top-of-the-line solutions, it should be noted that the AMD A75 is still a mainstream chipset. Additionally, ECS has been known as a brand of competitively-priced motherboards. Hence, the A75F-A, in spite of its Black Deluxe branding, appears restrained.
In its entirety, the A75F-A board looks bare. It neither possesses an enormous, intricate heatsink nor an audacious, loud color scheme. Heatsinks are concentrated to two strategic locations: the MOSFET region that is adjacent to processor socket and the chipset near the onboard SATA connectors. This ECS board has contented itself with earth tones of black, grey and white. While most of the recent mainstream boards that we saw are fully peppered with solid capacitors, the A75F-A still uses some regular electrolytic caps on its schema.
New Integrated Graphics
One of the key selling points of the Llano APU and the A75 chipset is the vastly updated integrated Radeon graphics, thus, it is only natural to see three video interfaces (HDMI, VGA and DVI) on the A75F-A. Aside from accommodating the usual rear side residents such as the PS/2 connector, USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and audio jacks, it is conspicuous that the board also includes a Clear CMOS switch.
Knowing that the APU might not be enough to handle graphics-intensive applications like games, the A75F-A still has a PCI-Express x16 slot to host a discrete graphics card. There is another PCI-Express x16 slot but this one runs only at x4 speed. While the usual idea of a CrossFireX setup involves the use of two physical graphics cards, it still theoretically works in the case of the A75F-A. It is capable of combining the power of APU graphics and of a discrete Radeon card through AMD Dual Graphics, which is similar to the concept of Hybrid CrossFireX. Expansion is further supported with the presence of two PCI-Express x1 and three PCI slots.
Tested With AMD’s A8-3850 APU
We have run a few rounds of PCMark Vantage on the A75F-A. The setup involved an AMD A8-3850 APU, 2GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 memory, and an AcBel 1000W power supply unit. Installed on the WD VelociRaptor hard drive was Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate OS.
Putting the A75F-A’s scores side by side with those of the ECS H67H2-M, it is apparent that the new board was not able to outdo the latter. Do take note that when we put to the test the H67H2-M, it was running with a 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K chip. On the other hand, AMD’s A8-3850 APU is clocked only at 2.9GHz. Hence, it must be understood through this comparison that the performance of the boards is primarily dependent on the processor being used.
|Motherboards||ECS A75F-A Black Deluxe||ECS H67H2-M Black Deluxe|
|TV And Movies||4815||5570|
An in-depth look at the A8-3850 that previously surfaced on our website shows that the A8-3850 was able to surpass Intel’s less powerful Sandy Bridge chips such as the Core i3s. These are actually the worthy rivals of AMD’s APUs. Unfortunately, we do not have a Core i3 processor at hand at the time of writing.
The A8-3850, in terms of performance, stands between Intel’s Core i5s and Core i3s. Given the performance of AMD’s APU, this clearly cements the position of the ECS A75F-A motherboard as a mainstream solution, but above average.
The ECS A75F-A Black Deluxe has both the poise and prowess of a mainstream motherboard indeed. We have no complaint about that. The possible downside is that it partially uses regular electrolytic capacitors. Many motherboards of this age, including mainstream ones, are already taking the full solid caps route. In any case, the A75F-A is still a tempting attraction for desktop users who would want to try AMD’s new architecture without spending too much. We’ve been seeing A75-based boards on the Web priced at around PhP 6,000 (or about S$170) and we expect this ECS to be close to that price point.