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ECS A890GXM-A AM3 Motherboard Review

Author: Steve Grever
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Elitegroup
Tagged:

Specifications, Layout, Included Extras

ECS A890GXM-A Technical Specifications

 

CPU 

º Socket AM3 socket for AMD Phenom™ II processors

º Support 125W Phenom™ II X6 processors

º High-performance HyperTransport 3.0 CPU Interface

º Support transfer rate up to 5200 mega-transfers per second

º Note: This board supports CPU up to 140W TDP only; you can refer to AMD website to check your CPU.

CHIPSET 

º AMD® 890GX & AMD® SB850

º North Bridge: AMD® 890GX

º South Bridge: AMD® SB850

GRAPHICS

º On Chip (AMD 890GX-based with ATI™ Radeon HD4290 graphics )

º Integrated DirectX10.1 graphics processor

º Share Memory: Maximum up to 512MB

º AMD SidePort Memory : DDR3-1333 (64Mx16=128MB)

MEMORY 

º Dual-channel DDR3 memory architecture

º 4 x 240-pin DDR3 DIMM socket support up to 32 GB

º Support DDR3 up to 1800(OC)/1600(OC)/1333/1066 DDR3 

SDRAM

º *(Due to the DRAM maximum size is 4GB at present, the memory maximum size we have tested is 16GB) 

º *(Due to AMD CPU spec limitation, memory OC figure (1600+) is not guaranteed, please refer to Memory QVL for more information) 

Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows?32-bit OS.

For Windows?64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation

EXPANSION SLOTS 

º 3 x PCI Express Gen 2.0 x16 slots

º 2 x PCI Express x1 slots

º 1 x PCI slot

º *The third PCIEX16 only support bandwidth x4

STORAGE 

º Support by AMD® SB850

    • 5 x Serial ATAIII 6.0Gb/s devices

    • RAID0, RAID1, RAID5, RAID 10 configuration

    • 1 x eSATA

AUDIO 

º Realtek ALC892 8-Ch High Definition audio CODEC

º Compliant with HD audio specification

LAN 

º Dual Realtek 8111DL 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet Controller

REAR PANEL I/O 

º 1 x D-sub(VGA)

º 1 x HDMI Port

º 1 x DVI Port

º 1 x Display port

º 2 x RJ45 LAN connectors

º 1 x Audio port (Line-in, Line-out, Mic-in)

º 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector

º 1 x Clear_CMOS button

º 1 x eSATA

º 6 x USB ports

INTERNAL I/O CONNECTORS & HEADERS 

º 1 x 24-pin ATX Power Supply connector

º 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power Connector

º 1 x 4pin CPU_FAN connectors

º 1 x 3-pin PWR_FAN connector

º 1 x 3-pin SYS_FAN connector

º 1 x Power on button

º 1 x Reset button

º 1 x Speaker header

º 1 x Front panel switch/LED header

º 1 x Front panel audio header

º 1 x SPDIF out header

º 1 x 4-pin power connector for VGA card

º 1 x Clear CMOS header

º 5 x Serial ATAIII 6Gb/s connectors

º 4 x USB 2.0 headers support additional 8 USB ports

º 1X Stand by LED (Red Light)

º 1X Power on LED (Green light)

º 1 x Chassis intrusion header

SYSTEM BIOS 

º AMI BIOS with 8Mb SPI Flash ROM

º Supports Plug and Play, STR (S3) / STD (S4) , Hardware monitor, Multi Boot

º Audio, LAN, can be disabled in BIOS

º F11 hot key for boot up devices option

º Support over-clocking

º Support eJIFFY

º Support Page Up clear CMOS Hotkey

º Support ECS M.I.B III Utility

º CPU voltage adjustable

º Memory voltage adjustable

    • NB Chipset Voltage Adjustable

    • HT Voltage Adjustable

    • External Clock Adjustable

    • Multiple Frequency Adjustable

FORM FACTOR 

º ATX Size 305mm*244mm

 

Motherboard Layout

The retail packaging for the A890GXM-A includes an illustration of a fantasy dragon and a bunch of case badges that feature AMD's chipset and CrossFireX capabilities as well as AMD's Vision branding. It also focuses on the board's energy-efficiency features, dual gigabit LAN with teaming, and eJiffy third party software enhancements.

 

The  back panel of the retail packaging includes a studio photo of the motherboard, duplicate case badges from the front panel, and other board features in multiple languages along the bottom of the back panel.

 

The ECS "Black Series" brand features a black PCB combined with red, orange, and yellow color-coded PCIe, PCI, USB 2.0 headers, SATA 3.0, and DIMMs. The actual layout of the board is pretty standard, but ECS created a large heatsink with aluminum fins and copper heatpipe over some of the board's power components. They also left enough room around the CPU socket for different cooling methods including air, water, and other custom systems. They also added a low-profile heatsink over the chipset so it doesn't impede installing longer graphics cards in the second PCIe slot.

 

The back of the PCB is pretty plain except for the large plastic backplate behind the CPU socket. Nothing else really stands out here.

 

The back I/O panel includes a variety of cool features like dual LAN ports, audio jacks, optical SPDIF out, clear CMOS button, six USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, and multiple display options like VGA, HDMI, DVI, and a DisplayPort! This is a feature-rich panel that can't be matched by many motherboards on the market today.

 

The board also sports three PCIe slots (x16, x8, x4) that can be linked together in a triple CrossFireX graphics card configuration. Users can also use one AMD graphics card and link it with the 890GX chipset using Hybrid CrossFire technology. They also added two PCIe x1 slots and one legacy PCI slot. 

 

Here's a quick shot of the front panel audio headers and an additional SPDIF header. 

 

This ECS board also includes four USB 2.0 headers that can support up to eight USB devices. With the variety of USB devices available today to consumers, this might not be the worst idea for those who want to add additional USB 2.0 ports to their PCs. I would have liked some USB 3.0 support, but that is not available with this motherboard.

 

These buttons were difficult to distinguish, but they are actually for the power and reset buttons. This is a good move to add to help users troubleshoot issues, but they need to actually look like real buttons to make them more user friendly. You can also see the front panel header to plug in the power button, reset button, HD LED, and power LED headers.

 

One of the best features on this board is its native SATA 6GB/s support. They added five SATA ports that also have support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 courtesy of the SB850.

 

This board supports up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR3-1800 (OC'ed) memory through four DIMMs shown above. ECS also notes in their user manual that this board has only been tested with 16GB of memory because of their are currently no single 8GB DDR3 memory modules currently being manufactured.

 

As I mentioned earlier, the spacing around the CPU socket is more than adequate for any of today's high-end air-cooled heatsink solutions. Users should also be able to install a self-contained watercooling unit from Corsair or Coolit Systems very easily on this motherboard.

 

Included Extras

The "included extras" are pretty scarce with the A890GXM-A, but I'm sure that helps it be in a more competitive price point. This is what users will see when they first open the retail packaging.

 

The board does come with four SATA cables and a black I/O backplate that is well labeled and definitely looks better than other bland backplates that are bundled with other boards we've tested.

 

The only other extras in the box are the user manual, quick installation guide, and driver CD.

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