ECS Booth: Components in Gold, AIOs and an Ultrabook?!by Ian Cutress on June 11, 2012 2:23 AM EST
Along with interviewing ECS VP David Chien, AnandTech was invited to browse around the ECS booth. With ECS’ main market being motherboards, the focus was ultimately on new technologies surrounding the ECS branding.
We have had a brief look at the Golden Series motherboards before in our Z77 preview and have a product in for review. ECS clarified their positioning with the Golden Series branding – in order to provide a higher-end product above their Black series that is aesthetically pleasing, especially to those who want to design gold colored systems and case modifications. There is apparently demand in various markets for this sort of product.
Nonstop Testing and Super Alloy Chokes
As with any other motherboard manufacturer, finding different ways to advertise their products is vital, preferably through innovative technology. A few manufacturers at Computex this year are advertising improved power delivery mechanisms – ECS are no different in this regard, with their Super Alloy chokes.
As you can expect, ECS were unwilling to explain how exactly their Super Alloy chokes work, but advertise that they offer 1.5x longevity, low electromagnetic interference, and up to 30% current delivery. In reality, 99% of users will not ever see a difference in operation, however I am informed that demand is there from various sources to increase the longevity of the power delivery.
Also in ECS’ arsenal is their Nonstop testing (or as they put it, Nonstop Technology). In a similar vein to MSI’s Military Class components, ECS are willing to put each of their products through an enhanced stability test – 72 hours at 50 degrees Celsius whilst under full load. Memory manufacturers test a lot in this area to eliminate the weaker modules that might initially fail after light loading, but now that concept is being applied to motherboards. The driving force for this testing clearly comes from industry, which is a major consumer of ECS products.
Golden GTX 680
To compliment the golden series motherboards, ECS are also producing a Golden Series GTX 680. ECS have been selling NVIDIA graphics cards for several years now (I have had two of the 580s as part of my test bed for a while), and the modification of their high end card to Golden Series is designed to be paired with the Golden Series motherboards.
A75 vs A85 chipset naming
On of the main features of Computex has been the long list of FM2 motherboards that will be available when Trinity desktop processors are released. The confusion for users will come in the fact that the FM2 socket will either come with the A75 chipset or the A85X chipset. FM2 Trinity processors will be incompatible with FM1 Llano sockets, but FM1 sockets are also paired with the A75 chipset. So the naming scheme with ‘A75’ will no longer indicate which socket of motherboard. Potential confusion ensues.
Every manufacturer has to find a way around this issue, and ECS are no different. With their products, all FM2 motherboards will be at least called ‘F2’. All A75 FM2 products will have the name ‘A75F2’, and all A85X FM2 products will be called ‘A85F2’.
On the ECS wall for FM2, we were shown the A75F2-A2 and the A75F2-M2, full sized ATX and micro ATX versions of their ‘A2’ product, aimed at the low end Trinity. Also on show was the A85F2-A Deluxe, part of their Black Series branding with the extra SATA ports that A85X provides.
Z77H2-A5X Thunderbolt board
Almost all the motherboard companies at Computex are announcing Thunderbolt boards – ECS are no exception. To market they will be bringing a single SKU, the Z77H2-A5X Black Deluxe. Within the naming scheme at ECS, A5 represents their high end SKU coupled with Black Series branding, one below the new Golden Series.
As 70% of ECS’ motherboard business is OEM selling, part of the other side of the business is being an ODM for a variety of other products (i.e. other companies buy their products and rebrand them as their own). Last year ECS had several AIOs on display, and this time I was shown their multi-touch G24 Cupid. They seemed very proud of it.
Using the Thin Mini-ITX form factor, the G24 supports a slim optical drive alongside a 3.5” or two 2.5” hard drives. The display is a 23.6” touch-screen TN panel, with a 16:9 display at 1080p. The branding behind the G24 to OEMs is that it can be highly and easily configurable, with a power supply up to 180W. The only thing missing from the display is a USB 3.0 panel, should an OEM decide to go with a USB 3.0 capable chipset – this is perhaps for a future release.
With second generation ultrabooks on the wagon, and other traditional motherboard manufacturers entering the market, ECS have decided to enter the market as an ODM. Their ultrabook is still in the early stages of design, and for various reasons was only on display to selected media.
ECS have attempted to conform to Ultrabook specifications at their maximum limit, unlike the more MacBook Air type tapered designs seen elsewhere. Due to the stage of design ECS are still in, specifications are unknown, although from the design we have an Ethernet port (I am told GbE), USB 3.0, full-sized HDMI, SD card reader, and a slim optical drive.
As the product is purely for business to business sales, we won’t ever see this model being sold as ECS. We are told that there is interest in Turkish and Russian markets for the device.