Our Take

The first ECS Editors Day was well organized and very well attended. It was clear to everyone attending that the company wanted to kick-start the "New" ECS and the Editors Day was an effective way to deliver that message.

ECS did present quite a few innovative ideas for the motherboard market, though we have reservations on whether there is really a need for a lower-cost dual video solution like S.D.G.E. when both ATI and NVIDIA will be marketing their own SLI/Crossfire at mainstream prices. There is no doubt that the ECS solution is creative.  We just wonder how many people out there will really buy it.

The PF88/SIMA card solution is also quite innovative. The idea of a future-proof base board with modules for new processors is appealing - particularly if not too many compromises in performance and flexibility are required. The future modules will answer those questions, but for now, the SIMA cards are certainly a unique approach to today's multiple sockets and varying features by platform.

We were very impressed with the creativity and innovation that went into the ECS products that were show-cased, but as we have said many times before, calling a product "extreme" does not make it so. Over time, we will see if ECS is serious about targeting the enthusiast market. They tell us that we will soon see new standard enthusiast level options on all their Extreme boards, along with overclocking performance much better than what we have measured with ECS in the past. We look forward to these changes, and time will certainly answer any questions about how genuine ECS is in the push into the enthusiast market.

Demonstrating ATI Crossfire boards now with plans for availability at launch are certainly steps that tell us ECS is serious. So are shipping NVIDIA SLI boards for both AMD 939 and Intel 775 processors, and the choice of a well-organized Editors Day to launch the "New" ECS. We had a great time at ECS Editors Day, and learned a lot about the ECS product offerings.

The questions that remain are whether or not any of these new boards provide the range of adjustment options and overclocking performance that will make them compelling choices for the enthusiast. ECS doesn't have to be the absolute top enthusiast board maker right now to get attention from the market. But they will have to provide reasonable enthusiast-level performance along with excellent value to get anyone's attention in the tough enthusiast market.

Time answers all these questions and we are looking forward to discovering in the future whether ECS delivers on the promise of a "New" ECS or whether this was all just lip-service. We sincerely hope that ECS has the internal conviction to truly turn the corner in the enthusiast market.



View All Comments

  • Sengir - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    I'm surprised Anandtech would state that ECS motherboards were stable.
    I worked at Fry's Electronics for over a year in their Service Dept., and the Fry's PC is built by ECS. 90% of all Fry's PCs brought back had a defective motherboard.
    Great Quality is another ECS name.. They are just as bad, if not worse. Most salesman cringe at having to sell them, but they are required to. Seems their return rate is that high.

    Even before I worked there a friend of mine had one that didn't work properly when he bought it.

    Oh, and I remember reading that ECS makes motherboards for MSI & Asus. <<Reason I don't buy from MSI or Asus.
  • AtaStrumf - Tuesday, September 6, 2005 - link

    My only ECS board was K7S5A and it worked OK, but definately not 100% stable, but hey the same goes for many of my ABIT, Iwill, Epox and MSI boards. MOBOs just generaly suck. It seems to me, that you need to get lucky to get a good one. My current DFI NF3 250 GB LANPARTY is a wonder. It works 110% stable. MUUWA! But again some had horrible problems with it. And one last piece of advice: never buy a rev. 1.00 MOBO!!! Reply
  • Pirks - Sunday, September 4, 2005 - link

    Just a general observation about ECS, ASRock and other slotted "combo" or "upgrade" mobos out there: they all lack the ability to utilize previously installed onboard RAM as soon as you pop a slot upgrade card in there. You either have a couple of DIMMs on the mobo OR a couple of DIMMs on the slot card, but NOT the both. Sooo... if I ever need some serious RAM in my PC, I'll never buy any of these. They are OK for ppl on a budget who never have more than 512M or 1GB of memory, but no power user will buy them I think, unless this is a kind of user who knows that "2 DIMM slots is enough forever". And since you can get 2GB RAM quite cheaper if you buy it in four 512M sticks, then you'll pay more for the memory if you buy that "cheap" mobo with two DIMM slots only. Save here, lose there. Reply
  • dali71 - Sunday, September 4, 2005 - link

    Let us never forget the checkered past of PC Chips.
  • beorntheold - Friday, September 2, 2005 - link

    my first ECS experience - new K7S5A... once a week the BIOS would reset itself to default (weak battery? not that it matters)... the core voltage was 0.02 off... underclocked per default... virtually no control over voltages or even fsb. a ton of options in the BIOS settings that don't seem to be documented anywhere on the Internet.

    my second ECS experience - a brand new N2U400A - with an absolutely stable PSU the core voltage would drop below 1.635 V under load (the PC becomes unstable - crashes, errors, the full program)... all other voltages are also unstable... the mobo does not provide enough voltage for 2 x 512 mb (2.5V) RAM - one of the banks, that is (test with MemTest - first bank works ok, the module in the second bank fails, swap modules - same story). there is no control over core or ram voltage - I had to perform a pin mod to force the mobo to raise the voltage to the CPU and will have to buy another board to use my new RAM. no way to measure chipset temperature, no way to measure vram voltage. attempts to overclock a 2600+ T-bred with DDR400 RAM fail at 136 Mhz FSB... that's 2 Mhz gain...). and let's not forget the BIOS chip soldered to the PCB. if I wasn't forced by the circumstances to continue using it I would have thrown the board out at least twice by now. although using a hammer will express my feelings more appropriately... and rest assured - I'm not the only one feeling this way.

    I knew I was buying a value board, but there is a certain minimum of quality that just needs to be there for stable operation. what I got for my money in these cases was an insult.

    in other words - I would rather shoot myself than buy anything with the brand ECS on it ever again.

    no editors day, no money invested in propaganda will ever change that.
  • swatX - Friday, September 2, 2005 - link

    my first ECS motherboard RS480-M. Crashes every 5 minutes. Couldnt figure anything until i pulled the Audigy 2 sound card. Seems like ECS board doesnt like a sound card. Also their bios doesnt work with XP-64. The temps are extremely high even though i had a good case cooling.

    never getting anything from ecs again .
  • Kalessian - Friday, September 2, 2005 - link

    "ECS used Editor's Day to highlight all of their new "dual-graphics" motherboards - both AMD and Intel - for NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire."

    Shouldn't it be ATi Crossfire?

  • Wesley Fink - Friday, September 2, 2005 - link

    Corrected. Reply
  • Bona Fide - Friday, September 2, 2005 - link

    That SDGE concept is looking great. Can't wait to see what comes of it. :) Reply
  • smn198 - Friday, September 2, 2005 - link

    I think it would be much more interesting (to the enthusiast) is mobo makers would start doing things similar to what was done with the BX chipset. High FSB overclocking, dual slots, etc

    http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=763&...">Dual slot 1 Intel BX 1 mobo linkage

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