Everyone awaited Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors early this year just before the Cougar Point chipset issue. ECS, like all other motherboard manufacturers launched their product based on the chipset. They later rehashed the product and launched three different motherboards – P667H2A-2 (1.0), P67H2-A3 and P67H2-A4. Before these three came out, ECS unleashed a stylish looking motherboard from their Black Extreme series called the P67H2-A (1.1). This high-end P67 board is designed for Sandy Bridge and comes built with the Lucid Hydra support. Let’s take a look at this new ECS P67H2-A and see how it compares to the top boards from other motherboard manufacturers.
ECS' first offering of Sandy Bridge
The ECS P67H2-A is an ATX form factor motherboard that is built around Intel’s LGA 1155 socket. The LGA 1155 socket has been designed specifically for Intel’s 2nd generation of Intel Core Sandy Bridge processors. This board has supports Lucid’s Hydra Core Technology that’ll allow users to install three graphics under in A/N/X modes, which basically means multiple cards can be coupled together using CrossFire or SLI and between NVIDIA and AMD cards. The board has a pair of heatsinks running between three heatsinks at the top of the board.
Like all other P67 boards these days, SATA3 and USB3 connectivity support is present. We reviewed the somewhat cheaper Gigabyte GA-P67A-UDR3 and we noticed a few features missing on it. One of them was the lack of eSATA ports, which is something present on this board. Besides the eSATA port, there are other features available on this mainboard which we missed on the Gigabyte board. There are dedicated Power and Reset buttons on the board. There’s also an status code indicator that should help in troubleshooting any problems with the board. It also displays system temperatures. There are also two Gigabit Ethernet adapters integrated into the board. Most motherboards offer a single Ethernet port, but the ECS P67H2-A allows can help you achieve twice the bandwidth by teaming up the two adapters.
Stylishly designed chipset
The P67 also sports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 configurations. ECS has implemented an EZ Charger feature which allows charging of Apple devices such as the iPad. Overall, this mother board has a vast variety of features that can compete with most other motherboards where features are concerned.
While most of the features on the board are impressive, the BIOS is extremely limited. There are very few options to play with and overclocking is a nightmare. Apart from the CPU multiplier (which is only handy if you have an unlocked processor) and a few other options, there’s little provision for overclocking.