recently launched a line of motherboards intended to appeal to enthusiasts on a budget. The first board from this "Black Series" line that we had a chance to look at was model number A780GM-A
, an ATX board based on the AMD 780G chipset. While it performed well in testing, and did offer some interesting features, I felt it fell short of being classified as a true enthusiast grade product.
ECS has sent over another board from this series which I hope builds on some of the strong points found on the A780GM-A. The ECS GF8200A Black Series GeForce 8200 motherboard is shown in the promotional image below, and with just a quick glance it could easily be mistaken for its 780G counterpart. The black PCB features yellow, orange, and red connectors and the layout is rather similar. This review will take a closer look at the two boards in terms of function and performance, to see if they have more in common than just appearance.
In lieu of re-posting the entire list of features and specifications for this motherboard, check out the ECS website for the most complete and up-to-date information. Please visit this page
for the features, and this page
for the specifications.
The board is based on NVIDIA's GeForce 8200 chipset, which offers a bunch of interesting features, both old and new. Two newer items of interest are NVIDIA's HybridPower Technology and GeForce Boost Technology. HybridPower allows the discrete graphics card to be turned off when not running graphics intensive applications in order to reduce power consumption, heat, and noise. GeForce Boost allows the integrated graphics processor to work in conjunction with certain discrete graphics processors in order to boost the total performance. Something like SLI between your video card and motherboard, much like AMD offers with Hybrid CrossFire.
Other items of interest that can be found on the pages detailing the features and specifications include quad core Phenom processor support, onboard DirectX 10 capable video with a VGA and HDMI connector, 8-channel HD audio, and a variety of RAID configurations available from the six SATA connectors.
The images below show the box for this board, and it is nearly identical to the first Black Series board we reviewed. There is an image of a dragon that fills most of the cover, while little ovals along the bottom detail some of the key features. The back of the box provides a good look at the board, while also providing more details on some of the interesting things the GF8200A is capable of.