Going into this review we had high hopes for the ECS A780GM-A motherboard since it was priced at $74.99 and other AMD 780G boards we have looked at performed really well. After spending a few hours with it we knew we were in store for a rough ride. There is so much to talk about it’s tough to pick a place to start, but let’s give it a try!
The BIOS on the ECS A780GM-A Black Series motherboard is one of the roughest we have seen on a production board. With memory timing settings like the tRAS not correctly setting the value where it should be is not a good thing. The engineers and programmers over at ECS have this value off by 2 clocks. The ‘Reserved’ spaces in the memory settings don’t need to be there, and don’t get us started on the whole mV thing. Why anyone would design a BIOS with over-volting in millivolts is beyond our reasoning. It wouldn’t be too bad if they informed you what the starting voltage was before you increase it! It also seems that Cool’n’Quiet is not functioning properly, which is a big deal for those looking for low power consumption numbers. ECS should be able to fix these BIOS issues very quickly if they wanted to, so we will keep our fingers crossed that they do after reading this conclusion. Legit Reviews has been to China to see how ECS produces motherboards and have talked with the BIOS developers, so we have faith.
The audio solution on this board is either incorrectly implemented or needs some new drivers and software ASAP. When turning on a brand new system one shouldn’t hear the dreaded audio pop or audio crackles like one would expect when eating some Rice Krispies. Many of our readers may not have heard of IDT (the audio solution used), but IDT bought out SigmaTel audio back in 2006. We wouldn’t expect this problem with an IDT/SigmaTel audio codec, but like we mentioned in the article, it could be a bad audio chip.
When it comes to general performance, the ECS A780GM-A motherboard does great, the layout of the board is very clean and the integrated graphics was able to overclock by more than 25%, which was enough to boost gaming performance. If one is looking for an integrated board to use in an entry level system then this board is still a good choice. Many offices don’t allow audio since it distracts people and chances are some consumers will never mess with memory timings or changing voltages. If this sounds like you then the BIOS and audio areas of concern shouldn’t be an issue like it was for us.
Legit Bottom Line: The ECS A780GM-A motherboard performs on par with other AMD 780G platforms, but the BIOS is rough and the audio codec needs to go in the garbage.