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ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme B3-stepping Intel P67 Motherboard Review

ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme B3-stepping Intel P67 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Price Check: $/£/€
Abstract: he ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme is a performance oriented ATX motherboard with a fantastic set of gaming and overclocking features, all set on a sleek black and grey PCB that'll make your expensive chassis proud. ECS has undergone a massive image improvement in the last couple years.
 84% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ECS Nov 02 2011   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme

One great benefit to building an Intel P67 based computer is that the P67 platform offers the exact same level of benchmark performance as an Intel Z68 board with a 'Sandy Bridge' CPU locked in the drivers seat. However, an Intel P67 board will do this without the extra costs manufacturers face from slapping on integrated video outputs most people never use.... in other words, you can get basically the same performance, for less money, with an Intel P67 board. The two chipsets really only differ with respect to the Z68's integrated video options and Intel SRT. If you're looking forward to playing Battlefield 3, ask yourself what's more important: a few extra bucks to spend on a killer videocard or integrated graphics options? Uh-huh.

In this article PCSTATS is reviewing the Intel P67-based ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme motherboard which uses a revised 'B3' stepping Intel P67 chipset. The ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme is a performance oriented ATX motherboard with a fantastic set of gaming and overclocking features, all set on a sleek black and grey PCB that'll make your expensive chassis proud. ECS has undergone a massive image improvement in the last couple years and its hardware looks nothing like the hideous purple boards of yesteryear.

ECS' P67H2-A Black Extreme motherboard supports 32nm socket LGA1155 2nd Generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 2xxx-series 'SandyBridge' processors. While the board does not officially support Crossfire/SLI, it can handle up to 3 videocards running in parallel thanks to an onboard Lucid HydraLogix 200 'LT24102' chip. Lucid's Hydra Core technology is notable because it supports combinations of nVidia and ATI graphics cards working together. The HydraCore technology has its well known benefits and shortcomings, depending the graphics cards you choose performance benefits may vary significantly from game to game. More on Hydra Core technology in a moment.

The ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme motherboard has three PCI Express x16 2.0 slots which operate in x16/x8/x8 or x16/x16 mode depending on how many videocards are populated. If you're sticking with a 32-bit version of Windows 7, the P67H2-A motherboard will accommodate up to 4GB of dual channel DDR3-1066/1333/1600/1866/2133 memory in its four 1.5v DDR-3 memory slots. Of course with Windows 7 64-bit you can bump that figure up to 16GB of RAM. While most everything you could possibly need in a computer is already integrated onto the ECS P67H2-A motherboard, two PCI Express x1 slots and two legacy PCI slots for are primed and ready for future expansion. The full-size ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme motherboard is priced around $330 CDN/USD.

ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme Motherboard


INCLUDES: User's Manual, Driver DVD, (6) SATA cables, USB 3.0 2.5" bay/bracket, I/O Shield.

Chipsets: Intel P67 Express (B3 stepping)
CPU Support: Intel Socket LGA1155
Memory Type: Dual Channel DDR3
Videocard Support: (3) PCI Express x16 2.0 - (x16/x16 or x16/x8/x8 mode)
Crossfire/SLI: No, Lucid Hydra Core technology

Average Price at time of review: $330 CDN/USD

On the storage front ECS' P67H2-A Black Extreme motherboard dishes out four 3Gb/s SATA II ports and two 6Gb/s SATA III ports via the Intel P67 chipset (RAID 0/1/5/10). An extra pair of 6Gb/s eSATA III ports are positioned at the rear I/O for external hard drives. These eSATA ports come care of a dedicated Marvell SATA controller.


ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme features a Port80 Card for debugging. Here the Port80 card reports CPU temp.

The ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme has four USB 3.0 ports at the rear I/O and another pair available via a motherboard header (USB 3.0 bracket included!). These USB3.0 ports come care of two NEC D720200 controllers. Six USB 2.0 ports round out the connectivity at the rear I/O along with a further eight USB 2.0 headers positioned by the boards' PORT80 card. Network connectivity is strong, the P67H2-A has a pair of Gigabit Ethernet jacks next to the Intel HD Audio 7.1 channel audio ports.

As with most Intel P67 platforms, there is no support for legacy IDE hard drives or FDD devices. Included in the motherboard box you'll find a USB3.0 front panel bracket, a pile of SATA cables and oddly enough a couple packs of USB socket dust covers. No SLI or Crossfire bridge connectors are included.

ECS Steps up its Overclocker Game

To differentiate its motherboards ECS began adding extra thick 15u Gold plating to the CPU and memory socket electrical contacts a few years ago. The manufacturer claims this added measure improves electrical conductivity and help the sockets last longer under repeated insertions/removals. Extra thick gold plating is just a little 'etherial' in our books, but if you swap a lot of CPUs this may be something to look for.

As we've seen with Gigabyte motherboards one pair of USB2.0 ports are capable of supplying 3x the electrical current so Apple devices can recharge quickly. ECS call this 'EZ Charger'. Power will continue to flow to recharge devices through a specific USB2.0 header when the rest of the computer is 'off' or in 'standby mode.' No USB2.0 bracket is supplied with the board, so this header is best connected to the chassis front panel USB jack.

Virtually all motherboards use Solid capacitors in their construction these days and the ECS P67H2-A is no different. ECS has also gotten around to developing its own 'Live Bios Update' utility so you can update the motherboard BIOS from within Windows. This is an handy tool when it comes time to upgrade the processor.

Overclockers will particularly appreciate the voltage measure points ECS has tacked onto the P67H2-A motherboard just north of the DDR3 memory slots. To the left of the solder points for measuring Vdimm, VImc, VPll, VGND are a series of IPS LED lights which indicate current VRM power rail load.



 

The ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme motherboard is equipped with a physical CMOS reset button at the rear IO and illuminated Power and Reset buttons just a bit above the PORT80 diagnostics card. In short, the ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme is nothing like the cheap boards so many of us instinctively associate with this brand.

Lucid Hydra Core technology makes it possible for the ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme motherboard to support multiple graphics cards, a quick look at this is coming right up after the jump....

© 2014 PCSTATS.com Next Page >

 

Contents of Article: ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme
 Pg 1.  — ECS P67H2-A Black Extreme B3-stepping Intel P67 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Lucid Hydra Core Technology
 Pg 3.  Intel P67 B3-Stepping Express Chipset
 Pg 4.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: Features and Layout
 Pg 5.  Overclocking, BIOS and Test Hardware
 Pg 6.  Test System Specifcations & Hardware
 Pg 7.  Sysmark 2007 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 8.  SiSoft Sandra: CPU Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 9.  Sandra: Memory Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 10.  PCMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 11.  3DMark 11 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 12.  3DMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 13.  3DMark 06 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 14.  FEAR Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 15.  Final Conclusions and System Power Draw

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