ECS A990FXM-A Black Extreme
The release of the FX series processors was long waited and now is a footprint for AMD. All the manufacturers have released various 990FXA motherboard versions from the cheap to the enthusiast level. In today’s review and testing, the ECS A990FXM-A left us confused.
Although it is nice to see a different approach as far as aesthetics and the color scheme is sequential with the ECS lineup, we think the colors are quite bland. For those with windowed cases, your higher end GPUs and memory modules have a tough time blending the A990FXM-A. We do realize aesthetics do not equate to low performance but the styling here could benefit from a splash of color..
The layout upon first impression did look tidy but after installation we saw a few niggles: the 24 pin power placement was backwards and the Northbridge on the motherboard is not in the standard 990FX motherboard position. Again, the idea is different and the heatsink design to cover the mofset and Northbridge looks good but the standard engineering on 990FX motherboards would certainly allow ECS to loosen the board. Running 3 slots would put Dual or Tri GPUs very close and we know what the result is: hot graphics cards. These oversights may seem petty to average users but experienced users know better and look for these features when choosing a motherboard.
Overclocking the ECS A990FXM-A Black Edition was a downer. The BIOS multiplier has a ceiling of 23x and the FX processors from AMD are capable up to 5GHz on watercooling and 6GHz runs on sub-zero cooling. Suffice it to say, you won’t be getting much return for your HWBOT scores from this board.
Now, there are some issues here but many consumers are typically willing to overlook such things if there’s a great price tag attached to a motherboard. Coming in at $239, that’s unfortunately not the case here when the A990FXM-A is compared to other motherboards that offer better features and performance. We’d be far more enthusiastic if ECS dropped the price on this board.
In the end, the ECS A990FXM-A is a respectable motherboard which could be easily improved with an BIOS update. However, the board comes with a few critical issues that may matter to a variety of consumers. You’ll need to determine if that’s worth the price tag or not.