Introduction (Cont’d)

This motherboard has four SATA-300 ports and no ATA-133 ports. This is the major flaw of this motherboard. The majority of the optical drives available on the market are still traditional IDE and not SATA. We had a problem to install the operating system, software and drivers on our system; we had to do this task with another motherboard and then switch the boards, since we are still using an IDE optical drive, not a SATA one. This is simply ridiculous. This motherboard does not support RAID since it uses the plain ICH9 south bridge chip, not the ICH9R one.

It has 12 USB 2.0 ports (four soldered on the motherboard) and no FireWire ports (the manual says the FireWire is optional and there is a space on the motherboard for soldering a FireWire controller). It also has Gigabit Ethernet, controlled by a Realtek RTL8111B chip. This chip is a complete controller, so this motherboard does not use the chipset south bridge chip to control its network interface. This chip is connected to the south bridge chip through a PCI Express x1 bus, so it can truly deliver 1 Gbps performance, as PCI Express x1 provides 2.5 Gbps bandwidth.

On the audio section this motherboard has eight channels provided by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC883 codec. While this codec provides a good output quality (95 dB signal-to-noise ratio and 192 kHz sampling rate), it does not provide a good input quality for today’s standards (85 dB signal-to-noise ratio and 96 kHz sampling rate). Thus this motherboard isn’t recommended for professionally capturing and editing analog audio. For this kind of application look for a motherboard with at least 95 dB SNR on its input.

On the other hand, this motherboard provides full 7.1 analog audio jacks on the rear panel, feature not found on all mainstream motherboards, especially the ones with on-board video. So you can easily hook an analog 5.1 or 7.1 set of speakers to this motherboard. But this motherboard does not have any on-board SPDIF connector, which is a pity. The motherboard has a SPDIF out header, but the board doesn’t come with any SPDIF bracket to use it.

In Figure 2, you can see the connectors present on the motherboard rear panel: PS/2 mouse, PS/2 keyboard, serial port, VGA, four USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port and analog audio inputs and outputs. There is no parallel port on this motherboard, not even through an I/O bracket.

ECS G33T-M2Figure 2: Rear panel connectors.

On G33T-M2, ECS used solid aluminum capacitors on the voltage regulator circuit. The three capacitors that are not solid are from Toshin Kogyo (TK), a Japanese vendor that uses rebranded Taiwanese capacitors, from OST. The capacitors used on the other sections of this motherboard are from Taiwanese vendors – OST and G-Luxon. Of course we think all capacitors could be either Japanese or solid, and they could also have used ferrite coils instead of iron coils.

ECS G33T-M2Figure 3: ECS is finally using solid aluminum and Japanese capacitors on the voltage regulator circuit.

In Figure 4, you can see everything that comes with the motherboard, which isn’t much.

ECS G33T-M2Figure 4: Motherboard accessories.

Before going to our performance tests, let’s recap the main features of the reviewed board.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.