ECS GF8200A Black Series Motherboard Review

Introduction

GF8200A Black Series is an entry-level socket AM2+ motherboard with on-board video from ECS based on GeForce 8200 (MCP78M-A) chipset from NVIDIA. Since it features an HDMI output, this board is clearly targeted to users willing to build a media center PC based on an AMD CPU like Athlon X2. In this review we will compare the performance of GeForce 8200 to its main competitor, AMD 780G. Check it out.

NVIDIA currently has three chipsets series with integrated video for the AMD platform, GeForce 8100, GeForce 8200 and GeForce 8300. As mentioned, ECS GF8200A Black Series is based on GeForce 8200, which incorporates a DirectX 10 graphics engine. The main competitor of the reviewed motherboard are boards based on the AMD 780G chipset – which also features a DirectX 10 engine, has similar specs and can be found on the same price range. While GeForce 8200 (codename MCP78M-A) is a single-chip solution, AMD 780G uses two chips (RS780 north bridge chip and SB700 south bridge chip). In the table below you can see a comparison between the main specs of these two chipsets.

Chipset GeForce 8200 AMD 780G
GPU Clock 500 MHz 500 MHz
Graphics Processors 16 40
Graphics Processors Clock 1,200 MHz 500 MHz
ROPs 4 4
DirectX 10 10
PCI Express 2.0 2.0
USB 2.0 Ports 12 12
SATA-300 Ports 6 6
RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 0, 1, 10
ATA-133 Ports 1 (2 devices) 1 (2 devices)
Hybrid SLI/CrossFire GeForce Boost Hybrid Graphics

ROPs stand for “Raster Operation Units” and are also known as “Rendering Back-End Units.” They are the final stage on rendering a 3D image.

As you can see, these two chipsets have very similar specs. AMD 780G has more graphics processors (40 against 16) but the graphics processor on GeForce 8200 run at a higher clock rate. Both chipsets have RAID capability but supporting different RAID levels.

Both chipsets support Hybrid SLI (GeForce Boost) or Hybrid CrossFire technologies. These technologies allow the on-board video to work in parallel to a discrete video card under SLI or CrossFire modes, increasing gaming performance (usually when you install a “real” video card the on-board video is disabled). The video card must support this technology and in fact only a few support this. Read our tutorial SLI vs. CrossFire for further information.

In our benchmarking we will compare ECS GF8200A Black Series to Sapphire PI-AM2RS780G, which is based on AMD780G and competes directly with the reviewed motherboard.

Before going to our testings, let’s take an in-depth look at ECS GF8200A.

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Author: Gabriel Torres

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.

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