Ever since the Intel Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 processors with the new LGA 1156 socket have been launched last year, there has been only a single chipset that supports it - Intel P55 Express. And this exclusivity made it all the more expensive. Almost every manufacturer has at least a single motherboard model based on this chipset and almost every single one of them comes charged at a premium.
Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) on the other hand has always been dedicated to provide consumers the best price-performance ratio. This allows you to get a motherboard with this premium chipset and yet not spend a fortune for it. ECS has made this possible with the Black Series ECS P55H-A, which is based on the Intel P55 Express chipset. This is the first chipset from Intel to have no Southbridge.
ECS "Black Series" motherboards are aimed at enthusiasts and gamers. We have the motherboard with us and it does look like a contender with its black PCB, and the power and reset buttons on the board. This is the first P55-based motherboard we are testing and since this is also the first time that the new processor will be used in the test, it is a whole new platform and it is therefore in no way comparable to what we have had before.
The ECS P55H-A comes packed in a Black Series box, that features the ECS dragon mascot and has prominent "Gamer's Buy" badge, Solid Capacitors and eJiffy logo displayed over it. The summarized board specifications are there for your ready reference on the front, while detailed specs such as the M.I.B. BIOS and VRD 11.1 Compliancy are advertised at the back. You can even see the board layout on the back of the box.
As you can see, there are no frills; ECS has provided just what is required, thus cutting cost. We would have definitely liked to see some brackets included with the board. ECS had been providing with 6 SATA cables with Black Series motherboards but seems to have started giving only 4 now, probably to cut costs.