We tested two P45-based motherboards recently but the point of contention was that these motherboards were expensive and well out of reach of most of us. So what do you do if you want a motherboard with this chipset but do not want to spend a fortune?
Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has made this possible with the Black Series ECS P45T-A . It is based on the same Intel P45 + ICH10R chipset, thus offering similar features, but the difference is that it offers these features at a much lower price. ECS "Black Series" motherboards are aimed at enthusiasts and gamers.
We have the motherboard with us and it does look like a contender with the black PCB and the power and reset buttons on the board. We shall put it through the usual grind and see how well it stands up against the mightier contenders we've already tested.
The ECS P45T-A comes packed in a new Black Series box that features a dragon mascot and has prominent "Gamer's Buy" badge displayed over it. The board specifications are there for your ready reference on the front, while detailed specs such as the energy saving capabilities and CrossFireX and 45nm readiness are advertised at the back.
You can even see the board layout on the back of the box so that you do not need to open it to see the same. Please note that the box clearly states that the motherboard supports 1333MHz FSB and 800MHz DDR2 RAM and we contacted ECS for this. ECS was prompt enough to supply us with an updated BIOS that enabled support for 1600MHz FSB and 1066MHz DDR2 RAM, bringing it on par with other P45 motherboards we had tested earlier.
4 SATA cables with one angled edge
1 IDE cable
Quick Installation Guide
As you can see, it's a no-frills bundle. ECS has provided just what is required to cut costs. We would have definitely liked to see some brackets included with the board as this would not have increased the cost considerably.