ECS GF8200A motherboard question

Hi all, i need some help.

I'm upgrading my HTPC, and have already purchased a Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition.

Now all i need is a new motherboard, and my budget only allows me to get cheap ones, and afterall this is only upgrading for a HTPC. Anyway, this is the board i'm planning to get:

ECS GF8200A --> more info here:

it seems to be a pretty good board, and i already have a 8800GTX so it'll work well with the GeForce 8200 chipset, so it kinda works in SLI mode (kinda). It'll save me power when i'm not using it for occasional gaming as it'll switch to the onboard grapihcs (GeForce 8200) instead of using my 8800GTX when the PC is idle or doing low level of work.

So anyway, the problem is whether it'll support my X2 555 or not. The X2 555 is a AM3 socket, but the motherboard supports AM2+.......I'm not sure whether it'll work or not. I've done A LOT of researching already and most of them said it'll work, in fact i haven't seen a website that shows the motherboard isn't compatible with the X2 555, they all showed that they support the Phenom II, also this site showed that it supports it as well:

and a few other sites said that motherboards that are AM2+ compatible, simply needs to update the bios to use the AM3 socket CPUs......

So here're my 2 questions:

1. I have never used any AMD CPUs, nor do any of my friends. Therefore, i don't have any spare CPUs to install in the motherboard. So say if i DO need to update the bios, will my PC still be able to boot if i use the X2 555?? I mean, if it's not compatible initially, can it still work?

Kinda like how when you install a graphics card, it'll work but it won't work to its full performance/power UNLESS you install the drivers for it. If this doesn't work, that means i'll need to use a CPU that supports the motherboard, just so i can boot into windows and update the bios, and then put in the X2 555 after that's done......this is gonna be troublesome.

2. The most important question, i need to be sure about this. Does that board support the X2 555 or not?? If no, can someone recommend another motherboard that's cheap and also has the same/similar functions as this one?? Preferably the fact that it can "sort of" use SLI mode coz of its Nvidia chipset. Also, i want motherboards that have 4x memory slots.

I've already searched for a lot of motherboards and they're all too much for my budget, so i doubt i can find any good ones.......i live in NZ btw, so plz don't refer me to Amazon or NewEggs.


Ok to nobody's surprise, the official info on ECS's website is obviously more accurate, for some reason i wasn't able to find it before but did so just then:

it says AM3 ready, but i'm not sure whether there'll be any limitations or performance issues. Which brings onto my 3rd question that i forgot to ask, say if the bios update IS needed to make it AM3 compatible, and say if it DOES work, are there any limitations to it?? Such as less overclocking capabilities, performance capping etc??
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More about gf8200a motherboard question
  1. Htpc with a phenom II X2 BE and a GTX8800? Sounds more like a gaming rig. Back to your BIOS question chances are that the board will not recognize the CPU correctly until after BIOS upgrade but will work, there should not be any limitations in the BIOS. ECS boards are not known for their overclocking capabilities and I doubt that board has a core unlocker like so many boards.
  2. lol well ya it's sort of a slightly amped htpc.....i mean, i got those parts cheap already so might as well use them.

    ya I haven't even heard of ECS be4 but after doing some research, the Black Edition will have some decent OC features.

    I still need more confirmations on this, will the CPU still reach its full performance?
  3. The CPU will reach its full potential apart from running on DDR2 memory versus DDR3 which is a very small performance hit.
  4. Ok i found the limitation information i was searching for:

    "* If You Install AMD AM3/ AM2+ CPU On AM2 Motherboard, The System Bus Speed Will Downgrade From HT3.0 (5200MT/s) To HT1.0 (2000 MT/s) Spec; However, The Frequency Of AM3/ AM2+ CPU Will Not Be Impacted. Please Refer "CPU Support List" For More Information."

    Found on this page here:

    I knew there was a limitation of some sort, it doesn't make sense for an older motherboard that isn't made to fully support AM3, to make it work by having a bios update without some sort of limitation issues.

    I can't think of a good example but let's take the USB 3.0 as an example, it only works as 3.0 speeds if the USB port supports USB 3.0. IF NOT, then it's not possible to reach USB 3.0 speeds, as it'll just go to USB 2.0 for backwards compatibility.
  5. The board you linked to from ECS is an AM2+ version so the limitation of the HT speed does not apply to it. It is only AM2 boards that have that limitation.
  6. ya i know, and that's a totally different motherboard of course, but that was just an example to show that there could be limitations.

    I mean, not that I don't believe you, but It's better to get more opinions from different people so i can be sure and not waste the money.

    But anyway i'm going for a better motherboard now, and that's a AM3 motherboard too so problem solved.
  7. That is a good idea.
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