As the second slim microATX board in today’s roundup, ECS’ A75F-M2 isn’t really slim on features. Two of the chipset’s four USB 3.0 ports are relocated internally for front-panel output, leaving a two-DIMM limit and the absence of DVI as its only connectivity shortcomings.
The A75 FCH has USB 2.0 aplenty, so ECS fills the back panel with eight of those ports.
Analog audio is limited to three jacks, but that’s enough to connect a 5.1-channel speaker system to the rear panel with headphone and microphone access on the case.
The combination of VGA and DVI display outputs seem to be optimized for home theater systems, but like ASRock’s effort, the ECS A75F-M2 also adds commercial-duty serial and parallel port headers. Front-panel USB 3.0 separates these two products, as does the top position of PCIe x16 that allows it to more easily fit the riser cards of some low-profile cases.
Two of the A75F-M2’s SATA 6Gb/s ports face forward, allowing the cables to slip under any long graphics card. The other four point outward to avoid conflicts with nearby drive bays.
Though its $73 online price qualifies this as a budget-oriented product, the A75F-M2 has the same number of SATA cables as the upper-range Asus F1A75-M Pro. That’s more of an indictment of the pricier product than it is praise for the cheaper product, though.
ECS’ overclocking options fit onto a single UEFI menu and focus primarily on memory. There simply isn’t enough here to justify an extra firmware-oriented page in this comparison, though memory data rates up to DDR3-1866 certainly boosts the graphics performance of the Llano APU.
Qne question, what does the APU,( either the A6 or the A8), have on F@H applications?
I know F@H is a great cause, might cure cancer etc, but wouldn't it be more geeky to search for radio signals of little green men?
I checked the CPU reviews and didn't see anything there either. You know it's going to be low utilization for these processors, which means it will be closer to the idle power than to the full-load power...
I think micro atx fits into plenty of SFF cases. Maybe we need to redefine..
I'd like to see a showdown of mini itx boards though, I think Anand did something like that recently. That's probably where the A8 CPU's need to go head to head with atom anyway, most reviews I've seen show the CPU's aren't all that cut out for desktop. Maybe the next batch that comes out in Q4/Q1 2012 will be better for desktop.
1.) SFF originally stood for Shuttle Form Factor and was proprietary, using 2-slots.
2.) It was copied by companies like First International Computer and AOpen
3.) AMD established a standard for "open architecture" systems of similar design, called DTX.
4.) ITX is smaller than DTX and fits DTX cases.
Notice this has nothing to do with Micro ATX. People who claim that anything shaped like a cube is SFF need only be shown a full ATX cube before they start making excuses. People who point to horizontal cases and say SFF need only look at ancient AT desktops before they're forced to come up with excuses.
2-slots. That's what makes Shuttle copies different from everything else. Cubes can be any "size", HTPC's can be any "size", if SFF is a size standard it can only be used to apply to two-slot cases.
Some competitors have been trying for years to expand the definition of SFF. They are, of course, wrong.
Nobody's perfect, one of Tom's old team members once said that barebones always refers to SFF systems (even though full sized barebones existed long before SFF). But at least Tom's tries to fix those types of errors rather than force them into the vernacular.
I'm just asking people to be specific. If you mean cube, say cube. If you mean desktop, say desktop. If you mean mini-tower, slim tower, or slim desktop, just say it. Then apply a form factor "Mini ITX slim tower" or "Micro ATX desktop". And if you're saying "SFF" rather than media center, well it's obvious that SFF can do other things so just be specific and say media center.
If you're not specific, you might find yourself in a discussion about what the meaning of "is" is.
Would love to see some benches on the gigabyte with those max overclock numbers as the GPU would benefit greatly from the memory oc.