ECS A85F2-A Golden
At long last, ECS is acting on our complaints about confusing the various models in its line-up by putting the word "Golden" into the name of this specific board. Previous examples simply used gold packaging to indicate the difference. Online searches are text-based, though, leaving way too much room for confusion. By naming the A85F2-A Golden more descriptively, it's a piece of cake to find on sites like Newegg (opens in new tab).
Just because this board bears ECS' flagship designation doesn't mean it includes all of the same features as past golden-class boards, unfortunately. The Port 80 diagnostics display present on ECS' higher-end Intel boards is now missing, along with the third four-lane graphics card slot offered by most competing A85X-based products. ECS does add the same secondary USB 3.0 controller as the first two competitors in today’s round-up. It also keeps the same suite of display outputs and has a similar suite of seven internal and one external SATA 6Gb/s ports as ASRock and Asus.
A handy I/O panel CLR_CMOS button and a CPU power connector that’s too close to the CPU socket are both matched by ASRock, yet the A85F2-A Golden lacks the modestly-valued internal buttons of that competitor.
It's possible that ECS decided the A85F2-A Golden’s missing features weren’t worth the cost of implementation. More than likely, nobody is going to bother installing three high-end graphics cards on AMD's value-oriented Socket FM2 platform, and the on-board power and reset buttons offered by other motherboard companies aren't worth much once you button the side of your case up. With a new understanding that ECS' Golden label is relative (and not indicative of a certain feature set), we now have to hope that the company's flagship costs less than ASRock's Extreme6 model, which comes loaded with more features.
Surprising us with seven SATA cables for seven ports, it appears that ECS knows math a little better than its competition. Most customers will only use two or three of the seven cables, but we still count the complete installation kit in considering the A85F2-A Golden’s overall worth.