This review of the EC1 PA1 Extreme Crossfire Edition mainboard was carried out using a pre-retail board and a pre-retail BIOS. Whilst HEXUS is confident our analysis represents what'll be shown in a full production board available at retail, please do bear it in mind.
I might not be impressed with the colour of their mainboards, but colour me impressed with those products and their reentry into the enthusiast space. If the title of this article didn't give the game away, I'm talking about ECS. Elitegroup Computer Systems are a company we've spent good time looking long and hard at since they decided that coming back into the enthusiast space was something they wanted to do.
From PF4 Extreme to the bonkers PF88 with others in between, the renaissance of the one-time whipping boy of PC mainboards is in full swing. I was lucky enough to tour their factories in China for HEXUS just after Computex this year. Seeing their production facilities, and witnessing at first hand their committment to producing mainboards for themselves and their customers that stand up as quality PC components, was an eye opener I won't forget in a hurry.
The vindication of our own experiences with their products has rung true across the big wide interwebnet, other sites having cause to sing joyous songs of praise from their Apache-powered rooftops about ECS mainboards of recent times.
So while opening the box of an ECS mainboard is cause for a day-after visit to the optician, such is their reliance on colour coding that'd make the late Liberace jump for joy, the performance, features and price of the thing is usually worth the suffering.
ATI's recent launch of Crossfire to muted and unenthusiastic reception has meant interest in Crossfire-supporting mainboards is low, and possibly for very good reason. However that hasn't stopped ECS forging ahead with Intel and AMD mainboards that support the multi-GPU platform and we've been fortunate enough to have their Intel SKU, the ECS PA1 MVP Extreme, since before Crossfire launched and in the weeks following.
It's been a longer term test that we usually enjoy, giving us the good fortune to get a good look at the mainboard and how it works over a wider range of scenarios than we might normally get the chance to do with other mainboards. Our thanks for ECS letting us have one of the only samples in the UK for longer than we usually would, cheers Sarah, Kerri and Andrew!
Join me in a look at a Crossfire mainboard since Crossfire was launched, to see if the platform has any fresh lustre or appeal, along with evaluation of the ECS mainboard as a standalone product as normal.
Liberace (on the right) wears an ECS mainboard, yesterday