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ECS P55H-A – Features
There is always one thing you can count on ECS for and that is to deliver the absolute cheapest product possible. Keep in mind that we are not taking about quality but rather the price tag. ECS is offering just two P55 boards but the ECS P55H-A we are reviewing today is by far most affordable one in the market.
Priced at just $120, there is no mistaking the ECS P55H-A for a high-end motherboard. It is nonetheless a worthy competitor and a welcomed addition to our roundup. As you might have already suspected with such a low price tag the vast majority of the features found on the P55H-A derive from the P55 chipset itself.
In addition to the 6 SATA ports offered by the P55 chipset, there is just one other SATA port which is hosted by the JMicron JMB361 controller, and in this case is being used as an eSATA port. Therefore while we would not go as far as to suggest that the storage capabilities of the P55H-A are by any means inadequate, they are somewhat limited.
The board's audio is taken care of by the Realtek ALC888 codec, one of the more advanced Realtek solutions providing 8-channel audio. Like on the Asrock P55 Extreme there is just a single Realtek RTL8111DL network controller. This is a PCI Express controller so you can expect maximum throughput.
The ECS P55H-A is the first P55 motherboard that we have looked at that features just two PCI Express x16 slots. That being said we don't see this as much of an issue given that the P55 chipset is limited to PCIe x8 bandwidth when running dual graphics cards. Therefore the third slot is next to useless and we do not feel that many investing in the LGA1156 platform will purchase three graphics cards.
There are few bells and whistles in the P55H-A. ECS has never chased after the high-end market but rather stuck to manufacturing affordable products. In that sense this board is no different. The real question remains if cheap motherboards such as this one are worth your time or are you better of spending a little more on your next upgrade? This is just one of the many questions we are looking to answer in our roundup.