ECS P67H2-A2 – Design
Whereas the ECS P55H-A was a mix match of colors the P67H2-A2 looks much more unified. In fact, for the first time the P67H2-A2 really lives up to the Black Series name as it's built on a black PCB with gray and white components, giving it quite a sinister look.
Although there are no serious design flaws with the board's layout, there are a few nits that we wouldn't mind picking. For example, the DIMM slots feature no gapping between each channel which can cause compatibility issues with memory heatsinks.
We also noticed that the P67H2-A2 has limited expansion slots with just a single PCIe x1 slot, two PCIe x16 slots and two PCI slots. ECS has occupied the space of two expansion slots with the CMOS battery, making it difficult and annoying to access.
The CPU socket is also very crammed, making it a bit difficult to install large heatsinks. ECS has included a standard eight-phase power design which is VRD 12 compliant so it will be interesting to see how this compares to the more elaborate designs used by other manufacturers.
Cooling the eight-phase power design is what ECS calls "Qooltech III," which is a pair of silver heatsinks connected by two 6mm heatpipes -- similar what we saw on the Asrock P67 Extreme6. The P67 chip is cooled by a smaller stand-alone heatsink.
Also much like the Asrock motherboard, the P67H2-A2 has a pair of easy buttons for powering on/off and resetting the system when overclocking. Unfortunately, they are located directly under the last PCI slot making them awkward to use if the slot is occupied.
There's also an LED diagnostic display that ECS calls ADD Indicator (Advanced Dual Display Indicator) which shows debug code for troubleshooting hardware errors. It also displays the system temperature in real time after the motherboard has completed POSTing.
At the bottom of the P67H2-A2 are a number of headers that provide extra connectivity including USB 2.0 (6 ports), USB 3.0 (2 ports) along with front panel audio. There are three USB 2.0 headers in total, one of which is gray while the other two are white. The gray header has EZ Charger technology which provides 3x times the current of a standard USB port for charging USB devices.
While a standard USB 2.0 port provides 500mA of current the EZ Charger port spits out 1500mA. This is very useful for smartphone or tablet owners who need a large amount of current to recharge their devices faster. Gigabyte has been offering a similar function for some time now so it's not exactly a new feature, but it's a welcomed addition to the P67H2-A2 nonetheless.
The I/O panel is brimming with connectors, including a PS/2 port, two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, dual LAN jacks, two eSATA ports, optical S/PDIF and five audio jacks. There's also a CMOS clear switch. The only feature missing is FireWire, but very few users rely on the technology today.