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Closer Look at ECS P67H2-A2

The box with ECS P67H2-A2 is much smaller. In fact, it is closer to standard size, but also has a carry-handle and similar design.

There is a photo of the mainboard on the back of the box with a brief description of a few distinguishing features as well as numerous logotypes:

The accessories bundle is even a little richer than in the previous case. The only difference is the number of SATA cables (eight instead of six) and the availability of a flexible SLI bridge for dual-card graphics configurations.

Here is the complete list of bundled accessories for your reference:

  • Eight SATA cables with metal locks and only straight connectors;
  • Additional rear panel bracket with two USB 3.0 ports;
  • Flexible bridge for 2-way SLI configurations;
  • Set of brackets for USB ports;
  • I/O Shield for the back panel;
  • User manual;
  • Colorful poster with brief assembly tips;
  • DVD disk with software and drivers.

Despite very similar model names, ECS P67H2-A2 mainboard is not a simplified modification of the ECS P67H2-A. It is an independent product with its own unique design, which in some aspects is even superior to the flagship solution discussed before. At the same time, we can easily notice a few similarities, which isn’t surprising, since both these mainboards are made by Elitegroup.

The processor voltage regulator circuitry now consists of eight phases. The heat dissipating components of the voltage regulator are cooled with a pair of heatsinks connected via two heatpipes. Two PCI Express 2.0 x16 graphics card slots work typically for an Intel P67 Express based product: one card works at the full interface speed, while in a dual-card configuration the slots work at half the speed. You can build ATI CrossFIre as well as Nvidia SLI graphics configurations. The Power On, Reset and Clear CMOS (on the back panel) buttons are there, as well as the POST-code indicator that can also display temperature after the system has successfully booted. There is a special USB 2.0 connector for charging mobile devices. There are four fan connectors. They also added a second Marvell 88SE9128 controller, so the first one still provides support for two eSATA 6 Gbps ports on the back panel, while the second one is used to implement two internal SATA ports. This is probably the reason for having more SATA cables among the bundled accessories: the board has more ports, so it needs more cables.

The mainboard has two USB 3.0 ports on the back panel and one onboard pin-header that delivers two more USB 3.0 ports. It is pretty interesting that instead of the Renesas (NEC) D720200F1 controllers that have become traditional almost for all contemporary mainboards they used two EtronTech EJ168A controllers, which we haven’t yet seen before. EtronTech chips take up much more space than Renesas ones, while the performance seems to be identical. At least it is the case for our external Buffalo DriveStation HD-HX1.0TU3 drive, which we use as part of our testbed.

Here is the complete list of back panel ports and connectors on our ECS P67H2-A2 mainboard:

  • Clear CMOS button;
  • PS/2 connector for keyboard or mouse;
  • Eight USB 2.0 ports, six more USB ports are available as three onboard pin-connectors;
  • Two USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors) implemented via EtronTech EJ168A controller,  the second same controller provides another internal connector for two more USB 3.0 ports;
  • Two eSATA 6 Gbps ports implemented via Marvell 88SE9128 controller;
  • Two local network ports (network adapters are built on Gigabit Realtek RTL8111E controllers);
  • Optical S/PDIF, and five analogue audio-jacks provided by eight-channel Realtek ALC892 codec.
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