Even though ECS brought an entry-level motherboard with a good manufacturing quality we were disappointed with the performance provided by GeForce 8200 compared to the competing AMD 780G chipset.
But on the on-board video universe achieving a higher performance may not mean anything, because you won’t be able to play newer games anyway. You need at least 30 frames per second to play a game, and during our tests this mark was only achieved by AMD 780G on Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
Taking out 3D performance, ECS GF8200A may be a good option for a media center PC, as it offers an on-board HDMI output. We still don’t know if this output provides digital audio. If it doesn’t, this board is flawed for this application, as it doesn’t have an on-board SPDIF output.
On the good side, this motherboard provides one x16 PCI Express 2.0 slot, allowing you to install a “real” video card if you want to upgrade your PC to be able to play games in the future, and four memory sockets. Usually low-end motherboards provide only two memory sockets. Four sockets allow you to add more memory in the future keeping your current memory modules. Another highlight from this product is the presence of six SATA-300 ports, one being an eSATA port. This is more than enough even for the exigent user. Usually entry-level motherboards come with far less SATA ports.
This motherboard also supports GeForce Boost (Hybrid SLI) feature, where you can set the on-board video card to work in parallel with your “real” video card in order to increase gaming performance a little bit. This technology, however, only works with very few video cards, such as GeForce 8500 GT and GeForce 8400 GS.
If you are looking for a motherboard with on-board video for an AMD CPU, we recommend boards based on AMD 780G (could be even from ECS). They provide the same features with higher performance.