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Intel Core i5-760 and ECS P55H-AK Review

Intel Core i5-760 and ECS P55H-AK Review

Intel Core i5-760 Review

Conclusion

Intel Core i5-760
In the form of the Core i5-760 Intel have a CPU which gives them a little more performance in the highly competitive $200/£150 market. It builds on the solid foundations of the i5-750 which has served them well for nearly a year now and ensures that their platform has a model which offers similar performance to the AMD 1055T. There are occasions where the AMD chip is faster such as encoding video with Adobe’s CS5 software however in gaming and Photoshop use the Intel chip gave us the best performance. For £150 we also get some fantastic overclocking potential, something which adds a lot of value to the CPU. With very little effort we were able to hit 4.4GHz which is 1.6GHz above the advertised speed of the processor.

Summary
A good addition to the Core i5 range and one which is well suited to enthusiasts on a limited budget.

ECS P55H-AK Black Series
It has been over 4 years since we first took a look at an ECS board and in that time we have seen them make huge leaps forward in terms of performance, features and build quality. Every time we received a new product this was very noticeable and they went from being a company we viewed as creating entry level products to one which was starting to seriously compete with the likes of ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte. Not only that, they were doing so with boards which were often priced much lower than their competitors. With the P55H-AK we again see a step up in the overall quality of product from ECS, this time by much more than we expected.

Starting with the packaging and bundle ECS give us a well-rounded product with a box which is informative and eye-catching then add extras which include all of the major components we would expect and then some. The USB 3.0 bracket for example is a great addition, allowing the consumer to have twice the super speed ports that competitors offer and letting them choose where in the case they should be located.

In terms of the board itself we have a hugely impressive set of features. The inclusion of two USB 3.0 and two SATA 6GB/s controllers means the board is incredibly flexible and future proof. This is further enhanced by the use of an nForce chipset to take advantage of 3-Way SLI and then we get some of the niceties which are present on other boards. This includes external clear CMOS button, on-board power and reset and a diagnostic LED. We were also pleased to see some of our previous feedback being taken on board. In the BIOS for example we now get real voltage values rather than just +0.5v, +0.6v etc.

It is clear that ECS have also put some thought into the overall layout of the PCB as well as its products appearance. The colour scheme used looks excellent, especially so with the design on the large passive heatsinks and we get some extra space between the 16x slot and 1x slot, ensuring larger coolers get maximum airflow rather than be stuck up against another card. This also means we dont lose a slot which would normally be covered by these same cards. The SATA ports also point out towards the front of the chassis rather than out of the board which means all can be utilised, even when longer graphics cards are installed and the various power connectors and wiring headers are located in positions which are easy to access rather than tucked away between components.

Performance wise the P55H-AK doesnt disappoint. It outperformed our Gigabyte P55A board throughout the review and was completely stable at all times. It also allowed us to overclock our i5-760 CPU by over 1.4GHz with very little effort and the inbuilt profiles mean that novice users can gain some extra performance with ease.

Summary
Overall this is a very impressive addition to ECSs product catalogue. It would be great to see them include items such as a user friendly BIOS update tool which flashes from a USB stick but other than this the user experience is fantastic. In terms of functionality and performance it is right up there with the best P55 boards on the market and is one which we thoroughly recommend.

Finally we have the value aspect. As expected the P55H-AK sits near the top of the P55 market with an RRP of $299. This puts it below the level of boards such as MSI’s Big Bang Fuzion and EVGA’s P55 Classified (which lack SATA 6GB/s and USB 3.0). So a fair price overall which is something we have come to expect from ECS.

Intel Core i5-760 Processor

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Product Award
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OCUK – £155
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NewEgg – $210

ECS P55H-AK

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Product Award Product Award
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RRP: $299

What do these awards mean?

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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