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ECS Durathon2 A320AM4-M3 Ryzen Motherboard Review

ECS Durathon2 A320AM4-M3

Building a new PC can be a costly endeavour, but for “cheap” components isn’t exactly inspiring, even if it is kind to your wallet. However, as most of you will know, the high-end motherboards come with RGB lighting and a whole lot of bells and whistles. Of course, when you get down to the core of it, they still support most of the same hardware as their budget-friendly counterparts.

The latest Durathon2 motherboard from ECS blends cost-effective solutions with reliability. Using things like solid capacitors, ESD protection, more testing methods to ensure a quality and stable product, all add up. While it’s unlikely to be as visually appealing as the more expensive boards, can it still deliver the right performance results that a system builder or even a gamer would desire?

Features

What ASUS Had to Say

“Perfect COMPATIBILITY is vital to Motherboard. ECS performed thousands of tests and modifications to perfect AM4’s layout to ensure well compatibility with case designs and CPU coolers.” – ECS

Specifications

For the full specifications, please visit the official product page here.

A Closer Look


With the Durathon2 being a budget board, it’s not exactly exciting to look at. There are no thrills to be found here visually, and the brown-black PCB is a bit drab. That being said, if all you need is the performance, and it’s not going in a chassis with a tempered glass window where everything is on show, does it really matter? Nope, not really.

The AM4 socket is pretty straightforward and comes with the stock AMD mount pre-fitted. Don’t worry though, you can unscrew this easily and fit an aftermarket cooler easily enough.

Connectivity is reasonable, with a few USB 2.0 connections, USB 3.0, and front panel audio all accounted for. There’s also an M.2 drive mount here for super fast storage.

On the side, more USB connections, as well as four SATA ports for peripheral devices.

Two DIMM slots are likely more than enough for low-to-mid-range system builds. There’s also a fan connection and lighting header here should you need them.

There’s a single 4-pin connector for the CPU, which is plenty as this motherboard doesn’t offer overclocking.

The rear I/O is competent though, with some throwbacks to older generations thrown in. There are two PS2 connectors and even a VGA! On the modern side, there’s still an HDMI, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and audio jacks though.

Testing and Methodology


Test Procedure

Here at eTeknix, we endeavour to disclose vital information regarding the benchmarking process so that readers can quantify the results and attempt to replicate them using their hardware. When it comes to motherboard reviews, the benchmarks are pretty self-explanatory although there are a few exceptions.

Rember that your choice of motherboard, the silicon lottery, and other factors can yield different numbers, and there’s always a margin for error when using the software. Therefore, your experience may vary. Each benchmark runs three times, and the average figure is taken to try to reduce the effect of hardware variation. Of course, any relevant details regarding the parameters will be listed below.

Test Systems

Z370

X399

X299

AM4 Ryzen R3, R5 and R7

Z270

X99

Games Used

All games are tested on a 60 Hz display with V-Sync off for all tests. Previously we would use “extreme” presets, but these have now been adjusted to “Medium” or equivalent to better test the capabilities of the CPU, not the GPU.

Software Used

Handbrake

To stress processors to their absolute limit and accurately judge their performance in video editing workloads, we transcode a 7.7GB compilation of gaming footage; this particular file is freely available from here. The captured footage is 22 minutes and 12 seconds long, it has a bit rate of 50.1 Mbps and it uses the Advanced Video Codec. Additionally, the video runs at a constant 30 frames-per-second and opts for a 3820 x 2140 (4K) resolution. Once loaded into Handbrake, we then transcode the 4K MP4 to an MKV file using the “normal” profile.

Other Notes

A rest period of 2-5 minutes is observed between each piece of software allowing the system to return to its idle power usage and temperatures. Background services like Windows Update are checked to not be running during the testing period by setting WiFi to Metered Connection.

Thanks

Thank you to NoctuaCrucialASUSGigabyteLian-Libe quiet!OCZ, for providing the hardware that helps makes these tests possible!

Synthetic Benchmarks


3DMark Firestrike

As you no doubt already know, the A320 chipset doesn’t support overclocking of AM4 socket processors. To do that, you would need a B350 or X370 series motherboard. However, despite the lack of overclocking, it’s perfectly competitive at stock clocks. It scored 19992 at stock with the Ryzen 1800X processor.

Stock

Unigine Superposition 1080p Extreme

GPU bound tasks are in no way limited either, hitting 5543 in Unigine with our GTX 1080 Ti.

Stock

 

PCMark 10 Express

Even the PCMark 10 score is respectable, beating out the Gigabyte B350 motherboard, albeit only by a single point.

Stock

 

WPrime 32M and 1024M

Unsurprisingly, the WPrime score is superb, scoring one of our fastest mid-range scores at just 104.380 seconds. Of course, most of that is thanks to the choice of CPU.

Stock

 

Cinebench R15

The same is true in Cinebench, with the Ryzen 1800X doing some serious heavy lifting and scoring a superb 998, not bad for a cheap motherboard either.

Stock

 

Handbrake MP4 to MKV Conversion 4K

A heavy rendering workstation motherboard this i snot, but 41 FPS is right where we would epxect it to be with our CPU of choice and a solid score for a stock 1800X.

Stock

 

AIDA 64 Memory Bandwidth and Latency


Gaming Performance


While this isn’t an all-out gaming motherboard by any measure, it’s already proven to be perfectly competent in our synthetic benchmarks. Of course, it doesn’t disappoint with the gaming performance either, and while it’s pretty much the cheapest and least equipped motherboard we’ve tested, it’s far from the slowest hardware setup we’ve tested. It scored a respectable 122 FPS in Deus Ex, 126 in Ghost Recon, 176 in Tomb Raider, and 102 in Far Cry. Overall, those a numbers anyone can be happy with.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Rise of the Tomb Raider

GhostRecon: Wildlands

Far Cry Primal

Power Consumption and Temperatures


Power Consumption

Trim the fat off of a motherboard and you trim down the power usage. As you can see, at just 129.3, it’s one of the most efficient motherboards we’ve ever tested!

Stock

 

Final Thoughts


Pricing

Frustratingly, I can’t find stock of this motherboard anywhere to give you an accurate price. This is a real shame, as the motherboard is a great bit of kit for those who just need a no frills and affordable build. It could just be a short term stock issue, but I would expect this motherboard to be super affordable when it’s available.

Overview

Extreme overclocking, RGB LED lighting, vast amounts of PCIe slots and storage? This motherboard has none of that, and it should be priced to reflect that. If you’re building a non-overclocked, single GPU or even APU based system, with a couple of hard drives, do you really need much more? Of course you don’t!

I love a high-end motherboard, but I wouldn’t be buying an X370 series board for an affordable office system or cheap LAN gaming rig. The ECS Durathon is the perfect solution for those with limited needs and a limited budget.

Performance

Cheap and cheerful certainly springs to mind. While this may be a no-frills motherboard, it keeps up a good pace with more expensive motherboards, and it handled our GTX 1080 Ti and 1800X with zero issues. Of course, it’s more likely to be paired with a less powerful CPU and GPU combination, but as we’ve seen today, it can handle the bigger and more powerful hardware just fine too.

Should I Buy One?

Honestly, I think this is a great product and competitive for stock performance to recommend to anyone on a tight budget. However, with no stock visible, you may not be able to even buy one right now. I know it’ll be cheap, so I’m sticking with my Bang for Buck Award. However, I reserve the right to change that if needed once stock and prices re-appear on the ol’ Interwebs, or not as the case may be.

ECS Durathon2 A320AM4-M3 Ryzen Motherboard Review