Today ECS unveiled details of a premium feature on three of their new motherboards in the H77 and Z77 chipset series, the X77H2-A3, as well as the Z77H2-AX and Z77H2-A2X “Golden Boards”. What they’re talking about today is their “Super Alloy Chokes”, and it’s something that they believe will set them apart from other motherboard vendors as the premiere board for overclockers and enthusiasts in this generation.
Chokes are something most people don’t think about and certainly don’t talk about. In fact, there’s a very good chance most enthusiasts don’t know what purpose they serve. Essentially, the chokes on a motherboard are those little cubical components that sit near the other power components. Their task is to filter harmful frequencies; in simpler terms, they “clean” the power going to various components. ECS describes it thusly:
The choke filters and conditions the power supply reaching the CPU and other highly-sensitive components by blocking harmful high frequencies. Choke quality is a vital factor in PC performance because even tiny fluctuations in power input can be enough to cause inexplicable system crashes, lockups, failure to start up, or even long term damage. Lower quality chokes can not only lead to instability and shorter system life, but also increase electricity costs by wasting power.
The problem with most chokes is that they are, like most electronic components, prone to reduced operating efficiency when the temperature goes up. That’s where the new “super alloy” material comes in. Most chokes are either iron core or ferrite core—in fact, ASUS experienced some embarrassment in 2010 when SemiAccurate started talking about the Mystery of the Rusty Chokes. ECS claims that the new super alloy chokes represent industry-leading materials and quality and have a much wider stable operating temperature range: more than 25% wider than what is achieved by most off-the-shelf chokes.
Another claim that ECS can make about the super alloy chokes is that the boards will last longer—although how important that is to enthusiasts who change components more often than the average user is questionable.
Regardless, the fact that ECS has blessed their Golden Boards with these chokes shows just how far they’re willing to go to craft a truly premium line. To our knowledge, no motherboard company has ever issued a press release just to talk about the quality of their chokes, that’s for certain.
ECS does have other H77 and Z77 motherboards out there—the H77H2-M, H77H2-M3, H77H2-M4, Z77H2-A2X Deluxe, and Z77H2-A3, but only the Golden Boards and the X77A2-H3 will have the super alloy-based, gold-plated chokes.