A few weeks ago, we stopped by the ECS offices
and had a great time touring their facilities and learning about their operations. Today we talk with Joe Chang of ECS about their company and what they want to accomplish. GamingNexus: ECS seems to be driving towards the direction of catering to gamers. When did this initiative start to come about and how successful has it been?ECS:
We are always evaluating the different segments in the market place, and the decision to focus on the high end segment was made about 2 years ago. In our minds, the high end segment consists of a broad range of users. Whether you are a gamer, an enthusiast, or someone who is looking for a unique solution that handles heat dissipation well, we have just the right product for you. This is the essence of our Extreme series of motherboards. GamingNexus: ECS doesn’t seem to have the reputation for motherboards such as the likes of ASUS, ABIT, and MSI. What else besides marketing towards gamers is ECS doing to change that or is the gaming market the main strategy?ECS:
ECS is very well known for its value driven motherboards. We have clearly done something right to service those customers’ needs. Going after the high end segment, we will hold the same philosophy when we go to market – consistency and focus. We plan to provide consistent quality and feature set in our Extreme series so that users can learn to expect stability and performance from us. When it comes to marketing towards any audience, nothing is more important than having a reputation as a brand they can trust. In addition, we focus on our strengths. Unrivaled by the competition, ECS is a leader in producing good products that are also affordable. At the end of the day, it is our goal to make Extreme series the only motherboard that delivers the most price per performance!GamingNexus: How aggressive will ECS be in vying for the motherboard business?ECS:
We have a very aggressive revenue and quantity target for the rest of this year as well as 2006. In order to hit the targets, we rely heavily on our core competence, which is our motherboard business. The Extreme Series delivers a higher price point and so without question, it will be a significant part of our business going forward. GamingNexus: Why should consumers consider an ECS board when they are looking to upgrade?ECS:
Every brand has its own uniqueness but in the case of ECS, I believe consumers can get more bang for the buck than from any other manufacturer. Quality is the No. 1 deliverable in all of our products. Top that off with features, performance, and a very attractive price point, it’s hard not to consider ECS in their next upgrade.GamingNexus: Talk a little bit about the Top Hat Flash, how it works, and how it will benefit consumers.
BIOS corruption is one of the most common reasons for an enthusiast motherboard to fail. To avoid down time, we have come up with a patented solution called Top Hat Flash. Think of it as an extra safety measure. The primary BIOS chip is soldered onto the motherboard and on top of this BIOS chip, we have provided a special double-sided BIOS socket. The back up ECS “Top Hat” flash module (or BIOS chip) can simply clip on top of the surface mount BIOS chip when needed. In the event of a bad BIOS flash, the ECS Top Hat Flash module will take over from the primary BIOS and ensures continued operation.
Having this additional flash module on the motherboard means users can flash or update BIOS without the worry of a dead motherboard. In addition, this ensures zero down time for our users. Having a solution that saves on our RMA cost means we can return more savings back to the consumers. Plus the time saved, how can anyone not love this solution?GamingNexus: The dual identity motherboard, PF88 Extreme, is getting some buzz for the ability to use either an Intel or AMD chip. Should we be expecting more types of these boards and more innovations like this from ECS?
Being a creativity-driven company, we are always looking for great ideas to combine with new technologies. Without giving away too much, I’d say that you should definitely keep your eyes open for more new and exciting products from ECS!GamingNexus: Will you be producing SLI and/or Crossfire boards soon?
We have been shipping several Extreme series motherboards supporting NVIDIA’s SLI technology for quite some time. We are also working on the solutions to take advantage of ATI’s Crossfire technology. The launch should be coming up soon. Have you seen our SDGE upgrade module? This unique design allows users to upgrade to different graphics standards without having to upgrade the entire motherboard. It’s a very neat design!GamingNexus: ECS just doesn’t make motherboards but is in a variety of areas from laptops to video cards. What are some products that ECS produces that you think not many people know about but offer great value?
As you mentioned, users might not be familiar with our notebook products. It is a fast growing segment for us and like our motherboards, it has all the bells and whistles without the price tag. They are available through our authorized distributors and resellers, and come with great technical support. GamingNexus: Do you see ECS moving to producing higher end video cards or will they concentrate on the motherboard business in the U.S.?
Motherboard and notebook are still the two primary business units within ECS but we are definitely evaluating the video card market. Who knows, maybe by next ECS Editors’ Day, you will be the first to see this new product line!
There you have it. Look for our review of their SLI setup really soon. So far I've been impressed with their new lineup and hope they continue to push the industry through innovation. I'd like to thank Joe Chang at ECS and Joanne Lo for helping me out with this interview.