While there are the obvious differences between the ECS GF8200A Black and ASRock K10N78FullHD-hSLI, both motherboards have many similar traits and had performed about the same under Linux. NVIDIA's GeForce 8200 (MCP78S) Chipset backs the GF8200A Black and K10N78FullHD-hSLI, which is both good and bad. This chipset provides integrated graphics that are competitive with AMD's 780G IGP, Hybrid SLI / Power for conserving energy consumption but switching to a high-performance dual GPU mode for demanding games, six Serial ATA 2.0 ports, and a horde of other capabilities. However, not all of these features are supported under Linux. If you wish to fully take advantage of the GeForce 8200 you must use their binary-only NVIDIA driver and that too lacks support for Hybrid SLI/Power, PureVideo HD, and many of the other advanced features. In addition, the MCP78S has Linux compatibility problems if not using a 2.6.25 kernel or newer.
The NVIDIA GeForce 8200 isn't perfect, but ASRock and ECS have managed to create reliable and cost effective products around this chipset. The ASRock K10N78FullHD-hSLI is a micro ATX motherboard that could work well in a home theater PC or low-end to mid-range system. The ECS GF8200A Black is standard ATX and offers more expansion capabilities for this motherboard while being priced similarly to the other MCP78S motherboards. When it came to our Linux benchmarks, both motherboards had performed neck-and-neck, the K10N78FullHD-hSLI wound up with a slight lead.
We'd recommend the AMD 780G-based ASRock A780FullDisplayPort and ECS A780GM-A v1.0 motherboards over these MCP78S products on Linux, but if you're interested in the NVIDIA MCP78S Chipset and will be using the Linux 2.6.25 kernel or newer, the ECS GF8200A Black and ASRock K10N78FullHD-hSLI are both worth considering.
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