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ECS Z87H3-A2X Golden Motherboard Review

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Back in the 1990’s the Elitegroup Computer Systesm, or ECS wasn’t a name that one would associate to high end motherboards. Typically during that time ECS was an OEM manufacture as well as provided budget motherboards to consumers. Over the decade, ECS has released a slew of products designed to compete in all market segments budget, mainstream, and enthusiast. The ECS Z87H3-A2X Golden motherboard is a good example of their progress from low-end OEM products to top tier Z87 enthusiast motherboard. The ECS Z87H3-A2X offers almost every option under the sun for a Z87 board as well as the promise of good performance.

Review Sample Provided by: ECS
Product Name: Z87H3-AX Golden
Price at time of review: $ 289.99 USD
Product was given in exchange for work done to produce this review.

 

CPU º Supports new 4rd gen Intel® Core™ family, Pentium, Celeron series processors in LGA1150 socket
º DMI 5.0GT/s
º 12 Phase Thermal Design Power
º VRD 12.5
º 100% Solid capacitor design
º Supports Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology
º Supports Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology
º Intel® K Series Unlock CPU Support
º Please refer to CPU support list for details
CHIPSET º Intel® Z87 Express Chipset
º Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Smart Connect Technology & Intel® Rapid Start Technolog
GRAPHICS º Support Intel® HD Graphics 4000(Intel 4th gen CPU)
º Supports DirectX® 11 .1
º *DirectX 11.1 – Only supported with the 4rd Gen Intel processors for LGA 1150 socket
º Supports Intel® HD Graphics, InTru™ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider™
º Supports HDMI 1.4a & Premium Audio
º Supports LucidLogiX® Virtu™ MVP
º Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI
º Supports ATI® 3-Way CrossFireX™
º Supports Full HD 1080P Blu-ray / HD-DVD Playback
MEMORY º Dual-channel DDR3 Memory architecture
º Supports DDR3 1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, Un-buffered SDRAM Memory
º Supports up to 3000(OC),2933(OC),2800(OC)
º 4 X 240-pin DDR3 DIMM socket
º Support up to 32 GB*
º Intel® extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3/1.2 Memory Modules
º Note:Please refer to the latest Memory support list for details
º Note: DDR3_1 with DDR3_3 are the same channel, DDR3_2 with DDR3_4 are the same channel by Intel® Specification
EXPANSION SLOT º 3 X PCI Express X16 Gen 3.0 slot(s)
º 1 X PCI Express X 1 Gen 2.0 slot(s)
º Supports NVIDIA® SLI Technology
º Supports ATI® CrossfireX Technology
º 1 X Mini PCI Express X1 slot(s)( Mini SATA supported)
º 1 X PCI slot(s)
º *When using two VGA cards, the bandwidth is @8 badnwidth; when using one VGA card, the bandwodth is @16.
Storage º Support by Intel® Z87 Express Chipset
• 5 X Serial ATAIII 6Gb/s
Located in SATA3_1/2, SATA3_3/4, SATA3_7 Port
º Support by ASM1061 Controler
• 2 X Serial ATAIII 6Gb/s
Located in EXSATA3_5/6 Port
• 2 X eSATAIII 6Gb/s
• RAID0, RAID1,RAID5, RAID 10 configuration
º Supports Intel® Rapid Storage Technology
º Supports NCQ, AHCI and “Hot Plug” functions
Audio º 8-Channel HD audio CODEC
º Compliant with HD audio specification
º Realtek ALC1150+ALC5505 8-channel High Definition audio CODEC
º BluRay DVD/HD DVD support
LAN º Dual Realtek 8111G Gigabit Fast Ethernet Controller
º Wake-On-LAN
º Dual LAN with Teaming function
º Ultra low power consumption
Wireless º Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n wireless LAN
Bluetooth º Supports Bluetooth V2.0
USB º Support by Z87 Express Chipset
• 6 X USB3.0 port(s) up to 5Gb/s
Back Panel 4 port(s)
Onboard 2 port(s)
• 8 X USB2.0 port(s) Up to 480 Mb/s
Back Panel 4 port(s)
Onboard 4 port(s)
º ECS EZ Charger (Gray USB header)
REAR PANEL I/O º 1 X Audio port (Line-in,4x Line-out, SPDIF out)
º 2 X RJ-45 port with teaming function
º 1 X HDMI port(s)
º 1 X Display port
º 1 X Wireless LAN Dongle
º 1 X Bluetooth Dongle
º 2 X eSATA 6Gb/s port(s)
º 4 X USB3.0 port(s)
º 4 X USB2.0 port(s)
º 1 X Clear_CMOS Button
CONNECTORS & HEADERS º 1 X 24-pin ATX Power Supply connector
º 1 X 8-pin ATX 12V Power Connector
º 1 X 4-pin CPU_FAN connector
º 1 X 4-pin SYS_FAN connector
º 1 X 3-pin PWR_FAN connector
º 1 X Power on button
º 1 X Reset button
º 1 X Clear_CMOS button
º 1 X Front Panel switch/LED header
º 1 X Front panel audio header
º 1 X Onboard Buzzer
º 1 X USB 3.0 header
• Support additional 2 USB ports
º 2 X USB 2.0 header
• Support additional 4 USB ports
º Support EZ charger (gray color)
º 1 X CLR_CMOS header
º 1 X Serial port header (COM)
º 1 X mSATA connector
º 1 X 7S-LED Display
º 1 X ME_UNLOCK header
º 1 X Chassis intrusion header
º 1 X Voltage measure points
º 1 X 80P Switch button
º 1 X Quick OC button
º 1 X BIOS set button
º 1 X ROM Backup button
SYSTEM BIOS º AMI BIOS with 64×2 MB SPI Flash ROM
º Supports M.I.B X Utility
º Supports ACPI 3.0 & DMI
º F7 hot key for boot up devices option
º Over-Clocking
º Graphic OC Support
º Dual Display
º Support ECS EZ BIOS
º Plug and Play, STR (S3) / STD (S4) , Hardware monitor, Multi Boot
º Multi-Language BIOS
º Audio, LAN, can be disabled in BIOS
º Dual BIOS
º Dual-Monitor function
FORM FACTOR º ATX Form Factor
º 305mm(W) X 244mm(H)
OS Support º Windows 7 32-bit
º Windows 7 64-bit
º Windows 8 32-bit
º Windows 8 64-bit
Certifications º CE/FCC Certification
º ErP/EuP Certification
º WHCK Certification
Bundled Software º ECS Intelligent EZ Utility : eBLU, eDLU, eOC, eSF
º Free Bundle: Norton Internet Security ,CyberLink PowerDVD, CyberLink PowerDirector 9, Muzee with trial version
º Creative Sound Blaster Cinema software

 

Windows® 8 Hardware Certification
Support the latest Windows 8 technology which provides touch-enabled control, Apps and can connect with the cloud to connect with your files, photos, people, and settings, wherever you sign in.
MAGIX MX SUITE
MAGIX multimedia tools are designed to enhance your music, videos and photos.From music and website creation to video editing and photo management.Four products that cover all of your multimedia needs.
All Solid Capacitors
ECS’s All-Solid-Capacitors design brings the great benefit of better durability to users. Better conductivity and heat resistance can be expected as well thus the system stability can be assured under critical conditions.
MIB X
ECS O.C profile offers O.C values for CPU and DRAM to reach higher performances in a quick, simple and safe way. It keeps users’ preferable BIOS settings to regain your last successful O.C configuration to create the most convenient O.C experience.
Mutli-language BIOS
Multi-language BIOS allows you to see and set up the BIOS with your native language. It helps Non-English users to solve the problem of setting up the BIOS and achieve extra system performance easily.
Anti- Static Design(ESD Protection)
ESD protection design helps to avoid suffering permanent damage when subjected to momentary high voltages to increase the lifespan of motherboard.
EZ BIOS
The most convenient tool to adjust BIOS in graphical interface. Designed with user-friendly interface including auto OC, boot priority, security function and windows 8 support. (Auto OC only for OC available models. )
ATI CrossFire X
The technology not only combines multi-GPU and motherboard power that soars into a new dimension of graphics capability, but also delivers the highest image quality and screen resolutions, even with the most demanding 3D titles.
NVIDIA SLI Technology
Allows users to intelligently scale graphics performance by combining multiple NVIDIA® graphics solutions in a single system with an NVIDIA® nForce® SLI media and communications processor (MCP). Delivers up to twice the performance of a single graphics solution.
DDR3 with XMP
Intel® XMP is a simple and robust high performance, DDR3 based memory solution for Intel based platforms. It enables users to take advantage of the fastest DDR3 memory, provides a mechanism for end users to easily performance tune Intel platforms and is designed specifically for enthusiasts as well as gamers.
Dual Channel DDR3 2800(OC)
DDR3 2800 OC is able to raise processor and RAM clock up to 2800MHz through capable RAM in overclock mode.
Mini PCI Express
The Mini-PCIe slot has a new 52 pin edge connector and it is much smaller in overall size. It is designed for laptops and other small-footprint computer systems and supports Mini-PCI card for mini- Wireless, mini-TV tuner, mini-SATA cards and so on.
SATA 6Gb/s
Doubles the transfer speed of SATA 3G, running at speed up to 6.0Gb/s, and can connect with any other SATA 3.0Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s devices for backward compatibility.
RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports RAID 0(Striped disk array), RAID 1(Mirroring disk array), RAID 5(Block Interleaved Distributed Parity), RAID 10 (A Stripe of Mirrors). Provides users the performance and protection.
eSATA 6Gb/s
eSATA III with 6Gb/s data transfer rate can promise substantial performance gain to a new hard drive enclosure. The data transfer rate is double than previous SATA II(3Gb/s) and also supports external HDD hot plug and keyed connector end for fool-proof.
Content Protection for Blu-Ray
Features Realtek ALC 892 HD Audio Codec with loss-less content protection technology that allows full-rate audio and quality performance for Blu-ray Discs.
8 Channel High Definition Audio
Integrated 8-channel HD Audio CODEC delivering advanced multi-channel audio and bringing you the experience of home theater-quality sound.
Dual Gigabit LAN
The dual Gigabit LAN design allows a computer managing network traffic between two separate networks and ensures rapid data transfer from WAN to LAN without any latency.
Dual Gigabit Lan with teaming
The dual Gigabit LAN with Teaming allows 2 single connections to act as 1 single connection for double bandwidth. In addition, it prevents network downtime by transferring the workload from a failed port to a working port and balances the network traffic load evenly between 2 CPU cores in order to improve performance.
USB 3.0
The latest generation Super Speed USB 3.0 Card is able to transfer data 10 times faster than USB 2.0. An innovative power management system provide better energy saving and carry more power to recharge more USB rechargeable devices. USB 3.0 Card is compatible with USB 2.0 to add more convenience and excellent performance.
HDMI Output
The interface supports existing high-definition video formats(720p, 1080i, and even 1080p), plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable. Combination with HDCP, provides a secure audio/video interface that meets the security requirements of content providers and systems operators.
eBLU – BIOS Live Update Utility
ECS eBLU utility makes updating BIOS fast and easy. eBLU saves time and hassle of searching for BIOS online and avoid complicated flashing steps. With simple and easy steps it checks for new BIOS version on-line and safely guides the user to flash the system BIOS.
eOC – Easy Over Clock Utility
Easy Over Clock Utility is a easy and simply overclocking tools that provides user-friendly windows operation interface for novices and overclockers, with clicking on your mouse only you can get much higher performance of CPU quickly. It is available for download and updated online to get the latest version. Combine with ECS MIB technology to challenge undiscovered extreme overclocking than ever before.
eDLU – Drivers Live Update Utility
ECS eDLU utility makes updating Drivers fast and easy. eDLU Saves time and hassle of searching for Drivers online and avoid complicated steps. With simple and easy steps it checks for new Drivers version on-line and let the user to update the Drivers.
eSF(ECS Smart Fan Utility)
ECS Smart Fan Utility provides smart and user friendly way to adjust fan speed depending on PCs system loading and temperature. It offers five modes to adjust fan speed within safe range without entering BIOS for smart, easy and silent environment.
Norton™ Internet Security
Simple, Easy-to-Use Interface, delivers fast and comprehensive online threat protection, guarding your PC, network, without slowing you down. Giving you greater insight into downloaded applications, whether they can be trusted, and how they may impact your PC’s resources and performance Offering users a safer and more convenient environment than ever.ECS recommends the immediate installation of Norton Internet Security of your computer.
Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
Intel® Turbo Boost Technology automatically allows processor cores to run faster than the base operating frequency if it’s operating below power, current, and temperature specification limits. Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 delivers intelligent and energy efficient performance on demand.
EZ Charger
EZ Charger technology provides 3 times current than general USB port in off mode for USB devices. It’s useful and excellent, especially for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices that need a large amount of current for faster recharging within less time.
Bluetooth Technology
Supports Bluetooth v2.1+ EDR technology, which is easier to connect devices to improve the paring experience on Bluetooth and increasing the use and strength of security. Bluetooth v2.1+ EDR also provides faster data transfer and able to reach 3Mbps with reduced power consumption and improved security. It also offers you a better wireless life.
MUZEE
MUZEE provides a total solution for online multimedia in the cloud generation, which is easy to integrate with multiple hardware devices. Users can access to thousands of worldwide radio stations, TV channels and games to indulge in the latest online entertainment anywhere and anytime within few simple clicks.
CyberLinkMedia Suite Bundled
Bundled the Ultimate HD & Blu-ray Player ,Best Video Editing and Backup/Burn Softwares. (30 Days Trial Version) These software are complete multimedia solutions in : -HD playback -Video Editing -Media burning

 

About Tom Brokaw

Tom is a network analyst by day. He currently holds the CCNA & CCNP certifications. He has been reviewing hardware products around for various sites around the net since 1999. He has modded a few cases back in the day, such as cutting a side window or two.

2 comments

  1. this board is funky. i like that it splays GANK proudly on the cover. so many connotation. then the heatsinks remind me of a waves and a waverunner. its like the motherboard a middle east dictator would use.

  2. Thanks for the excellent review Tom. Those are my thoughts exactly Vajoiner. lol. GANK is an unfortunate name for a motherboard. There’s plenty of great ideas on this board but the price tag is certainly extremely high (although affordable to mid-east dictators. lol)

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