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ECS GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ECS

The Z87H3-A3X is ECS' latest release in their L337 Gaming board line. Similar to the A2X Extreme board, ECS designed the Z87H3-A3X with a liberal amount of gold, from the gold plating on its capacitors to the gold tint on its integrated heat sinks. This board is a steal at it $119.99 MSRP with its Intel Z87 chipset and performance-oriented components.

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Courtesy of ECS

ECS powers the Z87H3-A3X motherboard with a 6-phase digital power regulation system to ensure consistent power delivery to the CPU under all operating circumstances. The Z87H3-A3X includes the following integrated features: six SATA 6Gb/s ports and one eSATA port; an Intel GigE NIC; two PCI-Express x16 slots for up to dual-card support; four PCI-Express x1 slots; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support. The 80P button configures what information displays on the diagnostic display once the board has successfully initialized.

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Courtesy of ECS

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Courtesy of ECS

Being part of their L337 Gaming series boards, the Z87H3-A3X includes the Durathon power delivery solution and innovative cooling solution. The board's heat sinks are designed to enhance airflow over key components to aid in cooling, while the Durathon system incorporates enhanced power modules to maximum performance and minimize failure potential.

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Courtesy of ECS

Continue reading our review of the ECS Z87H3-A3X motherboard!

Technical Specifications (taken from the ECS website)

CPU

º Supports new 4rd gen Intel® Core™ family, Pentium, Celeron series processors in LGA1150 socket
º DMI 5.0GT/s
º 6 Phase Thermal Design Power
º VRD 12.5
º 100% Solid capacitor design
º Intel® K Series Unlock CPU Support

CHIPSET

º Intel® Z87 Express Chipset
º Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Smart Connect Technology & Intel® Rapid Start Technology

GRAPHICS

º Supports DirectX® 11 .1
º Supports Intel® HD Graphics, InTru™ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider™
º Supports HDMI 1.4a & Premium Audio
º Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI
º Supports ATI® 2-Way CrossFireX™

MEMORY

º Dual-channelDDR3 Memory architecture
º Supports DDR3 3000 non-ECC, Un-buffered SDRAM Memory
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

EXPANSION SLOT

º 2 X PCI Express X16 Gen 3.0 slot(s)
º 4 X PCI Express X 1 Gen 2.0slot(s)
º Supports NVIDIA® SLI Technology
º Supports ATI® CrossfireX Technology
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
  • 6 X Serial ATAIII 6Gb/s
  • 1 X eSATAIII 6Gb/s
  • RAID0, RAID1,RAID5, RAID 10 configuration
º Supports Intel® Rapid Storage Technology
º *The gray SATA6G connector will become unavailable when eSATA connector is used.

Audio

º 8-Channel HD audio CODEC
º Realtek ALC1150 8-channel High Definition audio CODEC

LAN

º Intel I217-V Gigabit Fast Ethernet Controller
º Wake-On-LAN

USB

º Support by Intel 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 PS/2 Keyboard & PS/2 mouse connectors
º 1 X Audio port (Line-in,4x Line-out, SPDIF out)
º 1 X RJ-45 port
º 1 X HDMI port(s)
º 1 X DVI-D port(s)
º 1 X D-Sub (VGA) port(s)
º 1 X Optical S/PDIF Out port(s)
º 1 X eSATA 6Gb/s port(s)
º 6 X USB3.0 port(s)
º 4 X USB2.0 port(s)

CONNECTORS & HEADERSs

º 1 X 24-pin ATX Power Supply connector
º 1 X 8-pin ATX 12V Power Connector
º 1 X 3-pin PWR_FAN connector
º 1 X Front Panel switch/LED header
º 1 X Front panel audio header
º 1 X Speaker header
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 S/PDIF out header
º 6 X SATA III 6Gb/s connector(s)
º 1 X CLR_CMOS header
º 1 X Serial port header (COM)
º 1 X Parallel port header (LPT)
º 1 X TPM header
º 1 X Chassis intrusion header

SYSTEM BIOS

º AMI BIOS with 64 MB SPI Flash ROM
º Supports M.I.B X Utility
º Supports ACPI 5.0 & DMI
º F7 hot key for boot up devices option
º Over-Clocking
º Graphic OC Support
º Triple 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 Supports PgUp clear CMOS Hotkey
º CPU FSB adjustment(increase of 1MHz)
º * Adjustable CPU Voltage
º * Memory Voltage Adjustable
º * Support CPU over-clocking function: Adjustable CPU Clock Multiplier
º * HT Voltage Adjustable
º * Graphic Voltage Adjustable

FORM FACTOR

º ATX Form Factor
º 305mm X 220m

OS Support

º Windows 7 64-bit
º Windows 8 64-bit

Certifications

º CE/FCC Certification
º ErP/EuP Certification
º WHQL 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

 

January 21, 2014 | 03:08 PM - Posted by BiggieShady

Why don't we call Intel GigE NIC port what it is, a RJ-45 port? Calling it 'a thing we stick our UTP cable into' would be better.

January 21, 2014 | 05:48 PM - Posted by Patrick3D (not verified)

The top-down shot of the motherboard looks like diarrhea. Still can't get over the terrible name either.

January 22, 2014 | 07:02 AM - Posted by mLocke

no promo shots of it covered in dust?

January 24, 2014 | 12:08 PM - Posted by irdmoose

I don't think you can count giant slabs of copper as heatsinks. There just isn't enough surface area. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the underdog, but when the company that was renowned for making Fry's house brand boards where every boot was a flip of the coin where heads was it booting and tails was it exploding into a puff of magic smoke and taking every component connected to it with it, they really need to step up the game with their design.

My thoughts:
Board color - Meh. Never really cared about board color.

Component layout - Decent enough, except for that giant block of copper. Looking at the pictures, I doubt you'd be able to fit a high-end air cooler on there like a Noctua or a Zalman CNPS series cooler. Plus, I don't see how that giant block of copper will cool very well, there just isn't enough surface area.

The heat shield between the CPU and the memory looks like a clever idea. I could see where that might be useful to help lower memory temperatures. Whether or not it helps in reality is a different story, but I think this is a good design choice. Plus it can be used to help cool the PCB.

I/O Panel: VGA? Seriously? They couldn't have put display port on a "Leet" board? How are users supposed to take advantage of the triple display capability of current gen Intel graphics with a VGA port?

There's a good amount of USB 3.0 ports there, but I would have liked to see thunderbolt on a board with this branding.

Based on the specs and features listed here, and the design, I'd be surprised if the MSRP was much above $150.

January 26, 2014 | 11:19 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Page 3 of the review shows how the Noctua NH-D14 fits on the board - there were absolutely no fit related issues with this cooler, so any other cooler should fit the board without issue (the Noctua cooler is one of the larger air coolers I've encountered).

As far as the MSRP, the board retails for $119, but can be found cheaper.  Check the last page of the review for links to retailers.

Thanks...

April 13, 2014 | 02:23 PM - Posted by Ryan O (not verified)

Thank you for doing a thorough review of this board. Yours is the best and most comprehensive that I've been able to find. It gives me confidence to pull the trigger on this board. It seems like a no-brainer with the included Intel NIC and higher quality audio that is absent on pricier boards.

October 7, 2014 | 08:01 AM - Posted by SUDO (not verified)

Hey!!I am buying this ECS Z87H3-A3X MotherBoard...
i just wanted to know whether linux can be installed on this or not..pls reply fast

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