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ECS Golden Board Z77H2-AX Z77 Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Power Consumption and Conclusion

Power Consumption

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The ECS Z77H2-AX’s power consumption numbers fall in line with the other Intel-based system, illustrating that ECS did a good job with the board’s power circuitry layout and design. I guess all that gold does make a difference.

Note that the power consumption numbers are consistent with what you would see using a medium to high-end video card with the board, since the ATI 5870 series are notoriously power hungry.

Performance

From a stock performance standpoint, I couldn’t have been happier with the ECS Z77H2-AX. It performed admirably in all the benchmarks with solid results in both the gaming and non-gaming tests. The real Achilles heel of the board was its lack of overclocking performance. Its lack of performance in the USB 2.0 and 3.0 hard drive tests remains puzzling as well.

Pricing

As of October 29, the ECS Z77H2-AX motherboard was available at Newegg.com for $269.99 with free shipping. The board was also available from other retailers such as Amazon.com for $313.60.

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Conclusion

At this point, we would like to give our friends at ECS a well-deserved “Thank you” for allowing us the opportunity to review the Z77H2-AX motherboard. Out of the box, the board is a work of art with enough gold to garner a spot at Fort Knox. ECS made sure to integrate in plenty of add-ins to more than justify the price tag, offering 3 different networking adapters, plenty of USB and SATA ports, not to mention support for 3-way NVIDIA SLI or AMD Crossfire. Couple that with its stock performance, and you have the makings of a champion.

However, as was stated previously, the board fell short for me in the overclocking area. It barely managed to scratch the surface on memory overclocking and would not overclock the CPU speed at all (over the stock CPU Turbo mode settings that is).

Strengths
- Board look, can’t go wrong with black and gold
- Stock performance
- Number of available PCI-Express x16 slots
- Available network adapter options
- Accessible PCI-Express x1 slot with all PCI-Express x16 slots filled

Weaknesses
- UEFI BIOS mouse-based operational lag and option selection difficulties
- CMOS battery placement
- Lack of overclocking performance
- USB 2.0 and 3.0 performance oddities
- User manual lack of explanation for wireless antennae and BIOS debug codes

November 9, 2012 | 10:30 PM - Posted by Operandi

50 Cent; your motherboard has arrived.

Seriously though, if ECS wants to go for the high-end motherboard market blinging it out in gold is not the way to go.

November 10, 2012 | 06:40 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

You really need to see it live to get the full effect.  I tend to like the read and black theme that ASUS ROG boards normal sport, but I would seriously consider putting this one in my system if the o/c performance was better...

November 12, 2012 | 04:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The black & gold is too over the top, should go down well with the chaps on the sub continent though.
I could be wrong but as far as I know there is no such thing as a SATA 6 cable. All generation cables are the same.

November 13, 2012 | 07:00 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

The SATA 6G cable terminology seems to be more of a corporate marketing-speak term, since you are correct that any SATA cable is capable of handling a SATA III drive/signal.  What I've noticed with the manfacturer-labeled "SATA III" cables is that those cables seem to be a bit thicker and more substantial than the SATA II labeled cables.

November 17, 2012 | 07:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The gold thing is silly and impractical. Proper colour coding of every port individually is saner.

As for "eSATA ports", I fail to see why. This is an interface that crashes boxes under almost any OS and is utterly obsoleted by USB3 and Thunderbolt by now.

I would much rather have seen a second gigabit RJ45.

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