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ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme GANK Machine Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

BIOS Features

ECS included the latest revision of their UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) EZ BIOS with the the Z87H3-A2X Extreme motherboard. The UEFI BIOS offers full keyboard and mouse support while using the BIOS pages with enhanced mouse navigation supported by right clicking the mouse - goes back to previous view if inside a settings pop-up or on a sub-menu page. ECS also includes a screen capture utility, which generates a 1024x768 BMP image on an attached USB drive upon clicking the F9 function key.

While much simpler where compared with other motherboard manufacturer's UEFI implementations, the ECS implementation was clean and well laid out. I found the mouse and keyboard responsiveness within the BIOS to be usable with no noticeable lag.

BIOS Notable Features

The ECS UEFI BIOS implementation contains no fancy interfaces or ground-breaking designs, but it functions well and has an intuitive layout. As long as you can find the settings you're looking for and the interface is not laggy, any other additions are little more than glitz and window dressing. The BIOS has two operation modes - Basic and Advanced.

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Basic Mode

The Basic mode page houses a graphical interface with high level board, temperature, voltage, and fan speed information shown.

 

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Advanced Mode, M.I.B. X section

The Advanced Mode interface houses the more advanced board related setting with all overclocking and performance related settings centralized under the M.I.B. X tab. M.I.B. X stands for MB Intelligent BIOS X, designed with a series of sub-menus containing logically divided performance settings.

BIOS Walkthrough - Performance-related Settings, Advanced Mode

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Main tab

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M.I.B. X tab

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M.I.B. X tab, CPU OverClocking Configuration page

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M.I.B. X tab, North Bridge Configuration page

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M.I.B. X tab, Memory Configuration page

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M.I.B. X tab, Memory Configuration page continued

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M.I.B. X tab, Over Voltage Configuration page

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M.I.B. X tab, Over Voltage Configuration page continued

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M.I.B. X tab, Profile Configuration page

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M.I.B. X tab, Profile Configuration page, Profile Details page

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Advanced tab

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Advanced tab, PC Health Status page

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Advanced tab, PC Health Status page, Smart Fan Function page

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Advanced tab, CPU Configuration page

September 16, 2013 | 11:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Sounds like a pile of gank to me.

September 16, 2013 | 12:44 PM - Posted by Lance Ripplinger (not verified)

Great review Morry. I just wanted to point out an error in your article: GIGABYTE includes only the bare minimum needed to get the board functional. Shouldn't "Gigabyte" say "ECS"? LOL

September 16, 2013 | 12:46 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Thanks for pointing that out...

September 16, 2013 | 03:42 PM - Posted by Daniel Masterson (not verified)

You just got *puts on sunglasses* ganked. YEEEOOOWWWW!

September 17, 2013 | 05:12 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I was really thinking this would be a good motherboard, until the picture showing the gfx card next to the cooler. This made me realise that the pcie slot is placed right at the top of the board.

Not only does this mean you can install some gfx cards with large backplates (think msi lightening with the addon board) but also it means on many cases you cant plug cables intot the gfx card as the space between the top of the cases surround of the expansion slots gets in the way (mainly due to thickness of cable connectors).

This will definately stop me from buying this, everything else seemed so great too. Oh dear.

September 17, 2013 | 10:07 AM - Posted by razor512

Whats with companies in putting nameplates on heatsinks designed for passive cooling. My old m4a78 plus got a 15c drop in temperature on the northbridge when I pried the name plate off.

The side panel fan then did a better job at cooling the motherboard.

Covering the top of a heatsinks only increases cooling performance when you have active airflow in the direction of the fins (eg taping some cardboard to the top of the xbox 360 heatsinks lowers the temperature)

But if airflow is coming from the top then it significantly reduces performance.

September 17, 2013 | 09:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Are you Ganking my chain...I thought they were out of business...my first build 13 yrs ago was an ECS.

September 17, 2013 | 09:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

AMD Athlon ! LOL

September 18, 2013 | 02:33 PM - Posted by Patrick3D (not verified)

What a terrible name for a motherboard, it should be a big hit with 12 year old pant saggers.

September 18, 2013 | 09:33 PM - Posted by Penterax (not verified)

Indeed; the name puts this in the "will not buy I don't care how good it is" category.

September 27, 2013 | 07:25 AM - Posted by Activate: AMD (not verified)

Good piece, but the watermarks in the photos are incredibly distracting. I know you want to protect your property, but they're too much.

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