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Thread: ECS Z87H3-A3X Review




  1. #1
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    Post ECS Z87H3-A3X Review

    Introduction :


    When we talk about computers in the twenty-first century , we are talking about the columns to carry this world in the present day Computers based upon the rest of today's business did not become limited to the traditional use , or in other words for entertainment or even to perform complex calculations , but All the world today is run on Computers from the smallest thing to the biggest thing for basing everything on computers , the interest in manufacturing Computer parts became greatest in these days and this is what we see from all hardware manufacturers every competitor in its field for optimal performance pleasing to the user and , as we said that there are multiple purposes for the use of computers .


    For the manufacturer :
    ECS is a leading company in the field of industrialization and I had intended to say ' manufacturing ' in general because the company not only manufactures ECS motherboards as our only product but manufacture and production of motherboards with many electronic industries including graphics cards and desktop computers ' AIO ' computers and mobile devices, NetBooks and Tablet PCs and small products based on new technologies , ECS has been established in 1987 and in the last 30 years of leading ECS The world of electronics manufacturing and her considerable fame and name full no abbreviation is ECS Elitegroup ,and the goal of company is to achieve pluralism and wishes of all users from novice and simple to professional user

    And the company have many various choices for all users :

    1. Gamers category
    and ECS called it L337 it's considered the strongest Gaming motherboards of what ECS company is produced to come with professional specifications like professional sound chips , for network , and power circuits in professional way and provide the best quality of motherboard cooling and the multiplicity of display cards , and this family is divided into two subcategories, named : Extreme and Golden and the subcategories are professional and powerful and is one of the most powerful classes that already must take into consideration.



    2. The official categories of the ECS
    which launched by ECS to provide all the needs of users from the primary and novice to Pro. as we said earlier, and divided into three subcategories, including PRO and is the highest in this class and provides the best performance for your computer to function under pressure for long lifetime and also provide all the professional standards used to be built by motherboards manufactures , then we have Deluxe directed to medium users who want to get a computer to satisfy all their needs beside traditional work such as browsing and listening to music and watching movies on high quality and other acts , and the third category named Essentials is a small business office and routine business without the need for professional standards.
    and other categories based on AMD chips , the company is a major manufacturer of AMD chips, also Mini ITX motherboards .


    Today , We talk about a new motherboard , the most important thing to say about , that it's just like a link between two branches , one of them is it's have a suitable and affordable price and the second one is that it's equipped with high tech components to provide the best performance , and here we are it's the Z87H3-A3X from ECS which is based on Z87 Express chip from Intel to hold up Haswell chips , and this board is one of L337 family which is directed for gamers and its name is "GANK DRONE" and let me say what a name ! and for L337 family we saw many models from that family and they was amazing and powerful , so let us check up all parts of this motherboard so that we can answer " Will this board will be the suitable board for Hardcore gaming PC ? " we will see .


    Here are the motherboard specifications :

    For more information don't hesitate to visit ECS Global website:
    http://www.ecs.com.tw/

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    Default Re: ECS Z87H3-A3X Review

    Intel 8th Gen. Chipset and Haswell CPUs :






    Intel recently launched the fourth generation and also newer processors, which the company code-named them ' Haswell ' and fully-supported chips produced by Intel , eighth series includes several chips including Z87 , B85 , H87, Z87 is the highest and most powerful.
    ve cited a us is the fourth generation of Intel processors are no longer compatible with the old Intel socket "LGA 1155" and no longer working with the seventh series with best known upper Z77 and produced a new socket "LGA 1150" which contains 1150 pins , and for changes in performance, the performance of the Haswell comes in increments of 10% for the previous generation processors Ivy Bridge.

    Intel also focused on saving energy and not wasting much of it , new processors consume less power than the previous generation Ivy Bridge.

    And also comes with a graphical processor , Haswell processors built stronger than previous generations with the full support of the 4K technology a technology display provides four connectors to four screens on the same graphical processor built-in the chip and processing task improvements in 3D applications and of course support DirectX 11, OpenCL and OpenGL 4 1.2.
    The new processors known as "Haswell" come built with 22 nanometers technology of manufacturing and also known that the development of architectural and design and updated processor architecture result in increase in performance.

    this is a map of types of fourth generation processors and speeds and corresponding prices.

    Moving to the new Z87 chip comparing with Z77 chip we can't consider it the meaning of moving but we can call it an improvement in the previous chip, there was no clear difference or something a certain in chip techniques, Intel has developed Z77 chip as following : increase in support of SATA ports 6.0 GB/s and SATA to 6 connectors instead of 2 or 4 in the previous generation and also increase the number of USB3.0 ports up to 6 Maximum ports and also increase the number of USB2.0 ports to 14 maximum with full support of DDR3 at different frequencies as it was in the previous chip and provides up to 8 PCI Express 2.0 slots and also provides full support for PCI Express 3.0 with the general improvements to become the new Intel chip Z87.
    for more information, please visit the Intel website for more details


    Intel® Core? Processor Family

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    Default Re: ECS Z87H3-A3X Review

    Unboxing :





    Let's start unboxing this new motherboard , and as we know unboxing hardware products always provide us with important information about the inert product .

    First of all , we can see the box of the motherboard and it has a medium size , its color is black with some grey effects , and we can see obviously the logo of "L337" gaming series overlaid in the background , really it's impressive , and we have the name of motherboard GANK DRONE in front of the box , the model of the board , Z87H3-A3X , finally ECS wrote the compatible CPUs with the motherboard which are core i7,i5,i3 fourth gen. of Intel Haswell CPUs.
    and when we look below this we can see some icons show :
    That the motherboard is fully compatible with Windows 8 , full support for Nvidia SLI and AMD Crossfire X , the set of application of sound blaster cinema from Creative .

    We can see that ECS put the logo of gaming series "L337" and it looks very good in gold .

    Two of the sides of the box have the same content , which is identical with the information in front of the box like the name of motherboard GANK DRONE , the model of the board , Z87H3-A3X ,etc.

    The front side of the box also contain the same information about the motherboard and it contains the difference between "L337" family members , Domination which is the most powerful , Machine which is the middle member , and the GANK DRONE which is the least in the family and which we are reviewing today .


    The back side of the box doesn't contain much , again "L337" logo and also an impressive logo of "Battle Ready" which ECS wrote impressive words beside it just for gamers , and these words make any one in a bad need of know all about this board , and briefly these words say that the motherboard will help you to provide the best gaming experience for you .


    in the back of the box we have much information , when we look ascending , first the logo of ECS and also "L337" gaming series , name and model of the board , then we have a very brief specifications about the motherboard , after that in the left panel we have a small photo of the motherboard containing some information downwards , the most important is the right side which contains the high techs ECS equipped the motherboard by , to provide gamers with the best experience with this motherboard , and we will explain all these features later un this review .


    when we open the outer box , we see this white cover of cartoon box handling the board inside , have the logo of "L337" gaming series on it , and it looks so good in black and white .

    when we hold this cover up we see the motherboard held in a plastic anti-static electricity sac to maintain the motherboard .

    after removing the white box of the motherboard we see directly motherboard's extensions .



    and it includes :
    1- Motherboard manual
    2- The guide of assembling PC "Including Arabic language"
    3- Drivers and utilities DVD
    4- I/O Shield
    5- 2*SATA 3.0 6GB/s cables "Black"
    6- SLI bridge





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    Default Re: ECS Z87H3-A3X Review

    General Look :




    As we said , we talk about a professional motherboard with moderate components for overclocking and also with a good price , yes, folks it's the new Z87H3-A3X from ECS based on Z87 Express chip from Intel , and definitely it has the socket of "LGA 1150" from Intel to use Intel's 4th Gen. CPUs "Haswell"
    It's a mid size ATX motherboard which is 30.5 x 22 cm , this board is very suitable for all cases and the body of the motherboard "PCB" has a dark brown color which is metallic and I always loved this color and the "L337" gaming series from ECS had a very good development on its PCB .
    By general looking on the motherboard we can see that ECS used the GOLD color for the heatsink covering mosfets and also the south bridge chip "Z87" and I always noticed that it's the favorite color of ECS .



    The motherboard from its backside reflect how much the company worked to figure out this amazing looking PCB , and ECS fans and supporters know that the PCB is developed much in this series "L337" comparing with old series .

    This is the metal plate holding the "LGA 1150" socket from the back .



    The back I/O panel of this motherboard is a unique part , it includes :
    1- PS/2 header to connect one of your mouse or keyboard
    2- 4xUSB2.0 ports (Black color)
    3- 4xUSB3.0 ports (Blue color)
    4- eSATA connector (Red color)
    5- 5xSound ports include Linein , Lineout and additional SPDIF output
    6- RJ-45 for networking and internet connection
    7- 3xDisplay ports include (D-sub - DVI - HDMI )




    For memories on this motherboard , ECS provided the motherboard with 4 slots for installing 4 parts of memory of DDR3 with maximum of 32GB and it's enough for all hardcore gaming PCs unless the user need a specific computer for a specific work , and DRAMs installed can be pushed up to 3000MHz with overclocking with a full 187% improvement in performance , and this is amazing , and it's one of the motherboard benefits .




    Expansion slots is variable on this motherboard as we can see :
    1- 4xPCI Express X1 slots
    2- 2xPCI Express X16 Gen.3 with bandwidth of 32GB/s
    * And I didn't find any PCI slots and it's not a con but today in our area there are many users using PCI till today and this should be considerable when you're heading to buy new motherboard .



    For storage , as this motherboard is built on Z87 Express chip , then the motherboard is provided with 6 SATA 3 6.0GB/s ports , and as it's considerable ECS rolled back to the old design of SATA ports which are destined to the top and it's a big problem because it could disturb big sized GPUs for the second slot and really I don't know why they do that , and also the port of grey color , it stops working while connecting the back eSATA port .

  5. #5
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    Default Re: ECS Z87H3-A3X Review

    Closer Look :



    Let's start our closer look on the motherboard , and we find that ECS printed motherboard's model Z87H3-A3X , and it also printed "L337" Gaming series logo of ECS , and finally the name of motherboard GANK DRONE and it has an eye-catching look .



    The motherboard has 6 fans connectors and it's satisfaction enough, it includes:
    1- 2xCPU fan
    2- 3xSystem fan
    3- 1xPower fan




    Motherboard's heatsinks is partly limited , as it's simply small , but it's suitable for the moderate overclocking components included in this motherboard < and it has a shiny gold colored and it's Commensurate with the beauty of the motherboard .



    South bridge's heatsink for Z87 Express chip from Intel and it has the logo of "L337" gaming series from ECS .




    By looking at the direction of CPU socket , we see that the socket is covered with a plastic black cover to protect CPU socket from outer conditions .

    As we should say that the area around CPU socket is uniformly distributed as we see much free space around it , and this motherboard allow you to install big sized air coolers freely without any problems .


    The motherboard built on the "LGA1150" socket from Intel which has 1150 pins , and it's the most modern CPU socket developed by Intel , ECS provide a triple layer of Gold to coat CPU socket by , it provides more efficiency in electricity and to decrease accumulation of electrostatic charges and also it get rid of heat continuously , all that for having the best electricity for CPU .

    ECS uses ice chokes in this motherboard , and it's better than super alloy chokes for the previous generation , and it has 6 stages for providing CPU with more clean power .
    All capacitors on the motherboard , are Gold solid capacitors which is better than the ordinary solid capacitors and it has more durability and efficiency .

    And this unique pieces is the hybrid power controller ISL6376 from Intersil , and it combines partly an analog controller and also a digital controller , and it's one of the best power controllers .

    ECS provided 2 fan connectors near CPU socket , and it's necessary for double fans air coolers , and they are PWM that mean they can be controlled manually and automatically by the motherboard .


    These are the heatsinks of the motherboards after disassembling them , they have a good build quality and also they are shiny gold painted .




    After we removed motherboard's heatsink , it looks very sexy .


    After removing heatsinks we take a look on Mosfets of the motherboard , and they are of the type "Lower RDS" , it provide more current handling and less overheating , and we see that every High Mosfet unit has it's own Low Mosfet unit , really it's very suitable for moderate overclocking .

    The Main chip of the motherboard "Z87 Express" from Intel and it has great pros. We talked about them before .


    ECS provided the motherboard with a whole power circuit for DRAMs as we see there is two chokes and DRAM mosfets .

    Analog power controller for DRAMs and this is very useful for DRAM overclocking .

    For not forgetting this motherboard has an ordinary 24-pin power connector and there is also a front USB3.0 header connector.

    And it's provided with 8-pin power connector for more enough power for the motherboard.

    When looking on the bottom of the motherboard we see first 3 front USB2.0 connectors, then a TPM connector.

    Then COM, LPT , and a front audio connectors , and this reflect that ECS take care of users who use these old connectors till this day .

    An old way for clearing BIOS configuration, the Jumper, and ECS should have used a small switch for that .

    An explanation of ECS about clear BIOS modes, and also case connectors .

    Motherboard's battery, responsible for keeping BIOS settings .


    GPUs slots , the motherboard has two PCI Express X16 slots of a third generation , 32GB/s bandwidth , every one of them works on a speed of X16 or X8 and X8 if installed two GPUs for 200% boost in performance , also support Nvidia SLI , and CrossfireX from AMD .

    PCI Express X16 slot lock is very good .

    We have here four AS1480 controllers from ASMedia , to support Gen.3 for PCI Express X16 and for the attachment between CPU processing and GPU lanes for supporting multiple GPUs .

    ASMedia AS1456 controller responsible for , switch between SATA and eSATA connectors .

    Intel 1217-V controller for powerful networking and it non comparable with the E2200 Killer controller but it's very good for this motherboard .

    ALC1150 codec from Realtek and it's one of best audio controller in industry .

    We can see Sound Blaster Cinema logo beside audio controller, and we will discuss this set of applications later .

    The motherboard is provided with AMI BIOS with a 64MB ROM chip to handle EZ BIOS of ECS .

    I/O controller .

  6. #6
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    Post Re: ECS Z87H3-A3X Review

    Unique Features :


    "L337" Gaming series features
    Intel 1217-V controller for powerful networking and it non comparable with the E2200 Killer controller but it's very good for this motherboard .
    ALC1150 codec from Realtek and it's one of best audio controller in industry .
    Motherboard's heatsinks are simply small , but it's suitable for the moderate overclocking components included in this motherboard and it has a shiny gold colored and it's Commensurate with the beauty of the motherboard .
    All capacitors on the motherboard , are Gold solid capacitors which is better than the ordinary solid capacitors and it has more durability and efficiency .



    Durathon Technology :
    When it comes to the quality and durability of your motherboard, ECS goes above and beyond industry standards to ensure that you have a motherboard that will last long and always continue to out-perform the competition.
    Trust only motherboards built with Durathon Technology.
    And it has two slogans :
    Shattering Durability Standards
    Motherboard quality you can trust
    And it include four categories :
    1- Triple Density PCB
    2- Superior Solid CAPs
    3- Extreme Temp Resistance
    4- 1.5K Marathon Test
    Triple Density PCB

    ECS Bi-Directional Splitting Glass Fabric
    ECS has the highest level Bi-Directional Glass Fabric, which is 3 times more effective humidity protection than general glass fabric.

    Damp Proof (Reducing Ionic Migration and Electric Leakage)
    ECS Bi-Directional Splitting Glass Fabric narrows the vacant space between the glass fabric of the PCB which:
    » Lowers air permeability for dampness proofing.
    » Reduces short circuit or burn out malfunction.
    » Best choice for rainy and humid environments.
    High Temperature Tolerance
    ECS Bi-Directional Splitting Glass Fabric greatly increases the surface area which:
    » Enhances the durability of motherboard
    » Improves the thermal stress of the PCB
    » Makes the motherboard more reliable against heat.
    Ultra Stability
    ECS Bi-Directional Splitting Glass Fabric is the highest level splitting glass fabric with high quality copper foil and resin.
    Superior Solid CAPs

    High Quality Long Lasting Capacitors
    ECS Durathon motherboards use only the highest grade solid capacitors as opposed to ensure that they will last longer than other motherboards and are designed to perform great in the most extreme environmental conditions.

    Longer Lifespan
    Typical electrolytic capacitors last only 32,000 Hours (3.6 Years) but ECS superior solid capacitors are designed to last up to 200,000 Hours (22 Years) at above normal operating temperatures of 65?C.
    Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR)
    Typical electrolytic capacitors are less able to handle large ripple currents which generate harmul heat through current leakage makeing them lose capacitance and electrolyte. Solid capacitors however have a low ESR which makes them last longer due to the reduced current leakage.
    Temperature Stability
    Solid Capacitors are designed to operate consistantly at temperatures of up to 100?C meaning you get stable performance over time, even at high temperatures.


    Extreme Temp Resistance

    ECS motherboards offer the high temperature standards far above the industry standards for motherboards which gives you unmatched durability and stability.

    Ultra Wide Band Temperature Range
    ECS motherboard wtih Durathon offer the highest temperature resistance range 10?C higher and lower than the competitors motherboards which:
    » Reduces PCB warping.
    » Improves the lifespan of the entire motheboard including
    components and PCB.
    » Reduces stress on the motherboard due to drastic
    temperature fluctuations in cold environments.
    Tested For Extreme Operating Conditions
    ECS motherboards have been design to operate flawlessly in extreme environments such as:
    » Extremely hot deserts environments
    » Extremely humid tropical environments
    » Extremely cold artic environments
    1.5K Marathon Test

    All ECS Durathon motherboards are put through a thorough and comprehensive 1507 point test that checks every aspect of the motherboard to ensure high quality and stability.

    For more support please visit Durathon microsite :
    ECS Durathon - Motherboard Technology You Can Trust


    Sound blaster cinema
    It is an application that includes a set of applications wonderful include:
    -SBX Surround
    It is one application of the program , which specializes in controlling the extent and method of peripheral sound for the user in front of a computer.
    -SBX Crystallizer
    An application that controls the clearness of each part of the sound and the sense of clearness of each frequency separately from the sound frequencies which separates each degree sound and makes it more clear and accurate .
    -SBX Bass
    As for this application is specially designed for lovers of the BASE or the " DBP " Many people want to increase the strength of the BASE But when controlled manually by the sound system , it causes noise and lack of accuracy and inconvenience as well, but with this wonderful application it you can do so much without spoiling accuracy and quality of the sound outside of your sound system.
    -SBX Dialog Plus
    This application concentrate on talking or singing the same in any song or when there will be containing many of the uproar as a background, it focuses on the degree of clearness of singer and the user controls the degree of reduction of the rest of the frequencies when there is a specific sound for a person to focus on it.
    -SBX Smart Volume
    It is one of the best applications of the program which controls the sound and the degree of purity of some of the sounds on the other and do not allow the occurrence of interference in the sound and the occurrence of a huge amount of noise because of that , this application allows for some sounds to emerge and others lowers his voice until user predict and allows the user to predict there is another voice .

    Full support of Windows 8 and that include :
    1. Instant Boot Speed(Win 8 only takes about 8 seconds)
    2. Metro Interface
    3. All about Touch
    4. Native Support of USB3.0
    5. Internet Explorer 10
    6. Windows APP Store
    7. Brand New Windows Task Manager
    8. Integrated Xbox Live
    9. "Windows to go" via USB devices
    10. Support it’s own native PDF reader
    11. Photo App
    12. Built-In Anti Virus



    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. All ECS motherboards pass ESD International standard EC/EN 61000-4-2 Test and bring you stability and durability quality.

    Full support for PCI Express X16 Gen.3
    It's more faster than the old Gen. with a full time



    MAGIX MX SUITE is exclusively provided to ECS users to enhance your multimedia experience, and for FREE! From website creation, video and music editing, to photo management, all of your multimedia needs will be easily fulfilled by using four MAGIX MX SUITE products provided by ECS .

    Also full support for Direct X 11.1

    Multiple GPUs support for 200% boost in gaming performance .

    Support for 4K Resolution up to 4096 x 2160 pixels .

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    Default Re: ECS Z87H3-A3X Review

    Drivers DVD - Motherboard Utilities :




    The motherboard comes with a DVD, including the drivers and utilities , it has an easy form and unique design , it has an automated setup for all drivers , and it's a holly new thing for ECS, but I prefer that you go to ECS website to download the latest drivers .
    Motherboard utilities include :




    eOC - Easy Overclocking Utility
    It's an application specialized in Overclocking and it provide the user with the power of editing motherboard settings from your Windows platform , it also provide the user with motherboard and CPU temperatures , and it's very simple and limited application .





    eDlu - Driver Live Updater
    It helps the user to update all motherboard's drivers with one click





    eBLU - BIOS live update
    For updating the motherboard's BIOS easily



    eSF - Smart fan utility
    An easy application provide the user with the full control of fans connected to the motherboard

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    Default Re: ECS Z87H3-A3X Review

    Boot and startup :


    Test Specifications :

    Applications used for testing :

    ECS provide the motherboard with an UEFI BIOS and it's a graphical, user interface and easy way to configure all motherboard options , and It's from AMI , also we should say that it's very limited , and it hasn't a screen capture key , and the most beautiful thing about the BIOS is providing the motherboard with a full panel for overclocking DRAMs and configure DRAM's timings .






























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    Default Re: ECS Z87H3-A3X Review

    Overclock :


    Default Configuration :
    We setup the motherboard for the default configuration by setting CPU ratio to 36 , CPU voltage to Auto ,to have 3600MHz for CPU , and set DRAMs to 1600MHz with a 1.5 volt and also 11-11-11-28 timings


    Overclock Configuration :
    We set the CPU ratio to 45 with 1.25 volt to have an easy 4500MHz on Override voltage configuration ,and for DRAMs we reached an easy 2133MHz with 1.68 volt and also 12-13-13-33 timings .

    Max Overclock :
    We set the CPU ratio to 48 with 1.385 volt to have an easy 4800MHz on Override voltage configuration ,and for DRAMs we reached an easy 2133MHz with 1.68 volt and also 12-13-13-33 timings .

    For Overclocking , the motherboard is very good , reaching 4.8GHz with full stability on moderate overclocking components is amazing , and I should say overclocking operation was a piece of cake and this differ from the Z87H3-A4 motherboard , by just setting the CPU ratio on x48 and adjust the voltage , that's it , the vdrop value ain't considerable at all , also overclocking AVEXIR core series 1600MHz up to 2133MHz was very easy , finally the experience of leaving the motherboard under pressure for 12 hours with overclocked settings , good to see this motherboard achieve this number .

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    Default Re: ECS Z87H3-A3X Review

    Testing results :













































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