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ECS Deluxe Z97-PK Review

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ECS Deluxe Z97-PK Testing:

Testing the ECS Deluxe Z97-PK motherboard will involve running it and its comparison products through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which include both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual game play, in which we can see if similarly-prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest chipset drivers for each board and GeForce drivers for the GTX 770 . To ensure as few variables as possible, all hardware will be tested at their stock speeds, timings, voltages, and latencies, unless otherwise stated. Turbo Boost will be left on so that differences in the boards boost characteristics can be observed. After stock speed testing, each board will then be overclocked to a level that the chip and memory can run while still maintaining full stability.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Motherboard:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel G3258 44x100MHz 4400MHz
  • Memory: 2400MHz

 

Moving into the overclocking stage of testing had me quite excited. After all, how many boards promise an effort-free 4.7 GHz overclock no matter what CPU? It turns out I got a pretty dud chip, even with the de-lidding process going super smoothly. The 4.7 GHz "auto-OC" and the 4.4 GHz "auto-OC" both failed under load, with the 4.7 GHz setting even failing to boot about half of the time. With both of those settings failing, I moved onto manual overclocking. Using just the multiplier, I quickly got up to 4.4 GHz stable in Intel Burn Test and sustained gaming and Prime95. This did take quite a bit of voltage (around 1.35 volts), but due to the low power usage of the G3258, even at 1.35 volts, temperatures were under 60 °C at maximum load.

Thankfully, the ECS Z97-PK was VERY forgiving of terrible and/or overly ambitious settings and would boot to the BIOS every time. I did have to keep the ring multiplier down at the 4.0 GHz range to gain stability, but by default, it does not increase as you crank up the CPU multiplier. It can give some added performance to increase it on the higher-end Haswell chips, so even though the G3258 is only a dual core, I decided to wring what I could out of the chip. No amount of tweaking made the chip stable at 4.5 GHz; so perhaps the CPU lottery is just not very kind to me (it's also possible the Z97-PK just couldn't push the chip any higher). After clocking the CPU as high as possible I rolled the dice and tried bringing the memory frequency up to the XMP profile of 2.4 GHz over the base 1.6 GHz set of frequencies and timings.  To my surprise, the 2.4 GHz XMP profile loaded without any drama and was perfectly stable!

 

 

Maximum Core Clock Speed:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the listed overclocked speeds. These clock speeds will represent the level of performance shown by the overclocked scores in the testing.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. PCMark 7
  2. SiSoft Sandra 2014
  3. Cinebench 11.5
  4. X.264 5.1
  5. AIDA 64 3.00
  6. CrystalDiskMark
  7. ATTO 2.47
  8. iPerf
  9. RightMark Audio Analyzer
  • Gaming:
  1. 3DMark
  2. DiRT 3
  3. Metro: Last Light



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