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ECS L337 GANK Domination Z87H3-AX Golden Review

RHKCommander959    -   December 15, 2013
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ECS L337 GANK Domination Z87H3-AX Golden Testing:

Testing the ECS L337 GANK Domination Z87H3-AX Golden motherboard will involve running it through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which includes both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual gameplay, 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 drivers for each board and NVIDIA 330.58 drivers for the NVIDIA GTX 770. In the past we had locked the clock speed on the processor to eliminate any easily controlled variables due to processor speed. However there is a difference in how each manufacturer handles the CPU default and boost speeds creating opportunity for one board to deliver a higher level of performance. This variable is a point of difference between boards. The majority of users will run the stock settings making this point a valid concern so we are changing up the test methods to capture this difference.

Testing Setup: Socket 1150

 

Comparison Motherboard:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

 

Overclocking the ECS Z87H3-AX Golden was initially difficult. The board did not like to save settings and hated cold booting. It came with a pre-release BIOS from June so I opted for the July first release edition. Using the Easy BIOS Live Update Utility worked fine to do the update. The problems persisted with the newer BIOS; on a cold boot it would freeze until clearing CMOS. Burning the BIOS with the American Megatrends' Flash Utility in Windows didn't help either. Hopefully ECS releases a new BIOS soon as it appears the problem lies with the Dual BIOS layout. For overclocking to be successful I had to manually set every single voltage to where I wanted. It seemed like the board was under-volting some too. XMP profile settings loaded perfectly on the new BIOS; the older one was hit and miss with enacting these settings. After playing with the settings for a while it was simple overclocking the ECS Z87H3-AX Golden. After manually setting everything the board was stable during testing.

The included Easy Over Clock Utility was pretty much useless for doing any overclocking. I had hoped for much more, but luckily the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility works with this motherboard. At a minimum this program should have added CPU Multiplier options. The only options were chipset and memory voltage, and CPU Frequency, which is pretty useless on Haswell. This program seems like it was carried over from FSB/BCLK overclocking days. As with the other boards, heat was the limiting factor on overclocking. This CPU isn't a good bin and has not been delidded yet; any higher and heat was an issue, but the board was willing — after fighting to figure out which settings effectively worked for it in BIOS.

 

 

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 over-clocked scores in the testing.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. PCMark 7
  2. SiSoft Sandra 2013
  3. Cinebench 11.5
  4. X.264 5.1
  5. AIDA 64 3.00
  6. Crystal Disk Mark
  7. iPerf
  8. Rightmark Audio Analyzer
  • Gaming:
  1. 3DMark
  2. Metro: Last Light
  3. DiRT 3



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