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ECS L337 GANK Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme Review

ccokeman    -   August 27, 2013
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ECS L337 GANK Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme Conclusion:

Over the years I have looked at a wide selection of ECS motherboards and have seen them go from builder specials all the way up to high end overclocking and enthusiast motherboards that anyone would be proud to own. It's here that I run into some troubles with the boards in that many times the first BIOS I have with the board is one that leaves a bit to be desired in terms of functionality and usability. At stock speeds with the default settings, the L337 GANK Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme will do just about anything you want it to do and will do so comparably, even though the Turbo Boost ratio is limited to 37 with four cores loaded instead of the 39 ratio I have seen on the rest of the boards I have looked at. It's a small problem that makes it look like the board is the lowest performer in many of the tests st stock speeds. The simple fix is to set the Turbo ratio to 39 in the BIOS and be done with it so the performance is even more directly comparable. But that's the gist of running the boards at default settings. Comparable clock speeds will deliver comparable performance each and every time.

The first BIOS I used would allow an override voltage setting for the CPU and Cache voltage but would fail to post. Using adaptive voltage with an offset would work for the most part and I could tune in the voltage needs for the CPU. Even doing so and watching the temperatures it seemed as though I was applying more than the software was reading.

The second BIOS I used fixed the override voltage setting problem and allowed my to finally tune the voltage to get to the 4.7GHz clock speed my chip is capable of. Setting the memory timings manually would result in a failed post attempt across both of the BIOS I have tested so far. Using the XMP profile for my memory proved to be the best option for me with this board from ECS. Although it sounds bad out of the gate, it's still a good start for the board and the next BIOS update should iron out any other issues. When using the BIOS it is a step forward from last year's UEFI BIOS implementations with the interface working as intended.

Overclocking in general on the L337 GANK Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme was trying to start but eventually gave up a 4.7GHz clock speed or pretty much all my chip has to offer without a thermal meltdown. ECS Qooltech V cooling solution kept the Extreme Power Module components of the VRM circuits cool to the touch during even the 4.7GHz testing. The small fan used to cool the heat sink does its job but does let you know it is there just the same. If you want to tune down the fan you can use either the BIOS or the eSF utility to minimize the noise and then take the opportunity to see how the Thermochromic coating works on the heat sinks.

Overall the GANK Machine was an interesting experience. Performance wise it fell behind a little based on the clock speeds set by default in the BIOS, but this is fixed with a simple adjustment. When it comes to looks and functionality of the hardware, it appears to be well built with some innovative features built in that improve reliability and extend it out over the long term. At right around $220 the board does not come in at bargain basement pricing, and it shouldn't because it is a board capable of delivering performance for the gaming enthusiast!

 

Pros:

  • Good looks
  • Overclocking
  • Qooltech V Cooling
  • Feature set
  • Multi GPU ready

 

Cons:

  • Memory compatibility
  • Stock Turbo Boost of 3.7GHz


 

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