ECS L337 GANK Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme Reviewccokeman - August 27, 2013
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ECS L337 GANK Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme Closer Look:
ECS L337 GANK Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme is equipped with an UEFI BIOS that expands on the implementation we saw last year on the Z77H2AX Golden. The interface is a bit slicker and is easy to navigate. The AMI EZ BIOS is housed on a pair of 64MB SPI Flash ROMS, supports plug and play, Dual Displays, overclocking, and OC Profiles.
Just like many UEFI BIOS, ECS starts off with an EZ Mode that allows you to tweak a few parameters and generally verify that the baseline settings are spot on. Under language you can set the one most useful for you with English as the default on this board. On the right side of the page is a slider that allows the user to toggle the performance characteristics through Performance, Power, and Quiet profiles. If you want to go deeper in the BIOS then you can scroll to the right option at the top of the window to get into Advanced mode.
Advanced mode opens up all of the available options for tweaking the BIOS for overclocking and enabling the built-in functionality. There are seven separate tabs to explore; Main, Advanced, Chipset, M.I.B.X, Boot, Security, and Exit. Under the Main tab you get the system time, date, and the language preference, as well as the firmware versions on board. Not much to start with in this tab but you gotta start somewhere.
The Advanced section includes just about all the onboard functionality outside of clock tuning and memory timings that are found in the MIBX section. You can enable or disable each of the onboard LAN ports, monitor the system voltages and temperatures to make sure you are on the right track, setup the system storage parameters, as well as the CPU operating states.
The Chipset section is where the graphics polling order can be set, and the Management firmware revision can be viewed.
M.I.B.X is where you make all the overclocking magic happen if your chip can handle it. The options available for overclocking and tuning are sufficient to get the job done without going too far down a rabbit hole. CPU Overclocking Configuration allows the user to set the max turbo ratio, bclock, as well as power and current limits. Under Northbridge where I would expect the IGP info, I was left with a blank screen in both of the BIOS I tested. Memory configuration allows tweaking of the memory parameters even though I could only run the XMP profile during my testing. Anything other than the XMP profile forced a failed boot attempt. Over voltage configuration has enough parameters to again get the job done. The release BIOS would not set an override voltage but you could use the adaptive voltages to reach a decent overclock. Here you also can set the CPU Cache multiplier. Under profile configuration the end user can set up profiles for each scenario they use from overclocked to stock profiles.
Boot: This section allows the end user to choose the operating system in use as well as setting the boot priority by type and by disk.
Under the Security umbrella the end user can set administrator and user passwords, as well as enabling secure boot. Not much to see here but the functionality is there if needed for the end users' usage scenario. The Exit tab has all the options you expect here from saving the changes made in the current session as well as returning the settings to factory defaults. One thing missing is the ability to use the F10 save and exit feature.
Not as in depth as some BIOS, the ECS BIOS is easy to navigate for the most part and plays well with the mice and keyboards in my test setup. However things like default memory timings that cannot be manually tuned without a failed boot, lack of F10 functionality, and the inability to tune some settings make it hard to like the BIOS as a whole. Put in perspective though, it is a step forward as ECS continues to deliver higher end products.