ECS Z97-MACHINE ReviewBluePanda -
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ECS Z97-MACHINE Introduction:
ECS is the company I bought one of my first motherboards for. It was black and grey, pretty simple, and most importantly a cheap OC board. Normally those words, cheap, and OC, are not found in the same sentence. Generally one assumes cheap and OC means fire! Well that wasn't the case. I may not have gotten the highest OC from the chip, but it was something for my cheap budget to still enjoy the process. It really made me appreciate nicer boards. Today we look at the Z97-MACHINE from ECS. Its been on the market for a little while now and has a lot of great features for a great price.
As you will see ahead from the box, it is a little unclear exactly what you are getting when you have the box in front of you. You get quite the language with this packaged deal – it's L337 Gaming, Z97-MACHINE, GANK. Whoa what? Okay, just so you don't get lost trying to find this one for your next build; it's called the Z97-MACHINE. Plain and simple. It is part of L337 Gaming from ECS – that's where you will find it on the ECS website, and FINALLY, it is part of the series: GANK MACHINE. Phew. Got through that one. ECS has grown on the liking of the GANK name and have series including: GANK MACHINE, GANK DRONE, and GANK DOMINATION. So you can get a whole lot of GANK. I digress, let us move on to the board!
ECS Z97-MACHINE Closer Look:
The ECS Z97-MACHINE comes in quite a nifty box. It comes with a nice carry handle so you can easily carry it around your local hardware store. Most of you buy online, as do I, but packaging still has a big grab on a consumer's eye. If the box looks too cheap, it makes you wonder a little about the product; but, if it is too expensive, it makes you wonder if enough was spent on the product. The focus for the front of the box seems to be the L337 Gaming logo in gold. My attention is next drawn to MACHINE and GANK, leaving me to say "teehee, GANK MACHINE". but it's the Z97-MACHINE, don't let me confuse you. There are little stickers on the front for Intel chipset, intel core, Windows 8, Sound Blaster, Sabre Sound, and AMD Crossfire. A great quick check to ensure you're getting support for your setup.
The back of the box is a little more flashy. We read "BATTLE READY" and see a guy pressing headphones to his head, really enjoying that music. There's lots of glowy features, with flames, and fire! So it is a little gimmicky, but it got your attention. Much of the booths at ECS have all these things, and then real cars. It just seems to work. The back actually does give us a little detail about what the board can support, and what you'll actually be getting. Check out the specifications page for a better read on this.
The box really is like a mini suitcase. You can swing it around and carry it like a little purse. It sounds like it is packed well inside. Opening it up, it turns out it is a box inside a box! Well, I guess that is true for a lot of motherboard packaging, but this one just looks different, so we have to talk about it!
Opening it up and we get a nice repeat of the front of the box. The L337 logo is on both the board and the included user guide. It bundles the whole deal together and makes it feel like a well-rounded purchase. Although the board isn't actually black (it is sadly a brown PCB), it still gives off the feel of a nice black and gold setup. The back I/O plate is..black, and you are provided with four black sata cables to start fresh. A systems and utilities DVD is included for getting started – especially since you might not have everything easily accessible from the Internet.