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ECS L337 GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X Review


ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Closer Look:

Bundled software tailored for motherboards is not a new concept. Traditionally, this kind of software has been hit or miss from most manufacturers. When, or if, it works it can be a powerful tool, but all too often this kind of software has bugs or limited features. If the program works perfectly, users will have a better experience; on the flip side, if it has problems then users will remember that in a negative manner. With this logic it would seem smarter to leave the software out unless it does work flawlessly. Nonetheless, many manufacturers now provide software; some have the system down while others are still working out the problems.

ECS has provided four programs to adjust different aspects of the system. ECS calls these programs the ECS Intelligent EZ Utility: eBLU BIOS Live Update Utility for updating the BIOS from within an OS, eDLU Driver Live Update Utility for finding the latest drivers provided by the ECS website, eOC Easy Over Clock Utility for overclocking within the OS, and Easy Speed Fan Utility for controlling how the fans operate according to the heat levels. EZ Charger is also an installable program, but does not have a GUI and isn't actively executed.

Everything software-related starts with inserting the DVD and having AutoRun start the default setup program. Generally I recommend getting the latest files from the website, but it is good to see what comes on the DVD with the package. The eDLU program should help get the latest drivers anyway. The program that pops up after the AutoRun initialization is the Mainboard Setup Utility. Three tabs at the top can be clicked for choosing to install drivers or utilities, or get information on the driver type and path. Along the bottom are four orange buttons for Setup, Utilities, Browse DVD for browsing the disc contents, and Exit for ending the program. Clicking Utilities brings up a different menu of programs with its associated icons.

To install a program, you click the icon and an installation program pops up. Along the bottom are arrows and page numbers for navigating through the software choices. The programs and trials featured are: Adobe Acrobat Reader, MUZEE Worldwide Internet Entertainment, Norton Internet Security, MAGIX Music Maker 2013 Silver, MAGIX Photo Manager MX, MAGIX Video Easy SE, Xara Web Designer 7 Silver, CyberLink Power2Go 7, CyberLink PowerDirector 9 Downloader, CyberLink PowerDVD 12 Downloader, eBLU, eDLU, eOC, eSF, and EZ Charger. Clicking Information brings up a page that lists the driver types, driver paths, and the comment section that sometimes contains the supported OS information. Clicking Setup on the first page expedites the process by offering to install everything.




















ECS Intelligent EZ Utilities include programs for BIOS updates (eBLU), driver updates (eDLU), overclocking (eOC), and fan speed settings (eSF). First up is the eBLU BIOS Live Update Utility. This program is very simple, as there are only three buttons to press. Click Check Update and it will find out what the latest online version is, its size, and compare it to yours. The BIOS on this motherboard is the only available and came with it from launch. If there was a new BIOS found then clicking Install will do just that, while clicking About will tell you the ECS website address and company information. The eDLU Driver Live Update Utility is similar to the eBLU utility. Clicking start will have it load the ECS website on your main browser with the latest drivers for the ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X.



The eOC Easy Over Clock Utility starts off by showing the CPU and System temperature. The DTS abbreviation next to the temperature is to signify the temperature is measured by the Intel Digital Thermal Sensor. Along the top of the program are four buttons — the program starts on the first page so the button is highlighted. Clicking Easy Tuning brings a page that shows the DIMM and PCH voltages. The only options here are to save or load settings, undo a change by clicking Previous Setting, and last clicking on Apply to make the changes. Unfortunately, less options are available for the Z87H3-A3X than that were available to the Z87H3-AX Golden.

Clicking Advance Tuning unlocks the voltage settings for the DIMM and PCH. Clicking Options reveals the software version, gives several options to choose from, and also has a star that can be clicked on to see if a newer version is available. The available options include: executing the eOC program on boot, loading a prior-saved setting when eOC is loaded, applying the setting when eOC is loaded, applying the setting after resuming from sleep mode, and the amount of seconds to automatically apply the settings. This program is very basic, honestly I would skip this program for this motherboard unless some real overclocking options are added.




The eSF Smart Fan Utility has five different fan speed profiles to choose from. Full speed does just that while the others ramp up speed as temperatures rise. The chart has blue and green arrows; blue for the increasing speed/heat relation and green for decreasing speed/heat (removing a load such as closing a game). The custom profile is simple to use: three orbs allow users to adjust minimum fan speed at a given temperature, maximum fan speed at a given temperature, and the speed/temperature curve for when the system is cooling down. The blue orb can change how aggressively the fan can be set to throttle. Three fans can be setup separately — CPU 1 and 2, and System 1.



The MAGIX and Xara software require activation through registration to be unlocked, otherwise users are limited with a 7-day trial. After being registered they can be "upgraded" for more capabilities. The first program is the MAGIX Music Maker Silver, this program is for producing your own music. There are a ton of options and capabilities, but at the same time, the program is fairly simple if you understand music composition. Three different songs are included with the program and show off some possible mixes.



The MAGIX Photo Manager MX program does light editing and makes it simple for people to print, organize, or share pictures from their cameras. There is also the possibility of uploading and managing the images on an online album. MAGIX Video Easy SE has options to edit and produce videos. Users can add text , music, import images or videos, and even add effects to videos. This program is great for sharing videos with options to upload to an online album or even YouTube. The last program is Xara Web Designer 7 Silver, a simple HTML designer. It is fairly easy to get a hang of using the program, but there are also demo website templates, demo videos, and a getting started guide. Users can upload their creations to the MAGIX server to display to the public, with up to 500MB of storage — no mention of bandwidth limits, but FTP access is also granted.



With the software-side done, it is time to check out the BIOS for the ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X!

  1. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Introduction and Closer Look
  2. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Closer Look: Continued
  3. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Closer Look: Programs & Utilities
  4. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Closer Look: The BIOS
  5. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Specifications & Features
  6. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  7. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Testing: PCMark 7, SiSoft Sandra 2013
  8. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Testing: Cinebench 11.5, X.264, AIDA 64
  9. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Testing: Crystal Disk Mark
  10. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Testing: iPerf, RMAA
  11. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Testing: Gaming
  12. ECS L337 GANK DRONE Z87H3-A3X Conclusion
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