With the launch of the new Haswell processor, ECS has launched a new series of motherboards, dubbed the “L337 Gaming” motherboards. It’s not that they didn’t make enthusiast motherboards before, their “Black Series” of motherboards were designed for overclockers and PC gamers alike, but now it seems ECS wants to jump into the enthusiast motherboard fight with a new brand image. Think how ASUS’s “Republic of Gamers” line was already popular, and MSI also jumping onto the bandwagon with their new Gaming Series motherboards.
So today we have an ECS L337 Gaming motherboard, with the further subset called the “Gank Machine”. There will also be a “Killsteal” model for Intel processors, while the AMD side gets the “Aggro” motherboards.
Our model today is the Gank Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme (Ver. 1) which sits up smack in the middle of their Gank Machine lineup. Packed in with this motherboard are the installation manuals and driver disc, six SATA cables, an SLI bridge, two WiFi antennas (one dome shaped extension and the other a regular antenna), the rear I/O ports backplate and some blue plugs to cover unused ports.
The Z87H3-A2X has a standard ATX layout, measuring 30.5 x 24.4cm. Since it is an overclocking focused motherboard, components used are of the highest quality along with efficient cooling. The QOOLTECH V heatsinks used over the 12 phase power chokes near the CPU area is designed with a small fan to actively cool the heatsink. The heatpipe continues down towards the Z87 chipset down below which has a handy Thermochromatic strip which shows the temperature reading when the system is in use.
As for the rest of the components, we have Ice Chokes, ECS’ own blend of Dual Cooling MOSFETS and Gold capacitors, all of which add up to your motherboard handling extreme temperature and stress when you overclock your CPU up to 200W TDP.
With support for 2-way SLI or 3-way CrossFireX, three PCI3 Gen 3.0 x16 slots, seven SATA III slots and an mSATA slot, support for up to 32GB (DDR3 3000MHz O.C.) and dual Realtek Gigabit LAN, the ECS Gank Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme looks set for enthusiast PC gamers.
The below testbed was used to test the ECS Gank Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme:
This was an easy process in the new UEFI BIOS where the voltage for our i7-4770K was set to 1.25v with a ratio of 46x, giving a relatively cool system at 4.6GHz.
Performance wise the ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme is close to its competitors, as was expected. What differentiates it are the features within this price range. Competition, however, is tough from MSI’s Z87-GD65 Gaming motherboard which comes around the same price.
The ECS Gank Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme certainly has its own charm, with easy overclocking tools, high quality components and an appropriate amount of bells and whistles for this price range. If you’re planning to set up a new Haswell based gaming machine, the ECS Gank Machine is certainly a worthwhile competitor.