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ECS Z77H2-A2X Black Edition Intel Z77 Motherboard Review

ECS Z77H2-A2X Black Edition Intel Z77 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Price Check: $/£/€
Abstract: PCSTATS has a real treat for you today - the ECS Z77H2-A2X Black Edition Golden motherboard! Every metallic surface on this board is gold plated so it's got quite the 'bling' factor going for it.
 84% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ECS Apr 24 2013   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ECS Z77H2-A2X

Today PCSTATS has a real treat for you - the ECS Z77H2-A2X Black Edition Golden motherboard! Every metallic surface on this board is gold plated so it's got quite the 'bling' factor going for it. Electronics manufacturers also tell us that "gold" is a prized aesthetic in many Eastern markets, just like "German Engineering" is an intangible yet sought out quality in the West.

ECS's Z77H2-A2X motherboard is built around the Intel Z77 chipset and primed for Intel's 22nm 3rd Gen. Intel Core i3/i5/i7 'Ivy Bridge' processors. Of course, the main difference between the Intel Z77 chipset and the previous Intel Z68 is the inclusion of native USB 3.0 support, but the platform is also backwards compatible with previous LGA1155 CPUs so actual upgrading is a possibility too. Users with 'Ivy Bridge' CPUs will of course see onboard DX11 integrated graphics via the Intel HD2500/4000 IGP and speed benefits in light 3D gaming and media transcoding tasks.

The ECS Z77H2-A2X s an all-black ATX sized motherboard for socket LGA1155 Intel CPUs. It features three integrated graphics outputs, a mini PCI Express slot, support for two-way Crossfire/SLI, integrated 802.11n wireless and integrated Bluetooth. The board is equipped with four DDR-3 memory slots which accommodate up to 32GB of dual channel DDR3-2667(OC)/1600/1333/1066 memory in 64-bit operating systems.

On the graphics front the ECS Z77H2-A2X offers up onboard HDMI/DVI-D/Analog video outputs and PCI Express Gen 3.0 compliant graphics card slots with an IVB CPU in the drivers seat. Single videocards run at x16 mode, while videocard pairs in nVidia SLI / AMD Crossfire operate in x8/x8 mode. New to the Intel Z77 stables is the LucidLogix VirtuMVP driver which PCSTATS will discuss in a moment...

The ECS Z77H2-A2X motherboard retails for ~$220 USD at Newegg, making it roughly $50 more than comparable Intel Z77 platforms PCSTATS has tested. Then again, this ECS board does include onboard Wifi and Bluetooth that other platforms lack.

ECS Z77H2-A2X Black Edition Motherboard


INCLUDES: User's Manual, Driver DVD, (6) SATA cables, 2-way SLI bridge, USB 3.0 bracket, antenna, I/O Shield, jack plugs.


Chipset: Intel Z77 Express
CPU Support: Intel Socket 1155
Memory Type: Dual Channel DDR3
Videocard Support: (2) PCI Express x16 2.0/3.0 (x16 or x8/x8)
Multi-Graphics: 2-way nVidia SLI + AMD CrossfireX
IGP Video Ports: HDMI, Display Port, Analog VGA, DVI-D

Estimated Price: $219 USD/CDN

Intel's integrated graphics are considered underpowered for intensive 3D gaming but totally suited to office desktop work with one or more monitors (see: IGP-PCMark Vantage Benchmarks ). The integrated graphics connections on the ECS Z77H2-A2X motherboard include HDMI at 1920x1200 resolution, DVI-D at 1920x1200 and Analog VGA. Intel Z77 boards support dual displays with Sandy Bridge CPUs or triple displays with Ivy Bridge CPUs.


ECS Z77H2-A2X onboard video outputs: DVI-D, Analog VGA and HDMI.

As PCSTATS mentioned, the Z77 is the companies' first chipset to support native USB 3.0. The ECS Z77H2-A2X has four USB 3.0 ports located at the rear I/O and two additional USB3.0 ports via a motherboard header. Unlike the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H, ECS include a nice black aluminum, two-port USB 3.0 bracket.


Sticking out the back are Bluetooth and 802.11n Wifi USB dongles.

Further peripheral expansion on this ATX-sized board include (2) PCI Express x1 slots and (2) PCI slots. On the storage front, the ECS Z77H2-A2X serves up four 6Gb/s SATA III and two 3Gb/s SATA II ports which support RAID 0/1/5/10 modes. There's also one eSATA II for external storage devices.

Rear I/O Ports and Embedded Wireless

At the back of the ECS Z77H2-A2X motherboard you'll find three IGP video outputs (HDMI, DVI-D, Analog VGA), a gigabit Ethernet LAN jack, (4) SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, (4) USB 2.0 jacks, one eSATA II port, an optical S/PDIF out and a full collection of Intel high definition audio 7.1-channel headphone jacks. Two dongles are integrated into the USB ports, these provide embedded Bluetooth and 802.11n wireless LAN connectivity.


Bluetooth dongle at rear I/O


Wireless LAN dongle, there's a small antenna connection on the opposite side


If signal strength from the small dongle antenna is poor, attach this meter long extension antenna to the outside of the PC case for better reception.


The tiny antenna socket is not covered in the manual, we missed this at first.

PCSTATS would be remiss if we didn't focus part of this review on the Golden aspects of the ECS Z77H2-A2X Black Edition Golden motherboard. That's next!!

© 2014 PCSTATS.com Next Page >

 

Contents of Article: ECS Z77H2-A2X
 Pg 1.  — ECS Z77H2-A2X Black Edition Intel Z77 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  All That Glitters Isn't Really Gold
 Pg 3.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: Features and Layout
 Pg 4.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: Continued
 Pg 5.  Overclocking Report and BIOS Walkthrough
 Pg 6.  Test System Hardware and Specs
 Pg 7.  Sysmark 2012 - Workstation Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 8.  PCMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 9.  SiSoft Sandra: CPU Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 10.  Sandra: Memory Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 11.  3DMark 11 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 12.  3DMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 13.  3DMark 06 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 14.  IGP vs IGP Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 15.  IGP vs IGP Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 16.  Video Transcoding and Power Draw

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