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.|
ECS Z77H2-A2X ||
All That Glitters Isn't Really Gold
from the top ECS give us golden heatsinks on the motherboard VRM/MOSFETs
surrounding the CPU socket. The rear I/O connections are
all golden, so a little bit of bling is visible even when the ECS
Z77H2-A2X is installed in a chassis.
The rear I/O shield is golden plated as well, for that
added touch of... gold.
The LGA1155 CPU socket hardware is all gold plated and
the little electrical contacts
that interface with the processor have an 15um thick gold
plating on them as well (technically speaking, this CPU pins are likely the
only real gold plating on the board). The shiny gold CPU socket hardware and
surrounding gold plated solid state aluminum capacitors do look pretty nice
ECS even went so far as to give the golden treatment to
the rear socket LGA1155 support plate.
Every single solid state aluminum capacitor on this
motherboard is like a little golden nugget too...
...and so are all the Ferrite chokes!
The electrical contact pins used in the
memory sockets receive the same extra thick 15um gold
plating as the CPU socket pins. This is done to ensure good
electrical conductivity between the contact pins and memory sticks.
integrated graphics are great for media transcoding via QuickSync technology,
but most users prefer
LucidLogix VirtuMVP is a software driver Intel validated for
the Intel Z77 platform which enables on-the-fly switching between discreet graphics cards and
Sandy Bridge / Ivy Bridge's integrated graphics core.
VirtuMVP allows the integrated graphics core to accelerate video transcoding
tasks via Intel QuickSync and seamlessly switch to purpose bred discreet videocards when
3D gaming. On top of these core features, VirtuMVP adds
Hyperformance which increases frame rates by eliminating redundant
rendering tasks and VirtualVsync which reduces screen tearing.
PCSTATS has tested VirtuMVP and
the impact of HF and VV out already ( see the benchmarks
here), so check that out if this is the first time you're hearing about Hyperformance.
VirtuMVP HyperFormance and
PCSTATS has already looked at the impact LucidLogix VirtuMVP
makes here, so please take a moment to review that discussion if you're unsure of what VirtuMVP offers.
Intel Z77 Express Chipset
Intel's Z77 Express chipset has
essentially the same feature set of the Intel Z68, the notable new addition
being native USB 3.0 and a set of software tools Intel calls Platform Responsiveness Technologies. PCSTATS has
discussed the Intel Z77 chipset at length, including all the features it brings
to the table and the similarities it has with previous Intel 6-series chipsets,
so if you aren't already up to speed do check out the
Intel Z77 Chipset
discussion here before continuing on with
this review of the ECS Z77H2-A2X motherboard.
In addition to the standard benchmark set, for
this review PCSTATS has gone the extra step of comparing Intel's HD
3000 IGP graphics core against six different integrated graphics solutions, including AMD's socket
FM1 APU-based Radeon HD 6550D. First though, let's take a
360-degree look at the ECS Z77H2-A2X motherboard!
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