ECS GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X L337 Gaming Motherboard Review

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ECS L337 Gaming GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X Intel Z87 Motherboard

GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

ECS is working on making a bigger name for themselves. Recently they have been coming out with motherboards like the GANK Machine Z87H3-A2X Extreme that are targeted at the enthusiast level market. Today we have a second motherboard from the ECS L337 gaming series of boards, the GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X. The Drone is still targeted at enthusiasts, though more at the enthusiast on a budget as the Drone Z87H3-A3X is hitting the streets with a price tag of only $119.99!

The GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X is based on the latest Intel Z87 express chipset and will support the latest Intel Core processors in the LGA1150 package. The ECS GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X is a little on the stripped down side as far as features are concerned. At least when it comes to the extra features that some boards support. The Drone doesn’t take advantage of third party controllers for extra SATA III ports, or extra USB 3.0 ports. For those features it relies on the Intel Z87 chipset and what it has to offer. Since the launch of the Intel Z87 chipset, it has proven itself time and time again as one of the best options for SATA III and SuperSpeed USB 3.0 speeds anyway.

There are obviously a few limitations to the Intel Z87 chipset, like sound and network connectivity. ECS decided to stick with the Intel solution for the network and implemented an Intel I217-V Gigabit Fast Ethernet controller. To keep it simple and the fact that ECS didn’t want to drive up the cost of the board by using something over the top, ECS went with a solid audio solution,  the Realtek ALC1150 8-channel HD audio CODEC. While the ALC1150 HD audio CODEC is relatively new to the field, Realtek audio CODEC’s have a proven history and the ALC1150 thus far has proven itself as a solid contender.

While the ECS GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X may not have some of the ‘extra’ features that some boards have, it is still pretty well stocked with features. Starting with the Intel Z87 chipset, the Drone features six SATA III 6Gbps ports, six SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports. The SATA ports will support RAID arrays in RAID 0,1,5,& 10 as well as all the features of the Intel Rapid Storage Technology. In addition the ECS GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X supports both NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX, with up to two graphics cards.

Taking a look at the more board specific features, it isn’t as stripped down as you might think for a $119.99 motherboard. For those that like the power specs, the GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X features a 6 phase CPU power delivery system that features the Ice Chokes and Golden Solid Capacitors. The Ice Chokes are 1.5x more stable and have a 50 degree wider temperature range. The design of the chokes reduce the heat by 13% over standard ferrite chokes. The Golden Solid Capacitors have a life span 6 times longer the standard electolytic capacitors and an impressive 200K hours/22 years of operation at 65 degrees Celcius (149 Degrees Fahrenheit).

ECS GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X Intel Z87 Motherboard Specifications
CPU 
  • Supports new 4rd gen Intel Core family, Pentium, Celeron series processors in LGA1150 socket
  • DMI 5.0GT/s
  • 6 Phase Thermal Design Power
  • VRD 12.5
  • 100% Solid capacitor design
  • Intel K Series Unlock CPU Support 
CHIPSET 
  • Intel Z87 Express Chipset
  • Intel Smart Response Technology, Intel Smart Connect Technology & Intel Rapid Start Technolog 
GRAPHICS 
  • Supports DirectX 11 .1
  • Supports Intel HD Graphics, InTru 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider
  • Supports HDMI 1.4a & Premium Audio
  • Supports NVIDIA 2-Way SLI
  • Supports ATI 2-Way CrossFireX 
MEMORY 
  • Dual-channelDDR3 Memory architecture
  • Supports DDR3 3000 non-ECC, Un-buffered SDRAM Memory
  • 4 X 240-pin DDR3 DIMM socket
  • Support up to 32 GB
  • Intel extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3/1.2 Memory Modules 
EXPANSION SLOT 
  • 2 X PCI Express X16 Gen 3.0 slot(s)
  • 4 X PCI Express X 1 Gen 2.0slot(s)
  • Supports NVIDIA SLI Technology
  • Supports ATI CrossfireX Technology
  • When using two VGA cards, the bandwidth is @8 badnwidth; when using one VGA card, the bandwodth is @16. 
Storage 

Support by Intel Z87 Express Chipset:

  • 6 X Serial ATAIII 6Gb/s
  • 1 X eSATAIII 6Gb/s
  • RAID0, RAID1,RAID5, RAID 10 configuration
  • Supports Intel Rapid Storage Technology 
Audio
  • 8-Channel HD audio CODEC
  • Realtek ALC1150 8-channel High Definition audio CODEC 
LAN 
  • Intel I217-V Gigabit Fast Ethernet Controller
  • Wake-On-LAN 
USB 

Support by Intel Z87 Express Chipset:

  • 6 X USB3.0 port(s) up to 5Gb/s
  • Back Panel 4 port(s)
  • Onboard 2 port(s)
  • 8 X USB2.0 port(s) Up to 480 Mb/s
  • Back Panel 4 port(s)
  • Onboard 4 port(s)
  • ECS EZ Charger (Gray USB header) 
REAR PANEL I/O 
  • 1 X PS/2 Keyboard & PS/2 mouse connectors
  • 1 X Audio port (Line-in,4x Line-out, SPDIF out)
  • 1 X RJ-45 port
  • 1 X HDMI port(s)
  • 1 X DVI-D port(s)
  • 1 X D-Sub (VGA) port(s)
  • 1 X Optical S/PDIF Out port(s)
  • 1 X eSATA 6Gb/s port(s)
  • 6 X USB3.0 port(s)
  • 4 X USB2.0 port(s) 
CONNECTORS & HEADERS 
  • 1 X 24-pin ATX Power Supply connector
  • 1 X 8-pin ATX 12V Power Connector
  • 1 X 3-pin PWR_FAN connector
  • 1 X Front Panel switch/LED header
  • 1 X Front panel audio header
  • 1 X Speaker header
  • 1 X USB 3.0 header Support additional 2 USB ports
  • 2 X USB 2.0 header Support additional 4 USB ports
  • Support EZ charger (gray color)
  • 1 X S/PDIF out header
  • 6 X SATA III 6Gb/s connector(s)
  • 1 X CLR_CMOS header
  • 1 X Serial port header (COM)
  • 1 X Parallel port header (LPT)
  • 1 X TPM header
  • 1 X Chassis intrusion header 
SYSTEM BIOS 
  • AMI BIOS with 64 MB SPI Flash ROM
  • Supports M.I.B X Utility
  • Supports ACPI 5.0 & DMI
  • F7 hot key for boot up devices option
  • Over-Clocking
  • Graphic OC Support
  • Triple Display Support
  • ECS EZ BIOS
  • Plug and Play, STR (S3) / STD (S4) , Hardware monitor, Multi Boot
  • Multi-Language BIOS
  • Audio, LAN, can be disabled in BIOS
  • Supports PgUp clear CMOS Hotkey
  • CPU FSB adjustment(increase of 1MHz)
    • Adjustable CPU Voltage
    • Memory Voltage Adjustable
    • Support CPU over-clocking function: Adjustable CPU Clock Multiplier
    • HT Voltage Adjustable
    • Graphic Voltage Adjustable 
FORM FACTOR 
  • ATX Form Factor 305mm X 220m 
OS Support 
  • Windows 7 32-bit
  • Windows 7 64-bit
  • Windows 8 64-bit 
Bundled Software 
  • ECS Intelligent EZ Utility : eBLU, eDLU, eOC, eSF
  • Free Bundle: Norton Internet Security ,CyberLink PowerDVD, CyberLink PowerDirector 9, Muzee with trial version
  • Creative Sound Blaster Cinema software 

 

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