While it was rumored that ECS would no longer be marketing its own brand of motherboards for the DIY community, the Z170 Claymore shows that they are still working hard on making budget minded motherboards that features the latest technology. At a suggested retail price of $160 it is one of the cheaper Z170 options, that still provides a lot of value with it’s feature set.
However, there are a couple of things to be aware of. First, if you want a motherboard to run NVIDIA SLI, the ECS Z170 Claymore is not for you, it supports 3-way CrossFireX. Next, if extreme overclocking is a requirement, we had issues overclocking the memory on the Z170 Claymore; but at stock speeds, the Kingston Fury memory had no issues. Finally, if you want a flashy motherboard with different colors or inticate heatsinks, the ECS Z170 Claymore maintains a simple design with a basic (yet functional) MOSFET and chipset heatsink, both of which has copper colored accents.
A couple key benefits of the ECS Z170 Claymore are a little harder to validate. First we have the first motherboard with the Realtek DRAGON 8118AS ethernet connection, that is designed to compete with the KILLER NIC to shape gaming traffic automatically. The LAN SpeedTest results shows that it works rather well for standard network traffic, for online gaming experience there are so many variables it’s hard to determine how well it works. Instead of including a single USB 3.1 and a Type-C connection, ECS has implemented two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, which in my opinion is better than a Type-C connection as I expect the Type-A connector to be more useful, not to mention being backwards compatible with USB 3.0.
If you are looking for a motherboard that implements the latest technology, and performs great without breaking the bank the ECS Z170 Claymore is a good option. In our testing, it performed just as well as the more expensive Z170 motherboards. Of the Z170 motherboards we have tested, the EVGA Z170 FTW is the closest motherboard in price ($189.99 plus shipping), and lacks some of the options that the ECS Z170 Claymore implements. Those missing features on a $30 more expensive motherboard would be USB 2.0 headers, SuperSpeed+ USB 3.1 ports and HDMI 2.0 for those using integrated graphics. Plus for the suggested retail price of $159.99 shipped you get a 3 year part warranty and 2 years labor warranty with the ECS Z170 Claymore.
Legit Bottom Line: ECS might not be the first motherboard manufacturer that comes to mind when looking for top performing motherboards, however the Z170 Claymore shows its strength by implementing the latest technology while keeping to a low price point. The ECS Z170 Claymore performs just as well as motherboards that cost more, and shouldn’t be overlooked when trying to keep the price down.