ECS Z77H2-A2X V1.0: Golden LGA 1155 Mainboard From The Black Series (Part 1)

4/21/2013 9:07:13 AM

This mainboard is a flagship product from ECS. It is proud of its expanded functionality and a lot of unique characteristics. Our review of today will discuss all of the advantages and challenges of this product that users may face if they have to decide to buy the "Golden" mainboard.

If you decide to look for an Elitegroup mainboard that suits your needs best, it may be a big challenge for you. It is quite easy to view a website of a company and then go to a page with a list of mainboard models, but how can you find the right one for your need? The choice is even more difficult to make because of the complexity in naming ECS’s mainboards. Well, you can rely on certain rules; for example, the first three letters in the model name indicate that Z77H2-A4 is based on Intel Z77 chipset, while the H77H2-M3 is based on Intel H77 Express chipset. Moreover, you should pay attention to the first letter in the second part of the model name as it always represents the form-factor: "A" for ATX, "M" for micro ATX, "I" for mini-ITX.

Sometimes, you may see a "D", which represents the quite rare form-factor, which is DTX. Unfortunately, all of the other letters in the model names are somewhat difficult to demystify. In addition, the method to reasonably name devices that we proposed previously will completely be invalid once you have realized that there is no way to talk about the chipset of the X77H2-A3 mainboard, or the form-factor of the H61H-G11.

However, for so long, we have known that besides usual mainboards, Elitegroup also provides the "Black" series with a list of unique features. It seems to be a good way if we limit the choices of products in this series, but it also points out that the "Black" series has many features. For sure, it depends on your selection of chipsets, but six of Intel Z77 Express’s nine mainboards, that is, 2/3 of the nine, belong to the “Black” series.

The model designs immediately catch our eyes with a "Deluxe" image in their names. One of those boards might definitely be most suitable for all of your needs, but the model comparison system which is shown on the company's website will not at all be able to help you distinguish between the Z77H2-A2X Deluxe version 1.0, 2.0 or 5.0. I am sure you will be surprised to figure out that the mainboard with a not-stand-out name, Z77H2-A2X, has more functions and features than other "Deluxe" models with the same name. It sounds strange, but there is an argument on this. The boards from the secondary "Black Deluxe" series have a "Deluxe" in their model names, while the boards from "Black Extreme" series do not have an "Extreme" in their model names. And this is a pity, as it can help much in making a good decision. For example, it will mean more if you choose the key models by using the term "Golden Board", because it will make clear that these are the unique products that stand out from other products. However, today we intend to introduce to you the ECS Z77H2-A2X (v1.0). Although the name is quite modest, this is one of the most high-end mainboards of the "Black Extreme" series and is one of the Golden boards, which you will see shortly later.

Packaging and accessories

Even if you are far away and cannot read the "Gloden board" phrase printed on the ourside of the package or even recognize the "Black Extreme" series logo, you can’t help realzing that these are the “golden” mainboards, since they rest in a yellow box.

The golden box

The golden box

The front and back of the mainboard box on the outside are identical. In fact, so far it is the first time we have seen a box with its front and back attached with a Velcro and can also be opened. Like most of the other mainboards, the front of the box can be opened to reveal the board inside through a clear and large window. If you open the back of the box, you will find some information on this board design with some illustrations. Moreover, everything is very easy to understand. This is a hard box made of a piece of thick cardboard on the top of the “golden” box. The board is protected with an anti-static bag and coated with cardboard, and all the accessories are tied and arranged in a smaller box staying underneath the mainboard:

·         Six SATA cables with metal connector locks and only with straight connectors

·         A module with two USB 3.0 ports is added to the front and rear panels of the chassis;

·         A set of slot covers for the USB slots and video outputs;

·         An I/O shield for the rear panel;

·         A user guide;

·         A colorful poster with a brief user manual in multiple languages;

·         Guidelines on LucidLogix Virtu MVP technology

·         A DVD disc with software and drivers. 

The accessories

The accessories

We have already seen many mainboards that come with some extra brackets with USB 3.0 ports on the back of the system case. Other models sometimes come with a module that can bring these ports to the front of the system case. However, Elitegroup provided the most common and user-friendly solution. The bracket which was packaged with the board was originally designed to allow adding two more USB 3.0 ports to the front of the system case, but it also comes with an additional bracket and a set of screws that will enable you to move these ports to the back of the system case, too. Only ASRock mainboards come with a similarly common component, which also has a chassis for a 2-inch drive built into it, but the solution from Elitegroup is proud of the longer connecting cable. Another unique feature of Elitegroup mainboards is a set of plastic caps for the USB ports and Video Outs, which will protect them from being damaged and getting dust. They are not present in the photo above, but as you can see there is an antenna on that photo, which must accidentally have been put into the box with our board.


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