Overclocking and Conclusion
To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the Z97-Machine board, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. We were easily able to get the board running stable for over 4hrs at a 4.7GHz CPU speed, a 2400MHz memory speed, and a 4.0GHz ring bus speed with a 100MHz base clock. The system would not stabilize with a base clock any higher than 100MHz however. System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with EVGA's OC Scanner X graphical benchmark running at 1280×1024 resolution and 8x MSAA in stress test mode. Note that 16GB (2 x 8GB) of Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3-2400 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests.
Note that this is is meant only as a quick preview of the board's performance potential. With more time to tweak the settings to a greater extent, pushing to a higher base clock and ring bus speed may have been achievable, in addition to an overnight stability run without issue.
ECS has really upped their game with the Z97-Machine motherboard. The board performs as well as its pricier competitors. The real test of the board was in its overclocking ability because of the stress that it puts on the board's components.
As of January 01, the ECS Z97-Machine motherboard was available at Amazon.com for $111.99 after $28 instant rebate with Prime shipping. The board was also available from Newegg.com for $139.99.
ECS has a real powerhouse on their hands with the Z97-Machine. The board is well designed and would look good in any windowed case. ECS worked hard to endear themselves to the enthusiast and gaming community, focusing efforts on competitively prices, high performance solutions, aka the Z97-Machine. The board does not have all the bells and whistles that you find on the high-end Z97-based boards with a focus on minimal needs for an enthusiast board while maintaining performance and component quality. ECS bundled in a top-notch six phase digital power deliver system, more than enough to handle even the more strenuous CPU activities. The stock and overclocking performance more than adequately prove out this board's metal. While there are no SATA-Express ports bundled, ECS did include an M.2 slot in-lieu of two additional SATA III ports on the Intel Z97 controller.
- Stock performance
- Overclocking potential
- Board layout and design
- Motherboard manual details and quality
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- Quality of included power circuitry
- PCIe-based M.2 10Gbps device port
- Intel GigE network controller performance
- CMOS battery inaccessible with PCIe video card installed
- Limit of four SATA III ports
- Lack of integrated SATA-Express ports
- Inability to push board to higher than 100MHz base clock