CPU Cooler Fit and Included Accessories
CPU Cooler Fit
To test the amount of space surrounding the CPU socket, we mounted the Noctua NH-D15 cooler to the CPU socket. This behemoth CPU air cooler sports a dual fan construction and two huge vertical cooling towers.
You should have not issues using a card mounted in either the primary PCIe x1 or PCIe x16 slots when using a large cooler like the NH-D15 with the board.
The cooler easily fits within the space provided around the CPU socket with no clearance issues between it and the VRM cooler located above the CPU socket.
The Noctua hold down mechanism is large enough to quickly determine exactly how much space is available around the CPU socket. Here is where ECS' design of the Z97-Machine CPU socket area really becomes apparent. By relocating all VRM-related power circuitry above the CPU, a whole lot of space is available for even the large CPU cooler mounts.
The cooler's backplate rests on the socket backplate, minimizing the risk of direct board contact. There are no chips or circuitry anywhere near the CPU socket area, further reducing the risk of backplate-related board complications.
ECS buncles in the bare minimum required accessories for board installation.
Surprisingly, the Z97-Machine's manual is well documented, covering covering the integrated board functions as well as the included Windows software in sufficient detail. Also included is a driver DVD with all necessary hardware drivers and Window's utilities and a foldout quick-start guide.
The board's rear panel shield is flat black colored with port identifying text and icons colored white for easy port identification.
ECS bundled in four black 6Gb/s rated SATA cables for use with the on board SATA ports. The cables have integrated port locks with straight connectors only.