It’s a relief to be able to talk about this, I first caught a very brief glimpse of this motherboard at Cebit 2015 as a bare unit without heat sinks; it was nice to have a quick look considering the final products were displayed at Computex in July. Since then we have had the official launch of Skylake and the Z170 chipset and over the last few weeks, we have had some time to come to grips with what Z170 has to offer. We’ve seen motherboards which took a classic colour scheme in a new direction, multiple M.2 ports and some basic units that surprised in the performance department.
In the test bench today, we have the EliteGroupd (ECS) Z170-Claymore. One of the older brands that seemed to have taken a step back from the mainstream consumer motherboards ranges like MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS, but has probably one of the richest histories and wealth of knowledge to produce some of the best motherboards we have the chance of testing. Like in a previous article, the ECS Z97i-Drone was not only one of the strongest ITX motherboards, but also one of the overall best Z97 motherboards we have tested.
This isn’t the most flashy motherboard we’ve seen, but what it lacks in looks it’s set to make up in performance thanks to the nearly 30 years experience that ECS has put behind this. Let’s find out if that’s enough to take the win in todays review.
Most motherboard manufacturers tend to throw in so many extra features, that most users will likely never have the chance to use most of them or even want to use them. ECS is slightly different, it offers the bare essentials and by doing this it keeps the overall cost down or the additional monetary value has been put into fine-tuning the motherboard itself. With this motherboard, ECS include four key utilities with some slightly confusing names:
- eBlu – Easy BIOS information and updating
- eDLU – Easy Driver information and updating
- eSF – Smart fan control
- EZ Charger
Packing and Accessories
I opened the delivery package and almost needed sunglasses to see. The almost glossy gold colour scheme reflected the light well but also gives off a high-end premium feel.
The back of the box offers a quick overlook of the motherboard and ports. Along with this, the key features such as the high-speed USB, M.2 and SATA Express ports and the brand new Realtek DRAGON LAN option.
The accessories available aren’t as much as some of the more mainstream options, but it offers you exactly what you need with no frills. There are the usual user manual and driver disc, a colour coded IO shield, 4x SATA cables, 2x M.2 screws and risers.