This motherboard cannot be found at any of our recommended partners, most likely due to the new series of motherboards that are ready to hit the market very soon with the upcoming Intel Skylake processors. We recommend you check with your prefered retailer to see if they have stock available.
Well, that was a fun one. ITX testing is one of the most entertaining out of the lot; perception leads you to believe that ATX has the best performance, mATX is middle ground and ITX being the slowest. Yet having tested a few ITX boards in, I can safely say that it is simply not the case. ITX motherboards have come a long way, offering near enough full ATX motherboard performance.
Performance of the Z97I-Drone has been exceptional. If you check back through a few of the reviews linked in the opening paragraphs, you will see that they perform very well in their respected reviews; yet when comparing all of the ITX boards together it shows just how powerful this little board is.
The CPU performance is on par with the rest of the range, showing that the CPU bandwidth offered by the socket pins is far more than what’s needed by the CPU. LAN speeds were above average, but they came at a high CPU usage cost. On the GPU side, it offers adequate bandwidth for the leading gaming cards with the PCIe 3.0 slot. It offered more than enough space for our R9 290x to offer everything it had.
I find very few negative things to say about this board, the BIOS is functional and looks decent; albeit taking screenshots proved annoying due to ECS using different hotkey shortcuts. The M.2 port could be placed elsewhere, maybe rear mounted to allow larger cards to fit, but it does seem that ECS want this as a WiFi slot; I would say yes, but what about the extra cables? There are no holes in the I/O shield to accommodate additional wires or antennae.
- High performance overall
- Great audio quality
- Strong networking performance
- M.2 port offered for 2230 SSD or WiFi/Bluetooth card
- Limited availability
“Made with the gamers at heart, using top quality components to truly bring almost 30 years of manufacturing knowledge to the enthusiasts. This motherboard would be a great addition to any system!”
Thank you to Elitegroup for providing this review sample.