Price and Availability
The ECS Z97-Machine L337 Gaming has been in the market for quite some time now. At the time this review was published, it retails for $139.99 USD. Like any computer component, prices and promotion are subject to change. Check out the link for updated pricing.
ECS Z97-Machine Review: Conclusion
Like I said in my intro, this is my first encounter with an ECS motherboard and I was supposed to publish this review a few months ago. But I decided to test it further and see if I can find anything wrong or something fails out of the blue. I’m glad to report that it didn’t fail me or died within the period of testing the Z97-Machine. My experience with the motherboard was quite smooth all the way. Aesthetically speaking, I don’t expect that this motherboard will be loaded with eye candies considering its price range. But it could use some refinement and a little bit of “bling” to it, considering that competing brands are able to make their motherboards look more pleasing at similar price range.
When it comes to set of features, the ECS Z97-Machine has the essential features that most users, specially PC gamers, basically needs on a motherboard. It even has an onboard power, reset, debug code and M.2 port. But I hope they added a Clear CMOS button as well. That button is very handy specially for users who likes to tweak the BIOS settings, a lot. The lack of SATA Express port shouldn’t be a deal breaker since there are no SATA Express drives available yet on the market. I’m guessing that most (if not all) users haven’t actually used the SATA Express port on their motherboards to date. Audio quality is also quite good thanks to the ESS SABRE32 ES9010K2M DAC and Sound Blaster 2.
Performance wise, I wouldn’t say that it’s able to compete with the top tier or more feature rich motherboards that are really designed to handle overclocking. But I wouldn’t say it’s a poor performing motherboard as well. If you are really on a tight budget, pair this motherboard with an Intel Core i5-4670K or Intel Core i5-4690K and overclock the CPU a little bit more (optional) and you should be able to do just fine.
Finally, the ECS Z97-Machine is still a very much recommendable motherboard specially if you are on a tight budget. But it would be better if the retail price were more competitive, or lower, considering that competing brands are also priced similarly.