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Z77H2-AX Software

Six $220-280 Z77 Express-Based Motherboards, Reviewed

ECS hasn’t altered its bonus software suite since our previous round-up, so we'll save you the trouble of rehashing it all here. We did, however, take another run with its unchanged eOC suite.

ECS eOC is more useful than we previously thought, even though it’s only capable of modifying BCLK and a few voltage levels.

Like many of the ECS motherboards we’ve tested in the past, this one has a bad habit of getting stuck when its BCLK is set too high in the UEFI. Several hours of effort to reset the firmware, including the use of the CLR_CMOS button, battery removal, and battery terminal shorting, could not revive the board. We even tried to force an error by starting the PC with missing components (memory, graphics, CPU), hoping that's restore the BIOS defaults. No dice.

Sometimes, an ECS motherboard that’s stuck will start working again after being disconnected for a few days. That didn’t work either, even with the battery removed. The one thing that did get the system to finally boot was when, out of desperation, we put a jumper on a pair of pins that the manual says are for chassis intrusion detection. We just happened to notice that those pins were next to the system ROM.

From that point forward, all of our attempts to push higher BCLK settings on ECS' Z77H2-AX were performed using its eOC utility. Since eOC-based BCLK modifications don't alter the firmware, choosing a bad setting in software didn’t cause the UEFI to lock up. Thus, we never had to repeat our no-boot ordeal.

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