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ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme Motherboard

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Slots

The ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme comes with three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, one PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot, one standard PCI slot, and one Mini PCI Express slot.

The three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots are controlled by the CPU, with the first slot working at x16 when only one video card is installed, the first two working at x8 when two video cards are installed, and with the first working at x8 and the other two working at x4 when three video cards are installed.

This configuration is somewhat different from what we’ve seen in competing products, where the third PCI Express x16 slot is 2.0, controlled by the chipset, and works at x1, x2, or x4 speed.

All three PCI Express x16 slots support the CrossFireX technology. SLI is supported only on the first two slots.

Differently from most competing products, you won’t need a case with eight slots if you plan to install a dual-slot video card in the third PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot, although you will “kill” the standard PCI slot when you install this video card.

Since the Intel Z87 chipset doesn’t support standard PCI slots, the motherboard uses an ITE IT8893 bridge chip to connect the standard PCI slot to a PCI Express x1 lane.

ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme motherboardFigure 2: Slots

One of the highlights of this motherboard is the presence of a Mini PCI Express slot, allowing you to install a Wi-Fi card that uses this format. This slot is also compatible with mSATA SSDs, as it is connected to a SATA-600 port. Usually mSATA ports are SATA-300, so this is a great advantage.

ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme motherboardFigure 3: Mini PCI Express/mSATA slot