If you decided to find an Elitegroup mainboard that would best fit your needs, this might be a pretty challenging task. It is fairly easy to visit one of the company web-sites and get to a page with all mainboard models listed, but how do you find the right one? The choice is even trickier because of the complicated model naming approach used for ECS mainboards. Yes, you can single out certain rules, for example, the first three positions in the model name indicate that Z77H2-A4 is based on an Intel Z77 Express chipset, while H77H2-M3 – on Intel H77 Express chipset. Moreover, you may notice that the first letter in the second part of the model name usually stands for the form-factor: “A” – for ATX, “M” – for microATX, “I” – for mini-ITX. Sometimes, you may see a letter “D”, which stands for the pretty rare DTX form-factor. Unfortunately, all the other symbols in the model name are hard to decipher. Moreover, the logical naming approach we have just proposed falls completely apart once you realize that there is no way to tell the chipset for the X77H2-A3 mainboard, or the form-factor for the H61H-G11.
However, we have known for a long time that besides the regular mainboards Elitegroup also offers the so called “Black” series with advanced feature list. That may seem like a good way out if we limit our choice options to the products in this series, but it turns out that the “Black” series is pretty versatile, too. Of course, a lot depends on your choice of chipset, but out of nine boards on Intel Z77 Express, six mainboards, i.e. 2/3 of all, belong to the “Black” series.
The models that immediately catch our eye are the ones with the word “Deluxe” in their model name. it is quite possible that one of these boards will be the best fit for your specific needs, but the model comparison system implemented on the company web-site won’t be able to help you distinguish between Z77H2-A2X Deluxe version 1.0, 2.0 or 5.0. On top of that I am sure you will be surprised to find out that the mainboard with a pretty unremarkable name, Z77H2-A2X, has more features and functions than the “Deluxe” models with the same name. It may seem strange, but there is logic to it. The boards from the “Black Deluxe” sub-series have the word “Deluxe” in their model name, while the boards from the “Black Extreme” sub-series do not have the word “Extreme” in their model name. And that is a real pity, because it could have helped a lot with the decision-making. It would make even more sense to single out the flagship models by using the “Golden Board” term, for example, because it would make it clear that these are unique products that stand out among the rest. However, today we are going to introduce to you ECS Z77H2-A2X (v.1.0). Despite the modest model name, this is one of the top mainboards in the “Black Extreme” series and one of the Golden boards, which you will see shortly.