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Grado's new GH2 Heritage Limited Edition headphones

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2017 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: Grado, GH2 Heritage, audio

We have mentioned Grado headsets often hear, and one model graces the ears of Josh during podcasts.  They are more expensive than most of the models you see reviewed, however they are also of much higher quality and each headset is hand made, something you will never get from Beats.  The Grado GH2 Heritage Limited Edition headphones sport Cocobolo wood around the outside of the open design ear cups with their new 'red' drivers inside.  You will also receive a number of soft pads for the headphones which not only allow you to increase your comfort, they are also billed as modifying the various elements of your audio.  Head over to Kitguru for a listen to what they thought of this headset.

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"Today’s Grado GH2 Heritage are a limited edition headphone, and they join an exclusive list of Grado limited run production headphones such as the ‘John Mayer’ and ‘Billy Joel’ headphones, made in very limited edition runs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: Kitguru

AORUS would like you grab a Coffee and take a guess

Subject: Motherboards | September 11, 2017 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, aorus, Z370, Intel, coffee lake

Obviously this is neither raven nor writing desk, instead it is confirmation we will see a new Z370 motherboard arrive soon, October 5th being the expected end of term.  While the picture below is from AORUS' official Twitter feed; in this rare case the social media platform is a reliable source, there have also been a few leaks about AORUS' Z370 lineup.

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The models include the Aorus Z370 Gaming K3, Z370 Gaming 3, Z370 Gaming 5, Z370 Gaming 7 and Z370 Ultra Gaming with no Gaming 9 model announced as of yet.  You can expect quad channel memory support as well as at least two M.2 ports and support for Intel Optane on these ATX boards when they arrive for sale.

 

Source: Twitter

Intel goes WiGiggy for VR

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2017 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: wigig, Intel, 802.11ad, VR

News of the impending demise of Intel WiGig hardware, originally touted as a way to transmit various signals such as PCIe or HDMI wirelessly arrived over at The Inquirer today.  Some companies adopted the hardware into docking stations, monitors and external storage however the flexibility of WiGig was offset by transmission limitations which competing standards such as Bluetooth or WiFi do not suffer from. The improved performance offered by Thunderbolt 3 also prompted companies to choose wired connectivity over Intel's WiGig, the outcome of which has been a refocusing of Intel's resources to VR headset development.  This move could hurt a VR incumbent, the HTC Vive incorporated WiGig into a recent wireless headset prototype.  Companies have until the end of the month to order hardware.

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"Just days after announcing plans to discontinue its 6th-gen Skylake processors, Intel that it's ditching almost all of its current WiGig, or 802.11ad hardware by the end of 2017, including antennas and controllers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

ASUS Launches the ZenFone 4 Max Smartphone

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2017 - 12:03 PM |
Tagged: ZenFone 4 Max, zenfone, Snapdragon 430, smartphone, ips, dual camera, asus, Android

The midrange phone market has a new contendor with the ZenFone 4 Max, launched today by ASUS and featuring some impressive specifications - particularly in the camera department - for an unlocked device with an MSRP of $199.

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The phone offers a 5.5-inch display - though likely due to the price target it is just 1280x720 - and the metal and glass construction gives it a more premium (if familiar) look. It's the back of the device where the dual camera sensors really set this apart from the majority of ~$200 unlocked phones: a pair of 13 MP sensors reside behind both a wide-angle and telephoto lens, which allows for more flexibility in composing shots.

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"ZenFone 4 Max features an advanced dual-camera system designed to take your mobile photography to new heights. Its 13MP main camera is equipped with the wide, F2.0 aperture lens to capture clearer photos. Its 120° wide-angle camera lets your fit more scenery and people in the frame for dramatic landscape shots, better group photos, and a more convenient photography experience in confined indoor spaces."

The application processor is the Snapdragon 430, a capable 8-core design with Adreno 505 graphics which also crucially offers 2x image signal processors for a dual camera setup. One area that is decidedly not midrange is the battery - which is a whopping 5000 mAh (!). Not only does this massive capacity allow for the unusual feature of turning your smartphone into a battery pack to charge other devices, but it should provide some really outstanding real-world battery life as well. The onboard Snapdragon 430 supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, so refilling that huge battery should be efficient as well.

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The unlocked ZenFone 4 Max is available now for $199 on Amazon.com in a 32GB capacity.

Source: ASUS
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: HyperX

A Tale of Two Form-Factors

HyperX (a division of Kingston) entered the mechanical keyboard market a year ago with the Alloy series, which began as a pair of 104-key designs with the Alloy Elite and Alloy FPS. Both keyboards feature Cherry MX keys, with the FPS sporting a minimalist design with a compact frame to save room on a desk. Now a TKL version of the FPS has arrived - the FPS Pro - to compliment the 104-key version already at the PC Perspective offices, and in this review we will test out both versions of this gaming keyboard.

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Both keyboards feature adjustable red backlighting

Features from HyperX for the Alloy FPS:

  • Compact design frees desktop space — waste less time reorienting the mouse
  • Solid-steel frame for stability, giving you supreme confidence in your controls
  • Ultra-portable design with detachable cable is great for LAN parties and tournaments
  • Cherry MX mechanical keys for tactile feedback and reliable keypresses
  • Convenient USB charge port allows you to charge other devices
  • Game mode, 100-percent Anti-Ghosting and full N-key rollover features ensure your inputs are correct
  • HyperX red backlit keys with customizable, dynamic lighting functions
  • Additional colored, textured keycaps spotlight the most important keys

Now take virtually the same feature list (minus the additional keycaps) and subtract the number pad, and you have the Alloy FPS Pro, an “ultra-minimalistic tenkeyless design ideal for FPS pros”, according to HyperX. This reduction in size and number of keys is accompanied by a reduction in price, and the Alloy FPS Pro will be 20% less expensive than the 104-key FPS when it launches in late August. How do these mechanical keyboards stack up? Read on for our full review!

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Continue reading our review of the HyperX Alloy FPS and FPS Pro mechanical gaming keyboards!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Can you hear me now?

One of the more significant downsides to modern gaming notebooks is noise. These devices normally have small fans that have to spin quickly to cool the high-performance components found inside. While the answer for loud gaming desktops might be a nice set of headphones, for notebooks that may be used in more public spaces, that's not necessarily a good solution for friends or loved ones.

Attempting to address the problem of loud gaming notebooks, NVIDIA released a technology called WhisperMode. WhisperMode launched alongside NVIDIA's Max-Q design notebooks earlier this year, but it will work with any notebook enabled with an NVIDIA GTX 1060 or higher. This software solution aims to limit noise and power consumption of notebooks by restricting the frame rate of your game to a reasonable compromise of performance, noise, and power levels. NVIDIA has profiled over 400 games to find this sweet spot and added profiles for those games to WhisperMode technology.

WhisperMode is enabled through the NVIDIA GeForce Experience application.

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From GFE, you can also choose to "Optimize games for WhisperMode." This will automatically adjust settings (in-game) to complement the frame rate target control of WhisperMode.

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If you want to adjust the Frame Rate Target, that must be done in the traditional NVIDIA Control Panel and is done on a per app basis. The target can be set at intervals of 5 FPS from 30 to the maximum refresh of your display. Having to go between two pieces of software to tweak these settings seems overly complex and hopefully some upcoming revamp of the NVIDIA software stack might address this user interface falacy. 

To put WhisperMode through its paces, we tried it on two notebooks - one with a GTX 1070 Max-Q (the MSI GS63VR) and one with a GTX 1080 Max-Q (the ASUS ROG Zephyrus). Our testing consisted of two games, Metro: Last Light and Hitman. Both of these games were run for 15 minutes to get the system up to temperature and achieve sound measurements that are more realistic to extended gameplay sessions. Sound levels were measured with our Extech 407739 Sound Level Meter placed at a distance of 6 inches from the given notebooks, above the keyboard and offset to the right.

Continue reading our review of the new NVIDIA WhisperMode technology!

PCPer Mailbag #8 - 9/8/2017

Subject: Editorial | September 8, 2017 - 10:04 AM |
Tagged: pcper mailbag, video

PC Perspective's weekly Q&A series where Ryan and the team answer YOUR questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show:

  • 00:33 - 1440p G-SYNC display issues?
  • 03:09 - G-SYNC necessary for high frame rates?
  • 06:10 - Does overclocking help non-CPU bound apps?
  • 08:44 - Smartphone CPUs vs. Desktop CPUs?
  • 12:53 - Real-world benefit of quad-channel memory?
  • 16:53 - How long does it take for AMD/NVIDIA to make a new GPU?
  • 19:24 - The state of Linux gaming?
  • 22:42 - Responsive design for pcper.com?

Please consider supporting PC Perspective through our Patreon: http://patreon.com/pcper

Subscribe for more videos each week! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c...

Podcast #466 - ECS Z270, Clutch Chairz, AMD market share, Lenovo Yoga, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2017 - 09:46 AM |
Tagged: z270, Yoga 920, Yoga 720, video, Threadripper 1900x, superfish, skylake-x, podcast, Lenovo, IFA 2017, HP S700 Pro, GTX 1080, gigabyte, ECS, Die shot, Core i7-6700K, Core i5-6600k, Clutch Chairz, Aorus X5, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #466 - 09/07/17

Join us for discussion on ECS Z270 motherboards, Clutch Chairz, AMD market share, Lenovo Yoga, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:15:50

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 0:25:05 Casper
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:09:10 Allyn: FolderTimeUpdate
  4. Closing/outro

Source:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Clutch Chairz

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Clutch Chairz

The Throttle Series Gaming Chair is the king of Clutch Chairz gaming line, hosting the largest chairs in the cornucopia of offerings. The Throttle Series chairs are built to accommodate what I like to refer to as "normal-sized" gamers, being those of us more weathered enthusiasts in our 30-to-40 somethings with kids at various states of schooling. The series is built with larger profile seats and seat backs to better accommodate "normal-sized" people with its steel skeleton covered in soft leather and memory foam for premium comfort. That premium comfort comes with a premium price with the Throttle Series Gaming Chair MSRP coming in at $469.99.

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Courtesy of Clutch Chairz

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Courtesy of Clutch Chairz

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Courtesy of Clutch Chairz

As shown in the pics, the Throttle Series chair comes with two support pillows, an upper pillow with straps for neck support and a lower large pillow for lumbar support. Both support pillows are made from the same memory foam material as the chair. The chair itself has an adjustable seat back that goes between 90 and 180 degrees, as well as allowing for rocking without fear of tipping. Its armrests are adjustable in 4 dimensions and the seat can be height adjusted as well. From the detailed dimensions shown (all in mm), you get a better picture of just how large a Throttle Series chair is and the superb upper limits it can support.

Continue reading our review of the Clutch Chairz Throttle Series Gaming Chair!

Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K finally see end of life by Intel

Subject: Processors | September 6, 2017 - 12:06 PM |
Tagged: Intel, 6700k, 6600k

Initially launched in August of 2015, the Skylake consumer desktop processors are finally ramping down at Intel production facilities. Based on this Intel Product Change Notification, the widely coveted Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, along with several other parts, are being EOL'd (end of life).

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If you are an OEM or just really love building around these parts, you still have some time to get your orders in. You have until March 30, 2018 to place your final requests and the final shipment date will be a year from today. If you ever were curious how complex the ramp down on parts that ship to thousands of different customers in consumer, enterprise, and embedded markets, the table above should give you a glimpse.

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(Probably that 3017 date is a typo...)

With the focus for Intel squarely on the Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K, in addition to the upcoming Coffee Lake refresh 8000-series, enthusiasts might be wondering why it took Intel so long to shut things down on this set of Skylake parts. 

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I think it is safe to say that this marks the end of an interesting window of time for Intel, where it had clear and uncontested dominance of the consumer processor market. Re-reading my conclusion to the 6700K review reveals almost no mention of a relevant AMD competing part, making today's situation with Ryzen and Threadripper all the more impressive.

Source: Intel

The Aorus X5 v7 gaming laptop comes with G-SYNC and overclockability

Subject: Mobile | September 5, 2017 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, aorus, aorus X5 v7, gaming laptop, i7-7820HK, gtx 1070

The interior components of the Aorus X5 v7 are impressive but it is the screen on this 15.6" gaming laptop that deserves attention.  The IPS display is G-SYNC capable with a pre-installed colour scheme and is available in either 2880x1620 or 4k, though the GTX 1070 it contains may have some performance issues at that resolution.  The i7-7820HK and GTX 1070 installed in the laptop are both overclockable though when The Tech Report tested the Command & Control software they found overclocking was far more effective at raising temperatures than performance.  Additional features include a installed 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD with an empty M.2 2280 slot for future upgrading, 16GB of DDR4-2400 and two USB 3.1 Type-C ports one of which supports Thunderbolt 3.  Read more here.

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"Gigabyte's Aorus X5 v7 notebook puts a GTX 1070 and a high-resolution G-Sync display in a relatively thin-and-light package. We thoroughly tested it to see just how much of a slice of gaming goodness it offers on the go."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

A Superfishy legal judgement

Subject: General Tech | September 5, 2017 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: superfish, Lenovo

Lenovo's executives just breathed a sigh of relief as the final judgment in the case against them for the Superfish fiasco was released.  The court decided that as this was Lenovo's first offense they would not be fined, instead they have only been asked to follow procedures that most would assume they already had to.  Superfish was a generic root certificate that was pre-installed on many Lenovo machines which allowed the injection of ads into even HTTPS websites, which also meant it could be used to infect your machine via malware laden ads taking advantage of the easily replicated root certificate. 

According to Slashdot all Lenovo have been order to do is conduct security audits for the next two decades and to notify users of the existence of pre-installed software that collects data or serves ads and to let a user choose not to install those programs

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"Instead, the settlement requires Lenovo to give clear notice to customers of any data collection or ad-serving programs bundled on their laptops, and get affirmative consent before the software is installed. Lenovo also agreed to conduct an ongoing security review of its bundled software, running regular third-party audits for the next 20 years."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Slashdot

Intel Skylake-X 18-core Die Pictured. It's Massive.

Subject: Processors | September 5, 2017 - 11:16 AM |
Tagged: skylake-x, Intel

We are just starting to ramp back up here after the long holiday weekend, so let's start with something that is both interesting and easy to absorb. High-profile overclocker Der8auer has gotten his hands on an 18-core Skylake-X processor and did exactly what you would expect - delidded it. 

The takeaway from this is two-fold. First, the die appears very clean, indicating that Intel has still not decided to solder these high-end processors and is going with a standard thermal interface between the die and the heat spreader. 

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Source: Der8auer

Also...it's friggin huge. Look at the 10-core die from the Core i9-7900X that was observed earlier this year and compare it to the image above. 

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Though the camera angles aren't ideal, comparing the layout of the die to the physical substrate, which IS the same size between all the Skylake-X processors, you can see how much larger this 18-core die truly is. Expect to see the 18, 16, 14, and even the 12-core processors to use the same physical die. 

Source: Der8auer

ZTE Axon 7 (US) Update Available

Subject: Mobile | September 2, 2017 - 10:39 PM |
Tagged: zte, axon 7

It’s been a while since ZTE has released an update for their Axon 7, but it looks like they’re still supporting the device with both security updates and new features. The Android version number is still 7.1.1, but 7.1.2 was mostly for Pixel phones, and it would be a little eager to expect Android 8.0. While all cellphone manufacturers should push security updates as quick as possible, because particularly nasty issues can be exploited within hours of a patch being publicly available, not months, at least they are still doing them at all.

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The ZTE Axon 7 was released a little over a year ago.

The most noticeable update is the multi-user support, which adds a colorful icon to your lock screen. When you click it, you’re able to choose the user to login as, create a new one, or create a guest account. I have noticed that the phone is also significantly more responsive, especially when rotating the display, but they might have just shortened the animation. Either way, it feels a lot faster, which is good, regardless of where that performance comes from.

If you're considering a phone from ZTE, then this should give clues about their intended update schedule. It's not Google-level, but it's at least a year, if the Axon 7 is any indication.

Source: ZTE

Games Done Quick Impromptu Marathon Now!

Subject: General Tech | September 2, 2017 - 10:14 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, gdq

Sorry that I wasn’t able to put up a post when it started on Friday, but Games Done Quick set up a two-day marathon in support of the Houston Food Bank. Harvey Relief Done Quick is, as you would expect, intended to benefit those who are affected by Hurricane Harvey. They have currently raised almost $110,000 USD.

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The current game, as I write this post, is Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, all dungeons and Ganon -- they’re just wrapping it up. It will be be followed by a six-hour run of Chrono Trigger, 100% glitchless (all quests). Tomorrow night ends with a 100% map race of Super Metroid, and a three-and-a-half hour run, give or take, of Final Fantasy IV. As usual, they are streaming around the clock until then.

The next scheduled Games Done Quick is Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 in January.

The cutest little GTX 1080 you'll see; Gigabyte's GTX 1080 Mini ITX 8G

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 1, 2017 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: GTX 1080 Mini ITX 8G, gigabyte, GeForce GTX 1080

Gigabyte have shrunk the GTX 1080 into a tiny little package 17cm long, retaining the dual slot design to ensure you still have the connectivity options you expect.

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Even with its small stature and 90mm fan, the card is no slowpoke.  Setting it to Gaming Mode gives the standard 1733/1607MHZ Boost/BAse and there is an OC mode which will raise those clocks to 1771/1632MHz.

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There is no stock at the moment, which is also true the GTX 1070 and 1060 models which have already been released.  Those two are not sold at a large premium over their bigger twins so once prices have descended from the stratosphere and supply begins to accumulate again the tiny 1080 shouldn't carry a large premium.

 

Source: Gigabyte

Look who's selling SSDs! The HP S700 Pro 1TB

Subject: Storage | September 1, 2017 - 04:23 PM |
Tagged: hp, ssd, 1TB, S700 PRO

This drive might not be the best choice for an upgrade to a machine you build yourself, however as it is compatible with HP's Software Pre-installation Environment it makes a great deal of sense for an HP owner.  Benchmark Reviews tested the drive out and were impressed with the performance they saw; it did not match the somewhat inflated claims made below but it performed in line with the majority of the competition out there.  Take a look at the specific results in the full review.

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"HP suggests top speeds up to 570 MB/s for reads and 525 MB/s writes from their 1TB SSD S700 PRO, which utilizes 3D NAND to deliver impressive storage density and reliability. In this article for Benchmark Reviews, we test the 1TB HP SSD S700 PRO (2.5″ SATA model 2LU81AA#ABL) against other solid state drive competition."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Feel good Friday post; a troll pays a toll

Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2017 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: Kaspersky Labs, patent troll, kick ass

Kaspersky Labs used a portion of US case law to demand a patent troll fork over money before they would agree to drop the lawsuit Wetro Lan filed against them.  Wetro Lan picked up a patent with a somewhat famous pasts as being used in numerous dubious lawsuits filed by what are politely known as patent trolls.   The patent is a ridiculously vague description of a firewall and trolls have used it in the past to sue companies in the hopes of a payout to prevent the case from going to court.  Not only did Kaspersky go to court to fight; instead of waiting for the amount of money demanded to drop to zero they launched a counter-suit and refused to end the litigation until they received $10,000.  This meant that Wetro Lan had to continue to pay to continue the case and once they realized they were stuck they acquiesced to Kaspersky's demands, after talking them down to $5000.  Check out The Register for more information.

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"The Russian antivirus vendor said that it collected a $5,000 payment to agree to drop a patent infringement case where it was the defendant, after the litigator agreed they had no hope of winning their claim."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

PCPer Mailbag #7 - 9/1/2017

Subject: Editorial | September 1, 2017 - 10:24 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag

PC Perspective's weekly Q&A series where Ryan and the team answer YOUR questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show:

  • 00:38 - The future of Vulkan?
  • 05:00 - The end of Moore's Law?
  • 07:57 - Is 4GB VRAM enough for future 1080p gaming?
  • 09:33 - RX Vega64 for triple-monitor gaming?
  • 11:28 - Why do we need 4K displays on 15-inch laptops?
  • 13:27 - Watching 4K UHD Blu-rays on a PC?
  • 15:04 - Why don't GPU makers build super expensive, power hungry mega GPUs
  • 18:45 - Monitor refresh rates: 60Hz vs. 144Hz vs. 165Hz vs. 240Hz?
  • 22:14 - How to allocate component costs when building a PC?

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction and Specifications

For Intel’s Z270 chipset ECS has a pair of motherboard options, with the ATX Z270-LIGHTSABER and mini-ITX Z270H4-I. We have a look at both of these offerings today.

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The Z270-LIGHTSABER tries to live up to that name with customizable LED lighting around the board, which is controlled through the system setup. It boasts a 14-phase power delivery and all solid caps, and offers simplified overclocking through the ECS MIB X interface and Intel XMP 1.2 and 1.3 memory support. Additionally the LIGHTSABER offers comprehensive storage options with a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot (Intel Optane is supported), U.2 port, and a full complement of SATA III ports. There is also a Killer E2500 NIC, and premium audio with a dedicated TI headphone amp, among the other features.

For its part the Z270H4-I packs many of the same features as its ATX cousin, though this mini-ITX motherboard only provides a 6-phase power design, and does not feature the LED lighting or dedicated headphone amp of the Z270-LIGHTSABER. It does provide the same full PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot with Intel Optane support, and while the Z270H4-I does not have a Killer NIC it replaces this with a pair including an Intel I-219V and Realtek LAN. The Z270H4-I also supports M.2 wireless cards and includes an optional pair of wireless antennae.

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I installed my Core i7-7700K in both motherboards and in addition to some baseline benchmarks I tried out some casual overclocking and will provide general usage impressions with both boards.

Continue reading our review of the ECS Z270-LIGHTSABER and Z270H4-I motherboards!