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ECS Z170-Lightsaber Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Features and Motherboard Layout

Features

Courtesy of ECS

  • Windows 10 Workable support
  • 14 Phase Power Design
  • Supports Intel® K Series unlock CPU
  • Applied 100% Solid capacitor design to maximize component reliability
  • ECS Durathon Technology ensure the stability, reliability and performance of system.
  • ESD Protection prevents computers from electrostatic discharge damage to enhance its durability and lifespan
  • ECS EZ charger provides a fast way to charge your smart devices, even if the PC is off
  • Supports GUI UEFI for tweaking BIOS in Graphical interface within a multi language environment
  • ECS MIB X - A friendly interface for overclocking, especially for gamer
  • Intel® 14nm 6th generation Multi-Core CPU support
  • Supports DirectX® 12 to enhance graphical performance
  • Supports AMD CrossFire™ to expand your system’s graphics capabilities.
  • Supports Intel® HD Graphics
  • Supports Display Port 1.2 Technology
  • ECS Intelligent EZ Utility : eBLU, eDLU, eSF
  • Free Bundle: CyberLink Media Suite

Motherboard Layout

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The Z170-Lightsaber motherboard features a gamer-friendly aesthetic with a flat black PCB, black plastic ports and slots, and black heat sinks. The chipset heat sink features the ECS L337 Gaming logo. The board layout was well thought out with more than enough room around all components.

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The back of the board contains nothing other than the normal board trace lines and solder points. This remains true in the area directly behind the CPU socket, which is fully clear of any constricting components or circuitry.

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The Z170-Lightsaber has the following ports integrated into it's rear panel: PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, four USB 2.0 ports (yellow and red colored), four USB 3.0 ports (blue colored), two USB 3.1 Type A ports (teal colored), an RJ-45 Realtek GigE NIC port, an HDMI video port, a DisplayPort video port, a CMOS reset button, an S/PDIF digital audio port, and six analogue audio ports.

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The Z170-Lightsaber motherboard has a total of seven device ports - three PCIe x16 slots and four PCIe X1 slots. For the integrated PCIe x16 slots, the board supports full x16 bandwidth with a single card, x8 bandwidth with cards in the primary and secondary slots, and x4 bandwidth provided to the tertiary slot. The CMOS battery is located in just below PCIe x1 slot 3, just to the right of the secondary PCIe x16 slot.

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The audio components are located just above the PCIe slots, contained on an isolated PCB to cut down on distortion and crosstalk between the audio components and other board-integrated components. ECS integrated a removable DAC port just above PCIe x1 slot 2. The front panel audio header is located just above PCI x16 slot 3.

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In the upper left corner of the board are the front panel audio header and two 4-pin system fan headers.

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Along the lower outside portion of PCIe x16 slot 3 are the Quick OC, BIOS Set, and BIOS Update buttons, a USB 2.0 header, system speaker header and the PCIe x2 M.2 port. The M.2 port supports PCIe X2 SSDs up to 80mm in length.

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In the lower left corner of the board are the chassis intrusion header, a USB 2.0 header, the front panel header, BIOS Backup button, and BIOS switch.

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The Intel Z170 Express chipset cooler is a black colored, low profile aluminum heat sink just below the PCIe slots. The heat sink features the ECS L337 Gaming logo.

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ECS integrated a total of six on-board SATA 6 Gb/s ports and one SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports into the port blocks located just under the chipset cooler, making for a total of eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports if the SATA-Express ports are used individually. All SATA ports are controlled by the Intel Z170 chipset and have no use restrictions, no matter what other devices are plugged into the board (including M.2 SSDs and PCIe-based cards).

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The board's four integrated DDR4 memory slots are located just below the CPU socket in the lower right quadrant of the board. Dual Channel memory mode is enabled by seating memory modules in slots 1 and 3 or slots 2 and 4 with slots 2 and 4 being the primary slot set. The board supports up to 64GB of memory running at a maximum speed of 3200MHz. Note that memory speeds above 2133MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official Intel stock memory speed specifications. Just below the memory slots are the USB 3.0 header, a 4-pin system fan headers, and the 24-pin ATX power connector.

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To the lower right of the DIMM slots are the power, reset, and 80P Switch buttons, and the 3-digit diagnostic display. The diagnostic display can be used to troubleshoot board initialization issues by cross-referencing the code with the table provided at the back of the motherboard manual.

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To the upper right of the DIMM slots is the CPU fan header.

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The CPU socket area is clear of obstructions with heat sinks cooling the CPU VRM chips above and to the right of the socket. ECS chose to power the CPU with an impressive 14-phase digital power circuitry to ensure stability under all operation conditions.

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To the upper left of the CPU socket is a 4-pin secondary CPU fan header.

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The 8-pin ATX12V power connector is located to the upper right of the CPU socket.


February 14, 2017 | 10:22 AM - Posted by John H (not verified)

Are we going to see Z270 working with Coffeelake but Z170 being magically incompatible?

February 15, 2017 | 04:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"... justified with its additional features and functionality compared wieh thier previous Z170-based product"
Wieh whier?

February 15, 2017 | 09:46 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Fixed, thanks...

February 15, 2017 | 04:26 AM - Posted by zme-ul

I'd like to see DPC latency tests, just like Anand does

February 15, 2017 | 11:06 AM - Posted by Wingman (not verified)

Is it just me, or is the list of Rear Panel I/O wrong? I only see 10 USB ports, but 12 are listed (2x 3.1, 6x 3.0, 4x2.0) and the network RJ-45 is not listed in the Rear Panel I/O.

February 16, 2017 | 11:41 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Yeah, that does seem odd but it is taken directly from ECS' webpage for the board...

February 15, 2017 | 11:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Also, where the heck do you see a DVI port that you mention in the article ?
I only see DP and HDMI.

February 16, 2017 | 11:40 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

fixed, thanks...

February 17, 2017 | 01:40 AM - Posted by Blair (not verified)

Too bad they're going to get sued by Disney over the name they've chosen.

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