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ECS Z270-LIGHTSABER and Z270H4-I Motherboard Review

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!

We’ll see how both motherboards performed a bit later on, but first a look at specs:


Z270-LIGHTSABER Specifications:

  • Form Factor: ATX 305 x 244 mm
  • CPU: Supports 6th/7th gen Intel Core family/Pentium/Celeron series processors for LGA1151
  • 14 Phase Thermal Design Power
  • ECS Digital Power Design
  • 100% Solid capacitor design
  • Chipset:
    • Intel Z270 Express Chipset
    • Supports Intel Rapid Start technology
    • Supports Intel Smart Response technology
  • Memory:
    • Dual-channel DDR4 Memory architecture
    • Supports DDR4 2400 non-ECC, Un-buffered SDRAM Memory
    • Supports up to 3200+(OC)
    • 4x 288-pin DDR4 DIMM socket
    • Supports up to 64 GB
    • Intel extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3/1.2 Memory Modules
  • Expansion Slots
    • 3x PCI Express x16 Gen 3.0 slot(s)
    • (x8+ x8 + x4)
    • 4x PCI Express X 1 Gen 3.0slot(s)
    • Supports AMD CrossFire Technology
  • Storage:
    • 1x M.2 slot for 2242/2260/2280 PCI-e x4/SATA SSD
      • Supports Intel Optane technology
    • 1x U.2 Port
    • 6x Serial ATAIII 6Gb/s
      • RAID0, RAID1, RAID5, RAID 10 configuration
  • Audio:
    • Realtek ALC1150 8-channel High Definition audio CODEC
    • Onboard TI NE5532AP EAR Phone Amplifier IC
  • LAN: Killer E2500 Gigabit Fast Ethernet Controller
  • USB:
    • Support by Z270 Express Chipset
      • 6x USB 3.0 ports up to 5Gb/s (4 back, 2 onboard), 2 ports with EZ Charger
      • 7x USB 2.0 ports up to 480 Mb/s (4 back, 3 onboard)
    • Support by ASMedia ASM1142 Controler
      • 2x USB 3.1 ports up to 10Gb/s
  • Rear Panel I/O:
    • 1x PS/2 combo connector
    • 1x Audio port (Line-in, 4x Line-out, Mic in)
    • 1x HDMI port
    • 1x Display port
    • 1x Optical S/PDIF Out port
    • 2x USB3.1 ports
    • 4x USB3.0 ports
    • 4x USB2.0 ports
    • 1x Clear_CMOS Button
  • OS Support: Windows 7 32/64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, Windows 10 64-bit

Z270H4-I Specifications:

  • Form Factor: Mini ITX (170 x 170 mm)
  • CPU: Supports 6th/7th gen Intel Core family/Pentium/Celeron series processors for LGA1151
  • 6 Phase Thermal Design Power
  • ECS Digital Power Design
  • 100% Solid capacitor design
  • Chipset: Intel Z270 Express
  • Memory:
    • Dual-channel DDR4 Memory architecture
    • Supports DDR4 2133 non-ECC, Un-buffered SDRAM Memory
    • Supports up to 3200(OC)
    • 2x 288-pin DDR4 DIMM socket
    • Supports up to 32 GB
  • Expansion Slots
    • 1x PCI Express X16 Gen 3.0 slot
    • 1x M.2 slot for WiFi/BT
  • Storage:
    • 1x M.2 slot for 2242/2280 SSD
      • Supports Intel Optane technology
    • 4x Serial ATAIII 6Gb/s
      • RAID0, RAID1, RAID5, RAID 10 configuration
  • Audio: Realtek ALC1150 8-channel High Definition audio CODEC
  • LAN: INTEL I-219V and Realtek DRAGON LAN 8118AS
  • USB (support by Z270 Express Chipset)
    • 7x USB 3.0 ports up to 5Gb/s (5 back, 2 onboard)
    • 3x USB 2.0 ports Up to 480 Mb/s (2 back, 1 onboard)
  • Rear Panel I/O:
    • 1x PS/2 combo connector
    • 1x Audio port (Line-in,4x Line-out, SPDIF out)
    • 2x RJ-45 port
    • 1x HDMI port(s)
    • 1x Display port
    • 1x Coxal S/PDIF Out port (s)
    • 5x USB3.0 port(s)
    • 2x USB2.0 port(s)
  • OS Support: Windows 10 64-bit

  • ECS Z270H4-I: $109.99, Newegg.com
  • ECS Z270-LIGHTSABER: $199 MSRP (no current Amazon/Newegg listings in USA)

Here's a look at the box contents for both of these motherboards, starting with the Z270-LIGHTSABER:

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And now the Z270H4-I:

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The included accessories are quite basic, though the mini-ITX board includes a pair of Wi-Fi antennae with a metal bracket to attach these to the motherboard.

On the next page we'll take a closer look at the design of both ECS Z270 motherboards.


September 1, 2017 | 01:30 PM - Posted by vanster

Port80 is the Diagnostic LED, some boards also have an additional port80 header so that a customer can attach an 'external' diagnostic connection. I imagine the port80 switch is to change from the internal LED to the external port80 header.

September 5, 2017 | 07:42 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

Ah ha! Thank you! I couldn't find anything about that in the manual.

September 4, 2017 | 12:47 AM - Posted by Evan (not verified)

If it weren't for the OCZ Z-Drive 6000 and 6300, they might as well call the U.2 port the Intel SSD 750 port.

September 6, 2017 | 10:37 PM - Posted by Rev Lee (not verified)

The last paragraph of the benchmark page (pg 3) states "with my 256 MB Samsung SM961". I'm fairly certain that you meant 256 GB.

On the last (4th) page the paragraph immediatly prio to the Gold Award graphic states "but I have had now had excellent results". I think you have one too many "hads" there.

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