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Mini-STX Build: ECS H110S-2P and SilverStone VT01 Review

Manufacturer: PC Perspective

The Mini-STX Build Components

I'll cover the ECS motherboard and SilverStone case in more detail on this page, with a closer look at the cooler included with the build process on the next. We begin by opening up the motherboard, which is packed with a basic compliment of accessories.

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Inside the box you will find a manual, driver disc, I/O backplate, and a SATA data/power cable. As with the thin mini-ITX form-factor there is no power supply included with these mini-STX motherboards, so you will have to find your own (I will discuss this in greater length on the last page, but I only ended up paying $10 for mine).

And now a look at mini-STX all of its splendor:

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The ECS H110S-2P offers support for up to a 65W processor, two sticks of DDR4 SO-DIMM memory, and storage support via both M.2 and SATA.

Rear I/O is minimal, with a pair USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, full-size DisplayPort and HDMI outputs, and DC power in.

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On the other side of the board we have the front I/O, which consists of one standard and one Type-C USB 3.0 port and a pair of 3.5 mm audio jacks (headphones, mic). 

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There are two M.2 slots on the board, with a full-length slot for PCIe SSDs and another for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth cards.

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Now we move on to the case, which is the SilverStone VT01. I received the silver color, and a black version is available as well.

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The design is very simple and clean, and the case is heavily vented for better cooling, with vent holes on both sides and the top panel.

Here's a tour of the case exterior:

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Update: It's worth pointing out that to the right of the I/O backplate cutout are a pair of punch-outs for external Wi-Fi/BT antennas. None of the mini-STX motherboards on the market include Wi-Fi solutions currently, but it would not be expensive to add to the build. As I mentioned in the comments:

It would add about $34 to the total build cost to implement a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth solution, including external antennas if you used an Intel 7265 M.2 card (~$24) and an antenna kit (~$10), for example.

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The rubber feet on the base double as screws to hold the top half in place, and on the next page we will take a look at the interior of the VT01 - as well the full build process.


February 6, 2017 | 10:45 AM - Posted by notwalle (not verified)

hi does it have tb3? oh it does does it support video through tb3?

February 6, 2017 | 11:06 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

None of the mini-STX boards on the market currently offer TB3 (that I'm aware of).

February 6, 2017 | 11:12 AM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

I like this case a lot. It is cheap and well-designed. I would prefer if it was made of alu, but can't complain at this price.

I'd like to see more STX boards on the market, preferably some options with higher-end chipsets like H170 or Z270.

February 6, 2017 | 11:23 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I'm with you. And I want to see more socketed Intel CPUs with Iris graphics. The few out there are very expensive. (Still hoping a next-gen AMD APU will make it to a form-factor like this as well.)

February 6, 2017 | 03:38 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes AMD's Ryzen/Vega APUs with at least a single stack of HBM2(4GB or 8GB) acting like a last level cache to a larger amount of DDR4 based DRAM. AMD should really have made an amended JEDEC standard with HBM2 having a 2048 bit bus to each HBM2 stack instead of 1024(Current standard) and just gone higher with the DRAM stacks for larger memory capacities!

February 6, 2017 | 11:33 AM - Posted by Justin150 (not verified)

Not really seeing a use for this, although it is cheap

For HTPC it has a fan so a fail for me (my old i3 NUC is in a fanless case for that)

Cannot be used as a cheap NAS as not enough SATA ports

Not enough power for anything other than light gaming

Only thing I can think of is office use, use the VESA mount to hide it on back of monitor. Very neat but you can get cheaper.

February 6, 2017 | 11:47 AM - Posted by Marios (not verified)

This would be a nice little build if intel cpus had better integrated gpus. Lack of graphics upgradability is huge concern for me. I would rather put the money into mini ITX build with pci express and much higher power delivery.

February 10, 2017 | 01:29 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I saw a pic of an Asrock miniSTX board with an MXM slot so you could slap a notebook GPU in there

Gecube made a RX480 - a full Polaris 10 - in MXM format - but it used too much power for OEM notebook cooling solutions and they didn't make it compatible with Clevos (which are the most upgradeable and have the most robust overspecced cooling of all laptop manufacturers) so nobody bothered seeing if it worked.

February 6, 2017 | 12:19 PM - Posted by Paul A. Mitchell (not verified)

Re: Left: ECS H110S-2P (mini-STX)

There is a SODIMM socket from Lotes
that allows the sockets to be
placed much closer to each other:

http://supremelaw.org/patents/lotes/AAA-DDR-131.JPG

February 6, 2017 | 12:31 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

Normally I detest external power but in this scenario it makes sense. It's so small there's no room to be putting extra wires in there.

February 6, 2017 | 12:52 PM - Posted by Mobile_Dom

I'm glad I coerced Sebastian into doing the Prime95 run, very intersting results

February 6, 2017 | 01:48 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

:)

February 6, 2017 | 02:08 PM - Posted by Joy (not verified)

Very nice! Would love to use a setup like this to run a freeNAS server, although I would couple ASUS H110S1/CSM motherboard ($75) with Pentium G4560 3.5GHz with Hyper Threading ($65).

Any chance you could post PassMark benchmark score?

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i5-6600K+%40+3.50GHz

February 6, 2017 | 05:02 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I didn't run PassMark, just Geekbench 4. If I have time to re-assemble the system I'll check it out (already on to another mini system).

February 6, 2017 | 02:15 PM - Posted by Geek (not verified)

How fast is M.2 slot and can you boot Windows 7 from it?

February 6, 2017 | 05:00 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I saw up to 1800 MB/s reads and 1500 MB/s writes benchmarking my Samsung SM961 NVMe SSD in the M.2 slot. I am not sure about Win7 compatibility, but I assume it is possible with a driver during installation. Seems like a murky subject when I look around for info on Windows 7 NVMe installs...

February 6, 2017 | 02:22 PM - Posted by Geek (not verified)

The rail voltages on HWMonitor are way lower than they should be. Maybe you need a better power adapter.

February 6, 2017 | 05:01 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I 100% agree. The lack of high-quality adapters specific to the form-factor is a negative at present.

February 6, 2017 | 08:10 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How does WiFi work? I didn't see any mention of sockets for antennas as part of the back IO?

February 6, 2017 | 08:52 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

There are punch-outs for a Wi-Fi antenna on the back of the case, and the board has an M.2 Wi-Fi card slot in addition to the standard PCIe SSD slot. While a lot of mini-ITX board come with Wi-Fi solutions I haven't seen mini-STX with that bundled in yet.

It would add about $34 to the total build cost to implement a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth solution, including external antennas if you used an Intel 7265 M.2 card (~$24) and an antenna kit (~$10), for example.

(I should have mentioned this in the review, and I updated it with this info).

February 6, 2017 | 09:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I noticed the info about the slots but was mainly concerned about how you'd mount the antennas. Thanks. Good review.

February 7, 2017 | 12:08 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Don't cheap out on the power brick.

February 9, 2017 | 12:20 PM - Posted by D1RTYD1Z619

What is that a computer for ants?

February 12, 2017 | 06:09 PM - Posted by kfh13 (not verified)

Dear viewers,
Could you suggest good thin mini ATX case with support for one 3.5 or 2.5 HDD, SFX PSU but without space for dedicated GPU?

June 13, 2017 | 01:22 AM - Posted by xplangchao

Hi Sebastian, I'm also using ECS H110S-2P MB and VT01 case. My CPU is G4560 and 8G DDR4 RAM was installed. The BIOS was updated to the latest version (Feb 2017). The power adapter is a 90W model for ASUS laptop. It is strange that when I use this PC, it reboot automatically from time to time. There's no blue screens or error prompts, the system just loses power and reboot, just like the reset button is pressed. It happens when I surfing the internet, watch videos, even during the Windows 10 loading. I don't think it's a DC adapter or CPU issue, because I ran Aida64 for 15 minutes with full CPU/FPU/MEM load, the system seems stable. I also tested RAM with MemTest64 for 10 loops, no error was detected. Do you have any suggestion to locate or solve this issue? Thank you.

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