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ECS Z270H4-I Review


ECS Z270H4-I Closer Look:

ECS has a fairly standard layout with UEFI support. At first boot you are greeted under an Easy Mode with the option to jump into the Advanced Settings at the top of the screen. Under the Advanced menus, the option for Performance Mode listed under Easy Setup is just slightly renamed. As I stated on the previous page, very few ITX motherboards have overclocking features and even though this one is fully capable of keeping an i7-7700k stable under full load, an overclocked CPU isn't really in the playing cards if you're already using an i7. This motherboard has never been marketed as an overclocking monster, but rather budget oriented motherboard in an ITX form factor.

But first, before I get too far along, I want to bring up a nagging problem I've encountered on just ECS products. It seems certain keyboards and mice do not work in the BIOS. I haven't figured it out why and I followed the steps ECS provided me, such as full shutdown, cold reboots, and BIOS reset. In any case, my Logitech G510 keyboard will not function in any USB port until Windows loads. I had the same problem with the LIVA Z I reviewed last month. So, beware that this could be a problem for you also. It can make setting up the BIOS extremely difficult if the keyboard does not respond to commands. Luckily I had a old spare keyboard that was barebones and it worked just fine.




Of course, even though this isn't an overclocking beast of a motherboard, the full Z270 feature list is sitll present, starting with the main menu listing things like BIOS version and time of day.


All the action happens under the M.I.B tab, where most everything to do with overclocking and general CPU settings can be found. It is a little strange to find the CPU multiplier (CPU Ratio) on its own tab without voltage options, as usually those are functions meant for quick overclocking profiles. ECS decided to take a cleaner approach in the BIOS and gave everything that would have often been a subsection its own standalone menu. It is not a bad idea, but it does take some time getting use to it if you are familiar with other brands' naming schemes and BIOS layouts. I spent awhile looking for an option that I did spot on my first glance through and then lost it on my second and third pass. My memory tricked me into thinking it was lumped together with another set of features. It is not a big deal, but worth a notation if you are long time system builder, as this different approach may throw you for a loop.



The Advanced tab lists the processor type, options for Hyper Threading, and other basic features present in most Intel CPUs. It is not a very interesting menu, so let's move on.


Ah the Boot Tab. ECS has seemingly laid out all the options in an orderly fashion, but when choosing between Operating System quick selects, some settings in other menus will turn off, like UEFI and Secure Boot if Legacy option is selected. By default, the motherboard is set to Windows 8.X / Windows 10 with the option for Legacy and Linux / Other. I had a bit of trouble getting anything to boot from a flash drive without being under the Linux Preset at first. After unsuccessfully trying to install Windows 10 from a flash drive and not wanting to use the Linux boot settings, I continued to play around in the BIOS until deciding just to re-download the ISO from Microsoft. I had a similar experience with the LIVA Z. The BIOS is very picky on what will boot. I am not sure what changed over last year's Windows 10 build, but it was enough to be rejected as a boot option. Just keep in mind that you may want to download the newest Windows 10 build beforehand to avoid an unnecessary headache. Realistically, most users are only going to install a single OS, which will be Windows 10, and the problem becomes moot once you get over the hurdles of installation and boot priorities.


Under the M.I.B tab, an option for Memory Configuration is present. It was extremely easy to find and set the X.M.P profile for my DDR4 3200MHz kit. I didn't have to perform any timings or voltage tweaks, which is always nice to see. Now, since the memory controller is on the CPU itself, not all users will experience the same results. That is why ECS lists 3300MHz with an asterisk because it is technically an overclock by going over Intel's specifications. Just because the option is present does not mean the CPU can handle it, so be aware and don't blame ECS if you run into problems because it works just fine.



The last tab listed under "Exit" is fairly bland, with the standard options for saving the settings or restoring defaults. Absent is an option to save profiles that is present on many motherboards. However, once again this is not an overclocking-oriented motherboard, so extra profiles would most likely go unused. I saved the most boring stuff for the end here, so brace yourself. Under the "Advanced" and "Chipset" tabs you can find all the features for turning off USB ports, setting up power management options, and everything else that is generally left alone unless you are trying to troubleshoot a problem. That concludes the BIOS portion of this review. Besides the seemingly strange layout and keyboard issue, everything worked as expected.



  1. ECS Z270H4-I: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. ECS Z270H4-I Closer Look: The BIOS
  3. ECS Z270H4-I: Specifications & Features
  4. ECS Z270H4-I Testing: Setup
  5. ECS Z270H4-I Testing: PCMark 8, SiSoft Sandra 2016, Cinebench R15, HWBot X265 Benchmark
  6. ECS Z270H4-I Testing: AIDA64, CrystalDiskMark, ATTO, iPerf, RMAA
  7. ECS Z270H4-I Testing: Gaming
  8. ECS Z270H4-I: Conclusion
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