ECS H110S-2P Review

Written by Antony Leather

September 28, 2016 | 12:17

Tags: #mini-itx #mini-stx

Companies: #ecs

ECS H110S-2P Review: Hands-On with Mini-STX

Manufacturer: ECS
UK price (as reviewed):
Approx £80
US price (as reviewed): Approx $80

Despite the fact we have three popular motherboard form factors, there are still some gaps in the market that, given what we're looking at today, some companies clearly think need filling. Below mini-ITX, things get very low power, except for a few fleeting offerings, but for the most part you're looking at mobile CPUs, which lack the grunt of their desktop counterparts.

That's not a limitation based on design, but on cooling - you need a big heatsink to deal with a desktop CPU, or at least one that's too big for most laptops. There is a simple answer to this, though, which is to use a standard CPU socket and just make everything around it smaller and that's exactly what mini-STX is. Like most Steam Machines, it has a standard Intel CPU socket, in this case LGA1151, but more importantly it has standard cooler mounting points as well.

ECS H110S-2P Review ECS H110S-2P Review: Hands-On with Mini-STX ECS H110S-2P Review ECS H110S-2P Review: Hands-On with Mini-STX
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That means that anything from the stock Intel heatsink to a £200 water-cooling system can be attached to a mini-STX board such as ECS's H110S-2P that we're looking at here - assuming your case can also house one of course. Sadly, though, despite you probably thinking the same thing we were (Core i7-6700K overclocked to 4.6GHz FTW!), most mini-STX boards are limited to 65W CPUs which rules out K-series Skylake models. However, you can still use the Core i7-6700 non-K model, which offers plenty of bang for a system this size and far more than any NUC too.

ECS H110S-2P Review ECS H110S-2P Review: Hands-On with Mini-STX ECS H110S-2P Review ECS H110S-2P Review: Hands-On with Mini-STX
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If you were thinking about ditching your main system for a mini-STX-based one then there are a few more things to consider too. There's no PCI-E slot at all, so no option for a discrete GPU or sound card and there's just one SATA 6Gbps port courtesy of an included adaptor. You're also limited to laptop memory/SODIMMs and while PCI-E SSDs are supported, you're not getting fully-fledged PCI-E 3.0 x4 bandwidth, so there's little point opting for a Samsung 950 Pro, for example, as you'll see in our benchmarks.

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However, you do at least have the option of using an SSD and hard disk, courtesy of the included ports, which should be enough for most people. Beneath the M.2 port for SSDs is a shortened slot for Wi-Fi modules, although this is vacant out of the box.

ECS H110S-2P Review ECS H110S-2P Review: Hands-On with Mini-STX
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So just how much smaller is mini-STX compared to mini-ITX? Well it's not quite the same shift as from micro-ATX down to mini-ITX, but you're still dropping from 170mm x 170mm to 147mm x 140mm - that's 289cm2 down to 244cm2. Of course, to take advantage of the small size you need a small case - there are a few in the works from the likes of SilverStone and Akasa but you won't be able to use your board in a mini-ITX case. Similarly, it's unlikely any mini-STX cases will support anything more than low profile air coolers.

ECS H110S-2P Review ECS H110S-2P Review: Hands-On with Mini-STX ECS H110S-2P Review ECS H110S-2P Review: Hands-On with Mini-STX
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ECS H110S-2P Review ECS H110S-2P Review: Hands-On with Mini-STX ECS H110S-2P Review ECS H110S-2P Review: Hands-On with Mini-STX
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The EFI was pretty basic and with the likes of ASRock and Asus also offering mini-STX boards, there's undoubtedly some better options out there in terms of EFI quality and features than on offer here with the ECS H110S-2P. However, since you won't be overclocking, the EFI isn't as important as it would be on an enthusiast Z170 board.

Specifications

  • Chipset Intel H110
  • Form factor Mini-STX
  • CPU support Intel Socket 1151
  • Memory support Dual-channel, 2 slots (SODIMM), max 32GB
  • Sound 2-channel Realtek ALC662
  • Networking Realtek 8111H Gigabit Fast Ethernet
  • Ports 1 x M.2 (PCI-E SSD) 1 x M.2 (WiFi) 1 x SATA 6Gbps, 3 x USB 3.0 2 x USB 2.0 (2 x via header), 1 x LAN, audio out, 1 x line in
  • Dimensions (mm) 147 x 140
  • Extras Proprietary/SATA to SATA and power adaptor

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