Final Thoughts & Conclusion
ECS’s LIVA Z2 is not their smallest model, we’ve already covered that in our LIVA Q review, but the Z2 comes in about the size of two 120mm fans stacked up. While the Z2 retains the extremely small power envelop in the single digit wattage range, the extra space comes in handy. Moving to a larger heatsink lets the Z2 run completely passively which means exactly zero noise… ever. The casing is large enough to hold a 2.5 drive of your choice. You could go with an SSD for a larger fast space, or a large mechanical drive to house a huge media library. An M.2 Wi-Fi solution allows this to be upgraded down the road to take advantage of newer wireless technologies or the module replaced with something more suited to your needs.
User replaceable memory modules let the system be upgraded quite easily up to a maximum of 8GB of memory. Unfortunately, it appears space is all you will gain from an upgrade. While Intel states that the Pentium N5000 SOC is capable of dual-channel memory, it doesn’t appear that ECS has set the system up to take advantage of this. Most SOC’s or System-On-Chip or other devices with integrated video usually see an increase in performance with an increase in memory bandwidth. Given the design is more to depend on the hardware features built into the SOC and less on raw compute power, we really don’t see this as too much of a negative. Really, ECS’s target audience for the Z2 should be quite happy with its performance, power consumption, and noise, or lack thereof.
Great job ECS!