ECS LIVA Z5 Mini-PC Review

The LIVA Z5 Plus boasts an elegant design and state-of-the-art hardware specifications. It caters to a diverse range of usage scenarios, including home entertainment, home office tasks, and professional applications.

Kapish Khajuria
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ECS LIVA Z5 Mini-PC review

The landscape of the mini-PC market, once predominantly dominated by Intel's NUC PCs and Zotac's Zboxes, has undergone a notable transformation, witnessing an influx of various brands and models. This surge in competition has led to a proliferation of options, with numerous PC manufacturers— including some traditional component makers—entering the fray with compact, handheld, and cost-effective desktop solutions that blur the line between traditional desktops and portable devices and many of these devices are so diminutive that they can be conveniently used without occupying space on a desk.


Adding to this dynamic ecosystem is the introduction of the ECS LIVA Z5 Plus mini-PC, slated for release this year 2024. Positioned as a compelling choice for users seeking a blend of power and versatility in a compact form factor, the LIVA Z5 Plus boasts an elegant design and state-of-the-art hardware specifications. It caters to a diverse range of usage scenarios, including home entertainment, home office tasks, and professional applications.

Promising enhanced performance and a plethora of connectivity options, this mini PC endeavors to deliver a comprehensive computing experience without any compromises, all within a discreet and space-efficient package. In our forthcoming review, we will delve into the features and performance of the LIVA Z5 Plus to assess its capability to meet the demands of discerning users seeking high-level functionality in a compact form factor.

Packaging and Unboxing/what’s inside the box?


The ECS LIVA Z5 Plus mini-PC packaging provides a thorough and orderly unpacking experience. Everything you require to get going straight away is included, including the small PC itself, a power adapter, viti for the assembly, and support for VESA. As soon as you open the package, you can see that every part has been meticulously wrapped and safeguarded to guarantee the highest level of safety throughout transit.





Intel Core i5-1335U SoC (10 cores, 12 threads)


Intel Iris Xe (80EU)


16GB DDR4 3200MHz (8GB x 2), expandable to 64GB


256GB M.2 2280 PCIe Gen 4 (one slot only)




3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 4.0 Gen 2x2 Type-C, 1x USB 2.0 (internal header), 2x HDMI 2.0b, 1x Displayport 1.4, 1x universal audio jack


2x 2.5GbE LAN, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2


Windows 11 Pro (pre-installed)

Base Power



19V 4.47A 90W


148 x 120 x 38.35 (mm)



LIVA Z5 Plus Design

The design of the LIVA Z5 Plus strikes a balance between robust construction and thoughtful functionality. While the chassis features sturdy metal on the sides and bottom, the top portion is constructed from plastic, allowing for efficient airflow management. Air is drawn in through the sides and then circulated over the motherboard before being expelled through a rear slot located above the I/O section.


On the front face, users will find three USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 ports, along with a USB-C port designated as USB 4.0 2x2 by ECS. Additionally, there's a power button and a 3.5mm universal audio jack, typically used for headphones. Surprisingly, the rear lacks any USB ports, opting instead for three video ports (two HDMI and one DisplayPort) and dual 2.5GbE LAN ports.

The HDMI ports support version 2.0b, while the DisplayPort adheres to version 1.4 specifications. It's theoretically possible to connect another display via the USB-C port using Alt DP mode. However, due to the limitations of the Iris Xe GPU supporting only three displays, the USB-C would serve as an alternative to one of the existing outputs.

The inclusion of Gen 1 USB-A ports may limit the performance of external SSDs to around 500MB/s, which could be a drawback for some users. There's also a hidden USB 2.0 header, though its specific purpose remains uncertain.


The ease of accessibility is a notable feature of the Z5 Plus, as removing the floor of the case grants access to memory and M.2 slots for straightforward upgrades. The model reviewed houses an Intel Core i5 1335U processor with ten cores and twelve threads, paired with 16GB of Hynix DDR4 memory (2x8GB) and 256GB of M.2 storage. The presence of internally accessible memory slots and an M.2 slot allows for user-implemented upgrades.

Although the LIVA Z5 Plus lacks unused slots or SATA options, it remains upgradeable for users willing to replace the pre-installed memory and storage. Overall, the design of the LIVA Z5 Plus strikes a functional balance that will suit the needs of many users, neither being exceptional nor inadequate.

LIVA Z5 Plus Features


The selected processor, an Intel Core i5 1335U, presents a unique configuration where efficiency cores outnumber performance cores in a ratio of 10 to 2. On paper, the performance cores boast impressive specifications, with the ability to turbo boost up to 4.6GHz and utilize 12MB of Smart Cache. This configuration offers the advantage of maintaining cool temperatures even under heavy workloads without requiring extensive cooling solutions.

However, there is a potential issue stemming from Intel's design of the chip with an extended budget of 55W, which ECS did not fully utilize. Instead, they opted to adhere to the default power budget intended for laptop use, despite the machine being mains-powered, leading to some confusion.

Furthermore, utilizing DDR5 memory with the GPU could significantly enhance overall performance, particularly in bandwidth-intensive multi-threaded tasks. However, this may also impact GPU performance, as the integrated graphics of the Iris Xe share memory with the main system.


In terms of chipset capabilities, the Z5 Plus excels in PCIe lanes, offering 20 lanes, although not as many as those seen in Core i9 and AMD Ryzen 7 platforms. The CPU supports PCIe 4.0, while the support chips are limited to PCIe 3.0.

In summary, while the hardware of the Z5 Plus mini PC is powerful, it is somewhat hindered by decisions made by both Intel and ECS. Despite concerns such as the use of DDR4 memory and limited port numbers, the user experience with the ECS LIVA Z5 Plus proves satisfying. The system operates smoothly and responsively, even under heavy office workloads, with improved dissipation capacity contributing to cooler and quieter operations compared to previous models. These factors give the LIVA Z5 Plus a competitive edge in the mini PC market, appealing to those seeking high performance and reliability in a compact form factor.

ECS LIVA Z5 plus Performance

In terms of performance, the ECS LIVA Z5 Plus showcases a notable improvement compared to machines like the N100 or N300. However, when pitted against the Minisforum NBP7, it falls short due to limitations in DDR4 bandwidth and the 15W power constraint.

Nevertheless, equipped with the latest generation hardware, abundant I/O ports, and pre-installed Windows 11 Pro, this mini PC offers robust performance and a diverse array of features within its compact design. It excels in office work, even during demanding tasks, thanks to its seamless multitasking capabilities.

While it may not cater to high-end workloads, the LIVA Z5 Plus is an excellent choice for users prioritizing durability, stability, and consistent performance. It presents a compelling option for those seeking reliability over sheer power.

Should you buy it or not?

While there are more powerful Small Form Factor (SFF) systems available, particularly those utilizing Intel Core i7, i9, and AMD Ryzen 7 platforms, the LIVA Z5 Plus surpasses the capabilities of a typical low-cost NUC. However, it's important to note that it doesn't fit the mold of a traditional low-cost NUC, which poses a dilemma.

If the LIVA Z5 Plus becomes available at a more competitive price point, it could become a viable contender in the market. Ultimately, the decision to purchase will depend on its availability and pricing once it hits the market, providing consumers with a clearer understanding of its value proposition.