ECS LIVA X Mini PC ReviewRHKCommander959 -
Category: Small Form Factor
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ECS LIVA X Mini PC Introduction:
The ECS LIVA X is a micro PC mainly targeting ultra low power and compact size markets, including media devices – mainly streaming media players. With a total footprint size of 125 x 83 x 40mm this computer is quite small indeed! The LIVA X is able to be VESA mounted to monitors/TVs for signage capabilities or for minimalistic desktops. Wireless 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 support make this PC much more versatile. Cooling is all done with a heat sink that uses no fans, this means increased reliability, decreased power consumption versus a similar unit with a fan, and no noise! With a passive heat sink and eMMC storage, there are no moving parts to make noise, unless one adds an optical drive through USB the system should be entirely silent.
ECS LIVA and LIVA X models vary, LIVA are designed to be assembled by end users whereas the LIVA X is ready to go – minus the operating system. ECS has plans to release future models with operating systems installed – likely Windows 8.1 with Bing. Out-of-the-box Windows 8.1 is supported, Windows 7 requires installation of an mSATA SSD prior to installation. The hardware is System on a Chip meaning that most of the components are built into the processor – in this case the 22nm 1170-pin Intel Silvermont microarchitecture, similar to that of the Atom processors. This design has an out of order execution engine. The Celeron N2808 is used in this LIVA X – the processor has 1 MB of L2 cache, dual cores, 64-bit instruction set, a base frequency of 1.58GHz and turbo frequency of 2.25GHz. TDP is 4.5W, with a Scenario Design Power SDP of 3W.
The on-die memory controller supports up to 4GB of DDR3L at 1333MHz, single channel; this all adds up to a maximum memory bandwidth of 10.66GB/s. The Intel GPU has a base frequency of 311MHz, with a burst frequency of 792MHz, and only four execution units. Up to two displays are supported – one through HDMI and the other through VGA. Intel Quick Sync Video and Intel Wireless Display are both supported features as well. 64GB of storage is provided with this LIVA X model on the eMMC storage, with 4GB of DDR3L memory. Other models can have 32GB of storage and 2GB of memory.
The regular LIVA models have only one USB 2.0 port, are slightly larger, and they also use a 5V power supply versus the 12V of the LIVA X, which has two USB 2.0 ports. This power supply change is odd and means that users cannot use a simple USB battery bank as they could with the LIVA. But on the flip side, this does mean it would be easier to run in automotive settings.
With two USB 2.0 ports along with the USB 3.0 port, it seems ECS has addressed the issue of too few USB ports as was seen with prior LIVA models. With all of the features mentioned prior, this could be an interesting mini PC: with applications including low-profile office work, silent media computing, potential automotive applications, and ultra-low power designs. I wouldn't get too excited about gaming performance (if any exists), but we will certainly give it a try!
ECS LIVA X Mini PC Closer Look:
The top and smaller sides of the box all match each other – the whole box is primarily black with all faces save the bottom having white LIVA MINI PC logos with an orange/white X above. The packaging is clean, smooth, and sturdy – the package I received did show some signs of wear on the box. The bottom is plain black. The top of the box has lines similar to the top of the PC inside, except the LIVA logo is on the wrong portion so it isn't a perfect match. Down around the bottom right of the top-box in gray-colored font you can make out "Designed by ECS ELITEGROUP". All important information is on the longer sides as seen below.
The first side features the LIVA X, ECS ELITEGROUP, and Intel logos, along with a QR bar-code, an adhesive bar-code label with a rundown of specifications, and Intel SoC Bay Trail-M written in the center. Flipping the box over to the opposite side reveals an isometric photo of the LIVA X Mini PC. In the center are the features included in the system: Intel SoC Bay Trail-M CPU, Gigabit LAN and Wireless Combo Card IEEE 802.11 b/g/n & Bluetooth 4.0 networking, 1x mSATA expansion slot for SSDs, Windows 7 (through SSD)/Windows 8.1 support, 1x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x HDMI and 1x VGA display outputs, 1x combo audio jack for microphone-in and 2-channel output, VESA Mount included for mounting to monitors/TVs, power supply adapter with 100-240V AC input range and 12V DC with 3A output, 135 x 83 x 40 mm physical dimensions, and 64GB eMMC storage with 4GB of DDR3L memory as indicated by red stickers. To the right is the LIVA X logo again.
The box is a flip-top design and opens easily after pulling up the side. Inside is another platform of cardboard that matches the main box, it holds the LIVA X centered inside and helps to protect it from damage. The LIVA X is wrapped in a plastic bag to help protect against dust and moisture. Underneath the plastic, cardboard, and LIVA X PC are the accessories and power supply adapter.
The ECS LIVA X comes with a user guide which explains features of the LIVA X, the BIOS settings, and installing software for the PC, a quick installation guide, and a DVD disk with drivers and software. Without a disk drive however, users will need access to another computer to setup Windows 8 onto a thumb drive, along with the drivers. I strongly recommend using a USB 3.0 drive! The VESA mount is simple to install – four screws attach the bracket to the monitor or TV, and two attach to the LIVA X, then the two screws on the LIVA X are lined up with the bracket and slid into position.
The power supply adapter is provided by Asian Power Devices Inc. model WA-36A12. This power supply automatically senses input voltage and converts it from a range of 100-240V AC to 12V DC. Four adapters are included and should enable both ECS and end users more international freedom without the need for power converters. The included adapters are labeled for Great Britain, the United States, Australia, and European Union. Installation and removal of adapters is a breeze – you push in the button and slide them to install/remove. With this, it would be easy to take your computer internationally, except needing a monitor and keyboard/mouse (or keyboard with touch pad).
With everything unpacked, we can get a better look at the ECS LIVA X Mini PC!