Introduction and Setup Impressions

Over the last couple of years, mini-PCs in the ultra-compact form factor (UCFF) have emerged as one of the bright spots in the troubled PC market. ECS made their entry in the market through the LIVA. Despite being an innovative product in the mini-PC space, it did suffer from a few questionable devisions with respect to the chassis design. The placement of the USB ports was not user-friendly, and the unit didn't appear sturdy either. ECS has iterated fast and put out an updated version (with a different chassis and motherboard design as well as a few tweaked internals) in the form of the LIVA X. The following gallery from ECS provides more insight into the LIVA X, and the picture that follows compares it against the LIVA.

Gallery: ECS LIVA X

Note that the USB ports in the LIVA X are in a more accessible location compared to the LIVA. We also have an additional USB 2.0 port, which is definitely welcome. On the downside, the unit is no longer powered by a micro-USB connector. Instead, we have a wall-wart rated for 36 W (12V @ 3A). The presence of a mSATA slot as well as an additional USB port drive up the maximum possible power consumption, justifying a more powerful adapter.

The specifications of our ECS LIVA X review configuration are summarized in the table below.

ECS LIVA X Specifications
Processor Intel Celeron N2808
(2C/2T x 1.58 GHz, 22nm, 1MB L2, 4.5W TDP, 3W SDP)
Memory 4GB DDR3-1333
Graphics Intel HD Graphics
Disk Drive(s) Toshiba THGBMBG9D1KBAIL eMMC 64 GB
Networking 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x1 802.11n/Bluetooth mPCIe
Audio Capable of 5.1/7.1 digital output with HD audio bitstreaming (HDMI)
Operating System Retail unit is barebones, but we installed Windows 8.1 Pro x64
Pricing (As configured) $250
Full Specifications ECS LIVA X Specifications

The ECS LIVA X kit doesn't come with any pre-installed OS, but does come with a CD containing the drivers. It would be nice to have a (read-only) USB key instead of the CD.

In the table below, we have an overview of the various systems that we are comparing the ECS LIVA X against. Note that they may not belong to the same market segment. The relevant configuration details of the machines are provided so that readers have an understanding of why some benchmark numbers are skewed for or against the ECS LIVA X when we come to those sections. A point to note is that all the PC configurations listed below are completely passive solutions.

Comparative PC Configurations
CPU Intel Celeron N2808 Intel Celeron N2808
GPU Intel HD Graphics Intel HD Graphics
9-9-9-24 @ 1333 MHz
9-9-9-24 @ 1333 MHz
Storage Toshiba THGBMBG9D1KBAIL eMMC 064GE2
(64 GB; eMMC v5.0-compatible)
(64 GB; eMMC v5.0-compatible)
Wi-Fi Ralink RT3290
(1x1 802.11n - 150 Mbps)
Ralink RT3290
(1x1 802.11n - 150 Mbps)
Price (in USD, when built) $250 $250
Performance Metrics - I
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  • zepi - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    HEVC / H.265 decoding capabilities would also be of interest for all HTPC tests.

    Otherwise these are solid articles about htpc's.
  • YoloPascual - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    Well, this might be the best looking NUC out there.
  • yannigr2 - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    Could you please try to do a review for this one?

    It looks much more interesting than the LIVA.
  • kaidenshi - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    Ooo, the multi-LAN version of that would work great as a custom router/firewall!
  • speculatrix - Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - link looked at the fitlet
  • takeshi7 - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    I think the Zotac PI320 is a much better value. It's $50 cheaper, has 2 more cores and comes with an OS. The only real advantage I see in this is more RAM.
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    What does anyone need those extra cores for?
  • eanazag - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    I'd like to see VGA ports die already, but I understand they may have customers looking for that. I'd rather see the HDMI and a DP port for the video out.
  • kaidenshi - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    At first I had the same reaction as you, then I remembered that a lot of digital signage (a target market for these devices) still uses VGA. Hell, I still have a 15" VGA only LCD around here somewhere, and I would be able to slap this on the back and make a great "kitchen PC" for when I'm cooking and need to research ingredients or methods.

    But yes, a DisplayPort or mini DisplayPort connector would make more sense, given how cheap DP to VGA adapters are.
  • jabber - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    I think what you are looking for there is a laptop.

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