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ECS LIVA Z Review: Fanless Apollo Lake Mini PC

Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction and First Impressions

The LIVA family of mini PCs has been refreshed regularly since its introduction in 2014, and the LIVA Z represents a change to sleek industrial design as well as the expected updates to the internal hardware.

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The LIVA Z we have for review today is powered by an Intel Apollo Lake SoC, and the product family includes SKUs with both Celeron and Pentium processors. Our review unit is the entry-level model with a Celeron N3350 processor, 4GB memory, and 32GB storage. Memory and storage support are improved compared to past LIVAs, as this is really more of a mini-PC kit like an Intel NUC, as the LIVA Z includes an M.2 slot (SATA 6.0 Gbps) for storage expansion, and a pair of SODIMM slots support up to 8 GB of DDR3L memory (a single 4GB SODIMM is installed by default).

The LIVA Z is a very small device, just a bit bigger than your typical set-top streaming box, and like all LIVAs it is fanless; making it totally silent in operation. This is important for many people in applications such as media consumption in a living room, and like previous LIVA models the Z includes a VESA mount for installation on the back of a TV or monitor. So how does it perform? We will find out!

Continue reading our review of the ECS LIVA Z fanless mini PC!


Specifications:

  • Platform:
    • Intel Apollo Lake Pentium N4200 SOC
    • Intel Apollo Lake Celeron N3450 SOC
    • Intel Apollo Lake Celeron N3350 SOC
  • Memory: 2x SO-DIMM Memory, DDR3L Up to 8GB
  • Storage:
    • 1x eMMC 32GB/64GB
    • 1x M.2 expansion slot for SSD (SATA)
  • Audio:
    • 1 x Combo Jack
    • 1 x Digital Mic
  • LAN: 2x Gigabit LAN
  • USB:
    • 3x USB 3.1 Gen1 Ports
    • 1x USB 3.0 Type-C port
  • Video Output:
    • 1x HDMI Port (HDMI 1.4)
    • 1x mini DisplayPort
  • Wireless: Intel WiFi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0
  • OS Support:
    • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
    • Windows 10 64bit
  • VESA Support: 75mm / 100mm (bracket/screws included)
  • Adapter Input: AC 100-240V,Output: DC 19V / 3.42A
  • Dimensions: 117 x 128 x 33 mm (4.61 x 5.04 x 1.30 inches)

First Impressions

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The LIVA arrives in a glossy retail box, and inside we find a mini-PC much smaller than the packaging might indicate.

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First we’ll look at the included accessory pack, which offers the requisite power adapter along with a VESA mount and driver software on a CD-ROM. Now we’ll take a look at the LIVA Z itself.

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At around 5 inches square and just over an inch tall (4.61 x 5.04 x 1.30 inches, to be exact) the LIVA Z is a very compact computer on par with the slim Intel NUC machines. It has a black plastic construction with rounded corners and a glossy top panel.

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As to I/O, the front panel contains the LIVA Z’s only USB ports, with a trio of USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and a USB 3.0 Type-C port.

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Around back we see a video output via mini DisplayPort and standard HDMI (v1.4), and a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports.

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The sides of the LIVA Z are vented to help keep the Apollo Lake SoC cool during operation.

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Next we'll take a look inside the LIVA Z and cover component/OS installation.


June 5, 2017 | 09:38 AM - Posted by Mobile_Dom

Makes you wonder, if Windows 10 on ARM is done right (like it looks to be being) these low-end Intel chips will all but die off. to make this fanless it's severely gimped on both the thermal headroom of the CPU cores but also the GPU ones.

Plop in a quad-Core Cortex A73 based chip, or if you're lucky, an A75 one, designed from the ground up to be fanless and low power, and can emulate Win32 remarkably well, and will likely be cheaper than these Intel chips.

June 5, 2017 | 12:43 PM - Posted by CNote

Did you try the ethernet connections?

June 5, 2017 | 01:32 PM - Posted by Xebec

This could make a pretty nice pfsense router..

June 5, 2017 | 02:22 PM - Posted by H380

pfsensebox box exactly my thought. Any one have any idea on out of the box comparability with pfS?

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