ECS LIVA Adopts Its Own M.2 Port

Subject: Systems, Storage | January 20, 2016 - 02:44 AM |
Tagged: M.2 SATA, M.2, LIVA, ECS

Back in November, Sebastian reviewed the ECS LIVA X2. While the device always had an M.2 slot, its storage options were soldered eMMC chips with capacities of their 32GB or 64GB. They were also pretty slow, with 150MB/s reads and 40MB/s writes in his testing. To exceed that, you need to install your own M.2-based SSD, which was a bit of a difficult process.


According to Links International, via FanlessTech, we are now seeing options that include M.2 SSDs without eMMC. In this case, they are using an Intel-based, 120GB drive. Its signal is M.2 SATA though, which is slower than M.2 PCIe, but a device with this performance characteristic will probably not care about that extra bump in performance. You probably couldn't do much high-bandwidth data crunching with the Braswell processor, and just about every other way on or off of the device is limited to less than or equal to a gigabit of bandwidth. You might be able to find a use case, but it's unlikely to affect anyone interested in this PC.

The jump from eMMC, on the other hand, might.

Need a hand picking a low power ARM system?

Subject: Systems | January 13, 2016 - 07:36 PM |
Tagged: arm, raspberry pi zero, jetson tk1, JetsonTX1

If you are curious how the various ARM powered boards currently on the market compare to each other then the gang over at Phoronix has a real treat for you.  They have assembled a plethora of systems including the ODROID C1+, Raspberry Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi 2, Orange Pi Plus, Orange Pi PC, Banana Pi M2 as well as the Jetson TK1, and Jetson TX1 for comparison purposes.  Most of the systems use a Cortex A7 though you will also see an A5 as well as an A57.  The tests are varied as it can be difficult to determine what performance should be benchmarked on these systems although some like the OpenSSL test are obvious.  Since part of the reason you would choose a low power ARM system is the price, they wrap up with a performance-per-dollar rating to help you choose the best valued system for what you need it to do.


"For those interested in small, low-power ARM single-board computers, up for your viewing pleasure today are benchmarks of several different boards from the Raspberry Pi Zero to the Banana Pi M2."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:


Source: Phoronix

CES 2016: LG Rolls Out Flexible OLED Display Prototype

Subject: Systems | January 11, 2016 - 08:16 AM |
Tagged: oled, LG, curved lcd, CES 2016

A true digital equivalent to paper is moving closer to reality with LG’s new flexible OLED display. Still in an early prototype stage, the company had a working flexible display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Los Vegas last week. Measuring 18” diagonally, the OLED display is able to be rolled up and bent with ease while the display remains on.

LG is hoping its bendable display will be used in future televisions that can be rolled out to a massive size and then easily rolled up and stored in a closet or cabinet out of sight when not being used. Of course, this flexible display will also have uses in smaller products like portable computer monitors and tablets in new form factors.

Screenshot (9).png

Image credit:

Currently, this flexible OLED is not without its limitations. It can be rolled up or bent, but not folded flat. Further, the model on display at CES was only able to be rolled up in a one specific direction (from the bottom left corner to the top right). LG claimed that while it is possible to roll it up in other directions, it is more complicated due to the way the circuitry is positioned and the display is at greater risk of being damaged.

Speaking of damage, BBC reporter Dave Lee notes that the prototype had several noticeable dead pixels likely resulting from repeated bending and excessive handling of the display. This display, it seems, is rather fragile for a display much less one meant to be regularly manipulated.

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Image credit:

With that said, this prototype is a promising step towards a viable bendable display. OLED technology is really what is making this possible since the pixels themselves are emitting light and LG does not have to worry about integrating a separate backlight. Final products are still a ways out, and there are definitely more roadblocks and kinks to iron out, but I'm interested in seeing where LG and other manufacturers take this technology!

If you're interested in this display, you can find more photos and a hands-on video on this BBC news article.

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Source: BBC

CES 2016: ECS Introduces LIVA One Mini PC

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2016 - 08:40 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, mini-pc, LIVA One, LIVA, ECS, Core i3-6100T, CES 2016, CES

The newest member of the LIVA family is here, and this time we have a larger footprint but a thinner device with significantly upgraded internals. Teased back in December by ECS, we now have all the details about this new LIVA One.


Powered by an Intel Core i3-6100T, a 35W 2 core/4 thread part that operates at 3.20 GHz, the LIVA One is a big step up from previous versions including the LIVA Core, which used the 4.5W Intel Core M-5Y10c. The new LIVA One also uses M.2 storage and comes with an 80GB Intel SSD in its default configuration, along with 4 GB of DDR3 SoDIMM memory.


Full specifications from ECS (default configuration):

  • Processor: Intel Core i3-6100T
  • Chipset: H110
  • Memory: 4GB SO-DIMM DDR3
  • Expansion Slot: 1x SATA; supports 2.5” HDD
  • Storage: Intel 80GB M.2 SSD
  • Audio: 1x Combo Jack
  • Networking:
    • 1x Gigabit LAN
    • 1x Wireless Combo Card
  • USB:
    • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C Port
    • 4x USB 3.0 Ports
  • Video Output:
    • 1x HDMI Port
    • 1x D-Sub Port
    • 1x DP Port
  • Wireless: Intel Wi-Fi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0
  • Dimension: 173 x 176 x 33 mm
  • Card Reader: MicroSDXC
  • Adapter Input: AC 100-240V, Output: DC 19V / 4.74A
  • OS Support:    
    • Windows 7
    • Windows 8.1
    • Windows 10
    • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

The LIVA One can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16 GB of memory, and storage up to 4 TB from the SATA 2.5-inch expansion bay (though no 4 TB drives are yet available at 2.5"). The M.2 storage used for the One's OS drive offers up to 1 GB/s of transfer speeds according to ECS.


ECS says LIVA Core is "one-liter of book size" computer

The LIVA One also offers Intel WiDi, USB 3.1 Type-C, is VESA mountable, and has a native microSDXC reader built in. Pricing and availability was not announced, and the One has yet to appear on Amazon/Newegg.

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Source: ECS

CES 2016: Zotac ZBOX EA740 Features AMD Radeon R9 GPU

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2016 - 04:12 PM |
Tagged: zbox, small form factor, radeon, R9 M365X, i3-6100T Skylake, CES 2016, CES, amd

Zotac had several new ZBOX small form-factor PCs on display at CES, and among these was a new E series system featuring a pairing of an Intel Skylake i3 with an AMD Radeon R9 GPU.


The Radeon in question is the R9 M365X, a discrete mobile part with 640 stream processors, up to 925 MHz core clock, and 2 GB of dedicated 128-bit GDDR5 memory running at up to 1125 MHz (72 GB/s max bandwidth). This is running on a very capable platform powered by a 6th-gen Intel Core i3-6100T, a 35W 2 core/4 thread part running at 3.20 GHz.


Here is a rundown of the specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i3-6100T (Skylake) dual-core, 3.20 GHz
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon R9 M365X with 2 GB GDDR5
  • Memory: 2x DDR3L-1600 SoDIMM slots
  • Storage: 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps; M.2 SSD slot
  • USB: 2x USB 3.0; USB 3.0 Type-C
  • Networking: 2x Gigabit LAN; 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display output: 3x DisplayPort


Good to see a discrete AMD GPU option in one of these small form-factor ZBOX units, as previous E-series models offered only NVIDIA or Intel solutions. Unfortunately no release date or price was announced.

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Source: Zotac

CES 2016: Zotac Refreshes ZBOX Pico with Intel Cherry Trail

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2016 - 05:12 AM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox pico, zbox, Cherry Trail, CES 2016, CES

Zotac had a pair of new ZBOX pico systems on display in their suite at CES, with refreshed models featuring updated Intel Cherry Trail processors; up from the previous Bay Trail SoCs.


The two new models have slightly different specs, with a x7-Z8700 SoC (quad-core up to 2.40 GHz) powering the first one pictured (Cherry Trail T4), and a x5-8300 (quad-core up to 1.84 GHz) powering the second (Cherry Trail T3).


Common specifications include:

  • 2 GB LPDDR3
  • 32 GB eMMC
  • Intel HD graphics
  • 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
  • MicroSD slot
  • HDMI output
  • Windows 10 Home pre-installed

The Cherry Trail T3 version offers only 10/100 Ethernet and USB 2.0, while the Cherry Trail T4 version provides Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 Type-C.

Pricing/availability are not yet known.

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Source: Zotac

CES 2016: Zotac ZBOX E1751 SFF PC with Intel Core i7, Iris Pro

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2016 - 04:46 AM |
Tagged: zotac, ZBOX E1751, zbox, SFF, iris pro, i7-5775R, CES 2016, CES, Broadwell

Zotac has a new enthusiast ZBOX in the E series, the E1751; a small form-factor PC with an Intel Core i7 (Broadwell) processor and Iris Pro graphics.


The Intel Core i7-5775R processor is a 65 W 4 core/8 thread part that operates from 3.3 - 3.8 GHz. There are two DDR3L SoDIMM slots supporting 1600/1866 MHz memory (the CPU supports up to 32 GB of RAM), and storage options are limited to SATA/mSATA drives (no M.2 support for the latest NVMe storage).



  • Processor: Intel Core i7-5775R, quad-core up to 3.8 GHz
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
  • Memory: 2x DDR3L 1600/1866 SoDIMM slots
  • Storage: 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps HDD/SSD bay, mSATA 6.0 Gbps slot
  • Networking: Dual Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display output: 2x DisplayPort, DVI-D (single-link)
  • USB: 3x USB 3.0 ports (1x front, 2x rear)
  • Audio: 3.5 mm input/output; digital optical audio output
  • Card reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC

In addition to the kit specified above, the “PLUS” models will include 8 GB of memory and a 128 GB SSD.


Pricing and release date were not yet available.

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Source: Zotac

CES 2016: Zotac Fanless C Series Mini-PC with Skylake i5

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2016 - 03:39 AM |
Tagged: zotac, Skylake, SFF, passive cooling, mini PC, Intel Core i5, fanless, CES 2016, CES

While there were both passive and actively-cooled systems on display in Zotac's suite at CES, one of the most interesting was a new fanless computer in a larger form-factor than previous C-series mini-PCs - and it's powered by an 6th-gen Intel Core i5 6300U processor.


“The ZBOX C Series returns with an Intel Skylake CPU while delivering the same silent performance in an all new ZBOX size. More processing power, more entertainment and more productivity is contained within. The new C Series also support USB 3.1 Type-C, perfect for connecting to new gadgets and more bandwidth.”

Here are the specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6300U processor (dual-core up to 3.0 GHz)
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 520
  • Storage: 1x 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps bay
  • RAM: 2x DDR3L-1600 SoDIMM slots (up to 16GB supported)
  • USB: 2x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • Networking: Dual Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video output: DisplayPort, HDMI

Previous 'nano' systems in the C-series have offered VESA mounting, and this new system is no exception. A completely fanless system, this unit was quite heavy in hand but should pose no issue for most larger displays.


Networking includes dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and 802.11ac Wi-Fi

No specifics on pricing or release date just yet.

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Source: Zotac

CES 2016: New Intel Compute Sticks

Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2016 - 08:45 AM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2016, Intel, compute stick

Intel has announced two new Compute Sticks with a handful of available SKUs.

On the high end, in terms of Compute Sticks at least, two products are available. At the low end of the two, a Core m3 processor will be present, and Windows 10 will be pre-installed for $399. The high-end variant will have a faster Core m5 processor, but no pre-installed OS for $499. It seems odd that a choice in SoC will be tied to the OS, but I'm guessing the Intel doesn't want to have too many SKUs for a potentially low-volume product.


Regardless of the above choice, both Core M-level Compute Sticks, above, have 4GB of RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, HDMI, and 3x USB ports. They also have Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.1 for wireless connectivity.

Beyond the above two products, a low end, Intel Atom-based Compute Stick is available. Just one SKU will be available, though. It has the same Intel Atom x5-Z8300 that was present on the Zotac PC Stick. It also has 2GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, HDMI, and 2x USB ports. It has Wireless AC, but Bluetooth 4.0 (instead of the Core M version's 4.1). It will be available for $159.

Release dates are not announced, but the Atom-based Compute Sticks are in production, and the Core M-based one will enter production next month.

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Source: Intel (pdf)

CES 2016: Zotac Skylake ZBOX and PC Stick

Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2016 - 07:06 AM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2016, zotac, zbox

Zotac is one of the most memorable manufacturers of mini PCs. We have been highlighting their tiny creations since at least 2011, which was as far back as our site's Zotac tag went. At the time, we appreciated them as media center PCs, but interest seems to have picked up substantially since then. They are also appreciated in the fanless community, because silent and tiny devices are even more novel.


Image Credit: Liliputing

They had several products at CES, which span the gamut of uniqueness. Some are fanless, others are in a PC stick form factor, and other ZBOXes are there, too. Liliputing went through a few different models, and gave a pretty detailed discussion of the PC Stick, the ZBOX Pico (T3 and T4), and the ZBOX C series. Be sure to check the site out for a more elaborate look.

The fanless model had a pretty interesting upgrade, though. With a Core i5-6300U, it has a lot of performance for something like an audio recording PC, especially if it's maxed out with 16 GB of RAM. The Intel HD 520 is a bit light otherwise though, but it could play most new games at low settings (~720p). On the other hand, it has two USB 3.1 Type-C ports, as well as a few regular USB 3.0 ports.


Image Credit: Liliputing

The PC stick is definitely low powered, though. It has an Intel Atom x5-Z8300, which could really do without the “Z” in the model name. It has 2GB of RAM, which should be sufficient for those applications, and 32GB of on-device storage, which is better than many other offerings. It even has a MicroSD card slot on top of the internal storage.

Pricing and availability are not yet provided.

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Source: Liliputing