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  • rheinlds - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    It would be good on ECS's part to integrate a Bay Trail-M part with Quick Sync enabled in the LIVA kits. 32 GB of eMMC turns out to be very less after installing a couple of Windows updates. 64 GB should be the minimum, particularly since flash storage needs plenty of free capacity in order to maintain performance.

    In the Section above "...32 GB of eMMC turns out to be very less after installing a couple of Windows Updates..." Something seems to be missing from this sentence.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    And 4 gigs of ram. With the price of ram being so low, it should be considered a crime to cripple x86 machines by installing only 2 gigs of ram. Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    It depends what you want to use them for.

    As an HTPC, more than 2 GB of RAM is really a waste, as you'll never use even that much (unless something goes horribly wrong with the running apps).

    I have 3 homebuilt HTPCs at home (Athlon-XP w/1.5 GB of RAM running Windows XP; Athlon II X3 w/4 GB of RAM running Windows 7; Core2Duo w/2 GB of RAM running Windows 7) all running Google Chrome for Netflix and Plex Web. None of them even come close to using all the RAM.

    Sure, if you're going to be doing a bunch of other tasks, then having more than 2 GB would be necessary. But as a pure HTPC, it's not required.
    Reply
  • leexgx - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - link

    2GB should be enough for windows 8 but could eat quite easily windows alone uses 1GB at least (i do not bother with any thing less then 4GB (even if the system is 32bit 3.25-3.5GB is usable as i seen some systems sitting at 2GB of ram and up to 3GB just checking for updates if office is installed)

    and 32GB for windows 8 is pushing it as well
    Reply
  • johnny_boy - Sunday, July 20, 2014 - link

    Depends, of course, on use case. I have an undervolted A10-5800K in my HTPC which I also use for gaming and dedicate 1gb ram for iGPU use. I also prefer to leave all the apps I use open so I don't haveto keep resstarting them. That doesn't leave much ram left, and I am running a relatively lean linux distro. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    The bigger problem is just that eMMC is slow. I've got a last generation atom tablet/laptop hybrid with eMMC flash. It's tolerably fast 98% of the time, the other 2% something is thrashing the IO system and the flash is showing 100% load in task manager and ~4MB/sec throughput. Reply
  • kyuu - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Is your eMMC filled up? Just like with SSDs, you really have to keep a certain amount of it free in order to prevent speed degredation. In eMMC's case, the consequences will be more severe since it isn't nearly as fast as a proper SSD to begin with.

    Nowadays, eMMC is really pretty decently fast. Beats the hell out of an HDD. The main issue is that companies continue to insist on including so little of it, despite it being cheap as dirt.
    Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Sunday, July 20, 2014 - link

    As a media center pc, you would be an idiot to want to incur the performance and especially maintenance overhead of Windows... Download an xbmc Linux and be done. Memory and disk pace won't be an issue and an end user won't see any difference - yet no costs and no work keeping Windows safe and running. Right tool for the right job, people... Reply
  • djfourmoney - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    XBMC -

    Tuner support is very limited to networked tuners and cable cards. I have DirecTV, none of the capture devices available work with Linux, especially in HD.

    XBMC also has constant problems with the YouTube add-on. It's hardly updated and with Google often changing something in the code with YouTube, things like log-in gets botched up in XBMC. Last time I logged out believing it was another issue but the truth was a connection issue, U-Verse had gone down.

    But I tried to log back in and I have yet to do the .py correction to allow log-in again. This would never be an issue with Smart TV's or Smart devices, they are updated and always work.

    Windows has always been safe, don't visit silly sites and don't open email you don't know, pretty simple, not that you would be opening email on your HTPC????

    I have a Llano based HTPC (upgraded from Athlon XP, Black Edition OC). Was able to remove the HD4670 (put in my mom's machine), cut down power usages quite a bit, Sliverlight Full Screen isn't an issue, maybe 20% CPU usage. Otherwise it's nearly idle on anything else. No driver issues which seems to always impact the performance of AMD hardware on Linux.

    Finally there hasn't been a DVR program more solid or more reliable than Windows Media Center. The cost of adding it to Windows 8 is negligible and I also have 1GB dedicated to the GPU side of the APU, runs GRID and GRID 2 without issue, everything turned up (GPU slightly OC), but I play games on my PS3 not the PC but for some emulation.

    Reply
  • HUBEMX - Sunday, July 20, 2014 - link

    Anandtech: You should try OPENELEC! Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    "if it attempts to bitstream Dolby Digital Plus in non-WASAPI mode"

    I believe that attempting to bitstream anything without WASAPI results in stuttering for XBMC on any platform whether it's Intel, NVIDIA, or AMD...
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I am talking about XBMC's sound device settings. If it is left at default, XBMC tries to bitstream DD+ and fails. If it is explicitly set to WASAPI mode, then DD+ bitstreaming is successful. I have seen this issue only in the Intel GPUs. NVIDIA and AMD are perfectly OK. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Strange, I run XBMC on all three GPUs and am connected via HDMI to HD-audio AVRs and always have to select WASAPI to make stuttering go away when bitstreaming. I'm using XBMC Frodo on Windows 7.

    I only have a couple DD+ tracks from HD-DVDs, but everything else is DD/DTS, PCM, or TrueHD/DTSMA. I'll have to test those out tonight to make sure.
    Reply
  • Anonymous Blowhard - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    "On the temperature side, we see the temperature stabilizing at slightly less than 100 C."

    How hot does the actual casing get? I'm a little concerned by a nettop that could boil water.
    Reply
  • puppies - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I don't think you have much to worry about, if you don't believe me go and fine a 12 watt kettle and boil some water. See you in a month. Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I wouldn't be too concerned, as the 100C is for the CPU core. There is plenty of air gap between the chassis top and the heat sink itself. The chassis is plastic, doesn't get too hot at all. Heat dissipation from the heat sink is via perforations on top of the chassis lid.

    Most importantly, the 100C was reached during a 'power virus' test designed to stress the system with conditions that are rarely, if ever, reached during normal usage.
    Reply
  • Lyrick_ - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    What's the chance of you guys introducing a Steam Streaming Bench on HTPC like configurations? Reply
  • FoolOnTheHill - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    A Steam streamer is the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw this. I'd love to see this reviewed somewhere (preferably here). I have a decent gaming PC that is in a completely separate room from my HDTV, and I'd love to have a cheap way to do Steam game streaming. Would this be able to handle 1080p streaming? Reply
  • daddacool - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I tried a Giga-byte BRIX with a Baytrail Celeron N2807 for a Steam streamer with mixed result. I'm on a gigabit LAN and the host machine is an i7 3770K with a GTX 770 OC. Tomb Raider was practically unplayable at 1080P.

    I also have a BRIX with a Core i3-3227U in it and that's much better- it will drop a few frames at 1080P but it super smooth at 720P.
    Reply
  • djfourmoney - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Should have gotten the AMD 5545m Brix, runs GREAT on Stream. Intel Graphics are improved but still Intel Graphics and at least a generation behind ATI/AMD. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I'm guessing that if my Pentium T4400 laptop can do it, then this thing can as well, but that would be a great test now that Streaming is out of beta. Reply
  • rocktober13 - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I was looking for something like this too. I ended up going with an Amazon Fire TV, and sideloaded limelight. It seems to be able to handle 1080p streaming, but I haven't tested it extensively. I just got it up and running. I would say it's a pretty nice solution at only $100. It does require an Nvidia card though. Oh, and you can side load XBMC for a complete HTPC replacement. Reply
  • djfourmoney - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Fire TV is the best set-top media streamer available ATM. For what I do with a HTPC, I had considered switching to a DirecTV HD-DVR (Tivo maybe) and a FireTV for all the streaming stuff.

    The FireTV can handle YouTube, but no support for Hulu Free, just Hulu Plus (boo!). Guess I could watch Hulu free via XMBC like you said side-loaded onto it.

    I'm just not fond of switching inputs. But I do it manually not by remote, so maybe if I solved that issue, it would just leave Hulu.

    I could then retire the P4 WHS 2011 and use the use the Llano as the server use less power and the case can hold four drives, adding 6TB would solve all my storage issues at once, in-fact just adding one more 3TB drive will do that.

    We'll see... But I like the Liva for maybe a micro server? With Windows Server unfortunately you would have to put it on a larger drive first and then shrink it down.

    Reply
  • owan - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Can the slot occupied by the wifi module be repurposed for an SSD if the storage is insufficient? Obviously you lose wifi, but a USB based wifi would be an easy fix. Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    No, I had the same question for ECS initially, but the answer is that the M.2 slot can be used only for the appropriate Wi-Fi cards Reply
  • Samus - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - link

    That's so stupid. Is there a BIOS blacklist or something? Reply
  • speculatrix - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - link

    I think it's just that miniPCIe can be wired in different ways, for usb, sata and pcie-like, so quite possibly this board simply isn't wired for mSATA? Reply
  • Aikouka - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    When I saw that the unit had a M.2 slot, I had hopes that it could be replaced with a M.2-based SSD. Unfortunately, based on some Google searching, that Wi-Fi/BT card is a 1630 M.2 card ( http://www.embeddedworks.net/wlan515.html ), which means it's 30mm long. The smallest M.2 SSD that I can find is a xx42, which is 42mm long. =( 32GB would be really pushing it for PLEX, which stores its metadata (images) locally. Although, I think you can change settings to reduce it, but my HTPCs definitely use more than 32GB of their SSDs. Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Two ideas here:

    1. Add a USB thumb drive 'permanently'

    2. If you have a NAS, create a iSCSI LUN and map it on this PC.
    Reply
  • mcfrumpy - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I just want something cheap I can run a Ventrilo server on. I'm assuming this will work great. Reply
  • dylan522p - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Yes Vent is not demanding at all unless you are getting DDOSed or you have like hundreds on it. Reply
  • coburn_c - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I'm going to shamelessly plug OpenELEC for nettops. I'm running it on an old e-350 and it's fantastic. I tweeted them about steam streaming support and they said its a mid-term goal. It really is excellent. Reply
  • Rocket321 - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Would love to see a model with 2x Gigibit LAN + Wifi AC as a x86 router offering. They could drop the eMMC down to 8GB or include an empty SD slot to help with cost. Reply
  • varg14 - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I think it is way overpriced....now if it had 64gb of memory and just another gb of ram for a total of 3GB and then costed $150 I think it would be a great system to just surf the net and stream movies from your network. I would get 3 of them for the other 3 TV's I do not have a HTPC hooked up to.
    Heck 2 years ago I purchased 2 Gateway refurbished computers for a total of$560 with operating systems included. Both were Sandy based..I picked these up when it was on sale for 329$ that included a 7200rpm 1TB HDD 6GB of DDR3 1333 a wireless card and a great I3 2120 cpu i added a 7750 his icooler video card for $80 and it games very well considering the power supply is only 300 watts and has no pci e power connector, but not a problem the silent dual slot his 7750 icooler takes all its power from the pcie 16x slot....a great HTPC and light gaming rig to compliment my 2600k EVGA GTX 770 Classified 4gb ACX sli gaming/server tower along with another gateway slim u11p i picked up for 229$ that had a g530 CPU on a h-61 chipset 4GB of DDR3 1066 and a 5000GB 7200rpm drive then added a asus 6570 1gb LProfile card for $40 and clocked it to 800mhz games ok too :) I also picked up a i3 2125 for $40 since I use The Smooth Video project that ups the 24fps MKVs to 60 FPS and also uses madvr and MPHC I had to add the discrete video cards. It was well worth it since the picture is better on my Panasonic VT30 55" Plasma then a discrete Blu ray player. I highly suggest Trying the SVP project if you have not yet tried it. It comes in a neat easy to install package with everything included MPHC, MADvr and SVP. Movies and TV shows look a heck of a lot better at 60fps then at 24 or 30 fps. Also when it installs it detects your hardware so it does not overpower your system which is inportant since If I turn everything up to the max it can bring my 2600k @ 4.8ghz to its knees. MADvr I set up to use around 80% of my GPU also on all 3 of my rigs.
    Reply
  • Rocket321 - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Keep in mind $180 is the MSRP, it may retail around there for a couple of months and then drop based on demand. Plus all your used stuff takes the 1-year warranty out of the mix. Reply
  • HangFire - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I'm really saddened to read the comment " As consumers realized that they could get much better performance per watt from other platforms, the shift to tablets well and truly buried the old nettops and netbooks." It's a shame no one at AT remembers the role of Microsoft in making netbooks what they were, by pushing out Linux and imposing debilitating hardware restrictions on the low-cost models. We could all be typing on 9" micro-laptops with hi-rez displays and quad core CPU's for under $400 right now if it wasn't for the old thrice-convicted monopolist and monopoly abuser Microsoft. Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    The problem was that not enough people wanted the Linux netbooks... It was too much of a niche market. Reply
  • zepi - Monday, July 21, 2014 - link

    I don't think this is true. There are multiple Chromebooks in Amazon.com top 10 most sold laptops.

    Chromebook is exactly what you are referring to: a small laptop with minimal Linux + browser combination for dummies.
    Reply
  • wireframed - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - link

    As kmmatney said, no one wanted Linux. Sure, everyone wanted a cheap nettop, and they bought the Linux one. Then they got home, tried to install their Windows programs, and none of them worked. When people were told "Oh, you can't run any of your apps on this, you have to find other (often crappier) ones instead", back it went.

    Linux/AltOS advocates seem to forget the OS is, for most people, completely beside the point - the apps are what matter. Linux could be the finest OS in the world, and it STILL wouldn't matter if the apps we need don't run.
    Reply
  • djfourmoney - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Tell the truth. Even video editing is marginal in Linux. Many people don't have the disk space, don't know what a NAS is, routers with NAS capability are towards the high end of the consumer market so no BluRay playback, you would have to rip the disk with the proper software and then store the file someplace.

    Of course you could use the usenet, but no further details from me and most people barely understand torrents, never mind usenet...

    The reason why the iPhone is popular because it's dead simple to use, hardware is barely touted and it's all about the apps and accessories. Just when you think hardware makers would standardize the location of the mini USB port on Android phones, a whole slew of cheap devices throw cold water on that.

    Chromebooks works because Google Chrome works as a browser with apps.... Considering how much I use Chrome, I am going to use this laptop I am typing on (quad core AMD) for desktop replacement, Sony Vegas supports AMD hardware for faster encoding, so does Studio 17.

    Just remove the hybrid drive and replace it with a 1TB SSD as prices continue to drop, use a USB 3.0 512GB External SSD for archiving footage/mobile storage. Currently 8GB Dual Channel @1600Hz, I could upgrade to 16GB @1600 as well.

    Once that happens, one of the larger Chromebooks would be perfect for internet browsing, streaming,etc.

    Though I need a laptop or Surface/Ultrabook type device for DJ'ing.

    Still like the Liva as a x86 Pi killer.

    Reply
  • Soul_Est - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    If you really tried to learn and use Cinelerra (Pro level), Blender, OpenShot, Pitivi, or Avidemux, then you cannot say that video editing under Linux is 'marginal'. Reply
  • davolfman - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Could you test Steam in home streaming at least wired with little systems like these? I think that's an increasingly less rare use case. Reply
  • dylan522p - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    It works really well. I run it on a quadcore baytrail system with teh same iGPU, but it only sees about 25% usage so you should be fine Reply
  • wireframed - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - link

    At least in theory, anything that can decode h.264 at whatever resolution you want to display should work fine for In-Home streaming. The client PC isn't really doing anything but sending controller input and decoding the resulting video stream. There's probably a tiny bit of overhead from the Steam API but it should be neglible. Reply
  • abufrejoval - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    This should be a pretty nice Android box and a more flexible alternative to Hardkernel Odroids, especially with the 64-bit L(ollipop?) release.

    I've so far been using Minit-ITX variant with the J1900 Bay-Trail, which are quite a bit bigger and I've been yearning for something which has everything soldered on so it can be made smaller.

    Those are pretty good already in terms of (Android!) game performance and certainly good enough for surfing, Android Office or as a thin client (RDP/Citrix/Splashtop) to some big iron.

    For Android the 32GB eMMC are really none too bad and for anything beyond there is always USB 3 and network.

    But I'd also want 4GB or even 8GB perhaps as optional configs, because the cost difference is so small it shouldn't matter and one might actually run a full Linux on there, just for the fun of it.

    With regards to the power usage, I found no measurable difference on the J1900 between 4GB and 8GB (one or two modules) of DRAM, so that shouldn't matter.

    Dunno if eMMC 4.4 is a platform limitation of BayTrail or just what they put there, but eMMC 5.0 would give much better performance with diminishing price premiums.

    Even with 4GB DRAM it should stay below $149 to sell like hotcakes.
    Reply
  • TerdFerguson - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    If the device is primarily intended to be a set-top HTPC device, why doesn't it come with a built-in programmable IR receiver and blaster? Reply
  • Blassster - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Would this be too underpowered to run POE ipcam software thats stores the video to a NAS or external drive and also allow Internet streaming of a select camera? Let's say 4 1080p cameras (or even 720p). Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I'm more interested in the $250 Gigabyte Brix with the AMD APU in it, seems like a fair bit of GPU and CPU bang for your buck for that price. Reply
  • JadedMan - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - link

    Any idea if this machine play a typical 3D Bluray properly? Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - link

    I second the comments regarding netbooks made here. Trying to do some actual writing on touch screens is a pain, even on larger tablets. I considered Chromebooks , but Google's "required tethering" approach doesn't work for me. I'd love to see MS helping to push a bunch of "Chromebook killers" into the market - Windows netbooks in the $180 - $ 300 price range with the new Baytrail Celerons, 3 or 4 Gb RAM, a 10" -12" high-res screen (no-touch), USB 3 port(s), micro-SXDC slot, and either 64 Gb eMMC 5.0 (lower price point) or 128 Gb SSD (higher). This nettop shows that it could be done. Now, if only MS would see the opportunity and seize it! Reply
  • esgreat - Sunday, July 20, 2014 - link

    With max power around 12W and idle power around 4W, I guess I could run this thing at nominal speed with a power bank! Reply
  • Laststop311 - Sunday, July 20, 2014 - link

    I personally would rather pay the 800 for the i7-4770r brix system. It must be rough to not have enough money to get the things u want. I don't know how to compromise so news about these systems heavily bores me. Reply
  • AmericanIdle - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    You were so bored by this story that you felt inspired to leave a comment?

    The Brix is not fanless, and thus not silent. Also, it uses about 10 times as much power, which matters if you care about the future of the planet. It must be rough to know the price of everything and the value of nothing. I hope you learn how to compromise someday!
    Reply
  • Haravikk - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    I don't really see the appeal of going so small with so many sacrifices personally, I mean Thin Mini-ITX cases like the Akasa Euler are still tiny machines (about Mac Mini size but a bit taller) and you can put proper desktop processors in them! You can even build a basic dual core system at a very reasonable price. This is why I never liked the idea of a Netbook; they never saved enough money to justify their horrific performance IMO, even when used for nothing but browsing (especially with the increasing demands of modern web content). Reply

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