Final Words

AMD APUs are usually competitive on price, but, not on performance, when compared with Intel solutions. Consumers looking at the AMD A10 Micro-6700T in the Compulab fitlet-XA10-LAN might be disappointed at first glance. Surprisingly, the Compulab fitlet-XA10-LAN packs a lot of punch for its size. Compulab's ability to unlock the TDP with its thermal design gives a great performance boost to the system. In fact, the fitlet-XA10-LAN manages to surpass all equivalent Bay Trail and Braswell systems in almost all benchmarks.

The four gigabit LAN ports of the unit are the real attraction. The FC-LAN FACET module enables the fitlet-X to transform into a compact, yet powerful network appliance. We tested out the unit with an installation of VyOS and configured it as a router. Cursory benchmarking indicated a NAT throughput of more than 840 Mbps.

The two kits provided by Compulab gave us the opportunity to evaluate different thermal solutions for industrial PCs. The heat-sink lid was created by Compulab to make the thermal performance of the fitlet-XA10-LAN better under heavy stress. However, it does increase the height of the unit and negates the compactness aspect. Compulab's new solution of having a different coating for the original aluminum top panel maintains the original dimensions of the unit. Even though the thermal performance suffers a bit compared to the heat-sink lid, it does prevent the unit from getting thermally throttled.

Prospective consumers need to keep in mind that this is an industrial PC, and the SoC and motherboard configuration mandate that only one DDR3 1333 MHz SO-DIMM can be used. Consumers are also stuck with the outdated mSATA SSD slot. That said, mSATA will probably continue to be supported for some time to come in the industrial PC market.

Compulab has an interesting suite of solutions for various industrial computing applications, and the fit-Uptime UPS targets a niche within that. The UPS seems like an attractive option for small-scale industrial PC rollouts. Addition of intelligence (either via network or USB connectivity) would help widen the appeal of the UPS.

Coming to the business end of the review, Compulab's fitlet-XA10-LAN is a unique computing platform. Consumers looking for a compact x86 PC with more than two LAN ports do not have any other options without sacrificing quite a bit on the form factor. If size is not a concern, Compulab has more powerful passively-cooled platforms with support for multi-LAN cards. These include the fitlet-T (AMD Steppe Eage GX-424) with support for up to 5 gigabit LAN ports, the IPC2 (Haswell/Broadwell Core-i7 U-Series) with support for up to 6 LAN ports, and the Airtop (up to Xeon E3 v4) with up to 6 gigabit LAN ports and an option to add 4-6 more with a PCIe card. For specialized applications, Compulab also provides FACE modules with quad PoE 802.3af ports and dual SFP+ optical networking ports. These FACE modules are compatible only with the fitlet-H and fitlet-T.

Given the usual premium associated with industrial PCs, the $315 price point for the barebones configuration of the fitlet-XA10-LAN is quite reasonable. That said, we would like Compulab to explore options to make the thermal performance even better while maintaining the current dimensions.

Power Consumption and Thermal Performance
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  • rstuart - Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - link

    The Kettop has less than 1/2 the warranty, is still bigger, doesn't have wireless, has VGA vs 2 x HDMI, 2xUSB-2 versus 3xUSB-2 + 2xUSB-3, no serial port, and no m-PCI expansion.

    But yeah, your right. Apart from that you are almost buying the same thing.
    Reply
  • Lazn_W - Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - link

    I guess my brief search didn't find anything quite so small.. But there are plenty of options in this arena, perhaps not quite so tiny, but if you need the wifi etc, and more horsepower.. you can get them, here is another MFG for example: http://www.amazon.com/Qotom/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_1006... Reply
  • rstuart - Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - link

    It's the same deal though isn't it? Your original point is there are cheaper options elsewhere, but while it's cheaper it's hardly the same thing. Good for a home router maybe - but doesn't have the ports to do much else. For a person wanting to put in in a remote office literally mega metres away and not touch it, the 1 year warranty doesn't send a good signal.

    As for the AMD vs Intel thing - I simply don't care. It's a bit of mystery to me why anybody would care. What I do care about is you load the OS on it, and it just works. They certainly do that. They've given me less compatibility headaches that any box I can remember. Even Debian stable "just works".

    The one criticism I have of these CompuLab boxes is there is no TPM. TPM's are nice to have in boxes holding secure credentials in remote locations. Oh yeah and the choice of the Intel 7260 wifi module. It works wonderfully as a client, but as a master it only supports 13 stations which isn't enough.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml - Friday, April 22, 2016 - link

    I'm with you here. The size of the Compulab is impressive but for someone who is going to build and leave this in a not so nice location for human beings, the size difference is not much of an advantage for the Compulab. Reply
  • variab1e - Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - link

    Is the J1900 going to be faster than the A10 Micro-6700T ? Reply
  • Lazn_W - Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - link

    http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Celeron-J1900-vs-AMD... Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - link

    That is a naive comparison. Only when we actually evaluate the *system* that the real performance comes out. Those 'bot' sites that just compare paper specifications never tell the full story.

    When I started the fitlet-XA10-LAN review, I was pretty sure the Braswell and Bay Trail SoCs would run circles around the A10 Micro-6700T. I was very surprised with the results - the difference lies in the thermal design - the unlocked TDP means the APU can dissipate a lot more power than what it is intended to in its target market (tablets for the A10 Micro-6700T).

    So, we have the A10 Micro-6700T in the fitlet-XA10-LAN that was faster than any Braswell or Bay Trail passively cooled CPU with a larger form factor in *CPU* benchmarks. Credit to Compulab should be given when they deserve it :)
    Reply
  • Lazn_W - Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - link

    Sure, I was pointing out other options for those of us who prefer the blue team.

    And if you are willing to spend, there are Core i5/i7 based options out there too. If interested, look on Amazon.
    Reply
  • WorBlux - Thursday, March 09, 2017 - link

    And do they come with a standard 60 month (5 whole years) warranty? Reply
  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - link

    I'm surprised this thing wasn't able to NAT another ~100Mb/s. A $99 ERL can max out a gigabit FTTH connection. Reply

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