The ML100 series of passively cooled PCs from Logic Supply utilize the NUC / UCFF (ultra-compact form factor) motherboards. Currently, that lineup includes Bay Trail, Broadwell, and Skylake-based units. The ML100G-50 that we are looking at today is the Skylake vPro version.

Introduction and Product Impressions

The ML100G-30 released in early 2015 came with a Broadwell vPro processor and used one of the Intel Broadwell NUC motherboards (NUC5i5MYBE). Logic Supply's expertise in passively cooled systems enabled the replacement of the fan in the kit with an effective fanless thermal solution. The ML100G-50, however, is equipped with an ASRock board that is similar in many ways to the one found in the ASRock Beebox-S 6200U. The main differences between the internals of the ML100G-50 and the Beebox-S 6200U are the processor (vPro-capable Core i5-6300U vs. non-vPro Core i5-6200U), the Wi-Fi card (Intel AC7260 in our review sample vs. Intel AC3160), and the Ethernet controller (I219-LM vs. I219-V, the former being necessary for vPro features). The internal layout (not the motherboard itself) is also slightly different, with the full-metal solution of the ML100G-50 making it necessary to have a couple of RP-SMA connectors in the rear panel. In terms of physical dimensions, the ML100G-50 is the same as the ML100G-30. Due to the thermal solution and the need for RP-SMA Wi-Fi antenna connectors, the dimensions are slightly larger than the ASRock Beebox-S 6200U (142mm x 107mm x 62mm vs. 119mm x 110mm x 46mm)

The full specifications of our Logic Supply ML100G-50 review configuration are summarized in the table below.

Logic Supply ML100G-50 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i5-6300U
(2C/4T @ 2.4GHz (Turbo 3.0 GHz), 14nm, 3 MB L2, 15W)
Memory Transcend TS1GSH64V1H DDR4
15-15-15-36 @ 2133 MHz
2x8 GB
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 520
Disk Drive(s) Transcend MTS600 TS128GMTS600
(128 GB; M.2 Type 2260 SATA III; Micron 20nm; MLC)
Networking Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260
(2x2 802.11ac - 867 Mbps)
Intel Gigabit Ethernet Connection I219-LM
Audio 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Capable of 5.1/7.1 digital output with HD audio bitstreaming (HDMI)
Display 2x HDMI (1x 2.0a, 1x 1.4b)
1x Display Port 1.2
Miscellaneous I/O Ports 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
3x USB 3.0
Operating System Retail unit is barebones, but we installed Windows 10 Pro x64
Pricing $871 (barebones) / $926 (default configuration)
$1141 (as configured)
Full Specifications Logic Supply ML100G-50 Specifications

Logic Supply allows the ML100G-50 to be customized prior to shipping. By default, the unit comes with 4GB of DDR4-2133 RAM and a 32GB M.2 2260 SATA SSD. There is no WLAN support in the default configuration. Based on the purchase options, Logic Supply can pre-install up to two SO-DIMMs of 8GB each and a Transcend M.2 2260 SSD up to 512GB in capacity. Customers can opt to install their own SO-DIMMs (in which case, they can go up to 32GB of RAM) and/or M.2 2260 SSDs (Note that only M.2 2260 SSDs are officially supported - unlike the Beebox-S which allows M.2 2280 SSDs using an add-on plastic riser tab). Both SATA and PCIe drives are supported, though M.2 2260 PCIe SSDs are relatively rare in the market.

Other customization options include the WLAN card (the Intel AC8260 is available on the Logic Supply purchase page, though our review unit came with the AC7260). wall / VESA and DIN rail mounting kits, port and dust blocking kits, and choice of OS (Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Windows 8.1 Embedded, Windows 10 Home / Pro / IoT Enterprise LTSB). While the standard warranty is 2 years, $99 extends that to 3.

We installed Windows 10 Pro x64 for the review process, and almost all drivers were available via the regular Windows Update process. The CIR driver (for the IR receiver) and the thermal framework drivers (Intel DPTF) had to be downloaded from ASRock's website for the Beebox-S 6200U

In addition to the main unit, the other components of the package include a 65 W (19V @ 3.42A) adapter, a US power cord, two 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz antennae for the Wi-Fi feature, adhesive rubber feet for the unit's base and a cable management tie along with some screws (probably for the wall mount / VESA mount - which is supported, but not included in our review package). The gallery below takes us around the chassis and also a view of the customer-accessible portion of the internals that allows the DRAM and SSD to be changed.

Note that there is a thick thermal pad right above the M.2 SSD. This should definitely help the drive keep its cool when subject to disk-intensive workloads. The all-metal construction and the finned structure of the chassis sides and top also help in drawing the heat away from the internal components. As usual, we will quantitatively evaluate the effectiveness of the thermal solution in a later section.

In the table below, we have an overview of the various systems that we are comparing the Logic Supply ML100G-50 against. Note that they may not belong to the same market segment. Of particular interest are the Logic Supply ML100G-30, the Logic Supply Core ML320, the Zotac ZBOX CI523 nano and the Zotac ZBOX CI540 nano - all of which are passively cooled U-series UCFF PCs. 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 Logic Supply ML100G-50 when we come to those sections.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect Logic Supply ML100G-50
CPU Intel Core i5-6300U Intel Core i5-6300U
GPU Intel HD Graphics 520 Intel HD Graphics 520
RAM Transcend TS1GSH64V1H DDR4
15-15-15-36 @ 2133 MHz
2x8 GB
Transcend TS1GSH64V1H DDR4
15-15-15-36 @ 2133 MHz
2x8 GB
Storage Transcend MTS600 TS128GMTS600
(128 GB; M.2 Type 2260 SATA III; Micron 20nm; MLC)
Transcend MTS600 TS128GMTS600
(128 GB; M.2 Type 2260 SATA III; Micron 20nm; MLC)
Wi-Fi Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260
(2x2 802.11ac - 867 Mbps)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260
(2x2 802.11ac - 867 Mbps)
Price (in USD, when built) $871 (barebones)
$1141 (as configured)
$871 (barebones)
$1141 (as configured)
Performance Metrics - I
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  • ddriver - Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - link

    Yet the fins are oriented in the worst possible manner convection wise. Vertical fins on the sides would be far more efficient than the horizontal fins on top. That assumes it is oriented as pictured. If the box itself is mounted so that the fins are perpendicular to the ground then it will be fine. Reply
  • DarekLogic - Thursday, March 2, 2017 - link

    Hi ddriver, Darek here from Logic Supply, thanks for your comment. The fin designs for our chassis are partly driven by manufacturing methods. We utilize one-piece extrusions for their superior material properties and cost efficiencies (over say, casting or straight CNC). That does limit us somewhat in the orientations of our fin structures. Ultimately the layouts we go with are designed/tested for a balance of forced and natural convection (as well as installation flexibility for our customers and, to a lesser extent, aesthetics) in multiple orientations - like you said, with the chassis mounted on a vertical surface the fins are optimal, and that's very often how our customers deploy our systems. Reply
  • ddriver - Thursday, March 2, 2017 - link

    Sure, you are extruding stuff like heat sink fins, it would be crazy to machine that. But you can just extrude the box with the sides flat, then bolt on auxiliary vertical fins, in that case you are set for both unit orientation cases.

    Or you could punch series of square C holes to the sides and bed the inner part outward, maybe not all the way to 90 degree, like 45 or so would do it, creating less of fins and more of a cool looking "ribs".

    Both solution in case you want to increase the cooling capacity, visual aesthetics aside, the way it is looks tidier. But you can't always have it both pretty and efficient at the same time.

    There is a third option - hide the fins. In that case they will be more like pipes, essentially cover up the fins but leave holes on the bottom for air to come it. Also, air expands as it gets hotter, so making the holes wider towards the top will be beneficial to increasing the air flow rate.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Thursday, March 2, 2017 - link

    *bend, not bed Reply
  • AnonymousEngineer - Saturday, March 4, 2017 - link

    I can't speak for this particular device, but I've bought similar-looking industrial PCs for field use in the past (made by Advantech), and they're typically mounted vertically in a cabinet or on a wall using a DIN-rail mount. Reply
  • SkipPerk - Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - link

    We do the same thing. It keeps them safely out of the way. Reply
  • dave_the_nerd - Monday, February 27, 2017 - link

    I think there may be a typo on the last page:

    "Logic Supply's ML100G-50 is a solid step up from the Broadwell-based ML100G-50"

    Don't you mean the Broadwell-based ML100G-30?
    Reply
  • evilspoons - Monday, February 27, 2017 - link

    Seems like a pretty capable and up-to-date industrial PC for the money. I'm used to working with ones that are many, many more generations behind the curve.

    As an electrical engineer who builds panels for machinery I loathe the idea of an AC-DC power adapter and a barrel plug, but it looks like you can order it with DC terminals on-board so that's fine. Not bad then!
    Reply
  • mattlach - Monday, February 27, 2017 - link

    The only thing I'd use one of these for would be a nice compact and power sipping pfSense router box.

    IN order for me to do that, I'd need dual Intel NIC's though.

    Why do all of these NUC's insist on either having only one NIC or using inferior Realtek NIC's you'd never want to use in a server-type setting?
    Reply
  • DarekLogic - Monday, February 27, 2017 - link

    Hi mattlach, Darek here from Logic Supply. Because we don't currently do any board-level development, we're limited to the motherboards available on the market. We are in talks with a number of motherboard manufacturers about creating additional options because we also see value in offering dual NIC connectivity in this form factor with Intel Core processing.

    That said, our ML100G-10 system does provide 2x Intel-based LAN ports (https://www.logicsupply.com/ml100g-10) and we have a number of clients using that system for various networking applications.

    Thank you for your comment.
    Reply

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