Networking and Storage Performance

We have recently started devoting a separate section to analyze the storage and networking credentials of the units under review. On the storage side, one option would be repetition of our strenuous SSD review tests on the drive(s) in the PC. Fortunately, to avoid that overkill, PCMark 8 has a storage bench where certain common workloads such as loading games and document processing are replayed on the target drive. Results are presented in two forms, one being a benchmark number and the other, a bandwidth figure. We ran the PCMark 8 storage bench on selected PCs and the results are presented below.

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Score

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Bandwidth

The eMMC used in the LIVA X is better than the one we saw getting used in the original LIVA. Even though the storage bandwidth numbers are quite a bit lesser than what even hard drives can provide, they are no match for the proper SSDs in the other passive models. Thankfully, the device does have a mSATA slot and consumers can opt to add their own drives if they so desire.

On the networking side, we restricted ourselves to the evaluation of the WLAN component. Our standard test router is the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk configured with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. The router is placed approximately 20 ft. away, separated by a drywall (as in a typical US building). A wired client (Zotac ID89-Plus) is connected to the R7000 and serves as one endpoint for iPerf evaluation. The PC under test is made to connect to either the 5 GHz (preferred) or 2.4 GHz SSID and iPerf tests are conducted for both TCP and UDP transfers. It is ensured that the PC under test is the only wireless client for the Netgear R7000. We evaluate total throughput for up to 32 simultaneous TCP connections using iPerf and present the highest number in the graph below.

Wi-Fi TCP Throughput

In the UDP case, we try to transfer data at the highest rate possible for which we get less than 1% packet loss.

Wi-Fi UDP Throughput (< 1% Packet Loss)

First of all, the Ralink chipset used by ECS is a 1x1 2.4GHz-only 802.11n mPCIe card. It actually comes in with the worst wireless networking performance amongst the various passive PCs that we have evaluated before. At similar price points, other vendors are able to offer 802.11ac mPCIe cards. So, ECS has some fixing to do in this aspect.

Performance Metrics - II HTPC Credentials
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  • Murloc - Sunday, January 18, 2015 - link

    a smartphone is good enough to read recipes, there's no extensive writing anyway.
  • Utnnyan - Thursday, January 22, 2015 - link

    Do you cook? You need something that you don't have to hold in your hand. We have a small mini-pc with a LCD in our kitchen and the reason we got it was because my wife was sick and tired of viewing recipes on her iPhone (and even the 6 wasn't cutting it).
  • speculatrix - Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - link

    get a waterproof tablet like the Sony Z tablets and the stand with the magnetic charger. you won't kill it if you splash water on it.
  • Wwalter ones - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    Any thoughts on using this as the receiving pc to stream steam games at 1080p?
  • BigLan - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    Could ECS release a version of this with Windows 8/bing? It'd save users a bunch compared to having to buy a separate windows license.
  • sonicmerlin - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    So could you connect a USB cablecard tuner and an HDD and turn this into a DVR?
  • mm0zct - Thursday, April 23, 2015 - link

    I'm using an original LIVA as an excellent DVR/TV tuner using a USB DVB-T tuner (I'm in the UK).

    A USB3.0 hard disk provides storage for recorded TV, along side the growing mkv collection as I work my way through my DVD and BluRay collection. The windows media centre is probably the best Freeview TV interface I've ever used, unfortunately it requires 8.1pro plus another $10 or something for the media centre, but on the LivaX you can run Windows7 on an ssd, which comes with media centre, or just use Kodi. The advantage of using Windows 8.1 is that the "Modern" UI works fairly well on a TV, but unfortunately doesn't interact well with the media centre remote, so a keyboard/touchpad or accelerometer-wand hybrid is recommended for controlling it.
  • flyingpants1 - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    Mini-ITX is still better for 90% of consumer applications.
  • zodiacfml - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    look at that power consumption. they should have maintained that usb power source since most displays have USB already. I imagine putting this on top of a ceiling mounted projector.

    the only value would be its VGA interface. can't wait for Intel's Compute Stick.
  • ganeshts - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    The problem is that the power consumption starts ramping up when one adds a mSATA disk and adds power-hungry peripherals on the three USB ports. Given those capabilities, it is impossible for ECS to get by with a micro-USB power connector. There are no commercial 'wall-warts' with a micro-USB power connector that can deliver upwards of 30 W.

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