ECS LIVA X Review: A Fanless Bay Trail-M mini-PCby Ganesh T S on January 16, 2015 11:30 AM EST
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.
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.
In the UDP case, we try to transfer data at the highest rate possible for which we get less than 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.