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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  • ozzuneoj86 - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    Seems a bit expensive for its capabilities. A 1.58Ghz Bay Trail is pretty slow for a non-mobile device.
  • ganeshts - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    They run the CPU at 2.25 GHz (max. turbo speed) throughout the time the CPU is loaded. At this point of time, CPUs with such clocks are more than enough for thin-clients and basic browsing / word-processing [ well, that is what the market reception to the original ECS LIVA signified to ECS :) ]

    In the end, it is all a matter of 'horses for courses' - what fits the requirements of one person might be an overkill for someone else (isn't that why tablet PC sales have caused a decline in shipment of low-end notebooks / PCs?)
  • ozzuneoj86 - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    I see, I missed that about it running at its max turbo since it isn't limited thermally.

    I guess I just have trouble picturing the target market being anyone who actually knows what they are getting vs. what they need. Most of the places that I've seen thin clients used could easily just use a small ITX-sized desktop PC that is significantly faster, and (as is the case with this LIVA X) you generally pay a price premium for a thin client sized system. When you factor in the OS price, it seems unlikely that cost has anything to do with the purchase of a system like this, so that leaves size as the only real reason to get one.

    My workplace replaced several Core 2 based itx-sized HP desktops a few years ago with these awful little WYSE thin clients. Everything takes longer, runs slower and now there is a tiny bit more desktop space for people to clutter paperwork that shoudn't be left out in the first place. I'm sure there will be some power savings, but it can't be much in relation to the cost of installing a bunch of new equipment, and they are already at their limit as far as capabilities. I give it another year before we have some new application that is too much for them to handle.

    Obviously this LIVA system is faster, but it just doesn't seem like that many places are so constrained for space that PCs of this size are actually necessary, and for those that are, there are cheaper and faster alternatives, even at this price point (mostly due to the OS not being included).
  • kgh00007 - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    They need to sell a Windows 8.1 with Bing edition of these, the windows Licence increases the cost of the device by 1.5 times!!

    That's the biggest barrier to these cheaper mini PC's for me and for recommending them to anyone like family members!
  • Teknobug - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    hmm only dual core? I've been liking those Bay Trail Z37**'s.
  • powerarmour - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    If a 59'C case temp isn't hot to touch, you probably need to visit the doctor!, 100'C core temps are ridiculous also, terrible design.
  • ganeshts - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    The Zotac C-series with the Core i5-Y CPUs had chassis temperatures of the order of 75C. This is definitely much better.

    As for the 96 C core temp prior to throttling, there was a thermal pad placement issue in the media review samples. Seeing how this is similar to LIVA in terms of CPU performance and the fact that the material used for thermal protection is far superior, I have no doubt the units reaching the end user will have much lower core temperatures under *power virus* loads.
  • kmmatney - Sunday, January 18, 2015 - link

    The temp is running furmark and Prime95 at the same time, which is a way higher load than normal. I've had computers that would crash while running that test, but were otherwise rock stable no matter what else I did.
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    Exactly. Who is ever going to use one of these for anything like that sort of load. It's bogus.
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - link

    I think the point of including an unrealistic scenario like furmark + prime95 is to stress the system in a way that induces a worst possible case situation. While most end users won't ever have that sort of thermal load on their hardware, doing this kind of testing in a review exposes potential flaws that wouldn't otherwise be discovered. I'd much rather someone does that kinda thing for me and uncovers a problem than having to figure it out for myself after I've made a purchase and have put it to use.

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