Networking and Storage Performance

Networking and storage are two major aspects which influence our experience with any computing system. This section presents results from our evaluation of these aspects in the ECS LIVA-ZN33. 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. Note that these benchmarks were run with the SSD as the primary drive andthe eMMC mounted as a secondary drive. PCMark 8 allows specification of the logical drive for benchmarking. The storage workload was run twice (once for the SSD and once for the eMMC partitions). Both results are presented in the graphs below.

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Score

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Bandwidth

As expected, eMMC performance can't obviously match up to the SSD. However, as the storage subsystem score shows, the difference is not acute for light home / office use.

We also ran CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2 x64 in the eMMC-only configuration to get some best-case numbers for different artificial workloads.

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 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)

All the considered PCs use a 1x1 WLAN configuration. The Intel AC3165 performs up to its potential and the antenna placement / plastic chassis ensures that the bandwidth numbers for the ECS LIVA Z are quite good compared to the other systems in the comparison list.

Performance Metrics - II HTPC Credentials
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  • Systab - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - link

    Win10 only support is worrisome but expected.

    The obvious question is how well would it run some sort of Linux server version and what driver problems one would encounter with Win7?
    Reply
  • mjeffer - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - link

    I'm guessing there are probably Linux drivers for all the components in this machine and would be 100% fine with Linux. Just don't expect ECS to provide any help with it. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - link

    Would have been great to see some gaming benchmarks. Especially eSports titles like Overwatch, StarCraft, Counterstrike etc'. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - link

    Not worth it:
    https://youtu.be/fN8paf1RtHY

    Even if it had Iris Pro graphics, the anemic dual-core can't deliver a playable experience. As a Kodi/Retroarch box, it's probably perfect. If you can get Linux running on it, it would also make an excellent pfSense box - but the lack of a quad-core means foregoing some more advanced plugins.
    Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - link

    pfSense runs on FreeBSD. not Linux, which makes driver support a BIT trickier -- but I bet you could still get it all up and running. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - link

    OMG it's adorable cute and for $220, the price isn't bad at all. It badly needs the M.2 SSD to make it usable since ECS skimped on the eMMC drive, but it looks like a really nice little system you could mount on the back of a monitor to keep clutter down. The fact that it's fanless AND has good thermal performance are huge selling points for me. Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - link

    Perfect box for pfSense.

    [X] Dual Lan
    [X] Built in WiFi (not necessary, but nice bonus)
    [X] Small
    [X] Cost Effective
    [X] Built in flash memory (32GB is enough for pfSense and minimal logging)
    [X] Support for m.2 SSDs.
    [X] Passive heat dissipation design

    Realtek LAN controllers are a bummer, but it's OK given that throughput/availability issues shouldn't be strained as most internet connections in the US are measured in tens of megabits, rather than saturating the full gigabit connection anyways.

    Also wished it was a bit better than a mobile Celeron, but that is plenty for most internet connections and without too many pfSense add-ons. At the end of the day it is 4core/4threads and can burst up to 2.2Ghz on some single-threaded loads, any more and it might not have been able to be passive at this small form factor.

    Really like this, and I'll keep my eye on it.
    Reply
  • takeshi7 - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - link

    This would be a great homebrew router/NAS combo. I would still get a separate WiFi AP though. That 1x1 configuration on the built in WiFi wouldn't cut the mustard. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - link

    This is the 2C/2T model. Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - link

    Yes, Einstein. I'm not talking about the dual core reviewed here, I was talking about the N3450 model which is also available.

    https://ark.intel.com/products/95596/Intel-Celeron...

    4 cores / 4 threads.
    Reply

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