Introduction and Setup Impressions

Over the last couple of years, mini-PCs in the ultra-compact form factor (UCFF) have emerged as one of the bright spots in the troubled PC market. ECS made their entry in the market through the LIVA. Despite being an innovative product in the mini-PC space, it did suffer from a few questionable devisions with respect to the chassis design. The placement of the USB ports was not user-friendly, and the unit didn't appear sturdy either. ECS has iterated fast and put out an updated version (with a different chassis and motherboard design as well as a few tweaked internals) in the form of the LIVA X. The following gallery from ECS provides more insight into the LIVA X, and the picture that follows compares it against the LIVA.

Gallery: ECS LIVA X

Note that the USB ports in the LIVA X are in a more accessible location compared to the LIVA. We also have an additional USB 2.0 port, which is definitely welcome. On the downside, the unit is no longer powered by a micro-USB connector. Instead, we have a wall-wart rated for 36 W (12V @ 3A). The presence of a mSATA slot as well as an additional USB port drive up the maximum possible power consumption, justifying a more powerful adapter.

The specifications of our ECS LIVA X review configuration are summarized in the table below.

ECS LIVA X Specifications
Processor Intel Celeron N2808
(2C/2T x 1.58 GHz, 22nm, 1MB L2, 4.5W TDP, 3W SDP)
Memory 4GB DDR3-1333
Graphics Intel HD Graphics
Disk Drive(s) Toshiba THGBMBG9D1KBAIL eMMC 64 GB
Networking 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x1 802.11n/Bluetooth mPCIe
Audio Capable of 5.1/7.1 digital output with HD audio bitstreaming (HDMI)
Operating System Retail unit is barebones, but we installed Windows 8.1 Pro x64
Pricing (As configured) $250
Full Specifications ECS LIVA X Specifications

The ECS LIVA X kit doesn't come with any pre-installed OS, but does come with a CD containing the drivers. It would be nice to have a (read-only) USB key instead of the CD.

In the table below, we have an overview of the various systems that we are comparing the ECS LIVA X against. Note that they may not belong to the same market segment. 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 ECS LIVA X when we come to those sections. A point to note is that all the PC configurations listed below are completely passive solutions.

Comparative PC Configurations
CPU Intel Celeron N2808 Intel Celeron N2808
GPU Intel HD Graphics Intel HD Graphics
9-9-9-24 @ 1333 MHz
9-9-9-24 @ 1333 MHz
Storage Toshiba THGBMBG9D1KBAIL eMMC 064GE2
(64 GB; eMMC v5.0-compatible)
(64 GB; eMMC v5.0-compatible)
Wi-Fi Ralink RT3290
(1x1 802.11n - 150 Mbps)
Ralink RT3290
(1x1 802.11n - 150 Mbps)
Price (in USD, when built) $250 $250
Performance Metrics - I
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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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