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ECS LIVA X2 Review – Mini PC

ECS LIVA X2 Review – Mini PC

Receiving a mini-pc is always fun. We love to see what different manufacturers can squeeze into tiny cases and how they balance price, performance and features. Today is one such day, welcome to our ECS LIVA X2 Review.

ECS LIVA X2 Review – Packaging and Bundle

ecs-liva-x2-review-box ecs-liva-x2-review-bundle

The Liva X2 arrives in a compact, silver box with minimal branding. We do get some specification info on the sides and inside a software disc, quick guide and manual. There is also a VESA mount, screws and a mains adapter (36w). That mains adapter has various plug faces which allow it to be used across the globe.

ECS LIVA X2 Review – The Mini PC

ecs-liva-x2-review-mini-pc ecs-liva-x2-review-mini-pc-base

The Liva X2 is shown above and uses a white finish (matt) with glossy silver trim around the top edge. On the top surface is the Liva branding and on the front face we find power button, status LED and three USB 3.0 ports (one with the ability to fast charge USB devices). The two small holes you can see on the front surface, below power and USB 3.0 are for the internal mics.

Flipping the Liva X2 over we find that the two sides are perforated, one has a kensington lock slot, the base too has holes for airflow and there are two rubber feet to keep the unit steady on our desk.

Connectivity on the back is in the form of VGA, power input, Realtek GB LAN, HDMI and 3.5mm audio out/mic in combo port. As far as dimensions go, this PC is 156x83x51mm.

ecs-liva-x2-review-cooler ecs-liva-x2-review-internal

By removing the four screws on the base we get a better look at the cooler within the Liva X2 and find that it is in fact a silent/passive model using copper heatpipes and a large metal heatsink. Removing that is a case of taking out four screws also and reveals the first of two M.2 slots, this one for our Wireless AC card and another on the opposite side of the PCB for 2242/2280 SSDs. Memory and standard storage are soldered onto the PCB and can be 2-4GB of DDR3L as well as 32 or 64GB of eMMC. Our model is the 2GB/32GB combo.

Powering all of this is the 14nm Intel Braswell N3050 SOC (Celeron), a dual core model which runs at 1.6GHz (2.16GHz boost) and features Intel HD Graphics.

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ECS LIVA X2 Review – BIOS and Software

LIVASOFT

For Windows use (Windows 7-10 supported) ECS provide us with two applications, one helps us with driver updates and the other with BIOS updates. There are also remote desktop access apps available.

As far as the BIOS goes, the Liva X2 is fairly standard. We get an Aptio setup with all of the normal functionality we would expect from a desktop PC.

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ECS LIVA X2 Review – Performance

All testing was performed Windows 8.1 64bit (which was pre-installed on our Liva X2).

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liva-mem liva-music liva-sata-usb

ECS LIVA X2 Review – Conclusion

Overall we were pleased with the design and build quality of the Liva X2. The matt white/pearl finish feels good quality and the plastic used is nice and thick which makes it feel sturdy. Using this matt finish also removes any problem with fingerprints that blight glossy systems. our only note on the appearance is that it would have been cool if ECS had made the LIVA logo on top LED capable. Not essential but a nice touch if it was present and we would have gladly swapped the almost pointless internal mic for an LED.

As far as port layout goes, we would have preferred to have two of the USB’s on the back as the current configuration means having at least one (if not two) significant wires for the keyboard and mouse sticking out of the front which does ruin the aesthetic somewhat. If it’s a space thing, ECS could bin the VGA, add a 2nd HDMI if they really wanted and then have room for the back USB placement.

Looking to the performance, responsiveness in Windows was decent. Clearly there isn’t the feel of a high end PC here but we noticed no significant lag or stutters. Mainly just applications taking a second or two more to open than on a higher spec system. Part of this is down to the use of solid state storage which has a decent read speed, helping to provide data promptly. The write speed of the internal storage is a little disappointing though… but we can add that additional M.2 SSD at capacities of up to 1TB which would resolve that issue. It was also nice to see Wireless AC/GB LAN ensuring our network performance was good. USB 3.0 speed was also impressive, pretty much in line with a “standard” desktop system.

Noise levels of course were very impressive, this is a silent system and at load only used 19w at its peak during our tests (5w idle). Finally, for real world tests we were able to convert 2 CD’s worth of lossless music to MP3 in 5 minutes  and watch HD video streaming on YouTube with no issues and plenty of CPU resource to spare.

Value Award

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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