ECS LIVA X Mini PC Kit Review

For a start, you’ll notice that the LIVA X comes with 2x USB 2.0 and 1x USB 3.0 ports placed at the front. This is unlike the LIVA where the USB ports are at the rear and with an audio output at the front.

ECS LIVA X Mini PC Kit Review

At the rear are the HDMI port, VGA port, LAN port, audio port and the power connection socket, unlike the LIVA the LIVA X does not use Micro USB socket. 🙁 I don’t know why but I feel that the LIVA X loss the novelty that’s found on the LIVA with this seemingly minor change.

ECS LIVA X Mini PC Kit Review

Here’s the bottom view of the LIVA X, the base is metal and it’s held in place by 4 screws that are placed at the feet of the unit. This makes removal of the casing a lot easier than the LIVA that employs clip-on method.

ECS LIVA X Mini PC Kit Review

Once opened you’ll see a black piece that covers the interior of the LIVA X, that is the heatsink, a passive heatsink for the RAM and Processor.

ECS LIVA X Mini PC Kit Review

By removing the heatsink you’ll see not only the processor and RAM chips that are part of the SoC but there’s also the Wi-Fi module that’s connected to the mSATA slot. On the product specs it does state that the LIVA X comes with 1x mSATA slot for SSD but what they didn’t specify is that you’ll have to sacrifice the Wi-Fi module to use that mSATA slot.

ECS LIVA X Mini PC Kit Review

User Experience

With the LIVA X you skip the assembly process and head on to OS installation.

What’s nice about the LIVA X is that it comes with 3 USB ports now (2x 2.0, 1x 3.0) and they’re placed at the front for easy access.

I tested the LIVA by doing a video conversion test.

x264 – 10bit to 8bit Video Conversion

The source video is a 720p MKV file that is 90 seconds in duration. x264 settings at the slowest.

CPU Time Taken
LIVA X with Celeron N2808 569 seconds
LIVA with Celeron N2807 717 seconds
Intel Pentium G3258 489 seconds
Intel Core i3-4130 313 seconds

Seems like the LIVA X does the job a fair bit faster than the LIVA and it stil consumes very little power, in fact it peaked at only 6.4W on wall draw which is lower than the 8.1W on the LIVA.

It’s actually pretty good considering the power consumption is extremely low. Compared to a G3258 system that peaks at 54.5W on wall draw the LIVA X consumes only around 12% power and gets the job done just a tad slower. Just like the LIVA, this is NOT the machine for gaming.

As for video playback, I could sense a slight lag when playing 720P 8bit MKV content with the lag being more noticeable when the scene is more complex. The playback is downright sluggish when it comes to 1080P 10bit MKV playback, not the lag that’s unwatchable but rather it’s more like frame-skipping.

The LIVA X is a lot more solid compared to the LIVA, it’s not only slightly larger but it’s a lot heavier due to the metal contents and also the larger heatsink. This makes the LIVA X more “table-friendly” when it’s hooked to cables like say LAN cable and HDMI cable.

The Verdict

The ECS LIVA X Mini PC Kit retails at USD 250 for the 64GB variant with 4GB RAM, not exactly a deal breaker when it comes to the price but that’s what you pay to get a really tiny computer that fits to the back of LCD monitors.

Just like the LIVA, the LIVA X is yet another Mini PC that works great as a unit for web browsing, working on office documents, simple photo editing and even video encoding you don’t mind the slow speed. Video playback is sufficient for 720P 8bit content but lag is inevitable once the content increases in bit-depth and resolution.

The LIVA X is a nice Mini PC but the concern now is that there are other alternatives in the market that are worth exploring. The Zotac Mini PC kits come with Windows 8.1 pre-installed while Gigabyte’s BRIX mini PC comes with Intel Core i3 and the offerings from both brands are priced similarly to ECS’ offering. Put it simple, the ECS LIVA X is a good buy if those other products aren’t available.

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