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ECS LIVA 2GB DDR3L RAM installed Black Mini / Booksize Barebone System
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Ready For Windows But Not Linux 10/06/2014

This review is from: ECS LIVA 2GB DDR3L RAM installed Black Mini / Booksize Barebone System

Pros: 1. Ultra-low-power device
2. It's not a barebones system but a complete PC
3. Tiny attractive design
4. Fully capable of running modern OSes
5. For a very small price you get the latest hardware and the ability to try out the latest software
6. Can run Windows 10
7. About the same size as my roku and just as easy to hide near the TV
8. Can be powered through the USB port if plugged into a powered USB hub (just found that out by accident today - I unplugged it and it continued to run, haha)

Cons: 1. Wifi device is very weak - its range is very limited, though at short ranges (e.g. within the same room as the router) it can connect at full speed.
2. Wfif device is nearly/completely impossible to get working in any version of Linux, despite great instruction on Samiux's blog. Tried Lubuntu, Ubuntu and Mint - all latest versions.
3. Random USB problems. I've experienced the USB port completely inoperable at boot after installing various versions of Linux, and after Windows 10 was fully installed and working fine. Power cycling the PC 1, 2, sometimes many times is necessary to get it working again. See comments.
4. Very low specs - the 2GB ram and 32GB storage are the absolute bare minimum for running any OS post-Windows-XP. That being said, it IS enough, and that's all that matters.
5. Newegg's random sales - I purchased it at full price, not knowing it had been on sale. But I don't regret my purchase, only that I didn't get it for less like some of the people here.

Other Thoughts: 1. Worst problem is the wifi. It was difficult to understand the drawings that tell you how to install the antennas and terribly hard to attach the antennas to the wifi device - I had to use very bright light and a magnifying glass just to see what I was doing (and I've fixed many cell phones - this was very tough). I had to use a small flathead screwdriver in order to put enough pressure on each antenna end to get it to snap into place - my finger tips were unable to apply enough pressure in such a small spot to do the job. Holding the antenna, magnifying glass, and screwdriver was not easy!! Then once I had figured it out and got it all in there, I discovered after the fact I might as well not have bothered. The wifi device is way too weak to matter, even when it's working! Right next to the router it ran at full speed but in the next room it ran at roughly half speed and had a hard time maintaining a connection (it showed 1 bar in the Windows 10 task bar).
2. It can run Linux like a champ, once you read the instructions that is. You gotta use Rufus to format the USB drive as GPT and copy over whatever OS you're trying to install. If you do use Linux there are all sorts of tricks and commands and downloads and instructions you have to follow to get everything in place. I finally got so sick of it after working on the dumb thing for 2 weeks I gave up and went with Windows 10.
3. WILL NOT WORK WITH ANY WINDOWS OS < Windows 8.1. I don't know why, but Windows 8 will not install. When I tried, the USB port shut off as soon as the installer came up on the screen. This is not a problem in 8.1 and 10 (and 10 is free so that's a no-brainer).
4. The driver CD that comes with the device does not work properly in Windows 10. The windows drivers installation program errors out with an "invalid windows version" error. So you have to go through each driver folder and install each driver manually one at a time. But at least the drivers all work - whew!
5. Steam streams via wifi just fine, once I plugged in my USB wifi device. Setting it to limit resolution to 720p under settings - in-home streaming - advanced client options helped quite a bit with stuttering and I could not see much of a visual difference.
6. I'm planning on running a FreeNAS file server in Virtualbox with an attached drive of some sort for the most power-efficient file server anywhere - and it only requires 32MB of ram :)
7. If you like to tinker or you want to learn Linux, this is a fantastic purchase. If you just want to install an OS and "it just works" then Windows 8.1/10 is for you.

G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9Q-16GAO
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

Pros: They do what they're supposed to do if you take it easy on them.

Cons: They don't seem very durable to me.
Lasted for about 15 months before dying.

Other Thoughts: Purchased in March 2012 and were working fine until I ran my PC mining litecoins for 2 days straight while traveling. When I returned, my PC (win 8) was continuously crashing with all sorts of different error messages. After ruling out the video card and restoring my PC to normal clocks (not overclocked), I finally swapped out this RAM for my old Corsair 8GB set and it's been smooth sailing since.

XFX FX-795A-TNFC Radeon HD 7950 Core Edition 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Clocked at 900Mhz out of the box
Memory at 1250 default
Good-looking card
A real workhorse
Bought two cards and both have been rock solid reliable

Cons: Cooler is only so-so

Other Thoughts: I purchased 2 of these cards to mine litecoins and have been working them pretty hard. Side-by-side they run 100% 24/7 and their temps rarely go past 81 deg C. To achieve this I had to put a box fan blowing toward the cards (set to low speed) and another 6" Thermaltake exhaust fan operating at around 4000rpm to take the exhaust from the cards and blow it out a window. Without this setup, the cards exhaust hot air in every direction and only about 25% of it gets outside the computer case.

Another option would be to have a very strong front intake fan blowing from the front of the case toward the cards. This would push all the hot air THROUGH the cards and out their cute little exhaust ports. You would probably have to buy the fan and make sure it operates at a high rpm (don't rely on whatever was installed in your case by the manufacturer).

If you are just running one of these cards alone, you'd probably not have much trouble as long as your case has good air flow - just keep an eye on the temps!

On a side note, while this card seems very reliable, Sapphire's Vapor-X line of cards run much cooler and quieter. I have one of their 7950s and it is near silent and at 100% operates at around 65 deg C without any weird setups like I just described.


Dale B.'s Profile

Display Name: Dale B.

Date Joined: 06/29/03

  • Reviews: 18
  • Helpfulness: 8
  • First Review: 06/22/07
  • Last Review: 06/18/13
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