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ECS LIVA Z2 Mini-PC

crazyeyesreaper

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#1
ECS looks to impress with the LIVA Z2, a silent, power-efficient, and semi-upgradeable successor to the LIVA Z. Packing a host of new outputs and features, such as HDMI 2.0 for 4K 60 Hz playback, the LIVA Z2 offers enough performance to make it a compelling entry level offering for those wanting a HTPC or simple office system.

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#2
Just like the common Dr. office PC.
 
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#3
It looks ok-ish (how much life can you get from those 32GB eMMC?), but after you add a SSD and an OS you may be better off with a cheap laptop instead.
As an HTPC, you can install Linux/OpenELEC and that would be a cheap solution.
 

crazyeyesreaper

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#4
It looks ok-ish (how much life can you get from those 32GB eMMC?), but after you add a SSD and an OS you may be better off with a cheap laptop instead.
As an HTPC, you can install Linux/OpenELEC and that would be a cheap solution.
Like i said in the review 64 GB eMMC should have been standard. The increase from 32GB or 64GB is just about $15. So $240 MSRP for a 64 GB equipped model would have been a nicer overall product. But it is what it is. At least here you can get away with SATA storage. Previous designs limited you to a specific M.2 form factor. That said 64 GB options should be available my sample just didn't happen to include it.
 
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#5
Like i said in the review 64 GB eMMC should have been standard.
Then how can it be a "fantastic system" or a "great value"?

A fantastic system doesn't get three red flags (lack of Windows 10, lack of adequate RAM, lack of adequate storage capacity), let alone one. The same goes for a great value.

Instead of rating based on a different system (one with 64 GB, for instance), you have to rate on what you actually have. That is the system, not some other one.
 
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#6
According to the ECS LIVA Z2 website it is supposed to have GPIO pins. The sample you reviewed does not. Any idea if the GPIO pins will be on the shipping product?
 

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#8
Then how can it be a "fantastic system" or a "great value"?

A fantastic system doesn't get three red flags (lack of Windows 10, lack of adequate RAM, lack of adequate storage capacity), let alone one. The same goes for a great value.

Instead of rating based on a different system (one with 64 GB, for instance), you have to rate on what you actually have. That is the system, not some other one.

32GB is not ideal however the fact it has a Standard 2.5 Inch drive bay means at least storage upgrades are extremely cheap. Functionality wise the system is a great value. The Quadcore N5000 proves more than adequate and while 4GB of memory is also not ideal it was still enough for day to day tasks. As an enthusiast I would have liked to see ECS make those changes. Extra storage and memory means multi-tasking and packrats won't encounter issues later on. Then again considering the market where this will likely be used is likely digital signage, HTPC etc the optional upgrades i considered a negative are likely to be minor problems. As such I rated the system based on my experience with it not my "wish list" of changes which would make it a better product. Then again just about any computer would be better with more, faster, storage and ram.

That said, what would have been nice to see, doesn't necessarily mean the experience was bad. For office work, youtube, media playback etc the 4GB of memory and 32GB storage was fine as a jumping off point. Shortcomings that can be improved do not make a product worthless. As for reviewing other version. Considering the 32GB or 64GB of eMMC they base configuration is still available ie N5000 with all same parts just more storage built in. As such performance doesn't change. Then again if you don't like my reviews or how I handle content your free to not read it. There is also the fact again at least memory / storage can be upgraded. In previous designs and other mini-PCs your likely to find soldered on memory and no storage expansion option. On in LIVA Z case rather than a 2.5 Inch bay they included an M.2 but it was limited to 2242 form factor. Eitherway end of the day I plugged it all in pushed the power button and got a stable experience at an extremely low price.

To break it down for you.

The system worked, it didn't thermal throttle or crash, it was stable, it handled tasks as expected considering its tiny footprint and specifications. If a product doesn't fail, and in fact does what it is suppose to do should I fail it anyway based on my pre-conceived notions as to what I want? Or should I remain objective and realize that while again more memory and storage = good and i would have appreciated that, those two thinks lacking did not cause me any real problems.

According to the ECS LIVA Z2 website it is supposed to have GPIO pins. The sample you reviewed does not. Any idea if the GPIO pins will be on the shipping product?
GPIO pins should be available on retail models I will double check with ECS to find out if its limited to select models / regions my unit has the spot for the connector and in fact you could likely solder to it directly but obviously thats not ideal. Eitherway when I hear from ECS i will let you know.
 
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#9
Then how can it be a "fantastic system" or a "great value"?

A fantastic system doesn't get three red flags (lack of Windows 10, lack of adequate RAM, lack of adequate storage capacity), let alone one. The same goes for a great value.

Instead of rating based on a different system (one with 64 GB, for instance), you have to rate on what you actually have. That is the system, not some other one.
It's not as versatile as some extra hardware would have made it. But for the asking $$$ it's a pretty capable little gimmick. Those mini PCs are usually priced at $500 or more, even in barebones configurations.
 
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#10
GPIO pins should be available on retail models I will double check with ECS to find out if its limited to select models / regions my unit has the spot for the connector and in fact you could likely solder to it directly but obviously thats not ideal. Eitherway when I hear from ECS i will let you know.
Thanks
 
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#11
too bad it still using ribbon cable, still prefer normal sata cable for long term
 

crazyeyesreaper

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#12
too bad it still using ribbon cable, still prefer normal sata cable for long term
Keep in mind the SATA ribbon cable also handles power delivery to the drive as well not just data. So you end up with one connector or multiple connectors. Going multi connector = pennies more but add that up over 1000s of units and you get the picture.

GPIO is on the board but the connector is not. Essentially while the space is reserved on the board itself ECS has chosen to limited the inclusion to certain models.
 
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#13
can we fit thick 2.5" drives like the 4/5tb 2.5" seagate?
 

crazyeyesreaper

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#14
Sadly no the top case would not close all the way as such its limited the same as a typical laptop. Seagates large 2.5 inch drives are just way too thick at 15mm vs the more standard 9.5mm thick drives. The LIVA Z2 will support up to 9.5 mm thick
 
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#15
damnit, I'm getting mine for review soon and I was really hoping I could make it fit.

Could I make a bracket and make it fit, or is it just a lost cause because between the panel itself and board there's not enough room?
 

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#16
damnit, I'm getting mine for review soon and I was really hoping I could make it fit.

Could I make a bracket and make it fit, or is it just a lost cause because between the panel itself and board there's not enough room?
Its an issue with the panel and the design its hard limited to 9.5 The bottom plate slides off but when everything is in place it sits on the HDD bracket in a way that it improved rigidity of the design. You could possibly modify it maybe? but might be more problematic than its worth. (remove the HDD tray attach the HDD to the connector then use a spacer between board and HDD with double sided tape to secure it but thats kind of a one way solution since removal later would likely destroy the cable unless super careful.
 
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#17
I'm thinking of possibly 3D printing a bracket, but having this unit with one of those HDDs would be quite epic.
 
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#18
It's not as versatile as some extra hardware would have made it. But for the asking $$$ it's a pretty capable little gimmick. Those mini PCs are usually priced at $500 or more, even in barebones configurations.
This doesn't rebut my points. There are two possibilities pertaining to this review:

A) The machine, as configured, is a fantastic system and a great value.
B) The machine, as it could be configured, is a fantastic system and a great value.

The review mixes its messaging between these two things. If, indeed, it is a fantastic system and a great value, the review's language should clearly reflect that. Instead, it places a lot of emphasis on what they machine should be and isn't. Regardless of how good this machine is, the review should be clear about expressing its opinions.

I also think it is an abuse of the voting system to downvote my prior comment.
 
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#19
...I also think it is an abuse of the voting system to downvote my prior comment.
I downvoted your previous comment because I disagreed with it, that isn't an abuse of the voting system, that's how it works.
Now do you want a pat on the head and a certificate of appreciation for participating, or can you accept people wont always agree with you.
 
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