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ECS LIVA ONE Review - A SFF PC with Muscle

By: Steven Bassiri | SFF PCs in Computer Systems | Posted: Feb 23, 2016 3:20 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ECS

The Teardown

 

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The first time I opened the LIVA ONE, I was impressed with how ECS has made use of all the space provided. The unit itself is the size of a standard hardcover book. It's also only 33mm thick, so you don't expect too much regarding horsepower, but ECS stuffed in everything they possibly could including a 2.5-inch drive bay. The bottom enclosure is a single piece adding to hardware security, and it's not very easy to fully disassemble and reassemble, so I am going to do that for you.

 

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Removing the motherboard from the enclosure and taking out the M.2 SSD and RAM reveals that cooling is primarily focused on the CPU. I was kind of shocked to find that ECS provides a socketed 6100T; I thought they might be using a BGA CPU like an NUC-style device might.

 

The LIVA ONE is serviceable if you know what you are doing. The heat sink makes excellent contact with the CPU, beware that it doesn't use standard LGA1151 mounting, but rather a slim socket mounting (like the ILM for LGA2011).

 

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If you couldn't tell, I applaud attention to detail. ECS made sure to cover the backside of the PCB with a barrier so that nothing would short, and left openings around the buzzer and the PCH heat sink. Removing the large sticker/barrier reveals many interesting chips that provide many non-standard features.

 

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The Intel Core i3-6100T not only provides processing power but also provides graphics through the integrated Intel HD Graphics 530. It supports 4K displays through DisplayPort. For storage, the LIVA ONE uses an Intel 530 M.2 80GB SSD (SSDSCKGW080A4), and RAM is DDR3L from ADATA. A single ADATA 8GB stick runs at 1600MHz C11 by default. You can upgrade as well since there is an extra unoccupied SO-DIMM.

 

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WirelessAC/BT 4.0 comes from an AzureWave M.2 WIFI module that uses a Realtek RTL8821AE. USB 3.1 is provided by the very common ASMedia ASM1142 and a Texas Instruments TPS2546 fast charging chip.

 

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The Realtek RTS5170 is the microSDXC card reader controller for the front microSDXC port. When Intel introduced the 100 series chipset, they also removed VGA output from the built-in integrated graphics. If you want VGA (D-SUB) on a 100 series computer, you will need an extra controller. Here it seems that an IT6516AFN is used to provide VGA/D-SUB.

 

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A Realtek ALC662 provides audio capabilities through a combo jack. An iTE IT8613E is the Super IO for the system.

 

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Here is where things get a bit more interesting. If you want to use security entities like BitLocker, then you need to have a Trusted Platform Module installed which has a burnt in RSA encryption key that cannot be accessed by software. ECS is using the nuvoTon NPCT650A TPM module located to the left of the 64Mbit BIOS ROM. Wired Gbit LAN is provided by a Realtek RTL8111H and a COM port from a Texas Instruments MAX3243EC.

 

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For CPU power delivery, an Intersil ISL95858 hybrid-digital PWM is being used along with Fairchild Semiconductor dual-N channel MOSFETs. These dual N-Channel MOSFETs are high quality and fairly integrated; I have seen them on X99 motherboards and even Z170 mini-ITX boards in 3-phase configurations like the one on the LIVA ONE. ECS supports 35W CPUs in the socket, but I would not be surprised if higher TDP CPUs worked.

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