I have to give credit where credit is due. Giada really does deliver a very powerful, tiny mini PC with the i53, and the fact that it does all this on just 35 watts of power is amazing. That isn't to say there aren't issues to be found. There isn't an optical drive choice at all, so if you want to play DVD or Blu-ray, you need a rip of it, or a USB connected device. Tied to that is the fact that most people will have a media library if they plan out an HTPC with this device. This would allow users to just stream movies to the i53, but I suggest if you plan to utilize the 1080p capability of the HD 4000, you are going to want a wired connection to stream such content, the wireless n will leave you paused at times through the play unless you plan ahead and stream a good portion before you planned to watch it.
The last and most detrimental to the overall performance of the i53 was that dog of a mechanical hard disk drive included. Even with the tweaks applied to increase performance, the load time from no power to desktop is almost enough time to go out and have a smoke before the unit is ready. Even once into the desktop, there is a bit of a wait as the devices all check out and get loaded. An SSD is the real solution to this and I strongly suggest you find that model when shopping, or add one in later.
Once the i53 was loaded and everything was finally at idle, the PC is pretty snappy and able to handle the day to day activities of most users. You can tend to Facebook, troll the internet, and do just about anything really as long as the graphics demands aren't too high. The CPU chosen is more than capable of handling itself, so for light gaming you are fine, but I don't think much more than flash games or something like Peggle on Steam is what they intended anyone to play. What I really like more than anything is that you can have a pretty capable mini PC in any room of the house without disrupting much. If this had a built in TV tuner and an optical drive, I could replace my ladies rig with this and the only reason she would feel any different is that the large case she is used to setting next to would be gone, and this shiny black, attractive looking Giada i53 would be sitting there instead. The i53 is so close to being the complete package for anyone, whether a light use desktop replacement, a PC for the garage or kitchen, or even put to use as an HTPC, it is able to do everything it is advertised to do, and not intrude on you while doing so.
For me the Giada i53 is still very much worth the $550 or so it costs to get the version I tested. At the money I am pondering replacing my Arctic unit with this as soon as I find the appropriate BR drive for it. That combined with the fact that I have an extra SSD, or I could go with the m-SATA option and keep the Hitachi in place. Either way I need it to be a bit quicker from off to desktop, as I don't leave my HTPC powered on all the time. I really do think Giada is on to something really big in the smallest form I have seen.
With a few more options available to users, or some form of accessories you can add on, I think Giada can easily make a more recognizable name for themselves as long as they keep doing what they are doing now.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications, Availability and Pricing]
- Page 3 [Packaging]
- Page 4 [Giada i53 Mini PC]
- Page 5 [Inside the Giada i53 Mini PC]
- Page 6 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 7 [At the Desktop Level]
- Page 8 [Thermal Testing]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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