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Green Gadgets LP-170 Pico-ITX Review

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perplekks45 4th April 2011, 09:00 Quote
I was happy to see the low power draw but it comes at the price of virtually no performance & unacceptable heat. And what about the price? £400+?! No, thanks.
John_T 4th April 2011, 09:14 Quote
I like the idea of this a lot. I could live with the low power for a secondary system, but the case heat seems like a major oversight and that price is just outrageous. The Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 reviewed here a while back costs £125, (and the passive Asus E35M1-M PRO ZACATE only £106) so although while physically bigger, you could build a more capable system for around half the price.

It's just wrong...
Cthippo 4th April 2011, 09:18 Quote
Probably aimed at the carputer market which tolerates far higher prices. A cool piece of kit for what it is, but very over-priced for what you get.
yogev_ezra 4th April 2011, 09:29 Quote
Thanks a lot to Bit-Tech team for reviewing the kit! We are aware of the thermal issues and are still working on improving the passive cooling. We could end up using graphite blocks even, if they prove better than copper block and do not cost a fortune :o

What Paul forgot to mention though, is that we want to have a special promotion for Bit-Tech readers, and will sell the kit at below our own cost for 3 weeks from the date of review publication (that would be till 24/April/2011). I cannot mention the prices here as it would hurt our resellers, but anyone interested can e-mail sales (at) greengadgets.co.il and we will give you an offer. Just state you are a Bit-Tech reader in the e-mail subject, and please DO NOT post here the prices that you get by e-mail. Offer is valid Worldwide so all of you Bit-Tech readers from Panama, Estonia, New Zealand and elsewhere are welcome to contact us :D
confusis 4th April 2011, 09:57 Quote
Depending on cost I sense a mod coming on ;)
amdavies 4th April 2011, 10:01 Quote
I'm really tired of all the "greenwashing" be perpetrated by companies, it's just a way of trying to make sales by attempting to guilt consumers into making the supposed good choice over all of the evil ones.

For the majority of consumers, the "greenest" option will be either a second hand computer or a laptop (preferably a second hand laptop).
A large portion of the energy required by a computer is used in the manufacturing stage, before the machine is even plugged into a socket. Extending the life of an older machine can provide a much greater reduction in total energy consumption than buying a new product. Unfortunately, these older machines can draw a lot of power (100W for some P4 CPUs alone IIRC) and so you have to think about total system consumption over the lifetime of your use versus the initial cost.
Laptops, generally, have better efficiency as manufacturers try to eek out as much life from the battery as possible whilst having acceptable performance. You do lose a lot of the flexibility of a desktop but most consumers wouldn't miss this anyway.


Of other things...

If you're sure that you require a new machine then it's possible to get much better performance out of desktop parts by cherry picking your components, 30W idle i3 systems are apparently possible:-

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/d510mo-intel-atom,2616-11.html

An extra 10W at idle (roughly £10 per year of 24/7 usage) gets you much better efficiency if you're actually using the computer for a particular task.


I'm not going to mention non-x86 solutions (ARM-based being the most obvious), they're not quite ready for mainstream yet but I'm hoping that they will be soon.
feathers 4th April 2011, 10:02 Quote
Where's the HDMI? Just a VGA port? 450 pounds? They're having a laugh right? This must be a late april fool joke? Could build a green mini PC with far higher spec for that price.
yogev_ezra 4th April 2011, 10:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogev_ezra
Offer is valid Worldwide so all of you Bit-Tech readers from Panama, Estonia, New Zealand and elsewhere are welcome to contact us :D
User: confusis
Location: Tauranga, New Zealand

LOL, that was nice :D Please allow our sales team up to 24 hours to respond.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amdavies
I'm really tired of all the "greenwashing" be perpetrated by companies, it's just a way of trying to make sales by attempting to guilt consumers into making the supposed good choice over all of the evil ones. A large portion of the energy required by a computer is used in the manufacturing stage, before the machine is even plugged into a socket.
I agree with you - this is why the motto of our company is different from all other "green computing" companies in the world. Other companies would tell you to replace your existing computers with green counterparts, but we don't. We tell to all our customers: buy from us only if you need to buy a computer anyway AND our computer suits your work needs (Office, Internet, basic games). If you already have an existing computer and are satisfied, then just stick to it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by feathers
Where's the HDMI? Just a VGA port? 450 pounds? They're having a laugh right? This must be a late april fool joke? Could build a green mini PC with far higher spec for that price.
It's an Intel limitation - we can do nothing about that. Pineview Atoms (N450/N550/D410/D510/D525 and the rest of them using GMA3150) have 2 monitor outputs: VGA and LVDS. VGA is capable of outputting 1080p or even more, but LVDS is unfortunately limited to 1280x800 or 1366x768 pixels. To provide a DVI or HDMI port, we have to use LVDS output, but it would be stupid to offer DVI with only 1280x800, so we are not offering it for now. If we find a way to output at least 1280x1024 via DVI, we will surely be offering that. And no, we do not want to use Nvidia Ion2 for this reason, as there is no space on the motherboard :| In this aspect, VIA have a small advantage over us as they are total solution provider and can make their own board that will support HDMI at high resolution, without hindering their other sales.

Regarding the price - as stated above - our distributors need to eat something as well ;) But you are welcome to buy via our Bit-Tech promotion for 3 weeks.
JerryW 4th April 2011, 10:38 Quote
This looks an interesting product to me, very cool in one sense but unfortunately not in the other - to the point where it seems actually unsafe. Casing at 60degC?!
I look forward to seeing the MkII, however, if an when it emerges..
yogev_ezra 4th April 2011, 10:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryW
This looks an interesting product to me, very cool in one sense but unfortunately not in the other - to the point where it seems actually unsafe. Casing at 60degC?!
All the components used are industrial grade and can withstand 0-60 degrees Celsius room temperature, which is not the same as CPU, motherboard, heatsink or chassis temperature. So using this product at room temperature of 20-30 degrees Celsius would be fine for years.

The top of the chassis indeed reaches 60 degrees Celsius, but you will not get a burn (or any other negative effect to your skin) if you just touch it. To get a burn, you would need to stick your hand there for a few minutes at least, which is not very clever for adult person to do. This does mean however, that this product is unsafe for children, so it should be kept out of the reach of children while it's powered on.
dunx 4th April 2011, 11:11 Quote
Fractal array case £140
ITX MoBo £80
i5 655k @ 4 GHz £160
4 GB DDR3 1600 £40
five HDD + full sized graphics card GTX 460 + SSD
No thanks ! Size matters, but not THAT much !

dunx
rollo 4th April 2011, 11:58 Quote
Looks like sumit id have fun modding might drop a email later
tonyd223 4th April 2011, 12:24 Quote
love reading the comments more than the review - it's an industrial pc, so what's it doing here?
Kasius 4th April 2011, 13:41 Quote
Jeebus it's fugly.. Looks like it's been thrown together in someones greenhouse
Xir 4th April 2011, 13:43 Quote
You've not shown how the heatsink connects to the chips.
On the picture, it's screwed just to the case. What's pressing the processor to the heatsink then?

...the "no digital outputs" strategy is annoying, but systematic to the Atom-ecosystem, alas.
On netbooks, even the VGA-output is severely limited (and often of bad quality)
VGA signal-quality isn't checked on any websites anymore (as everybody normally uses digital outputs.
If you use the broadcom-chip, doesn't it come with a digital output?
Xir 4th April 2011, 13:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyd223
love reading the comments more than the review - it's an industrial pc, so what's it doing here?

No, it's a mod ready to be made...get to it!
memeroot 4th April 2011, 14:52 Quote
best of luck with this
yogev_ezra 4th April 2011, 15:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyd223
love reading the comments more than the review - it's an industrial pc, so what's it doing here?
I have asked Bit-Tech team to review the kit for 3 reasons:
1) To let the readers know that not just VIA produces Pico-ITX solutions today. VIA Artigo A1100 was reviewed on Bit-Tech on 8/Sept/2010 (7 months ago): http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/pcs/2010/09/08/via-artigo-a1100-pico-itx-kit-review/1 - so I thought the readers deserve to know they have an alternative (disregard the prices at this point)
2) To let the readers know that not only WiFi/Bluetooth cards can be installed in mini-PCI express slot. Commell is a unique company that offers a very wide selection of mini-PCIe cards that allow you to really customize your mods: http://www.commell.com.tw/Product/Peripheral/PCI%20Express%20mini%20card/PCI%20Express%20mini%20card.HTM And I am saying it not because we are Commell distributor in Israel but because it's the truth :D If you disagree, find me another company with more different mini-PCIe cards than Commell, and I will send you a free LP-170 kit ;)
3) The Pico-ITX motherboard itself is a wonderful piece for modding on its own, and because Bit-Tech is so modders-oriented, I promised them that this will be the only English-language review published in the world (yes, they got exclusive from us). We will publish one more review in Hebrew of course, but it's less relevant for the readers here B)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
You've not shown how the heatsink connects to the chips. On the picture, it's screwed just to the case. What's pressing the processor to the heatsink then?
I will make some movies today and upload them to YouTube. Will post the link here once done.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
...the "no digital outputs" strategy is annoying, but systematic to the Atom-ecosystem, alas. On netbooks, even the VGA-output is severely limited (and often of bad quality) VGA signal-quality isn't checked on any websites anymore (as everybody normally uses digital outputs.
This time, Bit-Tech were forced to check the VGA signal quality as they only got VGA ports, and as you see from the review, the quality was satisfying.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
If you use the broadcom-chip, doesn't it come with a digital output?
This chip is like a math-coprocessor for old Intel 486 CPUs. It only accelerates the HD content but does not have any direct output on its own. This is different from NVidia ION2 which both accelerates HD and has its own HDMI output. But Broadcom BCM70015 only consumes 1 watt and can be installed on the mini-PCIe socket, while Nvidia ION2 does not exist in mini-PCIe version and would take too much space on the motherboard itself to be possible.
Tech NoOb 4th April 2011, 17:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Probably aimed at the carputer market which tolerates far higher prices. A cool piece of kit for what it is, but very over-priced for what you get.

Is this PCs for cars?
j_jay4 4th April 2011, 21:00 Quote
Just goes to show how far Atom has to go to in terms of efficiency, heats up to 109C with passive cooling and can't really manage playing high bit rate video. No wonder atom hasn't made it into anything handheld.

I totally agree with yogev_ezra on the relevance of the review, it's a product that will peak some amount of interest in most of the bit tech readers I think, even if they're not planning a pico-PC.

It sounds to me like GG have made an excellent effort, but ultimately have been hampered by the Intel Atom.
j_jay4 4th April 2011, 21:01 Quote
I love that the bios chip takes up most of the PCB lol
Niftyrat 4th April 2011, 23:51 Quote
Would something like this run a dedicated server for say ARMA2 currently using an old core 2 duo I have lying around in a rather large antic p190 case. Would like something to hide away with little to no noise and low power but still be good for running ther server
Lizard 5th April 2011, 00:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niftyrat
Would something like this run a dedicated server for say ARMA2

I very much doubt it - Arma 2 eats hardware for breakfast and then spits it out in bloody pieces... instead I might consider an AMD Fusion based system.
PureSilver 5th April 2011, 00:33 Quote
I like the low power draw, since I'll soon be in the market for an ultra-low-power home automation system. I wonder if such a thing could be run over the serial port expansion card... Hmm.
Material 5th April 2011, 00:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PureSilver
I like the low power draw, since I'll soon be in the market for an ultra-low-power home automation system. I wonder if such a thing could be run over the serial port expansion card... Hmm.

Y'see, it's got it's uses, it's just for very specific stuff like this.
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