Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), a Taiwan-based electronics company and one of the biggest PC motherboard manufacturers in the world, announced a new mini-PC Liva Z family ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
The Liva XE is a mini-PC that is roughly the size of a palm (1156 x 83 x 51 mm) and features an Intel Braswell (Atom-based) processor. That means it should be quiet and power efficient, but its performance will be low-end. It comes with three USB 3.0 ports, which is an improvement over the single USB 3.0 port included in its predecessor.
The Liva Z mini-PC also comes with an Atom-based architecture, but this time it uses Intel’s latest generation, Apollo Lake, along with a quad-core configuration. (ECS didn’t mention it, but the Braswell in the Liva XE is likely dual-core) The newer chip supports 4k displays and also has better support for Windows 10, including the ability to talk to Cortana through its built-in microphone.
The Liva ZE mini- PC gives users more control over the hardware. People have access to an M.2 SSD interface as well as to the PC’s 2.5” HDD. The Liva ZE is also built with 4 Com ports, which could be useful in a more professional environment.
Liva Z Plus
The Liva Z Plus mini-PC is built for performance with its Intel Kaby Lake CPU. It also supports two DDR4 RAM slots, which can use up to 16GB of memory. ECS said the Kaby Lake processor should be 11% faster than its previous Skylake-based mini-PC, while the DDR4 RAM should be twice as fast compared to the old model's DDR3 memory. The GPU in this generation of Liva Z Plus has also seen a 20% increase in efficiency compared to the previous generation.
As we know, Kaby Lake now comes with a 4k hardware video decoder for videos utilizing both VP9 and HEVC codecs. That means 4k content should feel right at home on the Liva Z Plus as it should be played more smoothly and efficiently.
All of these Elitegroup mini-PCs will be put on display at CES at the Exhibition Hall Live Demo between January 4 and January 7.
But I decided to sit tight and wait for a Apollo Lake (Goldmont). Because, 2 GB is a bit low (still usable, for my purposes) and once you add 512 GB or 1 TB SSD, the base cost of the system becomes less significant.
I am excited to see the ZE, though I could do without the COM ports, though. I'm hoping it's not too expensive. Ideally hoping to stay below $200, for the base platform, even if I have to wait 6 months or more. Perhaps within a year, it'd be possible to buy that + 1 TB M.2 SSD for $400?