The ECS LIVA X2 Mini-PC feels like a slightly refined version of the older ECS LIVA X that came out at the beginning of the year. General CPU performance is close to the same, but it has much better graphics performance and power efficiency. If you are worried about HTPC performance and video playback, the newer ECS LIVA X2 is certainly the way to go as the Intel Celeron N3050 Braswell SoC just felt like it did everything smoother in that regard.
The fanless design and low cost of the LIVA X2 will likely make many consider this system and we are happy to report that we did not experience any thermal throttling on the LIVA X2 like we did on the original LIVA X. The new Intel 14nm Braswell SoC is just a 6W TDP processor and we never drew over 10W of power unless we hooked up an external storage drive. ECS put in a large passive cooler with heatpipes, so hitting just 61C with no fan noise was nice to see.
ECS also finally woke up and included a better wireless card inside and it’s about time they put a dual-band 802.11ac solution inside as that is required these days for a general PC. We were only getting around 200 Mbps in our wireless benchmark tests with this 433 Mbps Wi-Fi card, but it sure beat the 50 Mbps we saw on the previous generation LIVA X model with it’s pathetic single-band 802.11n 1×1 card.
When it comes to pricing the ECS LIVA X2 starts at $170 and goes up to $298 depending on how you get it configured. We were sent the LIVA X2 with 2GB of Memory and 32GB of eMMC storage, but we’d recommend going with the 4GB model that has 64GB of eMMC. You can’t even update to Windows 10 on the smaller LIVA X2 32GB model without a 16GB or greater USB drive as there isn’t enough storage space for the upgrade to take place. Other benefits would be that the 64GB drive has faster write speeds and 4GB of memory is nice to have even on a mini-PC. The model with more storage and RAM costs an additional $55, so there is nearly a 33% price jump to go up a model. Then you got to ask yourself is it worth it on a low-cost mini-PC that you are likely buying due to it’s price point alone.
At the end of the day the ECS LIVA X2 is the most refined LIVA series model yet and should make for a decent light-use, low power, general purpose PC. If you are looking for something that can do very lightweight tasks then this might be the low-cost solution for you as long as you understand it’s not going to be snappy like a high-end desktop PC!
Legit Bottom Line: The ECS LIVA X is a much more refined system and we can’t wait to see what ECS can do with the third generation 6+ months down the road.