on 5 March 2014
Lets be clear from the get go: this is a budget Mini PC and a perfect candidate for an entry level HTPC (my intended function for this unit). That said, I expected a certain level of thought to have gone into this product and felt that in certain areas it was left lacking. I purchased the "no drive, no operating system" version of this build and stuck in my own 60gb SSD and copy of Windows 8 I had lying around.
The GOOD first:
The thing is tiny. Whilst not silent, it is pretty quiet, at least whilst it's idle. When it gets going the fan can really pick up. It handles all of my content (1080p video) just fine in XBMC running within Windows 8. There is also a hyper-functional BIOS loaded with customisations and control over your system to help match up your power consumption/performance needs. It also looks pretty cool and the looks at home in my media station.
Basically, this machine without a doubt fulfils my needs: it's small, quiet, cheap and just fast enough to handle what I want it to process.
Now for the BAD:
The board inside is horribly laid out. I tried to look around online for some videos and examples but couldn't find any that match this model ahead of time before buying. After purchase, compared to those I did find images/videos of, it seems like similar Sedatech machines have managed better board layouts than this one. The HDD holder sits almost directly above one of the heatsinks (almost touching). The wiring is a nightmare of tangles and bulges I literally had to press the lid down onto in order to get the case closed again. This is not helped by the included SATA cable that, whilst appreciated, is way too long. The ventilation is frankly; terrible, due in part to a power supply section that blocks off the top vents that would allow some of the heat to escape. All of this means that the pc runs hot. VERY hot. The CPU max temp before auto shut-off is in the 90 degrees C range and I was getting readings into the high 70's often just from fairly regular use. After getting so hot, the box would then struggle to drop that heat due to the poor ventilation, essentially just pushing the still hot air back into the CPU. I can't even imagine how hot this would be running with a mechanical drive in the box rather than an SSD so I would strongly suggest considering this before purchase.
I got around these issues by lodging my SSD into the front side of the case removing it from proximity to the heatsinks. I flipped the unit upside down (it doesn't really have a "right way up" and even has rubber feet so it can be stored on it's side if you like) as doing so exposes the bottom vents that are mostly free of obstructions so facilitates better heat release. Finally, I purchased a large pc case fan that I attached to the side-exterior to draw out the hot air. A small PC like this will run hotter than a standard pc due to it's compressed size but I felt that the CPU temp was simply too close to it's limit and the addition of a second fan reduced the working temperature to the high 40's/low 50's.
If you are looking for a cheap PC to run basic functions, operate as a server and/or present media; this is a versatile little box. However, I would strongly advise viewing this as a foundation onto which you will need to modify either the operation or mechanics to suit your needs. In my case that meant a few extra purchases of under £10 to ensure optimal performance. Not a huge deal but not what I was expecting.
on 2 February 2014
I ordered this to stream media to my TV. Got the version without an O/S or hard drive, as I had spares of each lying around. Fitting the HDD, and installing Windows from a USB Drive (guidance online for such things) was really easy. Most annoying thing was spending ages installing drivers and patches, but that's modern computing for you. ;)
Good word for the company who dispatched this. Though I bought from Amazon UK, I ordered the PC for an address in France. The company included a french plug socket without being asked. Such an eye for detail is appreciated.
The PC itself is nice, quiet, and very petite. Has plenty enough power for my video streaming. Lots of nice ports for network, HDMI out, extra storage via USB etc. I gave four stars because sometimes the picture colours go a little funny for a minute or so when watching video. Updated drivers but saw same behaviour. Aside from that minor hiccup, very happy with purchase. Opened up a lot of new TV possibilities for us!