ECS displays diminutive Liva-series systems at CES

The Apollo Lake ECS Liva Q tiny PC we reported on back in mid-November is just now starting to show up in the catalogs of online retailers. However, ECS is already showing off prototypes of its Liva Q2 and Liva Z2 pocket-size PC replacements at CES in Las Vegas. The new models pack undisclosed SoCs from Intel's latest power-sipping Gemini Lake family. The company also had Liva One SoC and Liva 850 models on display.

Current Liva Q

The Liva Q2 machines are a little bit thicker than the current Liva Q models, measuring 2.7" (7 cm) on each side and 1.3" (3.3 cm) tall. The existing Liva Q has the same footprint, but is 0.08" (2 mm) shorter. The base configuration has an unnamed Gemini Lake mobile dual-core SoC, 2 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 32 GB of eMMC storage, and integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Extra coin can net buyers a four-core machine with 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of internal storage.

As one would expect from a PC this small, there is no way to upgrade the factory-supplied internals. Buyers can chuck a microSD card in the computer's reader for more cat picture space. External I/O is limited to a USB 3.0, a crusty old USB 2.0 connector, a Gigabit Ethernet connector, and a single HDMI 2.0 jack.

Liva Z2

The Liva Z2 isn't quite as small, but it does have a slot for a 2.5" drive and two SODIMM slots for memory. ECS was once again vague about the available processors, but the information it offered was missing the word "mobile" when it came to the SoCs. The machines come with soldered-in 32 GB or 64 GB eMMC modules in case buyers don't want to install a 2.5" device.

The port cluster is also larger, with a second HDMI jack (version 1.4), four USB ports (one in Type-C flavor), two USB 2.0 connectors, an audio combo jack, and Gigabit Ethernet. Liva Z2s also have integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The dimensions of the machine are not finalized yet, but they look to be pretty compact.

The Liva One SoC is quite a bit larger than the Liva Q2 and Z2, with a 7.8" by 7.4" (20 cm by 19 cm) footprint and a height of 1.7" (4.5 cm). The One takes this extra space and gives back a DDR4 SODIMM memory slot, an M.2-2280 SSD slot, a 2.5" drive bay, and lots of I/O. The machine can be equipped with Celeron J4005, Celeron J4105, or Pentium Silver J5005 SoCs.

The rear panel has a PS/2 port, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, two USB 2.0 ports, and four USB 3.0 connectors. ECS says the front panel hasn't been finalized, but the display unit has two USB Type-A ports and a pair of audio jacks. We imagine the company is mulling over swapping out one of the front Type-A connectors for a USB-C port.

The Liva 850 is in a different class altogether with its larger size and LGA 1151 CPU socket. ECS says the socket can accept Skylake-S chips, but we suspect Kaby Lake chips would probably also work. The system has a pair of full-size DIMM slots, an M.2 slot, and three SATA ports. The machine measures 13.4" x 11" x 4" (34 cm x 28 cm x 10.4 cm), making it much larger than the Liva machines we're used to.

We think ECS has embedded work in mind for the Liva 850 given the PS/2, serial, USB 2.0, and pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports that share back panel real estate with the more modern pair of USB 3.0 Type-A jacks. The company also made a point to emphasize that the Liva 850 can run Windows 7 32-bit.

ECS didn't provide pricing or availability information about any of the machines. We imagine the asking price of the base model Liva Q2 with 2 GB of memory and 32 GB of eMMC storage will land close to the $139 asking price of the current version.

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