VIA C7 NX15000g Review (nanoITX)

Discussion in 'Other CPUs and chipsets' started by Quan-Time, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. Quan-Time

    Quan-Time Member

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    This is my 1st review, so go easy on me.

    Via C7 NX15000G
    [​IMG]

    VIA has a line up of fairly tiny "embedded" mobos, the NanoITX variety measures in at 12cm X 12cm complete. They are ~4cm tall with the heat sink.
    [​IMG]
    For reference, here is a blank DVD in a case i quickly whipped up. Yes, the PSU fits in there aswell.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The NX15000g is a Via C7, 1.5ghz active cooled CPU. You have an option in BIOS to change it to 1.2ghz, and run it passive if so desired. The bios controls the fan, which incidently is REALLY quiet. its a 40mm generic brand.

    The limitations on ram is 1gb total. There is only room for 1 (one) SO-DIMM stick, at max of 533mhz speed. I found some kingston 4-4-4-12 @ 533 for really cheap on flea-bay, so that now calls the slot home.

    Overclocking is limited non-surprisingly. Ram is tweakable with ratios (1:1, 4:3) aswell as a good array of timings.
    CPU is fairly limited, but it IS possible to OC past 1.2ghz, but i didnt bother as for what im going to use it for, its plenty.

    Onboard video is the old S3 "unichrome" chipset. Think "old crappy intel". Its obviously shared system ram in 32, 64(default) and 128meg.

    Booting off usb / anything else is also easy (to an extent, more on that later), 2x SATA ports (version 1, 150mb/s) and 1x IDE (ata133 DMA4).

    4x USB headers are provided and claim to be USB2, altho ive yet to make it work. Every bloody time i plug in my USB2 thumbstick (good for grabbing drivers / benchtests of my main machine and throwing them over) it always says "USB2 device detected, but you dont have USB2 installed on this thing, it will be slow". No matter how much i tried, i COULDNT get it to work properly. I used a TinyXP w/ SP3 slipped, original via drivers, generic, MS, nothing worked.. Once again, im not hugely fussed, but it did get annoying.

    Not as annoying as the SATA drivers. Every time i went to install, the IDE would work, but the SATA would be "interrupted" and please try again.. VERY annoying. It still doesnt have the correct drivers.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I use a 16gb CF card, and a CF->SATA converter with FAT32. NTFS wouldnt install. TinyXP started to, but on reboot, the sucker always hung. Not that its a huge problem, but i wanted to get bench tests of FAT / NTFS in SATA / IDE mode to find out the fastest.. Im yet to have the patience to install everything on IDE.

    USAGE
    When in winXP, everything boots quite fast. Full boot is 26sec to being able to click on the start button and it comming up. While actually working (clicking apps for bench testing) you get a piss annoying "pause" on everything. You see the CF->SATA card flash for 2secs, then things come up. Once its all loaded (SiSoft Sandra for example) then its fine. Even Pi-Fast does it. I suspect its one of 2 things. I removed too much when i TinyXP'd (220meg iso, WITH VIA drivers) or the lack of SATA drivers causes it. I strongly suspect the latter, but cant prove it either way currently.

    Saving / copying is a painless operation and is quite fast. Just your normal winxp box. Except the 2sec snooze period.

    BENCH MARKS

    3D MARK 01
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    No surprises here. Its not a gaming setup. 1st result is 64meg, 2nd is 128meg. No real difference.
    I will say this tho. The 1st test, the low qual red truck driving around, it sat on 25fps and was quite smooth, i was REALLY surprised. But when it does it again in higher qual, it was 4 - 10fps, and got to 1fps at the end. Ouch.

    3DMARK 03
    [​IMG]
    It only ran 2 of the tests out of the 12 (i think its 12).
    Is that a record for the worst score ever ?

    3D05 wouldnt even load. Not enough hardware ability :)

    HDD SPEED
    HD-Tach is interesting. Yes its slow(ish) but i 100% blame the drivers for this. I suspect i can get 38meg/s with this card (280x CF UDMA) but cant prove it. Such is life.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    A mate of mine made a speed disk util for me ages ago, so ill use it here.
    1st is the CF card, 2nd is a WD400JD on a Lan-Party Ultra-D. (SATA on NF4)
    Note: for anyone that cares, try his "unstoppable copier" prog, and have a look at who owns the cat ;)
    www.roadkil.net

    SiSoft Sandra
    [​IMG]
    Memory bandwidth is ok. Nothing special, but for what it is, its quite capable.
    CPU is average, but again, it does the job. (tab not shown in this pic)

    SUPER PI
    [​IMG]
    Self explanitory. I CBF waiting for the other times, but im sure you can guess the missing times..

    MEDIA PLAYER (edited on section)
    [​IMG]
    As you can see, CPU itilsation is fairly good. This was a 761kbit DIVX 5.2.1 alpha encoded video. Absolutely perfect play back, no stutter, can seek / throw the slider around and it doesnt miss a beat.
    the C7 has NATIVE HD playback which means if you want to play some HD movies, your also covered. AC3 hardware is also part of the package, so you wont have any problem playing 5.1.

    SUMMARY
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    All in all, im quite happy with it. Its tiny enough to do what i want, and fast enough to hold its own against the normal HTPC setup. I think with a slimline DVD, custom tiny case, you could make a fairly tidy media box if thats your thing. As the pics show, it uses 14w in normal conditions, with logitech USB keyboard + razor copperhead mouse being powered (no IDE CDROM). and 19w under full load was the MOST i could pull outta it.

    One thing that will effect MANY ppl (but i care not about).. The hardware supports sound, you get sound drivers aswell that install and seem to work.. Altho you DONT recieve the plug in the box, its a seperate item. The slightly savvy among us will obviously be able to make do by making something, but it could be quite annoying for many ppl.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2008
  2. DJ_Hippster

    DJ_Hippster Member

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    Very cool.

    Nice Review.

    Ultimate Car PC i'd say, perfect size, enough grunt to run a decent UI and 19W under full load is amazing.

    :thumbup::thumbup:
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Quan-Time

    Quan-Time Member

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    its actually for my motorbike.. Bikeputer.

    7" LCD touch screen will be my new digital dash. I have a megasquirt ECU running the bike now, and the bikeputer will piggyback off it, and give me digital tacho, TPS, yadda yadda.. I also have a USB GPS reciever, and now have a 7" GPS dash on demand ;)

    ill take some pics later when i finish machining up the housing for it. prolly.... 2 weeks (after chroming.
     
  4. slobber

    slobber Member

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    Great review

    Thanks Quan-Time :thumbup:
     
  5. MomijiTMO

    MomijiTMO Member

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    Good review. Thanks for highlighting the sound issue.
     
  6. Blinky

    Blinky Member

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    Very cool indeed! :leet:
    How much has it set you back?
     
  7. Smokin Whale

    Smokin Whale Member

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    Gee, it seems a bit slow! Especially on that superpi. I have a Pentium 3 machine which has very similar scores... Driver issue maybe?
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Quan-Time

    Quan-Time Member

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    @ Blinky
    (rough prices from memory)
    $325 for C7 delivered
    $220 for 7" LCD
    $20 for the 1gb ram
    $65 for the 16gb CF card
    $15 for the CF readers (ended up using 2 dif SATAs and 2 dif IDEs)
    $60 for the 125w PSU
    $20 for the USB GPS
    -------
    $725 total. Could build it cheaper by using cheaper generic ram, 4gb CF card would do the job, as would a 1ghz C7 rather than the 1.5ghz NX15000g.
    There was a few options for the touch screen, but i wanted 7" so i could read it easily. Theres some 14 and 15" that are VERY close to the same price, but i wouldnt be able to mount it. But in a car, it would be perfect.

    @ Smokin Whale
    You have to remember that the VIA doesnt have any code-optimisation for doing PI / anything intense. I will say this tho, encryption (512bit) it is FASTER than a quadcore intel xeon. Mainly because it has hardware support for it. I have no idea why it is, but it does indeed shine. But how often do you need to encrypt / decrypt huge blocks of data for that purpose ?
    No, its not good for folding@home. Thats a different thing all together.
     
  9. Mallik

    Mallik Member

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    Where did you purchase it from?
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Quan-Time

    Quan-Time Member

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    all of it from ebay, but check out www.e-itx.com for the mobo. I tried to source a local supplier, but no one could help. I tried 3 different wholesalers to no avail (im in adelaide like you).

    E-itx shop front on ebay, else try their website. Theres alot of other option other than the VIA, but i needed the nano form to get it to fit where i wanted. You can get a micro, which is a touch bigger, but still plenty small enough.

    I toyed with the idea of gutting a old DVDrom drive, putting in a slim-line DVD player and the C7 behind it. So it looks like a normal every day CDrom drive.

    Hope this helps.
     
  11. seb

    seb Member

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    I am interested in the 14-inch touch screens for not much more than $220. Did you see those on ebay as well because I can't seem to find 'em. not at e-itx.com either.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Quan-Time

    Quan-Time Member

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    http://cgi.ebay.com/3M-MICROTOUCH-M...ryZ74931QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    $175USD buy now, 15" touch.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Dell-E153FPT-15...ryZ74931QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    $243USD buy now, 15" touch, dell brand.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Elo-ET1747L-17-...ryZ74935QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    $188USD 17" dell brand, ends in 3hrs20mins from this post time.

    Wouldnt be hard to strip apart and make your own housing, or graft it into your car dash if thats your thing.

    i just searched for "LCD touch screen".
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2008
  13. Daft_Munt

    Daft_Munt Member

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    OP great review. I believe UMD in Melbourne, www.umd.com.au. There are a few other places that have them.
     
  14. seb

    seb Member

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    Ok thanks - I have only ever looked at ebay.com.au and Australian stores. None of those you linked to seem to ship outside of US but I can easily look for others that might.
     
  15. MudBlood

    MudBlood Member

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    Nice build/review.

    Cool thanks for the links
     
  16. macBdog

    macBdog Member

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    Good review. Make sure you use hot-glue on the ram sockets if its going on a bike!
     
  17. one-eyed-xander

    one-eyed-xander Member

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    That would be a great m0n0wall / pfSense router, if it wasn't for the single 100Mbps ethernet port :(

    Thanks for the review anyway.
     
  18. bradrogers

    bradrogers Member

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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2008
  19. OP
    OP
    Quan-Time

    Quan-Time Member

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    Megatunix is prolly what im going to run. More configable than megatune. Altho i will run both for best (easiest) tuning option.

    I like the hot glue idea for the ram, im gonna do it.. makes sense really.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  20. nidz

    nidz Member

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    Consider this. For that money you could get a Notebook pc with more grunt and more ram and probably smaller internals that you could make a even smaller media pc out of if you wanted to...
     

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