Logic Supply LGX AG150 Fanless System Review: Cedar Trail or Cedar Trial?by Dustin Sklavos on May 28, 2012 11:30 PM EST
- Posted in
- Cedar Trail
Introducing the Logic Supply LGX AG150
Every so often we have a vendor come to us with a unique product, something that may or may not have an immediately evident purpose, or may not be suited strictly to end consumers. Such is the case with the LGX AG150 system we received for review from Logic Supply, a totally enclosed and fanless system geared almost exclusively for commercial and industrial applications. The LGX AG150 is also our first serious hands on experience with Intel's Cedar Trail Atom refresh.
This system is for all intents and purposes a fairly complete PC capable of running Windows 7, featuring both wireless and wired connectivity, an HDMI port that supports 1080p video, and even high current USB ports...all in a sleek aluminum casing. Logic Supply has given us an opportunity to review two products together: the Cedar Trail-based dual core Atom N2800, and the LGX AG150 system itself. One of these has a future, but the other seems to be stuck squarely in the past.
While you could reasonably argue that the netbook bubble has essentially popped with casual content consumption being handled more ably by tablets, while ultrabooks and ultraportables become both more prevalent and less expensive for actual computing needs (to say nothing of AMD's very capable Zacate platform), Atom still fundamentally has a future. Medfield proved Intel was both serious about breaking into the smartphone market and capable of doing so, as we observed in our review of the Lava Xolo X900. There are other applications for relatively higher wattage Atom parts, though, and the fanless Logic Supply LGX AG150 handily demonstrates that.
Just so we're absolutely clear before we move on, though, the LGX AG150 is not intended for the end consumer. A system like this is designed for industrial applications as well as commercial applications, like powering kiosks. It's for situations where an x86 platform is needed, but power consumption and heat have to be kept to a minimum. Specialized? Certainly, but let's see what it offers for the target market.
|Logic Supply LGX AG150 Specifications|
|Chassis||Logic Supply Custom|
Intel Atom N2800
(2x1.86GHz + HTT, 32nm, 1MB L2, 6.5W)
|Motherboard||Intel DN2800MT with NM10 Chipset|
|Memory||2x2GB Samsung DDR3-1333|
|Graphics||Intel GMA 3650 (640MHz, based on PowerVR SGX 545)|
|Hard Drive(s)||Intel 320 40GB SATA 3Gbps SSD|
|Power Supply||Seasonic 60W External PSU|
Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Centrino 6230-N 802.11a/b/g/n
Speaker and mic/line-in jacks
2x USB 2.0
4x USB 2.0 (2x High Current)
Speaker and mic/line-in jacks
|Operating System||Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit SP1|
Completely fanless operation
Starting at $434
Price as configured: $678
Anand has already done a fairly detailed breakdown of the new Cedar Trail Atom N2800 (and corresponding Cedarview platform) here. Despite being the third generation of Atom processor from Intel, performance per core and per clock has essentially stood still since the very first Atom was introduced, and it continues to do so. Other than the single-core and dual-core models, Atom is about making a very small, inexpensive, low power x86 chip. The 32nm shrink that the N2800 represents is all about reducing power consumption further still, which is how we can get two x86-based cores with a combined TDP of just 6.5 watts.
While there are no real performance improvements under the CPU's hood, the GPU has been essentially gutted and replaced. Gone is the GMA 950-based GMA 3150 that "powered" the last generation of Atom graphics, replaced instead with an SGX 545 core licensed from PowerVR under the heading "GMA 3650". DirectX support remains at 9.0, but the GPU has been clocked all the way up to 640MHz and theoretically H.264 can now be decoded in hardware.
Unfortunately, there's a rub. The rumor mill was running rampant around the beginning of the new year that Intel was having problems getting the GMA 3650 working properly in Windows. Indeed, current drivers only support 32-bit Windows despite the N2800 itself being able to handle 64-bit. That's not a tremendous loss since Atom was never more than barely adequate in the first place, but with that said, there's apparently more than a grain of truth to those rumors.
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KZ0 - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkLast page: "Atom wasn't integrated enough and small enough to actually make it into retail smartphones; no with Medfield it is, but at the same time that sort of design just isn't fast enough for Windows products."
supposed to be " ... now, with Medfield, ... "?
Denithor - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkAnd another one, fourth paragraph on the last page:
The word should be 'crux' not 'crus' (which isn't even a word). Spell check should have caught this one...
JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkUnfortunately, this was some information I added to Dustin's review in our CMS, which doesn't really have spellcheck in place. Thanks for the catch; the offending typos have been fixed.
eanazag - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkWe should not be surprised that Intel cannot get a GPU to function correctly on a part that they make less money on than their main parts. When the last 3 generations of Intel IGPs have been additionally handicapped by their software. I have an Core i3 540, which processor side I am very happy with, but on the graphics side I feel like I should have went a different route for.
In x86 this is where we are left. We can do the old desktop model and buy an Intel processor with a discrete graphics card and not compromise. Otherwise we are buying a compromise in either direction with Intel and AMD.
I am still perturbed Intel did not license x86 to nVidia. I think things would look a lot different today if Intel didn't try to squeeze nVidia out of as much as they could. Think Ion and chipsets. I really think AMD would be doing better if they didn't do the same thing in chipsets to nVidia. I really don't think there would be serious competition to Apple in the tablet space if Intel would have granted an x86 license to nVidia. Would there be other ARM choices? Yes. But no one would be as successful as pushing a gaming platform as nVidia is with Tegra/Android ecosystem if Android was left to do it on their own.
I really want to commend nVidia on staying relevant. I really thought their ship was going to sink when AMD and Intel kept finding ways to relegate nVidia to only discrete cards.
JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkI disagree on several points with your idea that NVIDIA would somehow make a better x86 CPU than AMD or Intel, and that they could also get all the chipset stuff right. NVIDIA chipsets ranged from decent with a few minor quirks to downright awful at times. I think NVIDIA pulled out of the AMD chipset business voluntarily when they decided they couldn't offer better quality for less money. On the Intel side, they could have continued to offer something, but I'm convinced we're better off with SLI on Intel chipsets rather than NVIDIA locking SLI use to their own chipsets.
Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - linkOn that I actually disagree. It's true their chipset business was a little "eh," but nForce 2 was a stone cold killer back in the Socket A days.
Lothsahn - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkI work with Logic Supply for the enterprise, and they're great. They have excellent communication, solid products (we've had little to no RMA's), and excellent support and customer service. When we did have an issue, they had a person in-house reproduce our issue and solve the problem within a day.
Compared to working with other sellers (like Dell), it's a world of difference. They make solid products at slightly higher prices, but you get what you pay for.
We've actually been using a very similar product for 2 years, based off the NF96FL mainboard. While our system isn't quite fanless, Logic supply recommended a specific set of fans that are high reliability, and we haven't had a single failure (>40 deployed systems).
bernstein - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkwhats really interesting woud be a comparison with amds atom counterpart e-350, especially in those 3dmarks...
aduncanvickery - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkI would be interested to see what the Linux performance and support is like for this system. I know a lot of retail outlets use slightly-customized small linux distros for their in-store browsing and internet catalog kiosks. Any thoughts?
Lothsahn - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkThe PowerVR driver is a mess in linux. Search for "poulsbo linux", and you'll see a lot of information about that. That means the graphics driver problem is likely a huge issue in this model.
OTOH, we've been using Ubuntu 10.04 on the NF96FL mainboard (Atom D525) and we haven't had any stability issues at all. We've had ~40 systems deployed, and to my knowledge, haven't had a single crash.