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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zeo - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - linkImagination never supported open source drivers for their GPUs, and 3rd party driver support tend to be messy to begin with... The Intel based GMA's though have typically provided Linux support.
While Intel also supports initiatives like the Tizen OS.
Fortunately, Intel will be going back to their own GMA with the next generation ATOMs.
While Nvidia may be offering something with their Kepler series, as it's suppose to have versions that can go as far down as being included in Smart Phones. So a updated version of the Nvidia ION may not be out of the question.
randinspace - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkI was just looking at Logic Supply's website. I'm not surprised that they sent you guys a "new" platform for testing since they have no reason to do anything other than push their existing customers to upgrade, but I am surprised that they only offer a single AMD fanless solution when they're still offering Core 2 Duo ones. I can almost see a case for seemingly offering mobile C2D (I didn't double check but I was assuming these were the ones that had the onboard GPUs from nVidia) instead of Fusion in their Linux systems as well if only because Apple (indirectly) got away with it but... I simply couldn't find a product on their website that made sense to me from top to bottom, or which even more importantly actually made sense to buy from them instead of someone else. The msi products, for instance.
Of course now that I've considered all that at least it finally makes sense why they approached you guys about doing a review that's not even aimed at enthusiasts let alone consumers in the first place.
[My last sentence looks strange to me so just to clarify: I'm not trying to accuse you guys of anything aside from UNbiased reporting, I'm just saying that in the absence of compelling products Logic Supply looks like they could stand any kind of buzz related to their band. Since this review at least inspired me to check their website maybe that wasn't a bad idea on their part?]
ericgl21 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - linkLatest graphics driver I found for Atom Nx00 is v184.108.40.2067, dated 2012/06/03.
It is for the following devices:
Download from here:
speculatrix - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - linkgma500 used the PowerVR SGX 535, which was a disaster; the driver was closed source and not great quality, developed by Tungsten Graphics
Tungsten Graphics was bought by VMWare. Chances are there's noone left who helped develop the driver, and probably noone who has authority to open source it. I did try contacting vmware to ask about what happened but noone (wanted) responded.
name99 - Saturday, June 2, 2012 - link"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.
Unfortunately, there's a rub. ... Intel was having problems getting the GMA 3650 working properly in Windows. "
All this, IMHO, simply reinforces my point all along regarding ARM vs Intel.
Yes, Intel has astonishing logic and process engineers. But they cannot change the fact that the full x86 package (and that is what Intel has decided Atom will ship with) is insanely complex. It took 7 years to move Nehalem from idea to shipping product, and that's only going to get worse.
Meanwhile ARM is much more agile, able to move from A8 to A9 to A15 micro-architecture during the time Intel has stood still, and ARM seems to be a lot more willing to let the past go. They've specifically stated that the ARM-64 instruction set is based on all the lessons they've learned over the past years about what works and what doesn't, and that basing it on the existing 32-bit instruction set was not a priority where that did not make sense. Of course the first few rounds of ARM-64 CPUs will carry 32-bit baggage, but I imagine that will be dropped as soon as those aggressive customers with substantial control over the code their devices run (*cough* Apple *cough*) are willing to do so.
powerarmour - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - linkThere is also a rumour it seems that Intel won't have any GMA 3600/3650 drivers ready for Windows 8 either...
Imagine buying a Cedar Trail tablet in the bizarre hope that you'll be able to run the latest and so called greatest on it from Redmond, and be faced with basically a buggy mess due to the current Windows 7 drivers (even the latest 1077 version will downright crash the system if you attempt to run a Metro apps)
This is bad stuff, very very bad...
Xbit labs did a review of their own also :-
2D performance is simply dreadful and unacceptable, this is epic fail pure and simple. And they have the nerve to sell these to the public?