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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StevoLincolnite - Monday, May 28, 2012 - linkSad to see history repeating itself with the Intel Decelerators and drivers.
Never again will I get a system that uses Intel graphics, AMD and Nvidia you can entrust they will update drivers frequently and gain performance over time...
Still rocking an Atom 330 + nVidia Ion in my Mini-ITX rig; and other than Brazos... There is really no options available to upgrade it yet even after several years, but the machine does it job.
zeo - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - linkCedar Trail ATOM isn't even using a Intel GPU! The 3600/3650 GMAs are using a Imagination PowerVR GPU! The SGX545 to be precise...
So it's the 3rd party support that's lousy, and same problem Intel had with the GMA 500, based on the Imagination PowerVR SGX535, a few years ago... but Intel is working on improving the drivers, they're just focused on getting the drivers ready for Windows 8 release and so Windows 7 support has been put on the back burner till then.
While Imagination has never supported Open Source drivers. So Linux users are on their own.
However, Intel is going back to their own GPU with the next 22nm Silvermont update.
While Intel isn't so bad in supporting their own GPU based GMAs, but they've never been known for great performance.
Though, the HD4000 seems to have reached the okay for entry level mark and the next Haswell update promises to raise graphical performance by another 50%. While the 22nm Silvermont update may be using a GMA based on the HD4000.
So while they still probably won't be breaking any performance records, they should be providing more respectful performance by the middle of next year.
ViperV990 - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkHow are you measuring the power consumption? Does the 17W load figure at the input or output of the PSU?
ViperV990 - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - links/Does/Is/ :p
JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkPower is measured at the wall, so PSU efficiency is a factor. If it's a good PSU with 80% or higher efficiency, then the system is using a few watts less actual power.
MrSpadge - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - link"Load temperatures do break the 15-watt TDP that Logic Supply advertises, but only by two watts, certainly still reasonable."
1st: it should read "power consumption" instead of "temperature".
2nd: if you're measuring at the wall, at least 1 W is consumed in the PSU, probably a bit more. Including rounding errors this leaves us straight at the 15 W Logic Supply claims for the unit. I guess they were not counting the loss in the PSU.
JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkThanks, edited for both items.
DesertCat - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkNot that I'm sure that it will fix the reviewer's problems but Acer has a newer video driver from Intel on their site for their N2600-based netbook (Aspire One AOD-270). I think the reviewer was probably using the 1065 driver that is up on Intel's site (hence the comment about them being 4 months old), but Acer has the 22.214.171.1245. The latter one has a release date of March 20th. Might be worth a shot.
funtasticguy - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - linkHey, DesertCat, thanks for that tip. My new Gateway LT4004u had the same original 1065 driver. So I went to Acer's website and downloaded the 1075 driver and installed it on my Gateway. Now, finally XBMC Eden runs well (before I had this annoying flickering that rendered XBMC useless). In addition, my 720p and 1080p videos now work 100% perfectly within XBMC. So, Intel has made some progress and I'm a happy camper. It still won't run my PSX1 emulator well and some other games, but I suspect that as Intel updates it's driver again, all my emulators and games should work well.
By the way, my Gateway has a 10+ battery life. It is also rather speedy and I'm happy with my purchase now -- especially since XBMC works well now and I can use it as a portable media player when I travel out of town.
Again, thanks for the tip!
mfed3 - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - linkRidiculously overpriced. I like the form factor for possibly using it as a hypervisor for a pfSense router and Windows Media Center tuner pool but the price tag is just stupid.