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You know the concept of genies from a lamp, yes? Well... Now add "cat" into the mix. Specifically, catfolk. Gina is a former catfolk mage who got a little bit too greedy when it comes to power... For that she was punished by a goddess - given exactly what she wanted: immortality and near-omnipotence. But at what cost... She spent several centuries in a lamp, hidden away in the middle of nowhere. She even forgot her real name. Yeah, Gina is not how she was even named before all of this. And there seems to be no end to this madness! Because if someone would find the lamp and rub it a little... She would be able to get out, but do the usual "genie-stuff". Three wishes, list of rules, obedience to the master.... Blah blah blah!
What happens if you cross a netbook with a Desktop PC?
Well, meet this cute little fellow.
This little computer has a width of 25CM (9.84 inches), a length of 20.5CM (8.07 inches) and a height of 6CM (2.36 inches) making it one of the smallest desktop computers I have ever owned.
It is so small in fact that it almost doesn’t even look too out of place on my bookcase, and is smaller than my A4 folders, and the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual too, as you can see here:
So for this one; I was just browsing around on eBay (As I do from time to time) and I noticed this for £10.00; plus free shipping. At the time on the 4th of April there was no bids on it, and I decided to keep a watchful eye over it. I put a bid on it for £20 with my ultimate max going to be around the £25 range.
A few days went by - nothing. But on the last day it there was an explosion of bids that stopped about an hour before the end of the bid, with the bid sitting at £15.00. But then on the final minute; I raised my max bid to £25, and it was just as well because on the final few seconds someone attempted to bid snipe me to knock my previous maximum out. In the end I won it for just £20, bid sniper BTFO’d.
The same seller has these computers selling comfortably for £35-£50, buy it now. So I think I got a hell of a good deal; especially when you consider that the DDR2 RAM and the HDD alone would sell for way more than that on eBay; this was a pretty good deal. Did I need this computer though? No. I just wanted it.
Item: ACER Veriton L670G Core2Duo E8400 2 x 3.00GHz 4GB 320GB DVD PC Computer
Price I paid: £20.00
Shipping: Free (Courier)
Total Cost: £20.00
Came With: Power Supply.
Honestly you’d be surprised with the cheap computers you can pick up on eBay. When I was handed this box at the door, I was concerned that it looked a little too small. The eBay photograph didn’t quite prepare me for how small this machine really was; where as you were prepared before getting to this point in the topic. I thought it was going to be a normal ATX-Form Factor Desktop PC, that didn’t really have much to write home about.
Manufactured on October 23rd 2010, this small machine actually packs one hell of a punch. Whilst I have no doubt that this will not run any games (As in it most likely won’t) it’s quite the responsive little computer. When I opened up the box and started taking out the packaging paper, I found the PSU which is pretty beefy.
Under this more packaging paper, and then the computer itself… My first words about it was “Aww; this is cute. It’s a Neppy Computer.” Which got Neptune’s attention; as when I usually prefix something with Neppy, I’m meaning it’s small. Kind of like “Neppy-Sized” = “Fun-Sized”, which is a bit of an in-joke between Neptune and myself, because standing next to me she is quite ‘Small’. Neppy sized.
I pulled out the computer and even she remarked “It’s dinky.” My first port of call - as always - was to open this little bad boy up and see what was inside, and to take out the hard drive and put it into my desktop’s hotswap bay and find out what kind of condition it’s in, and if there is any recoverable information on it.
When I opened up the small computer I found it to be absolutely caked in this extremely fine dust. And I mean it was extremely fine, almost like carbon from a 90’s printer toner. So it needed to be stripped down and completely cleaned out, but I held off from that, and only cleaned out the bare minimum. I put the hard drive into my computer and ran crystal disk info which got me this information:
Which is not bad; it tells me that the hard drive has only been spinning for 189 or so days - and should have plenty of life left in it. I have hard drives in my computer that have been running for double that or more, with one running for over 918 days. It also had no problems, and seemed absolutely fine. I then also tried to do a data recovery on it.
… There wasn’t a single bit of information. 🥳 It was completely empty, and properly wiped! So thumbs up for that. 👍
Who ever had this last wiped it very well; even if it was zero filled and I’m extremely impressed by this. This is exactly what should be done when you sell your computers and/or hard drives on eBay. The seller made no indication that they had wiped, or formatted the HDD. Usually when they say they ‘Wiped’ the hard drives they just quick format it which is not good enough as the data can still be recovered. But this hard drive didn’t even have partition information on it. It was completely blank. That tells me that someone has their head screwed on.
I noticed that there was a Windows 7 Pro Certificate of Authenticity sticker stuck to the bottom of the computer as well as several other stickers. However I have a few retail licences for Windows 10 Pro kicking around, so I put Windows 10 on it, and ran my stress tests to get a baseline for the computer’s temperature. Then I pulled the whole thing apart and cleaned it all out, fans, heatsinks, the shitty Acer thermal paste that had turned to cement, and so on.
The temperatures have only improved by about five degrees centigrade, which means to me anyway; that the system wasn’t struggling to stay cool, which is astonishing to me. I lost the before chart; but this is the result after it was done:
No thermal throttling and the CPU Temperature a good 30-40oC away from maximum temperature, and indeed the air coming out of the back is pretty cool, I think. Certainly much cooler than the Viglen AiO PC. For reference here is the Viglen graph:
Taking a look at under the hood, and it’s pretty clear to see why the Acer succeeds in cooling;
This should give you some idea about the size and scope of this machine. Unlike the Viglen AiO, this uses notebook RAM.
The left and right hand sides are vents that allow the system to draw in cool air, there’s a massive heatsink attached to a heavy block at the back with two small fans side by side sucking air out of the machine. The design of this is exceptional (Especially coming from Acer) because it means it’s pulling cool air in through the hard drive which goes through that heatsink next to it (Covering, I think either the GPU or the south bridge, I don’t recall) combined with air coming in directly next to it before being sucked through the heatsink of the CPU, through the block at the back and out of the system. The air that comes out is not too hot, but it is warm, and the system stays at a cool temperature throughout.
Now, on the underside of the machine; is where I made a rather neat little discovery… I’m writing this document for my post as I am testing this part out, so we’ll see how it goes.
This is a Mini PCI-E slot, now this is where my knowledge on hardware hits a brick wall - because I’ve very rarely played around with Mini PCI Express slots and the things that can be used by them. From what I do know; this is where I could fit a wireless card in. But...
I’m not sure if it would work or not (The pin count seems to be about the same) I could theoretically fit Mini PCI-E SSD which I’ve seen on sites like NewEgg and eBay, which I can use as the boot drive, and the 320GB drive as a data storage drive, or swap disk for the Windows Page File, or even a scratch file for Photoshop. I’d enjoy an even more snappier experience. But I don’t know if that’s possible or not. If anyone here knows, let me know, and if anyone wants me to post my findings on this when I do go and explore it, then please let me know.
For all I know it could be there but completely disabled in the BIOS. I do have a spare Wireless Mini PCI-E card kicking around so I suppose my first port of call would be to test this using this card… Which is exactly what I will do; if I ever find it, before I invest into looking at utilising it.
The Specs -
Acer Veriton L670G (With Acer EQ45LM Motherboard)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo (E8400) LGA775, 45nm Chip Dual Core @ 3.00GHz L1 Cache 2 x 32 KB instruction caches 2 x 32 KB data caches L2 Cache 6MB (3MB per Core) 4 KB Pages, 4-way set associative, 128 entries 4 MB Pages, 4-way set associative, 32 entries 52.81W Typical Power Consumption (65W TDP) 4GB Max Supportable RAM* Chipset: Intel(R) Eaglelake Q45 Express Chipset (North Bridge: Intel Eaglelake Q45) (South Bridge: Intel 82801IO ICH9DO) RAM: 4GB DDR2 (2 x 2GB) 1x Princeton (2GB) Non-ECC RAM Bandwidth: DDR2-800 (400 MHz, DDR2) Timings: @ 400 MHz 5-5-5-18 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 23-51-3-6-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 333 MHz 4-5-5-15 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 20-43-3-5-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 266 MHz 3-4-4-12 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 16-34-2-4-2-2 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) Model: Unknown 1x Kingston (2GB) Non-ECC RAM Bandwidth: DDR2-800 (400 MHz, DDR2) Timings: @ 400 MHz 6-6-6-18 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 24-51-3-6-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 333 MHz 5-5-5-15 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 20-43-3-5-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 266 MHz 4-4-4-12 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 16-34-2-4-2-2 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) Model: ACR256X64D2S800C6 Optical Media: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GT31N (LG Electronics?) Firmware: 1.00 Can read: CD-ROM CD-R CD-RW DVD-ROM DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL DVD+R9 DL Can Write: CD-R CD-RW DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL DVD+R9 DL Network Cards: Intel(R) 82567LM-3 Gigabit Network Connection (1000M) Graphics: Intel(R) GMA 4500 (Integrated) on the Intel(R) Q45 Express Chipset. VGA Output DVI Output PSU: 1 x LITEON 135W Laptop style PSU (Power Brick) Model PA-1131-07 Output 17V at 7.1A HDD: 1 x 320GB (WDC WD3200AAJS-22L7A0 (320 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II)) Monitor: None included. Sound: Realtek ALC888 (On the Intel 82801JB ICH10) Whilst in my benchmarking software there are a ton of claims that this has HDMI support and HDMI compatibility; there is no HDMI output port on the motherboard, nor are there any headers for it. With the monitors I have I can easily use DVI or some kind of converter to convert DVI to HDMI/Display Port so I’m not overly bothered by this.
In terms of connectivity; on the back of the device you have four USB2 ports, a serial connector, ethernet connector, an eSATA port, VGA and DVI Ports, and an impressive array of audio ports including: Line-out/Front Speakers/Headphones, Microphone, Line-In, Subwoofer/Center Out, Read Surround Speakers for 5.1 and 7.1 systems, middle surround speakers for 7.1 systems as well as a MIDI/Game Port - Joystick port. Oh and the power in. On the front you have four USB2 ports, again, headphones port and a microphone port.
I have used this computer for an extended period of time, from managing Microsoft Access Databases, to Excel Spreadsheets, and Google Docs this has taken everything I’ve thrown at it and shrugged it off. I’ve even gone as far as to install Photoshop CS6; and again it can handle it pretty well.
320GB is not a lot of disk space especially with how quickly I can eat that up, so I’ve just mapped network drives to my NAS, and one of the drives in my PC, so if I need something I can drag it from there, or if I want to put something onto my main PC I can push it over there. It also allows me to share things across my network (Through the NAS) which I can access on other machines.
I will not be flipping this PC and putting it back on eBay, instead I will be setting it up as a workstation once I’ve set the security policies up and everything. It would make a fine addition to my collection of computers.
Take a look at it’s size compared to a USB3 Flash Drive and my Samsung Galaxy S8+, as you can see this is quite a small device:
Benchmarks: For these, I am directly comparing them to the Viglen AiO as I believe they’re somewhat comparable. And as a result I will be showing the specs there, and how different they are.
Here it is against my beast (Don’t worry, I’ve since cleaned it up and I’ve actually moved it since this picture was taken in April).
Acer: 2.25KG + 610g (PSU) = 2.86KG Viglen: 5.1KG (5,164g) Difference: Acer is 57.4277% lighter RAM
Memory Read: 6,832MB Viglen Memory Read: 7,098 MB/s Difference: Viglen AiO is 3.8191% faster Memory Write: 6,682MB/s Viglen Memory Write: 6,955 MB/s Difference: Viglen AiO is 4.00381% faster Memory Copy: 6,283MB/s Viglen Memory Copy: 6,384 MB/s Difference: Viglen AiO is 1.59469% faster Memory Latency: 105.1 ns Viglen Memory Latency: 100.0 ns Difference: Viglen AiO has 4.97318% less latency Central Processing Unit Benchmarks:
CPU Queen Score: 12,704 Viglen CPU Queen Score: 12,662 Difference: Acer has 0.331152% better score. (Negligible) CPU Photoworxx Score: 3,592 MPixel/s Viglen CPU PhotoWorxx Score: 3,498 MPixel/s Difference: Acer has 2.65162% better score. CPU ZLib Score: 75.6 MB/s Viglen CPU ZLib Score: 75.3 MB/s Difference: Acer is 0.397614% faster. (Negligible @ .3MB/s difference) CPU AES Score: 330 MB/s Viglen CPU AES Score: 328 MB/s Difference: Acer is 0.607903% faster. (Negligible @ 2MB/s Difference) CPU Hash Score: 966 MB/s Viglen CPU Hash Score: 959 MB/s Difference: Acer is 0.727273% faster. (Around 7MB/s Quicker) Floating Point Unit Benchmarks:
FPU VP8 Score: 2,035 Viglen FPU VP8 Score: 2,102 Difference: Viglen has 3.23906% better score FPU Julia Score: 4,030 Viglen FPU Julia Score: 4,056 Difference: Viglen has 0.643087% better score (Negligible) FPU Mandel Score: 2,140 Viglen FPU Mandel Score: 2,144 Difference: Viglen has 0.186741% better score (Negligible) FPU SinJulia Score: 1,103 Viglen FPU SinJulia Score: 1,099 Difference: Acer has 0.363306% better score (Negligible) SIMD-Enhanced Ray Tracing Benchmarks:
FP32 Ray-Trace: 580 KRay/s Viglen FP32 Ray-Trace: 582 KRay/s Difference: Viglen is 0.344234% quicker. (Negligible) FP64 Ray-Trace: 306 KRay/s Viglen FP64 Ray-Trace: 305 KRay/s Difference: Acer is 0.327332% quicker. (Negligible) All of those marked “Negligible” are well within margins of error.
I was really surprised by these results. I was expecting it to be better than the Viglen in every way possible, and whilst it’s not (And only by a thin margin), I can’t explain why it feels snappier and more responsive, perhaps under real load conditions rather than synthetic load conditions - it is snappier. It also seems to chuck out less heat than the Viglen one, so I consider that a reasonable compromise to offset the benchmarks. There are of course other factors to consider when you’re basing things off of real world usage, quite a lot of it is subjective. I enjoy this computer though. Compared to my beast it’s tiny, underpowered and not going to run my games. But then I don’t need it to.
Oh and it has no problem running EcchiDreams.
Next on: "Shit I've bought from eBay" - Asus Eee PC 1011PX (AKA: Minibook 120) and Packard Bell DOTS E2 Netbooks (Coming Soon)