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Shit I've bought from eBay... #7 - Viglen Genie Ultra Small (2009/2010)

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What do you call a computer strapped to the back of a monitor?
Apparently it’s a AiO computer… 😕


I found this strange little thing on bid for £4.99, and there really wasn’t all that was said about it. No specs, no model number, nothing. Just “It turns on” but “It has a password” therefore it was being sold for spares and repairs. 

A BIOS password is extremely easy to bypass; usually it’s just a matter of moving a jumper and turning the computer on, or just taking out the CMOS button cell battery (Usually a CR2032). 

I figured at £4.99 (Plus £9.99 shipping) there really wasn’t much to lose, and took the plunge, putting in a bid for it. My max bid was £20; I wasn’t really willing to spend more than £29.99 on it, because it was a curiosity more than anything, and I had no idea what the specs were, at all. I was surprised that no one else was interested in it. He claimed he had brought a load of them from a joblot and was selling them individually on eBay. It was advertised as coming with the power cables and VGA cable, but other than that; there wasn’t much.

Of course after I bought it, the seller started charging £14.99 for them +£9.99 Shipping. 

Item: Ex-School AiO PC (Parts and Spares)

  • Price I paid: £4.99
  • Shipping: £9.99 (Courier) 
  • Total Cost: £14.98 
  • Came With: A heavily modified Windows 7 Installation. 

This topic won’t be as long as the others because there’s not really much to talk about. 

When I got it, I was impressed with the condition of the machine; I have to admit I had reservations about the overall build quality, especially when one of the CEO’s for Viglen back in the day was Bordan Tkachuk who is perhaps famous/infamous for saying:


"I know what ISP is. It's an Internet Service Protocol.”

“It's a protocol that allows telecoms over bandwidths. I've been running Alan Sugar's companies for the last 25 years, and that's why I know a little bit about technology."

He’s completely wrong, of course, in more ways than one. So I wasn’t inspired to say the very least, as the man seems to know nothing about basic knowledge for people who are supposed to be working in Technology.

Anyway, the condition of the machine was pretty good, and when I booted it up there was indeed a BIOS Password. Removing this was a simple matter of opening the case and flipping the jumper which was readily accessible. When I turned on the PC it told me that the password had been cleared and that I needed to reboot the machine with the jumper in the correct position. 

I did that, and I was presented with not Windows Vista (Which is what I was sold) but Windows 7 (Enterprise, I think) and it was very heavily modified. It seemed to have come from a primary school, and thus it was expecting a domain server on the network that it couldn’t find. 

I’ve spoken about this before in regards to school computers and servers. Quite often there are no sensitive files on these machines because the files aren’t stored on them. Instead they’re stored on a kind of ‘Profile’ on the server that allows you to log into any authorised computer on that network, and have your files/documents travel with you when you log onto that computer. This is because the files aren’t stored on the actual computer - it’s just a workstation. The files are stored on the actual server. So there wasn’t any sensitive files on this device - I knew this before I hacked my way into the OS.

Once I was in the OS (Using a backdoor user account that was created on the machine probably during setup) I confirmed that there was nothing groundbreaking left behind. Not a single document, or text file, incriminating evidence, family pictures or otherwise. I ended up wiping the hard drive and put Windows 10 on it - although I some issues after I opened it up again and took it apart. Which I will get to in a moment. I had rolledl back to Windows 7 whilst I was sorting these issues out, but eventually I diagnosed the fault and put Windows 10 back on it. 

And it works perfectly.

Before I get into it this time; let's find out what I bought: 

Viglen Genie AiO PC (With Intel DQ35JO 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) Q35 Express Chipset Family (North Bridge: Intel Bearlake Q35) (South Bridge: Intel 82801IO ICH9DO)
  • RAM: 4GB DDR2 (4 x 1GB)
    • 2x Samsung M3 (1GB Each)
      • Non-ECC RAM
      • Bandwidth: PC-5300 (667 MHz, DDR2)
      • Timings:
        • @ 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) 
        • @ 200 MHz 3-3-3-9 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 12-26-2-3-2-2 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP)
      • Model: M3 78T2863QZS-CE6
    • 2x Kingston (1GB Each)
      • Non-ECC RAM
      • Bandwidth: PC2-5300 (667 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: Unknown
  • Optical Media: Optiarc DVD RW AD-7633A SCSI CdRom Device
    • 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) 82566DM-2 Gigabit Network Connection (1000M)
  • Graphics: Intel GMA 3100 (Integrated) on the Intel(R) Q35 Express Chipset.
    • VGA Output
    • DVI Output
    • Upto 256MB shared memory
  • PSU: 1 x Enhance 250W Power Supply (80 Plus Bronze Efficiency Sticker) 
    • Model ENP-7025C
  • HDD: 1 x 80GB (Originally: WDC WD800AAJS-00WAA0, 80GB, 7200 RPM, SATA II)
  • Monitor: A 4:3/5:4 Ratio Maxdata Belinea 17” Display with USB Passthrough and built in speakers (They’re awful). 
  • Sound: Realtek High Definition Audio (Realtek ALC268)
    • Stereo Speakers Integrated with Monitor (I don’t know the wattage, they’re absolutely atrocious though). 

For £4.99 ($6.30 USD, $9.09 AUD, €5.57 EUR, $8.35 CAD, at the time of writing) the specs are really not bad at all! I could easily flip the computer on it’s own for quadruple the price, which makes back the shipping and I get a free monitor for my troubles. It could make a fantastic computer for a child who uses it for homework and basic word processing, as well as light internet usage. 

I think it’s got reasonably competent connectability; a gigabit ethernet port is a major plus with this machine, which is on the back with a firewire port, six USB2 ports a VGA and DVI port as well as microphone, headphones/speakers and a lineout port. On the front it has two USB2 ports, a headphone jack and a microphone jack.

However; as I expected with Viglen - which might as well mean buy the cheapest possible components and throw it all into a computer case to see if it sticks - the internal engineering is absolutely abysmal. At 5.1KG for the computer unit alone, (5164g) this is not a lightweight. Cable management was an absolute nightmare and no thought was put in to the case either. 

Take a look at the inside:

large.IMG_2101.jpgThis is after I cable managed it. 

The major problem with this machine is heat, and on that note I’d love to meet the absolute spanner who thought it was a good idea to put a PSU directly above in near contact to the Intel 82801IDO Southbridge heatsink! It gets to temperatures in the region of 92oC hot and it cannot dissipate the heat properly because there’s no airflow over that area, and to top it all off the PSU is generating a generous amount of heat as well. In addition; the HDD is right on top of the RAM (Also generating a good amount of heat). The Power distribution of the system seems precarious at best. 

The thermal paste was god awful and was causing several Thermal Cutoffs (Where the machine would outright shut down to protect the CPU), not allowing me to do an accurate test of the CPU temp before thermal pasting. But in fairness most OEM’s have poor quality thermal pastes. I replaced it with my standard Arctic Silver 5, but under the current configuration it’s temperature is erratic under load: 

large_321.pngBut at least it’s not cutting off outright. 

This is this machine’s biggest enemy, and I think I might know of a few solutions to help with it. The CPU fan seems to be an intake, where as the PSU fan and the one opposite are output fans. 

Picture I took whilst I was dismantling it to replace the Thermal Paste:


After stabilising the machine, I did some cable management and tied it up. I did try replacing the HDD with a higher capacity one, however I had lots of errors happen when I did that, such as “Memory_Management”, and so on until the computer just outright failed to detect any other hard drive other than the 80GB one. You’d hear it power up, and then it’d power it down repeatedly - and this was with a good hard drive (Because I use it in the HP AiO now and it’s absolutely fine) This is why I suggest that the power distribution is precarious… Perhaps and SSD will do fine in this system - were it not for the heat issues I’m finding. I do not like subjecting SSD’s to more than 35oC of heat, certainly no more than 45oC if I can help it. 

That said. Despite the system running much hotter than I’d personally care for, it does run now, and I’ve not had a problem with it. But perhaps I will run it in the winter when I don’t want to use the heater in the house. 

I believe this motherboard could be translated to a different case and utilised to its fullest extent. With a decent cooler on the CPU there is plenty of upgradability here; especially with those SATA ports (Red one is designed for External SATA).

There’s not really that much more to say about this machine, it was extremely cheap and you get what you pay for, however individually, the parts are worth more to me than the whole machine. Why I can use the RAM with another old machine I have, and the CPU with the next item I will be featuring. If you do have any questions please leave them below!

I’ll close with some AIDA64 Benchmarks, but I will be comparing them to my next ‘Shit I’ve Bought on eBay’ as the next machine is comparable as it has the same CPU:


Memory Read: 7,098 MB/s

Memory Write: 6,955 MB/s

Memory Copy: 6,384 MB/s

Memory Latency: 100.0 ns

Central Processing Unit Benchmarks:

CPU Queen Score: 12,662

CPU PhotoWorxx Score: 3,498 MPixel/s

CPU ZLib Score: 75.3 MB/s

CPU AES Score: 328 MB/s

CPU Hash Score: 959 MB/s

Floating Point Unit Benchmarks:

FPU VP8 Score: 2,102 

FPU Julia Score: 4,056

FPU Mandel Score: 2,144

FPU SinJulia Score: 1,099

SIMD-Enhanced Ray Tracing Benchmarks:

FP32 Ray-Trace: 582 KRay/s

FP64 Ray-Trace: 305 KRay/s 

Next on: "Shit I've bought from eBay" - ACER Veriton L670G PC

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      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:
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      Next on: "Shit I've bought from eBay" - Asus Eee PC 1011PX (AKA: Minibook 120) and Packard Bell DOTS E2 Netbooks (Coming Soon)
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