Jasper Lake and Alder Lake-N in a Smaller-than-UCFF Bundle

Compact computing techniques have gained important market share over the past decade. Enhancements within the efficiency per watt metric of processors have enabled the alternative of cumbersome desktop PCs by ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) machines with a 4 in. x 4 in. footprint. Motivated by IoT functions on the edge, some firms akin to Shuttle began creating x86 systems in sub-4×4 form-factors utilizing Intel’s Apollo Lake processors. ECS was one of many first mainstream distributors to concentrate to this section with their LIVA Q Series utilizing Intel’s Atom collection and AMD’s first-generation Ryzen Embedded SoCs. With the introduction of extra power-efficient platforms, Asian producers akin to ACEMAGIC, GMKtec, and MinisForum have additionally entered this micro-PC market with a wider vary of processor selections.

For the reason that introduction of Silverthorne Atom processors in 2008, Intel has been sustaining separate microarchitectures in several product households to span a wider efficiency / energy effectivity vary. In consequence, customers might both go for a low-power low-cost platform sacrificing on efficiency with Atom-class CPUs or go for a extra performant Core-class CPU, albeit at a better price with some sacrifice on the facility effectivity entrance. From 2008 to 2020, these remained distinct product households. Nevertheless, the introduction of hybrid CPUs (beginning with the short-lived Lakefield) noticed cores primarily based on each microarchitectures to be positioned on the identical die. The Tremont microarchitecture (developed as a part of the Atom-family) made its debut in Lakefield earlier than gaining wider market presence by Jasper Lake, Elkhart Lake, and different product households. Its successor (Gracemont) is adopting an analogous trajectory. After its introduction in Alder Lake, it underwent additional refinement in Raptor Lake.

Intel launched the Alder Lake-N (ADL-N) product family to take over Jasper Lake’s function within the cost-conscious low-power PC market. It’s basically an Alder Lake processor with all of the efficiency cores eliminated, and a pared-down built-in GPU. As ADL-N ramps up and Jasper Lake winds down, we’re seeing merchandise primarily based on each households being actively offered available in the market. We took benefit of this chance to supply two micro-PCs – the ECS LIVA Q3D, and the ACEMAGIC T8 Plus – and put them by our analysis routine to check the advantages of ADL-N’s Gracemont microarchitecture over Jasper Lake’s Tremont. This assessment presents an in depth evaluation of the outcomes together with a dialogue of the tradeoffs concerned in pursuing a smaller-than-UCFF footprint.

Introduction and Product Impressions

Developments in processor energy effectivity and efficiency have resulted in sub-15W TDP SoCs changing into highly effective sufficient to exchange cumbersome desktops for a lot of use-cases. Intel’s NUC lineup kickstarted this pattern within the early 2010s, with the 4 in. x 4 in. ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) changing into the de-facto normal for such techniques. This measurement was arrived at holding the I/O necessities, disk drive sizes, and ease of board design / meeting in thoughts. Since that point, each storage and reminiscence applied sciences have developed considerably. Most techniques use M.2 SSDs these days, a marked shift from the two.5″ drives frequent in these days. Whereas SODIMMs proceed to be the selection for techniques providing reminiscence improve capabilities, fashionable processors have began to combine LPDDR4 / LPDDR5 assist. This has resulted in quite a lot of techniques with soldered reminiscence on board. These elements have contributed to some distributors making an attempt to experiment with micro-PCs – techniques having a sub-4×4 footprint.


ECS has remained commited to micro-PCs because the introduction of the Apollo Lake-based LIVA Q1L. The corporate has adopted it up with the LIVA Q2 primarily based on the Gemini Lake refresh SoCs, the Q3 Plus primarily based on the first-generation Ryzen Embedded SoCs, and most just lately, the Jasper Lake-based LIVA Q3D. In comparison with a conventional UCFF system, the LIVA Q3D collection makes a few tradeoffs. As an alternative of SODIMMs, the system makes use of soldered LPDDR4X RAM. A M.2 SSD slot is averted by integrating an eMMC boot drive on the board. That is complemented by a built-in microSDXC card reader. These permit the LIVA Q3D to be very compact. The 74mm x 74mm x 34.6mm (a quantity of simply 0.19L) system weighs simply 174g.

Along with the principle unit, the LIVA Q3D bundle comes with a VESA mount and corresponding screws, and a 36W (12V @ 3A) wall wart. The facility adapter has a replaceable plug, and ECS offers US, UK, and EU adapters. The gallery beneath offers a complete have a look at the chassis design and I/O ports placement. The teardown photos offers insights into the internals of the unit.

The teardown photos within the above gallery present that ECS has adopted a dual-board technique for the system. Whereas the principle board has the SoC bundle, RAM, and eMMC, together with the audio jack, the daughterboard has all the different I/Os together with the USB and LAN ports.

A stable warmth sink is mounted with screws on prime of the Jasper Lake bundle, and complemented by a 40mm Cooler Grasp blower fan to take out the warmth in typical pocket book type. The CMOS battery is sandwiched between the 2 boards and a metallic protect ensures electrical interference mitigation between the parts on the 2 boards.


The T8 Plus is ACEMAGIC’s first try at making a micro-PC. Just like the ECS LIVA Q3D, the T8 Plus additionally makes use of soldered RAM. Nevertheless, due to the newer reminiscence assist in ADL-N, the board adopts LPDDR5 RAM. A semblance of upgradability is maintained, due to the usage of a M.2 2242 SATA SSD as a boot drive. The 89.4mm x 89.4mm x 43.4mm (0.35L) system weighs 205g.

Along with the principle unit, the T8 Plus bundle comes with a HDMI cable, wall mount with related screws, an consumer guide, and a 30W (12V @ 2.5A) geo-specific wall wart. The gallery beneath offers a have a look at the chassis design and I/O ports placement. Teardown photos offering insights into the internals are additionally included.

The photographs present the presence of a raised section on the underside. This round section additionally contains perforations that permit for cool air to be drawn in earlier than exiting by the copper warmth spreader’s fins. Not like the LIVA Q3D, the T8 Plus makes use of a single board design.

The RAM and the SoC bundle are beneath the warmth sink / followers, whereas the M.2 2230 slot for the WLAN / BT card, and the M.2 2242 SATA SSD slot are on the opposite facet (nearer to the highest panel). The pre-installed SSD is from FuturePath, however we had been unable to make out the identify of the controller producer regardless of the supply of the emblem within the last image of the above gallery. The CMOS battery and the WLAN antennae are affixed to the underside of the chassis prime panel.

Each techniques got here prepared with Home windows OS pre-installed. The total specs of the 2 assessment samples (as examined) are summarized within the desk beneath.

Techniques Specs

(as examined)
Processor Intel Processor N95

Alder Lake-N 4C/4T, 1.7 – 3.4 GHz

Intel 7, 6MB L3, 15W

(PL1 = 15W / PL2 = 15W)
Intel Pentium Silver N6000

Jasper Lake 4C/4T, 1.1 – 3.3 GHz

Intel 10nm, 4MB L3, 6W

(PL1 = 10W / PL2 = 25W)
Reminiscence Samsung K3LKBKB0BM-MGCP LPDDR5-3200 (Single-Channel / 4 x16)

36-32-32-68 @ 3200 MHz

16 GB
Micron MT53E1G32D2NP-046 LPDDR4X-2933 (Single-Channel / x32)

28-27-27-62 @ 2933 MHz

4 GB
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics

(16EU @ 1200 MHz)
Intel UHD Graphics 605

(32EU @ 350 – 850 MHz)
Disk Drive(s) Futurepath FPT310M4SSD512G

(512 GB; SATA III 6 Gbps;)

(?? TLC NAND; ?? Controller)
Kingston Y29128

(128 GB; eMMC 5.1 HS400;)

(3D TLC; Phison PS8229 Controller)
Networking 2x GbE RJ-45 (Realtek RTL8168/8111)

Realtek RTL8821CE Wi-Fi 5 / Bluetooth 4.2 (1×1 802.11ac – 433 Mbps)
1x GbE RJ-45 (Realtek RTL8168/8111)

Realtek RTL8822CE Wi-Fi 5 (2×2 802.11ac – 867 Mbps)
Audio 3.5mm Audio Jack

Digital audio and bitstreaming assist over HDMI Outputs
Digital Audio and Bitstreaming Assist over HDMI and DisplayPort Outputs
Video 3x HDMI 2.1 (as much as 4Kp60) 1x HDMI 2.0a

1x DisplayPort 1.4a
Miscellaneous I/O Ports 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) Sort-A 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Sort-A (Entrance)

1x USB 2.0 Sort-A (Entrance)

1x microSDXC (Aspect)
Working System Home windows 11 Enterprise (22000.2360) Home windows 11 Enterprise (22000.2124)
Pricing (Road Pricing on Sep 18th, 2023)

US $207 ($177) (with restricted use / restricted time coupon UQSYLW9R)
US $285 (w/ 128 GB eMMC, 4GB LPDDR4X, and OS)
Full Specs ACEMAGIC T8 Plus Specifications ECS LIVA Q3D Specifications

Within the subsequent part, we check out the system setup and observe it up with an in depth platform evaluation.

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