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Giada i53 Mini PC

10
Posted September 6, 2012 by Jake in CPU & Motherboards
giada_i53_6

Rating

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Performance
 
 
 
 
 


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PureOC
 
 
 
 
 


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Overview

Hardware:
 
Manufacturer:
 
Specifications: Core i5 CPU, 4GB memory, Intel HD 4000 graphics, 500GB hard drive, WiFI, Bluetooth
 
Price at time of Review: $520
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Extremely small, Gorgeous finish, Extensive features, Excellent performance, Varied connectivity, Windows 7 included, Well priced
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

Glossy finish shows fingerprints and dust, No SSD upgrade option
 
BOTTOM LINE:
Gorgeous design and a very compact size, with powerhouse performance at a great price.
Discuss in the Forum
by Jake
Full Article
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Introduction

As technologies and uses become more prolific and part of our daily lives, consumers are looking for products that fill more than one role. Historically, computers have been for productivity uses or gaming, and as time trundled onward, PCs began to assume far more diverse roles. Perhaps the greatest change and increase of use is in the world of multimedia.

Multimedia uses and applications have blurred the lines between computer, TV, audio system, and so forth, we’ve seen more and more people turn to Home Theater PCs to specifically handle their multimedia needs. Interestingly, the all-purpose machine has, in this instance, become the specialized use system. Storing music, streaming video content – these are popular uses, and the system needed for this type of use is far cheaper than the average bulky desktop.

Building an HTPC system can be a bit daunting for some, and a convenient alternative is to go with something that comes in an all-in-one package at a good price. Today we may have just the thing: the Giada i53 mini PC. Giada may not be a well known name, but that may change once consumers get a closer look at this i53, which appears to be a little powerhouse.

Housing an entire system in what is arguably the smallest form we’ve ever seen, the Giada i53 appears to be a very capable little machine for consumers on a modest budget that don’t have need of the cost or horsepower of a full-sized desktop system. The i53 features an impressive Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive, WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, and Windows 7 pre-installed. Needless to say, there are some distinct advantages of going with a system setup like this.

But does smaller mean less, or do good things really come in small packages? Let’s find out.

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10 Comments


  1.  
    Peter Pan

    I wonder if the RAM could be increased from current 4GB to 8GB? would it be difficult to exchange the RAM modules inside of this little nipper?




  2.  

    That would indeed be a challenge. Physical layout there isn’t the same as other bigger HTPC units, not to mention treading into Win 64-bit territory, drivers (or lack thereof, etc). It’s a little powerhouse as is actually, but adding an SSD would be the upgrade to make; it would transform into an absolute mini juggernaut!




    •  
      Peter Pan

      Thanks for the reply, Jake. Do you think replacing the 500GB HDD with an optional SSD (128-256GB size range) would be difficult enough? Judging from the pictures of the unit from inside it doesn’t seem to be an unrealistic task…
      I’m willing to buy this powerful baby, but ONLY if there’s a definite chance to swap the Hitachi hard drive with an SSD of my taste.

      Looking forward to your answer.




  3.  

    An internal SSD with an external hard drive setup would be killer for this. It’s not too difficult to swap but it does take some finesse and patience. The design of the mount won’t allow a simply pull of the drive; you physically need to remove it from the PCB first, then swap the HDD and SSD. A small Phillips screwdriver will do the trick. Putting the outer case back on is tricky, so pay close attention to how it’s fastened before you pull everything apart.




    •  
      Peter Pan

      I’ve pulled the trigger and ordered Giada i53 already. I intend to use the 256GB SSD Crucial M4 2.5inch disk. Once I receive everything and replace the drives, I’m planning to do a clean install of Windows 8 evaluation version, so I hope the drivers originally provided for Windows 7 will work out of the box. The 500GB Hitachi will fit into an aluminium USB 3.0 enclosure I’ve bought recently and will serve me as a multimedia storage disk.

      Appreciate your feedback, Jake.




  4.  
    Lou

    Good review (and comment) here – well done Jake.

    Nice to hear some positive comment on a mini system, most “macho” types would sneer at such an idea – bigger guns are better, know wot I mean?.
    I’m about to build my own mini desktop system using a mini-itx case and m/b (and an i3-3225 Ivy CPU just released) with only 150W PSU, and also going to try it with Win 8 Release Preview.
    I bet these systems will survive much longer than todays gaming behemoths!
    Idea – review the latest iMac mini – also quite impressive.




    •  

      Thanks for the feedback!

      I’ve built a few hardcore ITX systems that would give gaming desktops a serious run for their money, and people are shocked at the horsepower that’s hidden under the hood. The trick is usually adequate CPU cooling. Beyond that, a “regular” ITX system build can be an outstanding HTPC setup for something for daily home use on the cheap. Sounds like you’ve got a great little rig on the way!

      As for the iMac mini, I’d love to review it, but samples are nearly impossible to get. If you’re connected, put in a good word for us! ;)




  5.  
    Peter Pan

    Right so, just coming back here to update my current status with Giada i53 after upgrade:
    1) 4GB RAM Ramaxel upgraded to 8GB RAM Kingston
    2) 500GB Hitachi hard drive upgraded to 256GB Crucial M4
    3) 256GB mSATA Crucial added to the empty slot (it was asking for it, ya know:)

    Windows Experience Index results:

    Processor 6.9
    Memory (RAM) 7.2
    Graphics: 4.9
    Gaming graphics: 6.3
    Primary Hard Disk: 7.9

    I’m running Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows 8 can wait for now, just to be on a safe side…

    I’m planning to install some Linux distro on the m-SATA disk in a near future and run a dual boot from the Giada i53. Will see…

    Would like to thank Jake for his comments and tips.




  6.  
    Peter Pan

    Just one more update:
    Currently I’m running a dual boot of Windows 7 (main 2.5inch SSD) and Ubuntu 12.10 (m-SATA SSD), Windows 8 is booted from an external HDD (yep, the 500GB one, originally installed inside of Giada i53:).

    Very happy with this configuration.





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