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Thread: Hardware Review: Commell lv-668 1500NX embedded motherboard

  1. #1
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    Hardware Review: Commell lv-668 1500NX embedded motherboard

    Hardware Review:

    What it is/does: Mini itx computer

    Reviewed by: Jamie Wilson
    Manufacturer : Commell, AMD
    Model: LV-668 -15
    Specs: Minit itx motherboard and 1 gig 1500NX CPU
    Price: $450 AUD approx $330 USD
    Rating: 7/10
    Manufacturer website: www.commell.com
    Purchased at: http://www.thunderbirdcomputing.com....92&cat=miniitx
    Pros: Good performance, quiet
    Cons: Won't do 800x480




    In the quest for something different I thought I might try one of the new Mini ITX AMD Geode NX setups. I couldn't really justify the price of an Intel system and I wanted someting will a little more power than the current VIA options. So I decided on this.

    The Geode as I unerstand it is based on the older socket A mobile CPU. They come in 3 flavours. 1250, 1500 and 1750. The latter is hard to find, and isn't availble with the board. So I opted for the 1500, wich actually runs at 1ghz clock speed.

    The motherboard uses a VIA KN400A chipset. Its older but mature. The graphics are S3 UniChrome Pro, the same as on most of the VIA boards if I am not mistaken. The board also accepts standard 184pin DDR ram.

    Check here for the full specs http://www.commell.com.tw/Product/SBC/LV-668.HTM

    Installation of winxp was a breeze, no problems at all. None were expected!
    Boot up and shut down times were very reasonable also. But hibernation times was what I was most interested in. With 512meg of ram and a 2.5inch HDD running Road Runner the PC goes into hibernation in about 15 seconds and resumes in about 10. This was impressive, and I can't see it getting much better, unless I tried a faster HDD and less ram. But then I might only gain (lose?) a couple seconds, which probably wouldn't be worth running with less ram.

    Next I tried powerstrip. Detected everything as it should, but no custom resolutions for me! I'm going to contact Commell and see if it is possible, but I doubt they will change anything just for me.

    So I am stuck running 800x600 which is fine, but I still would like the option.

    Onboard audio seems ok, but I don't plan on using it anyway.

    The other thing that annoyed me a little was only having 2 USB ports on the back. They offer a USB onboard header for extra connections, but that means, on my case anyway, that I have to run USB devices off the front of the case as well as the back. Making for a slightly messy install.

    On performance, the board runs CdrSkuLL's RAD flash roadrunner skin no problems at all. Same with DiNASTY's flashdeck. I would imagine it would run streetdeck with no problems at all either. With GPS and wmas playing the cpu load is around 30% Divx videos play without a hitch also.

    So, would I buy this board over again? Possibly not. For $100 less I could have got a EN15000 that will do 800x480 and has 4 usb sockets on the back. As for performance the geode is faster, from what I have seen, but not having an EN15000 to test with I can't say by how much.

    Incidentally if there are any benchmarks you would like me to run please let me know.

    Cheers
    Jamie
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  2. #2
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    Ill also add the board works great with speedfan.

  3. #3
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    Hi wilsonj, you say the Commell board works well with Speedfan, but does it allow you to change fans speeds depending on CPU temps?

    Thanks

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    Hi Lemming.

    Yes it does. I have the temp set to 45 degrees and the fan comes on faster when it reaches that temp. Then slows down once it has cooled to below it.

    These cpus have quite a high thermal handling of 95 degrees C btw. I woudln't suggest letting the cpu get anywhere near that temp, but from my usage I find the cpu runs about 20 degrees above ambient in a 3688 case. The fan was only just spinning. I don't think there would be a problem if I unplugged the fan alltogether! Its a case fan not a cpu fan.

  5. #5
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    Thanks wilsonj, that bodes well for Speedfan also able to change fan speeds on other Commell boards. Look forward to finding out people's experiences with other manufacturers boards... it seems such a straightforward way to reduce fan noise.


  6. #6
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    Nice review there mate!

    I still can't make up my mind, grrr..

    What's the big deal about 800X480? is that better for a 7 in screen?

    Cheers
    Kosti

  7. #7
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    Hi Kosti,

    800x480 is the native res of most 7" screens. Always nice to run at that res for best picture quality. But it can be a pain, and most displays look pretty good at 800x600 anyway. Most RR skins work fine as either 800x480 or 600 res.

    Cheers
    Jamie

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