Mini-PCs may seem like a niche market, but they are surprisingly desirable machines, especially in small offices where costs are kept to the barest minimum. Of course, the small form factor and ease of setup also makes them attractive HTPCs, since they are not required to do much, except watching HD videos and maintain a library of movies and other media for playback.
As such today I’ll be looking at the Giada Mini-PC i35, which is targeted towards small or home office setups. With the Cedar Trail Intel Atom processor, small footprint and minimal power requirements, the i35 looks perfectly suited to office tasks and general internet usage.
Our test unit comes with the new Intel Atom Cedar Trail D2700 CPU running at 2.13GHZ. We have 2GB DDR3-1066MHz memory and 320GB HDD from Hitachi, running at 5,400RPM and 8MB cache. Hardware wise these are specs we’re used to seeing in netbooks, and the Giada i35 is pretty much that, a netbook, but without a screen.
Available in glossy white or black, our test unit came with the latter color scheme. There are some small circular patterns in white on the top side, along with a cooling grill for the hard drive.
On the front we have a sleek silver lining with the big On/Off button. The green LED lights up to show power connectivity while the red one’s show HDD activity. It’s an impressively small and sleek machine, measuring only 192x155x26mm, so you can set it up anywhere, and however you like.
The connectivity options are fairly impressive, with 4x USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI, VGA and LAN port at the back. On the top or left side, depending on what orientation your put the i35 in, we have a multi-card reader, a USB 3.0 port as well as 3.5mm mic and headphone input jacks.
Giada preloads Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit with the i35, so it’s ready to use out of the box. Thankfully there’s absolutely no bloatware, in fact, it comes with just Win 7 and the drivers installed.
On starting up the Giada i35 I noticed a very minor hiss which was the miniscule fan inside the thin body of the mini-PC. It’s slightly high-pitched, but barely audible, so you won’t notice it unless the room is very quiet, or you concentrate on just hearing it.
Noise & Temperature
Of course, the best part came when I realized that no matter how heavy the benchmark I ran, the fan inside the Giada i35 kept just as whisper quiet is it was during normal operations, or when idle!
According to HW Monitor, the average minimum recorded temperature for the CPU was 41°C, with the fan speeds of 4411RPM. Under maximum load, the temperature recorded was just 47°C with 4821 RPM on the fan.
Of course, a lot of this is also thanks to Intel and the low TDP on the Atom processor, but having such manageable temperatures and low noise output is pretty amazing. Mind you these tests went on continuously for about 4 hours, stressing the CPU to its limits. Under normal circumstances such stress would hardly be the case.
The integrated Intel GMA 3600 is hardly a GPU, more than capable for HD videos, but not enough for games. In fact, with the limited RAM and slow HDD, the Atom D2700 literally ran 3DMark 06 with 3 to 5 fps. As such, any game released in the last decade will be unplayable on the Giada i35, except Flash based games. However, gaming was never the intended purpose of this machine.
Ultimately the Giada Mini-PC i35 is a great package because it does what it’s supposed to do (basic office tasks, internet browsing and HD video playback) while having a miniscule size and also remaining quiet no matter how much you push the hardware.