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TOPIC: Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA)

Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 10 months ago #1

  • bircoe
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Of late I've been looking around at the mini PC's available through online stores like AliExpress, I came across one I liked and decided to bite the bullet and purchase one to see how it would perform as an XBMC/OpenELEC box.

They come in various models and spec levels and I ended up choosing the IN-1037UA as it looks the most like a Set Top Box. I opted for barebone with the Optional Wifi module for $7 and RS232 port for $3 (however this is on the side and looks very ugly). This meant I would have to supply my own hard drive and RAM which was fine as I have plenty of spare parts.

See below link for a range of different spec levels:
www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?SearchText=IN-1037UA
This is the link I purchased mine from:
www.aliexpress.com/item/IVB-platform-Intel-Celeron-dual-core-C1037U-1-8GHz-barebone-pc-computer-with-wifi-1-RS232/1350136998.html
Ordering went fairly smoothly, there was the usual language barrier, delivery took approx 6 days and overall I'm pretty happy with the experience, take what you want from that, but I will not take responsibility for anyone ordering from the same supplier and having a bad experience.





Looking over the box it is built pretty well to decent quality standards... The front and back are finished nicely, quality connectors front and back, the top is an interesting bronze/copper colour which I'm still not sold on. But on the inside it's another story, the cabling and connectors are pretty messy and are not very well thought out, the Wifi Module is sitting on a stand off turned at an angle because it doesn't fit straight due to the USB ports. The stand off for the PCIe slots is too tall making the SSD sit up at an angle. And lastly the cables and connectors have a typical cheap Chinese feel and look to them. The motherboard has GHM7X-VER.A printed on it but a Google search returns nothing. But these are mostly cosmetic issues that I can live with at this very attractive price point.





Overall though it is a pleasant looking box, it looks like a set top box and not some PC masquerading as a set top box. My only complaints so far is that it didn't come with rubber/foam feet, and the screws to hold the top on were not included. In the box was a brick style Power Supply with a USA cord (luckily I had spare AU cables) and a vertical stand.

Specs:
CPU: Intel Celeron 1037U dual core @ 1.8GHz
Chipset: Intel NM70
RAM: 1x DDR3 Slot
SATA: 2x SATA 2 Ports (also has a male molex connector on board to power HDD's)
Mini PCIe: 2x Mini PCIe slots, supports full and half-length mSATA SSD and Mini PCIe Wireless LAN card
Network: Realtek RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller
WiFi: USB Ralink RT2870/RT3070 Wireless Adapter (connected to internal USB header) - OPTIONAL
USB: 8x USB 2.0 ports (4x rear, 2x front, 2x internal, 1 used by wifi adapter)
Video: 1x VGA and 1x HDMI
Audio: Front and Rear Analog line out and Mic in


As you can see from the specs it's a pretty well equipped box, the first thing I did was to pop in some 4GB DDR3 RAM I had lying around, I then created an OpenELEC 3.2.0 (I had downloaded this built some time ago and didn't want to wait for a newer build to download) Live Stick using the Intel x86_64 build and proceeded to boot it up, low and behold 30 seconds later I had a running live system. I then installed a cheap 8gb KingSpec mSATA SSD drive I purchased off ebay that refused to work in my Intel NUC but worked in my laptop... not sure why but anyway it works just fine in this thing and boot times are pretty quick off the SSD.

The PC is not actively cooled, there is no fan, the aluminium housing makes up the heatsink for the CPU and with an SSD hard drive it is silent.

Update: I ran it overnight playing a folder full of 1080P content, SSH'd into it and started an infinte loop to load up one of the CPU cores, it ran all night without issue with 1 core loaded up at 100% and the other core bouncing between 20-30%, during this CPU tempreture topped out at about 68 degrees C, better than I was expecting for a passively cooled box under some decent load.

Power Usage:
Power usage is quite low, I mean it's no Raspberry Pi but it still low enough that it can be left on all the time.
Idle: ~14W
Min: 12W
Avg: 14W
Max:17W
Display Asleep: 10W


So far it's handled everything I've thrown at it including raw Bluray rips with ease, during a 40gb 1080p Avatar rip, CPU usage was around 10% on both cores. I expected this level of performance as the Celeron 1037U is a higher clocked than the Celeron 847 in the NUC (1.8GHz vs 1.1GHz), has a faster GPU (HD2500 @ 1GHz vs HD2000 @ 800MHz), and is made on a smaller die (22nm vs 32nm) and the NUC handles the same files but with higher CPU load, so it was only logical that this should do better than the NUC and it does. I'm not going to continue testing any further (other than general usage) as the limited testing I've done so far confirmed my theory of it out performing the Celeron NUC. A particularly nice feature is that is has standard SATA ports, meaning you don't have to buy expensive mSATA disks, any old 2.5" SATA disk will work, but you'll have to get creative with mounting the disk.

Overall I'm happy with my purchase and can't wait to tinker some more, an internal USB CEC adapter is next on the cards and maybe a better Wifi card that has bluetooth built in (if anyone has any recommendations on the later that would be appreciated).

I am in no way affiliated with the company that makes or sells these, I've just seen many people asking questions about these cheap mini PC's in the forum and IRC channel and decided to give one a go, I figured it was only fair to give some decent feedback that would help people make a decision on these boxes.

Lastly as I only received it today and it's only been running for a few hours I can't even speculate how long it will last, I hope it lasts a long time but you never know with these things!
Last Edit: 2 years 10 months ago by bircoe.
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 10 months ago #2

  • Tobor
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Thanks for the review and the link. Seeing as there are 6 USB ports, why did you opt for the RS-232 port? What do you use that for?

Tobor
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 10 months ago #3

  • bircoe
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I had in mind interfacing home automation equipment to the RS232 port, next time around I wouldn't option RS232 though!

I am still super happy with the purchase, it's been great, and I plan on purchasing at least 2 more.
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 10 months ago #4

  • MrSparklle
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Nice deal bircoe, thanks for sharing your experience.

Do you known if it suports wake on lan?
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 10 months ago #5

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It has WoL options in the BIOS but I can't seem to get it working, I've seen mention of this chipset and WoL issues... but in the end it's only using 10W when the display is turned off so it's not an issue for me.

It also doesn't seem to like going into standby mode, when standby is selected it goes through all the motions, shuts itself down, then immediately powers up again. Kind of annoying!

And again, power usage is so low I don't consider it to be an issue... and to be honest I was expecting it to be not so perfect, I mean at $115 it's to good to be true right?
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 10 months ago #6

Hi Bircoe,

Thanks for the nice review! I've been looking at the BRIX 1037u and am very glad to see you are happy with OpenElec performance on the Celeron 1.8GHz/IntelHD graphics.
Looks like the total net you paid was ~ $152 with shipping + options so it's $18 cheaper than the BRIX

(http://www.ebay.com/itm/GIGABYTE-GBXM141037-Intel-NM70-BRIX-Ultra-Compact-PC-kit-/380735994233)

Looks like you get more USB ports as well (6 vs. 2 on BRIX)

Question - have you had any luck with going into standby mode? Maybe a BIOS update? This seems to be problematic with the small HDTV boxes; I have an AMD A350 ITX system that plays fine, but has standby issues as well, even after BIOS update. This guy goes to sleep, and wakes up if you 'tap' the power switch lightly, but it will not wakeup by hitting the power switch on the MCE remote control. That's a pain, because I need to slide opn the Media Cabinet, tap the button, close the cabinet, then grab the remote.

That's about 2 extra steps that I want to eliminate (and why I was looking at the BRIX...)

If anyone can point out a FAQ or HowTo on the finer points of setting up OpenELEC for STANDBY mode (controlled by MCE remote) it would be greatly appreciated!
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 9 months ago #7

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I'm thinking to switching to Brix, but seems that Brix has some [url="openelec.tv/forum/103-infared-remotes/65481-problem-with-gigabyte-brix-and-mce-ir-remotes" issues with remotes and audio in linux[/url]. I would like to read a review about that someone that already make it 100% full working (including sleep and wake up) with openelec like we have with NUC. It's hard to finding a more cheap alternative than NUC.
Last Edit: 2 years 9 months ago by MrSparklle.
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 9 months ago #8

  • bircoe
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@thomspengler: I've not had any luck with sleep or Wake on Lan, and given that these things are made as cheaply as possible by an unknown Chinese manufacturer I doubt there will ever be a BIOS update.

I personally don't have any problem leaving this thing idling away with the display put to sleep, in this state it uses 10w of power... not really worth worrying about.

During testing of the 1037U I tested my Celeron 847 NUC (since been sold) to confirm Wake on LAN worked in my environment, and it would WoL from both sleep and powered down. Although it won't wake from USB as the NUC puts USB ports to sleep also.
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Re:Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 9 months ago #9

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bircoe wrote:
Of late I've been looking around at the mini PC's available through online stores like AliExpress, I came across one I liked and decided to bite the bullet and purchase one to see how it would perform as an XBMC/OpenELEC box.

They come in various models and spec levels and I ended and IRC channel and decided to give one a go, I figured it was only fair to give some decent feedback tha\!

Thanks for review

have been looking for something like this

pulled the trigger today based on your suggestion

will post update once I have had a chance to run it

thanks

jim

Sent from my ASUS Transformer Pad TF300T using Tapatalk 4
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Re:Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 9 months ago #10

  • bircoe
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You're welcome, a buddy of mine bought one as well and is so happy with them he's ordered another two.
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 9 months ago #11

I've also bought one (I'm in the UK) from the same supplier.

Got stung for vat at customs - even though it was marked as sample and of no commercial value (kudos to the supplier for attempting it though!)

Didn't realize the 1037u was as quick as my main amdx2 4600 htpc :) using aeon nox and very fluid except occasional stalls prob due to usb flash pen?

Quite happy so far - seems to get hot. not sure if to leave it on 24/7 as it's stuffed down the back of my flat screen between the wall with limited airflow...

What with tax and currency fee's not saved much over price of say intel nuc. Advantage is passive cooling which would cost another 35 or so to add to the nuc...

Have emailed the supplier a few times since asking about tech support (if any!) bios etc and now they are strangely mute lol

Forgot to ask if anyone know the pins for the internal usb headers? thanks!
Last Edit: 2 years 9 months ago by TheBlueVoice.
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 9 months ago #12

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Arent usb pinouts on mainboards "universal"?

pinouts.ru/Motherboard/usb_internal_pinout.shtml
Last Edit: 2 years 9 months ago by 0ldfart.
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 9 months ago #13

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Mellissa Lau from INCTEL Technology Co.,Limited emailed me the following for the device:
Schematics, ROM, program information, circuit design files, BOM
BIOS, and the BIOS upgrade batch tools all there
and new BIOS for C1037U

www.dropbox.com/s/nll1e3ypmaakt9t/INCTEL%20C1037U%E6%8A%80%E6%9C%AF
Last Edit: 2 years 9 months ago by 0ldfart.
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 9 months ago #14

0ldfart wrote:
Mellissa Lau from INCTEL Technology Co.,Limited emailed me the following for the device:
Schematics, ROM, program information, circuit design files, BOM
BIOS, and the BIOS upgrade batch tools all there
and new BIOS for C1037U

www.dropbox.com/s/nll1e3ypmaakt9t/INCTEL%20C1037U%E6%8A%80%E6%9C%AF

Cheers :) Funnily enough, she sent me the same info this morning too.
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Review: Cheap Celeron 1037U Mini PC (IN-1037UA) 2 years 9 months ago #15

  • bircoe
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TheBlueVoice wrote:
I've also bought one (I'm in the UK) from the same supplier.

Got stung for vat at customs - even though it was marked as sample and of no commercial value (kudos to the supplier for attempting it though!)

That kinda sucks...

TheBlueVoice wrote:
Didn't realize the 1037u was as quick as my main amdx2 4600 htpc :) using aeon nox and very fluid except occasional stalls prob due to usb flash pen?

They're a pretty grunty thing for a low powered CPU, the skin issues may be USB related, I'm running mine off an mSATA drive and had no issues with Aeon NOX.

TheBlueVoice wrote:
Quite happy so far - seems to get hot. not sure if to leave it on 24/7 as it's stuffed down the back of my flat screen between the wall with limited airflow...

Don't be too worried about temp, this things T Junction MAX temp is 105 degrees C, most I've seen mine spike at is about 75 degrees C.

TheBlueVoice wrote:
Forgot to ask if anyone know the pins for the internal usb headers? thanks!

It will be the standard pinout for USB motherboard pin headers.

Glad you're happy with it, my goal wasn't to push anyone to buy it, but more to open peoples eyes as to what's out there if you look around... I'm not disappointed with my purchase at all and will be purchasing more of them as soon as finances allow (read: after Christmas).
Last Edit: 2 years 9 months ago by bircoe.
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