Today we have a mini PC in TV-Stick format equipped with an Intel Apollo Lake processor as it is a Celeron N3350. Undoubtedly the ECDREAM A9 will have surprised you first by its small format, very popular once but nowadays practically in disuse. A team that includes active ventilation of its processor, something totally necessary in this type of equipment where the passive ventilation of the components is very limited and as we have been able to prove in some of our reviews. An a priori interesting but weighted equipment to include only 2GB of RAM, a fair amount of memory to run Windows 10.
This type of HDMI key is perhaps what can be made more compact on the PC market, The EC DREAM A9 measures 12.8 cm long by 5.8 cm wide and 1.6 cm thick. This is not really the dimensions of a USB key but the principle of use of this kind of device brings them closer. The idea is to insert the EC DREAM A9 into an HDMI 1.4 port which will become its display. The components are powered by a MicroUSB port and a 5V / 3A charger.
Inside this solution, we find two models of Appolo Lake processors: a Celeron N3350 dual core clocked from 1.1 GHz to 2.4 GHz with an Intel HD 500 graphics and which displays 6 watts of TDP. Or a Celeron N3450 quad core running from 1.1 to 2.2 GHz and the same graphics circuit as well as the same TDP. To run such a processor in a solution of this size, it will, of course, be necessary to use a fan in addition to an aluminum dissipater. Do not count on a perfectly inaudible machine. Combined with this core chip, there will be 2 to 8 GB of DDR3 memory via 4 GB solutions. Storage is done on a 32 or 64 GB eMMC component supported by a MicroSD card reader.
The network part is provided by an Intel AC3165 chipset that delivers Wi-Fi 802.11AC and Bluetooth 4.0. On paper, this solution has everything to please in the absence of any basic Ethernet connection but of course, we must question the layout and quality of the integrated antennas. It is quite common that this type of solution does not develop extraordinary rates due to the mediocrity of their wifi implementation. Connectivity is limited with two USB 3.0 ports only, plug an Ethernet adapter into a first plug, the addition of a mouse and keyboard dongle will occupy the second. The male HDMI port is not visible but is present under a cap at the top of the key.
the HDMI Keys have for them the advantage of their ultra compact format but they also pose concerns of users with a dependent power supply and really weak connectivity. It is unclear whether these solutions actually have an advantage in the majority of uses. The ECDREAM A9 mini PC can be purchased from Geekbuying at $94.99 using Coupon code: ECDREAMA9