Giada A51 Mini PC

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Product(s): Giada A51 Mini PC
Provided By: Giada

Price: ~329.00 USD (At time of publishing)

Introduction: 

Today we've got a new product on the test bench from Giada, the A51 Mini PC. This is the first product we've taken a look at from Giada, but after getting a quick press briefing a while back we really wanted to take a closer look at one of their Mini PCs.

We've got the Giada A51 Mini PC for this review, which sports an AMD T56N Processor and is part of AMD's Fusion lineup of processors. The unit we are reviewing sports 4GB of DDR3 Memory and has a 320GB HDD included. Giada has a full lineup of Mini PCs and has models sporting the Intel lineup of processors as well. You can check out the entire Giada lineup over here. This is the first time I've had a chance to test out firsthand the AMD T56N processor so it should be very interesting to see how it compares to other "lower power" CPUs such as the Intel Atom.

The Giada A51, thanks to it's small size, is being marketed as a Home Theatre PC (HTPC) and has features like onboard HDMI and an 802.11n wireless networking card all integrated into this PC. This model does have the option for Windows 7 Home Premium to be pre-installed, however you can also get this model with no OS installed (like our test unit). For our unit we went ahead and put Windows 7 Ultimate on it.

In this review we are going to take a closer look at the Giada A51 Mini PC and see how it stands up to our testing, let's first start with a closer look at the A51.

 

Closer Look:

Giada A51 - Front View
Giada A51 - Rear View


As you can see in the pictures above and below, the Giada A51 is nice and small. Overall I was pretty happy with the look of the Giada A51, it won't look out of place beside all of your expensive home theatre equipment. This particular model comes is black or white (our test unit was obviously the black version).

On the back of the PC you will notice that is features 4 USB ports (USB 2.0), 1 HDMI port, 1 VGA port, one Ethernet port, and your power plug. On the top of the PC you have your audio plugs, 1 USB 3.0 plug, and a media Card reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO).

 

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Giada A51 - Side View
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Giada A51 - Side View

 

Well it wouldn't be BCCHardware if we didn't tear open the box (and void the warranty in the process).  We'll get into that on the next page.

 


Inside & More:

As you can see in the picture below (right), we've opened the case to see what is running the A51. Not too surprisingly (due to the small size of this unit), there isn't too much inside the box and most everything is integrated into the mainboard. Basically only the hard drive and the memory are able to be replaced (memory is mounted on the bottom of the board and would require removing the mainboard to access it). By opening up the case of the Giada A51 you will however be voiding your warranty. According to Giada the max amount of memory this board will support is 4GB. I am not sure about how big of a hard drive this board would support and obviously if you were to attempt to upgrade the hard drive you would be on your own, but I would guess that upgrading the hard drive would be possible if you were adventurous enough to try. For most people who are in the market to buy a mini PC like the A51, chances are good that you won't be too concerned about being able to upgrade it down the road.

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Giada A51 - Side View
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Giada A51 - Inside View

 

Giada A51 - Top View
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Giada A51 - Remote

 

The remote that comes with the Giada A51 isn't anything too crazy, but it gets the job done and doesn't look super cheap like other "media" remotes that I've seen. The remote performs all the media functions that you will need, as well as lets you turn the PC on and off while sitting on the couch. The remote also could come in handy in other applications like digital signage where you are going to mount the PC in behind a large screen high up on a wall, having a remote is sure a lot easier than climbing up a ladder to turn the PC on or off.

Overall I'm very happy with the remote, it is nice and sturdy and did everything I needed it to.

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Giada A51 - Remote
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Giada A51 - Remote

 

So obviously for this to be called the Giada A51 Mini PC is has to be small right? Well, it easily lives up to its claim of being Mini and I've included a couple pictures to show you just how small it really is. I put it beside a external DVD drive from LG and as you can see its much smaller than the drive. I also put it beside a paperback book and as you can see its even a bit smaller than that.

Thanks to the small size of this unit there are a ton of different applications that you could use this PC for where space is limited.

Giada A51 - Compare
Giada A51 - Compare


So there we go, that's what the Giada A51 looks like, let's see how it performs next.

 

 


Giada A51 Mini PC Specifications:

All specifications taken from Giadatech.com

Features:

Carried with the AMD fusion APU which are combined high-performance serial and parallel processing cores with other special purpose hardware accelerators, enabling breakthroughs in visual computing, security, performance-per-watt and device form factor, Giada A51 enables you enjoy an unusual experience that you never have.

 

  • Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium
  • Giada A51 is fully compatible with running the latest OS-Microsoft Windows® 7.
  • Native Full HD 1080P playback
  • Supporting Full HD 1080P playback, Giada A51 gives you “better than cinema” quality and the ultimate movie experience in the comfort of your own home.
  • Silent Operation under 26bB
  • Giada A51 is running a silent operation which is merely 26bB,ensures you a quite computing environment as well. With Giada A51, your living room will be transformed into a home entertainment center.
  • Report by Media.
  • 802.11n Wireless Networking
  • WiFi 802.11n can not only speed your connection to the internet greatly with a wider bandwidth, but also cover longer distance coverage.

Specifications:

  • CPU - AMD® T56N
  • Chipset - AMD® A50M FCH
  • GPU - CPU embedded graphics
  • System Memory - 2G DDR3-800/1066 (1 x SO-DIMM slot, Max. 4G)
  • Storage - 320G 2.5" HDD
  • I/O
    • 1 x USB3.0, 4 x USB2.0, 1 x Card reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO)
    • 1 x HDMI, 1 x VGA, 1 x S/PDIF-out
  • LAN - Gigabit LAN + Wi-Fi 802.11n + Bluetooth
  • Audio - AUDIO-out/MIC-in
  • Power Consumption - 30W
  • Size - 192 x 155 x 26 mm
  • Color - Black & White
  • OS - Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium (Optional)

 

 


Giada A51 Setup:

Our demo unit came without an OS on it, but Windows 7 Home Premium pre-installed is an available option (at an additional cost).

For our demo system we threw a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate on it and found everything to run nice and smooth. For the tech savvy consumer the ability to get this unit without an OS is a nice money saving option. Chances are good you might have an extra copy of Windows kicking around from an old PC which can easily be installed and will save you a few bucks and will also let you install Windows without all the bloatware that comes on most new PC’s.

After installation of Windows 7 we threw in the provided Giada CD that came in the box and let it automatically install all of the required drivers. After a few minutes we found everything to be working great and we didn’t have any mysterious missing drivers. Installation went on without a hitch and after a few Windows updates we were ready to get onto the testing. The fact that the included CD installed everything without any assistance is a major plus in my books, it really made installation of the OS a breeze.

Giada A51 Testing:

Ok, so before we begin let’s talk about our expectations. Obviously we aren’t looking for this unit to set any performance records, we are more interested to see how the AMD Fusion CPU can keep up with some other systems we’ve tested in the past. This unit isn’t designed to break performance records, it is designed to replace your current HTPC with something a fraction of the size while not costing you an arm and a leg. If you want more CPU power, Giada does have other models that have CPU's like the Intel i5 which would give you more power (obviously those models would cost more).

 

SuperPI

SuperPI is a program that calculates Pi to 10,000 places and records how fast a CPU can do it. For this test we've put the Giada A51 (AMD T56N) up against the Samsung NB30 Netbook (our full review can be found here) which features the Intel Atom N450 CPU running at 1.66 GHz. This Atom CPU is a bit older now, but is a good comparison as to what kind of performance the Giada A51 has.

 

 

Ok, so in this test the AMD T56N blew the older Atom N450 out of the water. When I first got the Giada A51 I was kinda expecting "netbook" performance out of it, however, as you can see from the results of this test, as far as CPU power goes the AMD T56N CPU clearly is a more powerful CPU. Newer Atom CPU's should be able to easily keep up with the AMD T56N.

 

PMCore

In this next test we used PMCore to calculate 5,000 Prime numbers. This is a test that uses the CPU heavily and should be a good test to show us how the AMD T56N compares to other CPU's we've tested in the past. For this set of testing we are putting the Giada A51 up against the Samsung R580 Notebook (our full review of the R580 can be found here) that is running the Intel i5 430M @ 2.26GHz as well as the Quad-Core AMD Phenom II 940 which was overclocked up to 3.8 GHz. The Phenom II is an older CPU, but I wanted to include it since it was interesting to see how far CPU's have come over the past couple years.

As you can see the AMD T56N did pretty well in comparison to both the other CPUs we tested in the past. It's very neat to see how far CPU's have come over the past couple years as now a dual-core "low power" CPU like the AMD T56N is able to keep up with an older quad-core CPU like the Phenom II 940. Obviously there are a ton of CPU's available that could blow the AMD T56N out of the water, but overall the amount of performance that a CPU like the AMD T56N offers isn't anything to laugh at.

 


3DMark06

3DMark06 is a benchmark that is aimed more at gamers and tests both the CPU and GPU (Graphics) capabilities of the system. For this test we've put the Giada A51 up against the Samsung R580 Notebook again.

 

As you can see from the test, the Samsung R580 was able to keep ahead of the Giada A51 by a decent amount. The Samsung R580 is running the NVIDIA GeForce 310M which seems to be able to outperform the AMD Radeon 6320 that the Giada A51 has. Obviously if you are looking for gaming performance you'd probably not pick the Giada A51, however for basic (and older) games the Giada A51 should be able to keep up.

PCMark Vantage

While 3DMark is more of a benchmark for gamers, PCMark takes a look at overall PC performance. I've included the results from PCMark Vantage for your reference, however I didn't have any test results to compare the Giada A51 to.

 

General Usage:

While there are benchmarks that claim to test "everyday usage", I'm more of a fan of actually using the system and seeing if there is an actual noticeable difference between systems. Obviously this system isn't going to load applications like a full high end desktop would, so when comparing it to a full Intel i7 system you will notice that Windows and applications don't run as quickly as you might be used to. With that being said, most programs that I ran on this system ran fine and for general usage (office applications, web browsing, etc.) I found that the Giada A51 was more than adequate.

Giada A51 Power Consumption:

The Giada A51 comes with a 30 Watt power supply which is very small when you think about it and is even smaller than most laptop’s power supplies. During our testing we hooked the Giada A51 up to a power monitor to see how much power this unit actually consumed.

Sitting at idle we found that this model was usually using about 13-14 Watts of power.

Running the system full out we were able to get it up to spike to 26 Watts of power.

On average we found that the power usage was around 17-18 Watts during normal usage.

It is pretty amazying hen you consider that most light bulbs use more power than the Giada A51 which is a fully functional PC.

 


 

Giada A51 Mini PC Final Thoughts:

As this is the first product from Giada that I've had a chance to review, I wasn't too sure what to expect. The Giada A51 however really impressed me thanks to its small size and overall great performance. The AMD T56N CPU that the A51 contains isn't a powerhouse of a CPU but it was easily able to run Windows 7 and every application that I threw at it. I would have no problem recommending this Mini PC to anyone who is looking for a full PC that is super small and barely uses any power (in our testing we couldn't get it to use over 24 Watts of power when running it full out).

The biggest selling feature of the Giada A51 is the size, seriously, this full PC is tiny. Obviously the biggest appeal of this unit would be to use it for a HTPC, but after using it for our testing I would say that most people could probably use this PC for everyday tasks without much trouble at all. The A51 isn’t going to blow you away with its raw computing power, but is has enough power to rival most budget laptops and if you paired this system with a cheap monitor you could probably put together an entire system for well under $400 bucks. Obviously using it as your main system would have some drawbacks but if you wanted a basic PC for web usage, light gaming, and other tasks this unit would have no trouble keeping up. Thanks to the size of the Giada A51 it could be used for quite a few different applications where space is limited such as digital signage or web kiosks. If you do need a system with a little more power, Giada has other models that feature more powerful CPUs, yet still remain nice and small like the A51.

When it came to awarding this unit a score for performance I decided to give the Giada A51 a 10/10. Now the AMD T56N CPU isn't the fastest CPU available (or even close to it for that matter), however, when you consider that this entire unit uses under 30 Watts of power and still can run a full version of Windows 7 and most desktop applications while using less power than most light bulbs, that's pretty impressive and is the reason that this unit scores top marks in the performance section.

The Giada A51 comes with enough features to make this PC really handy. Included onboard you have 4 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, onboard HDMI port, and a built in card reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO). Having USB 3.0 is very handy if you want to hook up an external hard drive full of movies and will give you some nice and fast transfer speeds. The HDMI port and card reader are nice features for any HTPC to have, and having them built in is very important because no one wants a bunch of external devices hooked up to a unit like this.

As far as price and value goes, the Giada A51 is a pretty good deal. Online we were able to find it for ~$319 USD which is pretty decent for a full system like the A51 is. Also included with the Giada A51 is a media remote which we found to be very handy and worked great.

At the end of the day it's pretty easy to like the Giada A51. I’m overall very impressed with this unit and thanks to its affordable price tag this unit could be used in all sorts of situations where you don’t have much room but want the features of a full PC, and that's exactly what you get with the Giada A51. Thanks to the great value, the small size, and good performance that the Giada A51 offers, we have awarded this product our "Editor's Choice - Gold" award. If you are looking for a full PC that can fit into places where other PC's can't, you'll want to give some serious consideration to the Giada A51 Mini PC.

 

Pros:

  • Extremely Low Power Consumption
  • Great Value
  • Media Remote Included
  • Good Performance
  • Extremely Small Size

 

Cons:

  • Nothing Major

 

 
Gold

 

I'd like to thank Giada for sending us the A51 Mini PC. If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please reply below.