Viako Mini Letter ML-80 H61 Sandy Bridge Barebones PC

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Viako Mini Letter ML-80 H61 Sandy Bridge Barebones PC

October 26, 2011 by Lawrence Lee

Product Viako Mini Letter ML-80 H61
Barebones PC
Manufacturer Viako
MSRP $349

Our first sample from the Korean manufacturer Viako was an impressively sleek barebones almost perfect for use as a media PC. The Mini Letter ML-45 E-350 was anemically thin, had plenty of connectivity options, and a nice LCD display and remote. At its heart was an integrated AMD Fusion E-350 APU that powered through all types of video smoothly and delivered enough CPU performance to put previous Atom/ION nettop combinations to shame. It's only major flaw was the use of a low-end motherboard by Giada with VRM circuitry prone to coil whine.


The Mini Letter ML-80.

The second sample to come from Viako is a ML-80 H61, which has a larger case and rather than a motherboard with an integrated APU, it packs a Sandy Bridge model with a real drop-in socket. The enclosure is a simple looking all-aluminum black box with rounded corners measuring 22.0 cm across, 21.5 cm deep, and 8.0 cm tall (8.7 x 8.5 x 3.1 inches for those adverse to the metric system). It has a blank face-plate save for the LCD display, a 50mm exhaust fan graces the right side, and a large vent in the center of the removable top panel acts as the case's main intake. The power button is housed at the rear but with wake-on-USB and an included remote this shouldn't be an issue.


Viewed from the back.

The back panel unfortunately is limiting due to the basic mini-ITX H61 chipset motherboard inside (for those unfamiliar with the H61 chipset, it's basically a cut-down version of H67 with a few less PCI-E lanes and USB ports and no SATA 6 Gbps or RAID). Once again Viako took a budget approach, choosing the ECS H61H2-I2, a mini-ITX model that not only lacks extra features like WiFi and eSATA, but is also missing the all-important HDMI connector. The latter is a baffling omission given how this device shares the same media center dressing as the ML-45.

Editor's Note: Viako is transitioning from making mini cases and industrial PC to barebones and complete systems. Its primary markets are in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Israel and England. It's likely that the vast majority of Viako customers would not using these mini-ITX systems with TVs, where HDMI is an absolute necessity, but rather, <24" LCD monitors with VGA/DVI connectors and small external self-powered speakers, in small rooms.


Accessories.

The ML-80 ships in a similar "airmail" themed box as the ML-45. The accessories packed inside include a remote control and batteries, a pair of shorter than average SATA cables, and a large external power brick.


AC power adapter.

Most Atom and Fusion based nettops ship with a 60~65W power adapter but for a dual core Sandy Bridge CPU, a 100W model was required. While it has a significantly higher capacity, it bares the same Energy Star "IV" certification mark as the ML-45's adapter, indicating an efficiency level of 85% above 50W.

Viako Mini Letter ML-80 H61: Specifications
(from the product web page)

ECS H61H2-I2: Specifications
(from the product web page)


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