The Habey MITX-6771 is a thin mini-ITX board with an embedded quad-core Bay Trail SoC and a fanless heatsink.
October 27, 2014 by Lawrence Lee
Habey is an American subsidiary of NORCO China, a manufacturer specializing in embedded systems. Space and energy efficient, these systems are used worldwide by a vast array of business in various industries for numerous applications. In a consumer setting, they’re commonly found in kiosks and point-of-sale machines. These products aren’t designed for home use but some of them have aspects with crossover appeal. The Habey MITX-6771 is a fine example, a thin mini-ITX motherboard with a Celeron J1900 processor cooled by a fanless heatsink, a combination that is a good fit for a simple SFF desktop or entertainment PC.
Specifications: Habey MITX-6771
product web page)
|Platform Codename||Bay Trail|
|Form Factor||Mini ITX|
|Processor||Intel Celeron J1900 2.42 GHz|
|System Memory||2x 204-Pin DDR3L SO-DIMM, up to 8GB|
|Ethernet||1x RJ45, Realtek RTL8111F, GbE x1, (OEM Option of Second GbE x 1)|
|Storage||1x SATA 3Gb/s, 1x mSATA (mini-PCIe)|
|Expansion||1x mini-PCIe with USB + SIM, 1x PCIe x1 Slot|
|Power||DC Jack or 1×2 Pin 19 VDC Internal Jack|
|Graphic Controller||Intel HD Graphics|
|Display Interface||1x VGA, 1x HDMI|
|LCD Interface||1x Dual/Single Channel 18/24-bit LVDS|
|Display Resolution||VGA – 1920x 1200, HDMI – 1920x 1200, LVDS – 1920x 1200|
|Dual Display||Dual Independent Display|
|Serial Port||2x RS-232 Header|
|Parallel Port||1x LPT|
|USB||4x USB2.0, 1x USB3.0 Header, 1x USB2.0 Header|
|PS/2 Port||1x KB, 1x MS Header|
|Audio||Realtek ALC662, Line-out and MIC-in Jack (OEM Option of ALC892 7.1 Audio)|
|Wake on LAN||Yes|
|Watchdog Timer||Programmable Timer System Reset|
|Features and Options||Drop-in Intel Marshalltown board replacement. Intel embedded processor, long product life cycle, dual COM Port parallel port|
MECHANICAL & ENVIRONMENTAL
|Operating Temperature||0 ~ 60° C (32 ~ 140° F)|
|Storage Temperature||-40 ~ 85° C (-40 ~ 185° F)|
|Operating Humidity||5% ~ 95%, 40ºC, Non-Condensing|
|Dimensions||170 x 170 mm (6.7” x 6.7”)|
The Celeron J1900 has a TDP of only 10W and belongs to Intel’s Bay Trail/Silvermont SoC (system on a chip) family, the latest generation of Atom processors which is notable for greatly surpassing the performance of its predecessors. Bay Trail can be found wherever energy efficiency is a concern, such as in tablets and netbooks, but they also drive SFF desktops and entry-level tower PCs as they’re also affordable and have low cooling demands. The J1900 is a quad core model with a clock speed of 2.42 GHz and integrated Intel HD Graphics, a cut-rate version of the HD 4000 series featured on faster Ivy Bridge processors.
The board itself has a pair of SODIMM slots (low voltage only) supporting up to 8GB of RAM, storage in the form of a single SATA 3 Gbps port and mSATA slot, and expansion capability through a mini PCI-E slot and PCI-E 1x slot. There’s no wireless connectivity out of the box, but it has a SIM card slot to connect to mobile networks, and gigabit ethernet. Given the target demographic, it also has serial and parallel port headers, and an LVDS connector. The four available USB ports are of the 2.0 variety, but there is a 2.0 and 3.0 header onboard.
The board ships with the barest of essentials, a driver disc, a single SATA data cable, and an I/O shield. It requires a 19V power source (not included) and peripherals can be powered using a SATA power port on the board itself (cable/adapter also not included). The heatsink’s dimensions are 7.9 x 7.9 x 1.0 cm and and is secured to the board using pushpins. HDMI and VGA display outputs are available but they’re limited to 1920×1200 resolution.
Being a basic thin mini-ITX board, the MITX-6771 BIOS lacks frequency and voltage control of any kind. The only notable feature is fan control which works on just one of the two available 3-pin fan headers using three different modes: full on, manual (single speed), and automatic. The automatic option allows users to set temperature thresholds for when the fan starts and stops spinning, the minimum speed (in PWM values), and the slope (how quickly the speed increases).
However, our sample produced a very audible, annoying squeal when any fan was driven via this header. The noise increased in pitch the faster the fan spun and only disappeared when running at full speed. Unless our review unit was defective, if a fan is to be used and noise is of any concern, a low speed model is necessary.
To test boot time, the BIOS/UEFI was optimized by setting the hard drive recognition and other delays set to minimum, taking care not to disable common functionality like full USB support, POST messages, etc., and we measured the time required to reach the Windows 7 loading screen (we stop here because this is the point where the CPU and drive become factors).
Compared to other small form factor boards, the MITX-6771 was on the slow side, taking almost 13 seconds to complete the boot sequence. The BIOS is rather simple but we suppose it has a lot of different hardware to check before booting.
Measurement and Analysis Tools
Timed CPU Benchmark Test Details
3D Performance Benchmarks
Our main test procedure involves recording the power consumption of the board in various states as we deemed appropriate. This includes idle, video playback, simulating game play, video encoding, and full CPU and GPU load using Prime95/CPUBurn and FurMark. As a SoC is part of the equation we followed this up with a series of both CPU (timed tests of real-world applications) and GPU-centric (gaming tests and synthetics) benchmarks.
Certain services and features like Superfetch and System Restore are disabled
to prevent them from affecting our results.
We also make note if energy saving features like Cool’n’Quiet and SpeedStep
do not function properly.
For our CPU tests, we compared the MITX-6771 to a selection of low-end energy efficient CPUs/APUs, the ultra-low voltage Ivy Bridge chip found in the original Intel NUC, and the Pentium G2120, a 55W desktop CPU that is commonly paired with thin mini-ITX LGA1155 motherboards.
Subjectively, the experience felt quite responsive but this is likely due to the fact we used an SSD. The ASUS X200MA notebook, which uses a slightly lower clocked dual core processor from the same Bay Trail/Silvermont family and a 5400 RPM notebook hard drive, didn’t feel nearly as snappy.
The Celeron J1900 was moderately faster than the X200MA’s Celeron N2815 in single-threaded operations due to its higher clock speed, and significantly better with multi-threaded applications as it has twice as many cores. The new Atoms are impressive but still no match for the Ivy Bridge family.
We arrived at our relative CPU performance score by giving each system/chip a proportional
score in each real world benchmark with each test having an equal weighting.
The scale has been adjusted so that the J1900 is the reference point with
a score of 100. By this metric, the Athlon 5350 is the closest match, which is fitting as it too is an entry-level desktop SoC.
The J1900’s integrated Intel HD Graphics uses similar GPU hardware as the Ivy Bridge generation but has been scaled back. Equipped with only 4 EUs (execution units) and lower clock speeds, the result is very poor gaming performance. The stronger GPUs in this comparison aren’t great for playing games in the first place, making the J1900’s weak 3DMark11 and Heaven 3.0 scores that much worse.
Note: all systems compared have similar hardware: Single SSD and a DC power supply with high efficiency 12V/19V adapter.
Despite having a 10W SoC, our MITX-6771 based system used noticeably more power than Ivy Bridge and Haswell based NUCs when idle, probably due to the demands of the bigger from factor and more varied feature support. It was considerably more efficient than any mini-ITX board we’ve tested thus far though, beating out the Kabini-equipped ASUS AM1I-A by a considerable margin. Power consumption during 1080p video playback was especially impressive, only 1~2W more than when sitting idle.
Heavy load is where the MITX-6771 truly shines, staying under 20W during video encoding and a run through the Crysis Demo. True, it is the slowest system of the field, but keep in mind the Athlon 5350 configuration, only 5% faster overall, used around 30W in the same tests.
System Measurements (Extended Use)
TMPGEnc Video Encoding
Resident Evil 5 Benchmark Demo
Prime95 + FurMark
System Power (AC)
*measured externally at the hottest point on the heatsink
Ambient temperature: 21°C.
To test how well the fanless heatsink works, we conducted some extended use tests to really heat things up. The more demanding applications drove the passive cooler to temperatures between 60°C and 80°C, but at no point did the CPU throttle. During the Resident Evil 5 test, the CPU clock speed fluctuated between 1.3 and 2.4 GHz but this was apparently normal behavior unrelated to the heat. It behaved similarly at the start of the test before the machine even had time to heat up, and the processor stayed at 2.4 GHz during the more demanding Prime95 + FurMark test. The heatsink is small but adequate, at least in open air.
As the MITX-6771 doesn’t come with any additional software other than drivers, we monitored the thermal conditions with SpeedFan and AIDA64. Both programs picked up a single fan speed, and motherboard and "AUX" temperature sensors. Fan control was enabled in SpeedFan by going to the advanced menu and changing the "PWM 1 mode" setting from "ON/OFF" to "Software controlled" but we encountered the same squealing problem as when we changed the speed in the BIOS.
Designed for point-of-sale machines and other basic industrial applications, the Habey MITX-6771 should work nicely for its intended purpose. It has the necessary features, including serial, parallel, and LVDS headers, and a SIM card slot for mobile network connectivity. Its energy efficiency is also superb, making it a cost-effective solution for massive deployment. Its power consumption was best in class for a thin mini-ITX motherboard, idling at 12W and staying below 20W under typical real world conditions. As for horsepower, the CPU performance is only great relative to its power consumption, and the integrated graphics is capable of easily rendered HD video but little else. With a specialized feature-set and a thin form factor, the MITX-6717 understandably retails for a hefty US$150, much more than consumer-oriented mini-ITX models.
For regular home users, consumer-oriented manufacturers like ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and ECS sell similar boards with more common desktop features, some for as low as US$70. For a basic PC in a SFF case, the Celeron J1900 is a perfect fit, though, a solid-state drive is required for desktop-level responsiveness. The Athlon 5350 APU is its direct competitor as it has similar CPU performance but greater graphical prowess (though not great enough to really play games comfortably). Including a motherboard, an Athlon 5350 configuration will set you back about US$100.
Our thanks to Habey
for the Habey MITX-6771 sample.
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