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Logic Supply CL100 Fanless Braswell NUC PC

Logic Supply’s latest, most affordable fanless NUC PC features a Braswell Celeron N3150 SoC and a more attractive slimmed-down aluminum enclosure than its predecessors.

June 5, 2016 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Logic Supply CL100
Fanless NUC PC
Manufacturer
Price
US$343 (base)
US$525 (as configured)

The latest silent mini PC from Logic Supply is another NUC-based system, this time powered by Braswell, Intel’s most recent generation of entry-level mobile processors which are manufactured using a 14 nm fabrication process. Visually, the CL100 is noticeably pared down compared to older models. Its proportions are more balanced and its dimensions a lot closer to that of the various consumer NUC offerings on the market.

The casing is still aluminum-clad over the entire body and the contours are smoother/rounder, giving it a friendlier appearance. The orange front panel is gone though the color is retained in the wraparound power buttons. Incidentally, these buttons are shallow and too easy to engage; they were accidentally activated multiple times during testing. The first thing on the to do list after installing an operating system is to reconfigure the power button to do nothing after the machine is switched on.


The CL100, up and running.

Previous fanless Logic Supply units had deep ridged fins the exterior that made their purpose obvious, to increase the heat dissipation area. That the enclosure is essentially a big heatsink is less obvious with the CL100. Well-defined fins have been replaced with shallow grooves that look as if a rake had been lightly dragged across the surface as the aluminum was setting. Its 11.7 x 3.7 x 11.2 cm dimensions gives it a volume of just 0.48 Liters, about half that of the last Logic Supply NUC we examined, the Bay Trail powered ML100G-10. Considering that the Intel Celeron N3150 processor inside is rated for a mere 6W, the reduction in cooling area shouldn’t be an issue.


Front.


Back.

The CL100 has a reasonable set of external connectivity options. The front is home to a dual-purpose audio jack, one USB 2.0 connector, one USB 3.0 Type-C port, and a CIR sensor, while wireless antenna hookups flank the sides toward the rear. At the back, you’ll find the DC power jack, two USB 3.0 ports, and a a gigabit RJ45 connector sandwiched between the display outputs (two HDMI plus one DisplayPort). “Triple-independent display, 4K media playback” is touted on the Logic Supply’s configuration page as one of its key features.


Power adapter.

The CL100 ships with 12V 3A power adapter that features swappable multiple AC prongs, while their older systems included a bulkier 60W+ brick.

Relevant Specifications: Logic Supply CL100
(from the
product web page
)
SKUCL100
Hardware LineIndustrial Line
Front I/O1 USB 2.0 port
1 USB Type C port
1 Audio jack; Speaker/Mic-in
Rear I/O2 HDMI ports
1 DisplayPort
1 Gb LAN port
2 USB 3.0 ports
1 DC input jack (12 V)
ProcessorIntel Celeron N3150
Processor Speed1.6 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency2.08 GHz
Processor SocketOnboard (BGA)
Processor GenerationBraswell
Processor Cores4
ChipsetShared with CPU
Graphics/GPUIntel HD Graphics
MemoryDDR3L SO-DIMM (non-ECC)
Memory Capacity16 GB
Memory Speed1600 MHz
Memory Slot2
Expansion TypePCIe Mini Card (half-height)
Storage OptionsmSATA
LAN ControllerRealtek RT8111G
Input Voltage12 V
Operating Temperature Range0°C ~ 40°C
Dimensions (WxHxD)116.75 x 36.7 x 112 mm
4.6″ x 1.44″ x 4.4″
Case TypeCompact
Customizable
Fanless
Case MaterialCast Aluminum
Steel
Port Punchouts2x Antenna Holes
MountingDIN-mount
Wall-mount
Included AccessoriesRubber feet
Expected Life Cycle5 years
Certifications & RatingsCE
FCC
RoHS
Warranty2 year limited warranty on parts and services

According to the specifications, the CL100 supports two DDR3L SODIMMs, a single mSATA drive, and sports a PCI-E mini slot which is occupied by a dual-band Atheros wireless card with Bluetooth functionality. The system can be configured on Logic Supply’s website with up to 16GB of RAM total and a Transcend or Samsung mSATA SSD with capacities ranging from 32GB to 512GB. Our sample is close to maxed out with the full 16GB of memory and a Transcend MSA370 256GB SSD, for a total of US$525.

The unit has four threaded VESA-mounting holes on the underside, but did not ship with a mount to allow their use.Given all previous LS units could be mounted on the back of a monitor, perhaps a suitable frame or adapter is soon to come.

TESTING

System Configuration:

  • Intel Celeron N3150 processor (embedded SoC) – 1.6~2.08 GHz, 14 nm, 6W, Intel HD Graphics
  • Transcend memory – 2x8GB, DDR3-1600 SODIMM @ 1333 MHz, CL11, 1.35V
  • Transcend MSA370
    solid state drive – mSATA, 6 Gbps, 256GB
  • EDACPOWER EA1024PR power adapter – 12V, 36W
  • Microsoft
    Windows 10 Home
    operating system, 64-bit


Test configuration device listing.

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Timed CPU Benchmark Test Details

  • Adobe Photoshop: Image manipulation using a variety of filters, a derivation
    of Driver Heaven’s Photoshop
    Benchmark V3
    (test image resized to 4500×3499).
  • Eset NOD32: In-depth virus scan of a folder containing 32 files of varying
    size with many RAR and ZIP archives.
  • WinRAR: RAR archive creation with a folder containing 68 files of varying
    size (less than 50MB).
  • iTunes: Conversion of an MP3 file to AAC.
  • TMPGEnc Xpress: Encoding a XVID AVI file with VC-1.
  • HandBrake: Encoding a XVID AVI file with H.264.

3D Performance Benchmarks

Testing Procedures

Our main test procedure involves and recording the various temperatures and fan speeds, power consumption, and noise level, with the system in various states as we deemed appropriate. This includes idle, H.264 and Flash playback, video encoding with TMPGEnc, and full CPU and GPU load using Prime95/CPUBurn and FurMark. This is followed by 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.

TEST RESULTS

CPU Performance

 

 

The Celeron N3150 is positioned as the Braswell-equivalent of the Bay Trail Celeron N2930 found in the ML100G-10 but it seems that the change in architecture is not noticeably beneficial. In our tests, the two chips ran pretty much neck and neck though the N2930 does have a slight edge in clock speed. It’s competitive with other entry-level embedded processors but even a basic Core i3 whips it in most situations. Interestingly, the i3-3217U actually defeats the N3150 soundly in video encoding, a multi-threaded task where one might expect that two additional physical cores would the Braswell chip enough of a boost to beat the Hyper-threaded, dual core Core i3.

The pairing of the N3150 with an SSD makes the system fairly responsive and it’s sufficient for most basic tasks, even for those used to powerhouse desktop systems, though any demanding jobs will take a whilee to complete.

To compare overall CPU performance, an equally-weighted score has been applied to each CPU benchmark, with a total of 100 points being assigned to the CL100 as a reference point.

In our test suite, the N3150 is actually slightly slower overall the N2930. It’s possible that the N3150 is actually a faster chip and that its benchmark times were skewed by the operating system. All our comparison data is from systems running Windows 7, while with the CL100, we were forced to use Windows 10 due to issues with the USB driver. It’s supposed to work with Windows 7 if the driver is integrated into the image but we were unable to get USB working once Windows had finished installing, which meant no keyboard or mouse support.

GPU Performance

The N3150 is actually equipped with a much more capable integrated graphics chip than most of the competition. The GPU is based on the same architecture as Broadwell (HD Graphics 5xxx) and sports 12 execution units (EUs) compared to just 4 EUs for the N2930. It scores twice as high as the older chip in our synthetic benchmarks, putting it a stone’s throw away from the Core i3-3217U which features 16 EUs on the older Ivy Bridge architecture. It’s still not a great choice for gaming but does much better in this regard than older Celerons.

SSD Performance

A quick test with CrystalDiskMark reveals that the 256GB Transcend MSA370 solid-state drive’s performance is significant improvement over the smaller 128GB model in sequential and random performance with large block sizes. This is great for copying files but the daily usage pattern of an OS drives involves small block read/writes, so they’re more indicative of real world performance. In this regard, the MSA370 just can’t keep up with popular consumer SSDs like the the Crucial MX100 and Samsung 850 Pro. The I/O is still very fast but the Samsung 850 Evo, offered as an option with the CL100, seems like a superior alternative.

Energy Efficiency Comparison

Energy efficiency is one area that Logic Supply’s PCs excel. The CL100 is quite thrifty with power, drawing just 7W at idle and 10~11W during 1080p video playback, slightly more than the ML100G-10. The N3150 has a slightly lower TDP but its second SODIMM may negate the difference.

The machine is advertised as suitable for 4K media playback but we didn’t find this to be the case, at least not downscaled on a 1080p display. Both 4K content on YouTube (Chrome) and widely available 4K H.264-encoded MKVs (MPC-HC and VLC Player) stuttered on the CL100, with framerate drops, brief pauses, and sync issues. 1440p videos played smoothly albeit with high CPU usage, but 2160p seemed too demanding on the hardware. It’s still possible that a better or more compatible set of CODECs could provide acceptable 4K video performance; we didn’t try them all.

On heavy load, the power consumption again is similar to that of the ML100G-10.

Thermal Performance

System Measurements (Extended Use):
Logic Supply ML100G-10 (N2930)
System State
Avg. Core Temp
SSD Temp
Ext. Temp*
System Power (AC)
MPC-HC H.264 Playback
30°C
50°C
32°C
9W
TMPGEnc Video Encoding
34°C
59°C
35°C
11W
Resident Evil 5 Benchmark
38°C
59°C
39°C
14W
Logic Supply CL100 (N3150)
MPC-HC H.264 Playback
47°C
44°C
34°C
10W
TMPGEnc Video Encoding
50°C
51°C
35°C
11W
Resident Evil 5 Benchmark
51°C
57°C
38°C
15W
*measured at the hottest point of the exterior
Ambient temperature: 20°C.

As the CL100 has similar power requirements as the ML100G-10, there is a thermal cost to the CL100’s lower profile design. Fortunately, it’s not a particularly high price. Through three different extended usage cases (video playback, video editing, gaming), the CL100 exhibited higher CPU core temperatures with a difference of between 13°C and 17°C. It’s a significant increase but the the temperature barely cracked 50°C so it’s not particularly alarming. Furthermore, the SSD actually ran cooler and a similar level of heat radiated from the case exterior.

Boot Performance

For boot performance we record the time required to reach the Windows loading screen (we stop here because this is the point where the speed of the drive becomes a factor). Prior to this test, the BIOS/UEFI is 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.

Like many SFF systems, the CL100 boots up quickly, hitting the Windows loading screen in under nine seconds. Depending on how quickly the display wakes up from sleep, the POST screen may not even be visible.

Wireless Performance

Our wireless performance test is a simple timed 700 MB file transfer both ways to a gigabit-connected desktop on our lab’s 802.11n network. There’s nothing special about our setup as it consists of basic consumer networking gear.

The CL100’s Atheros wireless adapter is somewhat slower than the ML100G-10’s Intel NIC but it’s does a solid enough job compared to previous WiFi enabled nettops and laptops. The average transfer speed was about 70 mbps up and downstream which puts the Brix Pro and ZBOX CI540 Nano to shame.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Though Logic Supply is still focusing on the industrial market, the CL100 represents an evolution in design that has more consumer appeal. Its smaller size and smoother contours is similar to other consumer-oriented NUCs. As such, it wouldn’t look out of place in someone’s house or at work, especially as it operates completely silently, and the aluminum housing is a step up from the plastic enclosures utilized by the competitions. This is a contrast to Logic Supply’s previous offerings which often looked obviously industrial.

The CL100’s energy efficiency is frugal, similar to the ML100G-10, drawing between 7W and 15W under real world conditions. Despite the smaller form factor compared to the older model, the machine doesn’t produce any more heat than the earlier model, though the CPU inside does get hotter. Switching from a Bay Trail to a Braswell Celeron is a lateral move in terms of CPU performance but the newer chip does offer a few tangible advantages. The Celeron N3150 chip has a better integrated GPU than the N2930, and more importantly, it’s capable of outputting 4K resolution.

The base model with 2GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD is priced at US$343, making the CL100 the most affordable system in Logic Supply’s current catalog. Though it does lack for horsepower under the hood, it’s possibly the best value you’ll currently find for a small, fanless, well-built NUC, equally suited to use at home, office, or a physically demanding environment. (Fanless does mean much better longevity in a dusty environment.)

Our thanks to Logic Supply
for the CL100 sample.


The Logic Supply CL100 is recommended by SPCR

* * *

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Zotac ZBOX CI321 Fanless Nano PC
Logic Supply ML210G-10 Fanless Bay Trail System
Zotac ZBOX CI540 Nano Fanless Barebones Mini-PC
Logic Supply ML400G-50 Fanless m-ITX PC
Gigabyte BRIX Pro SFF Powerhouse

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