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Product Review: Giada i53 Mini PC

The Giada i53 is a book sized mini PC that is full of power with a third generation Intel Core i5 processor and enough horsepower to watch Blu-ray movies as well as handle daily tasks easily.
Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features  4/5
How much I enjoy 5/5
Total:  5/5 Stars

Giada i53 Mini PC

The Giada i53 is a mini PC which simply means they tucked a full computer into a small box that includes an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor and 4 gigabytes of memory along with a good sized hard drive or solid state drive. You can purchase a variety of configurations but mainly your choice boils down to the processor, memory amount and the size of the hard drive or solid state drive.

The mini PC from Giada that I received has an Intel Core i5 1.7 GHz processor with integrated Intel GMA HD 4000 graphics, 4 gigabytes RAM and a 500 gigabyte 2.5 inch hard drive in a 6 by 7.5 by 1 inch case. Of course with that small a case the PC uses an external power adapter but comes with some accessories depending on the company you’re buying the Giada PC from.

You can get accessories with your Giada Mini PC like a Windows PC remote or a Vesa adapter to hang the PC off the back of your monitor but the PC should come with a power adapter, quick start guide, driver disc and a stand. The larger sides of the PC has cooling vents for the heat sink fan system so the PC is made to be stood up using the plastic stand and not lying flat on a surface.

Whats in the Box

My Giada i53 came with a windows PC remote that works using an infrared Led and a receiver that seems to be integrated into the power button so you easily know where to point the remote while watching movies or TV. The Giada i53 has both an HDMI and a VGA connection along with four USB 2.0 connections, a USB 3.0 connection, 3.5 mm combination audio connection, internet connection and a SD Card Reader slot.

The Giada i53 has a Kensington lock slot to allow you to lock the PC down with a cable for security but the good stuff is inside with a full Windows 7 Home Premium installed on the Mini PC. The i53 does not come stuffed full of free trials and software that you just wind up removing so the company does a great job of selling preinstalled systems but the Mini PC is not a gaming computer.

I ran some benchmark tests using Futuremark’s PCMark7 and 3DMark11 with overall scores of 2333 for PCMark7 and P511 for 3DMark11, for comparison my desktop PC has a PCMark7 score of 2324 and the 3DMark11 score was 2982. The biggest difference and major drawback to the Giada i53 is the low graphics score; the 3DMark11 benchmark test is a test for graphics capabilities that 3 dimensional video games use and the difference in scores between the two systems tells it all.

The Giada i53 has 64 megabytes of dedicated video memory while my desktop PC I am using for comparison has 1 gigabyte of video memory or 16 times the video memory for rendering video game graphics. This large difference means the Giada i53 is not a very good computer for 3D video games but there is plenty of CPU power to run Blu-ray video and streaming video as shown by the slightly higher score of the Giada i53 in the PCMark7 score.

Top and Rear Connections

The Intel Core i5 processor in some ways is a better processor than my AMD Athlon II X4 635 2.9 GHz processor and is a fantastic processor for the Giada Mini PC as it handles tasks like video rendering and everyday computer use well.  I tried playing Battlefield 3 on the Giada i53 but the game only has an average of 12 frames per second as compared with the very playable and enjoyable 42 frames per second on my gaming and work computer.

While first person shooters and other graphics intensive games would be unplayable or at the least not enjoyable casual games such as Angry Birds works just fine and plays quite well on the i53. The games that come with Windows 7 like solitaire and Mahjong also play just fine so the Mini PC does work for some games but not for the ones that would require a dedicated graphics card.

The small computer can handle tasks like image rendering for photo editing and Blu-ray play easily as I have found through my testing and would make an excellent computer for home use as either an entertainment computer. The i53 has the horsepower to handle any general task like email, surfing the internet or other productivity tasks and entertainment like movies but it does not come with a Blu-ray movie player.

Inside the Giada i53

I installed a Blu-ray player in an external enclosure connected to the USB connection and played several movies on the CyberLink PowerDVD player without any problems. The Giada i53 works well for entertainment purposes and does come preinstalled with Microsoft Media Center for most of your entertainment functions but for Blu-ray you will need a separate program as well as an external Blu-ray player.

Because the Giada i53 is a full version of Windows 7 you can use programs like Office 2010 and Photoshop to perform tasks like email and image editing without problems. The smaller size of the Giada i53 means the PC is great for dorms or small offices but you can also easily take the Giada Mini PC on the go without the hassles of a full sized case.

I have used the Giada i53 with an external laptop battery, a USB monitor and a projector so the Mini PC would work well for presentations or classroom work. The Giada i53 has the rear internet connection and built in wireless network so you can easily connect to a network without the hassles of the internet cable.

The i53 also has internal Bluetooth so you can connect wirelessly with a mouse and keyboard or speaker system for control and audio output of the Giada Mini PC but you can also use the HDMI, audio output and optical audio output connections to connect to speakers. The HDMI output connects to both a monitor or television screen and an audio system with the audio over HDMI but you can also output 5.1 or 7.1 optical audio on the combined 3.5 mm audio connection.

Side and Rear of Giada i53

The 3.5 mm audio connection can use the 3.5 mm audio for stereo connection and at the back of the connection is an optical output to connect a toslink optical connection for full surround sound audio. You will need a 3.5 mm adapter with an optical cable to use with the optical connection for connecting to current receivers and sound systems that include optical connections.

The Giada i53 uses some of the best computer features and packs it all into a book sized case that does not allow for upgrades but does make a compact and easily portable computer for office and entertainment purposes. The Giada i53 does make an excellent entertainment and home computer that is more than capable of productivity tasks like image editing and internet use as well as casual gaming.

I can easily recommend the Giada i53 as an excellent computer for entertainment, office work or a general home computer that packs all the features of a full Windows system into such a small package. The Giada i53 is available from a few online sites like E-ITX.com for about $575 in several different configurations and can also be found at the YT-Solutions EBay store.

Giada i53 Website

E-ITX Website

YT-Solutions EBay Store