Hands on Video with Giada’s $100 ARM PC, Nettops, and HTPC

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Giada is a small Chinese company with a presence in the US, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. Here at CES, they brought a bevy of exciting new desktops (no, seriously) to show off, including a surprise $100 PC running an AllWinner A10 ARM-based CPU.

We managed to get a little hands on time with the new Giada desktops, and walked away mildly impressed; considering the pricing involved, the PCs offered a solid build quality, as well as a reasonably robust featureset. The company’s i35g model can be compared to basically any Atom-powered desktop on the market, offering all the basics – dual-core CPU, RAM, hard drive, etc. It comes in at just $300 with Windows 8 pre-installed.

Giada PC Giada PC

Giada took the slim case of the i35g and ripped out the Atom CPU, putting Intel’s Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs in its place. Replete with the reasonably good Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics and an Ivy Bridge CPU, the Giada i53 is actually a full-blown desktop; it’s just packed into a nettop box. It’s perfect for users who need a fair amount of processing power, but just don’t have the space.  It could fit behind your monitor, in a desk drawer, etc. The i53 has a targeted retail price of around $500.

Sitting on a shelf below those two was a more powerful box. The Giada D2305 looks a lot like the now-discontinued Dell Studio Hybrid – a small, rounded desktop designed for media consumption. The D2305 is a lot more powerful, however, as it packs in a powerful quad-core Core i5 CPU, and NVIDIA’s GeForce GT640 graphics. Furthering its use as an HTPC, Giada also put in a slot-loading Blu-ray disc drive. The D2305 is expected to cost $750 when it goes on sale later this year.

Finally, the one PC that surprised us most isn’t running Windows at all – it’s running Android 4.1 Jelly bean.

Giada PC Giada PC

The Giada Q11 sits less than an inch thick; this slim metal box won’t have trouble fitting in pretty much anywhere. Inside, the Q11 is powered by an ARM A8-based AllWinner A10 CPU. This dual-core box has roughly the same power as the older Samsung Galaxy SII smartphone. Now, it’s true that compared to some of the other machines we’ve seen at CES, an older ARM chip doesn’t seem too capable. When you consider the pricing and intended usage, however, this dual-core machine doesn’t seem so bad. 

Giada intends to target the Q11 at enterprise and digital signage installations (though they’ll certainly sell them to consumers, too, if asked). In such a situation, space is often at a premium, and the Android OS gives the machine substantially greater versatility than many digital signage or video wall solutions. In one hilarious demo, the Giada staff started flipping the box over and over, showing off the built-in accelerometer – just like your smartphone, the Q11 will rotate the display to align with the orientation of the box. It seems pointless in a desktop PC, but for uses where a screen may be fixed vertically, the easy alignment change makes lives easier.

Giada expects the Q11 to retail for “around $100” when it goes on sale later this year.

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