Voyo V3 Intel Atom x7-Z8700 mini PC Review with Windows 10

Voyo V3 is one of the first Cherry Trail mini PCs based on Intel Atom x7-Z8700 quad processor that promises both higher CPU and GPU performance, and more I/O connectivity compared to Intel Atom x5 platforms.  I’ve already posted pictures of the device and its guts in the first part of the review,  so today in part 2 of the review, I’ll focus on testing how the device perform with its pre-installed operating system: Windows 10 Home.

Setup and System Information

There’s no much to say about setup for this device, since all you have to do is to connect the cable, and press the button to access Windows 10 desktop.

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There are however two interesting aspect of the boot process:

  1. As you connect the power supply, you’ll see the power button blue LED lit, but it does not mean it has started. I could see the power consumption was 3.4 watts, and as I waited a few seconds, nothing happened, so I pressed the power button again for one or two seconds, power consumption jumped to 8, and then up 15 watts as the system booted. However, when you power off from WIndows, the power LED is turn off, and power consumption will then be around 1 watt.
  2. You won’t go through Windows 10 setup during the first boot, and instead Voyo user will automatically be logged in with direct access to the desktop. I’ve also noticed Windows would never pop-up a window asking me if I wanted to run an application, it would just run it, so there may be some security concerns with the way Windows 10 has been setup.

If you look closely as the picture the glass cover which lifted yesterday, is even lifting even more with the heat. Super glue will soon come to the rescue, hopefully it won’t get too hot.

The system supports 1080p resolution up to 60Hz, and 3840×2160 up to 30Hz. Some people believed HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60Hz) due to some incorrect specs, or some would call it deceptive advertisement on some e-retailer websites, but that’s definitely not supported, and video output is limited to HDMI 1.4. As a side note, it’s possible to have HDMI 2.0 with Intel Atom x7 processors, but the hardware would require an extra DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 bridge.

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Windows 10 Home 64-bit appears to be legit as Control Panel->System reveals Windows is activated, and indeed runs on an Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor @ 1.6 GHz with 4GB RAM.

Voyo_V3_StorageThe system has 118 GB storage which makes it more much usable as a desktop platform than most mini PCs with 32GB storage. Please note that I took the screenshot after downloading and installing benchmarks and other programs, so the initial free storage should be closer to 100 GB. Windows 10 also mounted both NTFS and exFAT partitions on my USB 3.0 hard drive connected to one of the USB 3.0 ports.

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I’ve also included some information from the Device Manger for details, and HWiNFO64 system summary.

Voyo_V3_HWiNFO64
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Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor supports the same features as Atom x5-Z8x00 and Intel Celeron N3150 processors which I tested with respectively Tronsmart Ara X5 and MINIX NGC-1 mini PCs. One advantage of Voyo V3 however is that it’s using dual channel memory, whereas they other two products are sold in single-channel configuration.

Voyo V3 Benchmarks

I’ve started by running PCMARK 8 HOME accelerated and conventional benchmarks.

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There’s been one issue occurring while run the Conventional benchmark, the graphics driver would crash randomly. Out of my three tries, two completely failed to get a score, and the other failed after one or two passes, which explains why I got 1,066 points, but it might not be relevant.

Voyo_V3_Graphics_Driver_Crash
This crash happened a dozen times during the review.

So it’s better to only focus on the Accelerated score. 1,428 points compares favorably to the 1,492 points achieved with the more expensive MINIX NGC-1, but is very close to Tronsmart Ara X5 (1,354) and Kangaroo Mobile Desktop (1,597) scores.

If you want to dig into the details, here are the full results for PCMARK 8 Conventional (after crash), and PCMARK 8 Accelerated for Voyo V3.

Next up is 3DMark, and as you can see from Skydiver score (0), the Intel HD graphics driver also crashed, but not after successfully completing Ice Storm 1.2 (20.853 points), and Cloud Gate 1.1 (2,065 points). Check out this link for details about the score.

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PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0 was the latest system benchmark I ran. Click on Voyo V3 Passmark 8 results for details.

Voyo_V3_passmark8
When some companies decided to include an SSD into low cost computer, you never know what kind of interface they’ll use, and often they have no other choice but to use a USB 2.0 to SATA bridge seriously limiting the performance to around 30 MB/s. Voyo has made things right with V3 mini PC as the FORESEE 128 SSD manages 400MB/s sequential read speed, and over 200MB/s sequential write speed reported by CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2, and even outperforming the Toshiba SSD found in MINIX NGC-1 for most results, both in sequential and random tests.Voyo_V3_CrystalDiskMark_SSD

I ran the benchmark on the NTFS partition of my drive as well, and results are satisfactory, although for some reasons, write sequential and random write speeds are slower by around 20MB/s compared to the results I got on NGC-1 with the same same drive.
Voyo_V3_CrystalDiskMark_USB_NTFS
One of the weakness of Voyo V3 is however networking. They did not include an Ethernet port to keep the device extra thin, and the price low, and WiFi is limited to 802.11n @ 2.4 GHz, no 802.11ac, and no dual band support. But at least the connection was stable enough to be usable.

The first test runs a full duplex transfer for 60 seconds.


I repeated the test a few times, and it was always in the same ball park: ~20 Mbps and 10 Mbps in either direction.

Voyo_V3_WiFi_Performance
Throughput in Mbps

If I can compare the results with some  other Intel Windows 10 and ARM Android platforms, the results are not very flattering.

I’ve re-run iperf by this time only downloading data in one direction, and throughput went up to 36.7 Mbps.


If you are not satisfied with the network performance, you may have to purchase a USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet or 802.11ac WiFi dongle which should respectively add around $10 and $20 to the cost of the device, beside making it a little less portable.

To have a better overview of the performance, I’ll updated the benchmark chart comparing MINIX NGC-1 (Intel Celeron N3150), an Intel NUC based on Intel Celeron N3050 dual core processor, Kangaroo Mobile Desktop (Atom x5-Z8500), and Tronsmart Ara X5 (Atom x5-Z8300) to Voyo V3. Ice Storm 1.2 results are divided by 10 for better readability.

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The results are all fairly close, except for storage, so you’d have to wonder why Intel makes so many version of their processors with only minor differences in performance…  To be fair, Intel Celeron N3x50 and Atom x7 processor do have more ports and features than their Atom x5 counterparts.

The data comes from this review, MINIX NGC-1 review, and for the other three platforms from a table released by Linuxium.

Voyo V3 User Experience and Usability Testing

Benchmark results so far are very satisfactory, with the exception of networking, but there are workaround, and stability concerns with regards to graphics driver which tend to crash from time to time. But let’s see how well the device responds to my usual set of user’s tests all done using 1080p60 resolution except Kodi.

  • Multi-tasking – Using Microsoft Edge, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, and Gimp at the same time
  • Web Browsing with Microsoft Edge
    • Loading multiple tab with CNX Software
    • Playing 1080p YouTube Videos
    • Playing a flash game  (Candy Crush Saga)
  • Gaming with Asphalt 8
  • Kodi 16.0 RC3 @ 4K resolution with 1080p & 4K videos using H.265 or H.264 codecs.

So overall I’m pretty happy with Voyo V3, as thanks to its 4GB RAM and fast SSD, it’s perfectly usable as a desktop computer, and multi-tasking is working well most of the time. It’s even better than Intel Celeron N3150 platform such as MINIX NGC-1 since Kodi 16-RC3 seems to properly support H.265 video at 1080p and 4K resolutions with hardware decoding (XVDA2), while I only had a green screen on the Celeron mini PC. There are some limitations however as both 10-bit H.265 and H.264 are only handled in software and the processor is not fast enough for 4K decoding.

Not everything is perfect though due to the graphics driver crashing, and some occasional slowdowns leading to Windows not responding likely due to overheating as shown in HWiNFO64 Sensor Status window.

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I took the screenshot above after downloading, and installing the programs required for the review, and running PCMark 8 Accelerated benchmark. We can see that the processor does get hot at times with in that use case at least two cores throttling on average. Most of the time that’s barely noticeable, but you may have to let things cool down sometimes. I did test 1080p YouTube videos in Microsoft Edge (MP4 codec) for several hours, and there was no noticeable slowdown. However, switching to Chrome (VP9 codec) quickly raised the CPU cores temperatures, throttling kicked in, and after a few minutes video started to not be quite as smooth with more frames dropped and potentially some short audio cuts, just like what happened in Tronsmart Ara X5 review. That means that if you don’t push the computer too hard it will do its job,which should be the case for most people, but expect CPU throttling if you run demanding tasks over a long period of time, and it’s most probably not a good idea to use Voyo V3 as a 4K desktop computer. That’s one other point where Voyo V3 is clearly inferior to better designed devices like MINIX NGC-1.

Finally, if you’ve watched the video review, you must have see the system hung once in Kodi, and the reboot after changing resolution from 1920×1080 @ 60Hz to 3840×2160 @ 30Hz, lasted 30 minutes because Windows 10 decided it was a good time for an update… But I think the latter happened on all Windows mini PC I tested so far, so it’s not specific to Voyo V3.

Conclusion

I’m pretty satisfied with Voyo V3, after being positively surprised by a proper connection of the SSD yielding 400MB/s read speeds, and decent multi-tasking performance. Kodi 16 (RC3) even worked better than in MINIX NGC-1 since H.265 actually worked fine. However building quality could be a little better (top glass cover lifting up, power button on even in off state..), graphics driver may be unstable, networking is limited to 802.11n @ 2.4GHz (single bad), and thermal design is not quite perfect so performance will suffer for demanding tasks. However considering the price, it’s probably not that bad a device. If I have not tried Ubuntu on the device, but unless some work has been done to fix HDMI audio, and other drivers, I’d expect similar results as Ubuntu on Tronsmart Ara X5.

I’d like to thank GearBest again for providing the sample for review, and if you are interested you could purchase Voyo V3 from their website for $209.99 including shipping with coupon GBV3. You could also purchase the mini PC on GeekBuying ($214.99), DealsMachine ($205.99 + shipping), Amazon US or Banggood, but currently the price on the last two shops is much higher.

[Update with useful links:

  1. Complete Windows 10 firmware on Yunpan or Mega (5.5 GB)
  2. Voyo V3 Windows 10 drivers only on Mega (104 MB)

]

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Ron
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Ron

Are slim devices like Voyo / Vensmile / Ainol / Meegopad inferior than thicker devices that has air vents, like Mele / Minix / Pipo / Tronsmart / Beelink / Rikomagic / Wintel? Especially concerning heat problems and their implications?

What are the compromises when using a slim device? (except for what is known from the specifications – like less ports)

Is it preferable to choose a thicker device which its chips are not packed so tightly inside the device, without any gaps and airflow?

Rick
Guest
Rick

Great article !!!!

How does it compare to the V2? Bought one a couple months ago to use it as a retro gaming device so im very interested if it worth to buy this on.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Thanks cnxsoft.
I generally would still have a prejudice against slim mini-PCs, as long as I won’t have better information regarding them – until someone would thoroughly test each of them.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Did someone try Wintel Pro W8 PRO?
It’s the cheapest z8300 mini PC that I have stumbled upon – 90$:
http://www.geekbuying.com/item/Wintel-W8-PRO-Z8300-Windows-10-4K-MINI-PC-2G-32G-802-11b-g-n-LAN-Bluetooth4-0-HDMI-H-265-363000.html

Pity it doesn’t have AC WiFi and an external antenna.

I wonder whether it suffers from the same issues that the original Tronsmart “Ara x5” had, which got solved when the model was replaced by the “Ara x5 Plus” version.
But the x5 Plus cost 55% more than the W8 Pro – it seems that Tronsmart takes a higher profit margin.

Netstrike
Guest
Netstrike

Don’t buy this item at Geekbuying, don’t have this item in stock!
I must use Paypal dispute for have back my money… ( … ordered ad 17/01/2016 … )

jim st
Guest
jim st

My Voyo V2 side has lifted and is happily running with about 1/4 to 3/8″ gap. I’ve not taken it out to look at it. I’m leaving it running that way.

It is always pretty warm.

This is the lower power battery, 5ah, not the 8ah version with the expansion.

It runs well, but frequently hangs during the reboots for windows upgrades.

As to the asking to run, I get that with my V2 windows 10 so far. Seems to be running well.

jim st
Guest
jim st

How can you install Ubuntu, but preserve the Windows 10 for re-installation. I’m not interested in a unit which is converted permanently to Ubuntu, and would probably even prefer a partition.

Sunny
Guest

@Netstrike

The first batch had strict quality inspection, found that part of the machine appearance defects, so we have had to return the box to manufacturer .For the benefit of the customers, we have to delay the delivery

Rick
Guest
Rick

@cnxsoft
Thnx i have the V2 and no problems at all with it but like always, more more more 😉

John
Guest

I haven’t seen any reviews of how fast C port is 3.1 speed? I thought you could hook up a lan to this with a special adapter. So it would provide power and data.

Ganesh @ AnandTech
Guest

Are the drivers for this PC available for download anywhere?

I am too paranoid to trust their Windows installation, and decided to overwrite the SSD completely with an install from a Windows installation disk prepared by myself. Now, I have lost the drivers that came along with the system.

Particularly looking for the audio drivers, though it looks like I need a bunch of other things too (from the device manager):

http://i.imgur.com/l5HWNzT.png

Ganesh @ AnandTech
Guest

Ref. the driver crashes – I think Voyo is still pretty new to the PC space – I actually looked at the BIOS configuration, and the default settings that they have might not be good – for example, they have disabled the DTS – so no throttling at all when it reaches unsafe temperatures. Also, the BIOS for the x7 unit has a lot of options (mainly targeting tablet / 2-in-1 use-cases), and there is a possibility that a few of them might not have been set properly for usage in a mini-PC.

jim st
Guest
jim st

@cnxsoft
Hi,
I couldn’t get the link to download. something about it being > 1gb, which is possible. Any way for someone to host it over on say google drive, where it could be downloaded?

The alternative wanted me to download and install some exe file from the cloudshare site, which isn’t going to happen on anything I have (or at least Chrome’s translation said that was what it was).

Also would you maybe be able to supply the same for the V2? I’ve got two and I’d love a restore path if they get corrupted.

Ganesh @ AnandTech
Guest

@cnxsoft
Thanks! I am looking for audio via HDMI. It looks like the default Windows 10 drivers enable only the Intel GPU video features (I do get the Intel Control Panel), but there are no audio options.

In the default installation – i.e, out of the box – I did get audio through the HDMI port.

I am going to download the OS hosted on yunpan.cn into a USB stick and try to get the drivers by asking Windows to look into that folder. Thanks again for bringing that link to my notice.

Donny
Guest
Donny

Can it handle MPC-HC with bitstream TRUE-HD and DTS-Mst , or is there any workaround so it will be activated ?
Best reg/ D

Netstrike
Guest
Netstrike

@Sunny
Sunny … i have lots of mail with the Geekbuying support …
If an item isn’t in stock (at 17/01/2016) i’m expect to read this information in the description otherwise a seller can’t make on sale an item!
If the support say me that the item surely arrive at the end of January the item must arrive at the end of January!
One month later my order the support can’t say me that i expect others 15day’s (end of february) for the next batch!!!
( And if the next batch can’t pass test? I must expect others months??? )
If a seller want a pre-order is ok but must write in the description that is a pre-order!!!

Ganesh @ AnandTech
Guest
Ganesh @ AnandTech

@cnxsoft
The Windows it shipped with wouldn’t even activate for me. I don’t want to put full blame on Voyo for this (since my Intel Compute Stick also had the same issue), but the way it comes with all security features disabled and username already set doesn’t look too nice for a ‘legal version’ of Windows 10.

Anyways, I re-installed Windows 10 from scratch after wiping the M.2 SSD. Professional wouldn’t install, only Home. I used my own key. Now, I am missing a bunch of drivers and have put the review on hold. Have asked GearBest (they provided the review sample), but they are strangely silent.

Jon
Guest
Jon

I have a question, the RTC battery works as the Voyo & Voyo v2? If you disconect the usb-c supply it tuns off? I am thinking to change it with a bigger battery.

Thank you and sorry about my bad english.

Jon
Guest
Jon

@cnxsoft
Yes, that is my question, in v3 there is any main battery? or the voyo turns off without the usb? I have a battery of 5000mah and i want to put it on voyo v3 like main battery.

Thanks!

Jon
Guest
Jon

@cnxsoft

what a pity! I guess the crt only feeds the cmos and not the motherboard. Arrrgg!!! is the worst point of voyo v3 for me.

Jon
Guest
Jon

@cnxsoft
Ok, perfect!! Thank you so much about the support!

Itay
Guest
Itay

Hi
Is someone can upload a link to drivers directory c:\drivers from the voyo v3?
I’ve just formatted and reinstall win 10
And noticed that the audio and BT drivers are missing.(there are more drivers that missing).
Thanks

Jon
Guest
Jon

@Itay
Download Intel drivers utilities, it will download all the drivers you need.

Itay
Guest
Itay

Thanks ?

Burs
Guest
Burs

@cnxsoft

I managed to download all the files (.wim’s and others), individually.
Download speed was around 0.5-1Mbit for me, but JDownloader does wonders when downloading multi-threaded 🙂
Now the question is, should all the files be in an ISO file or what?
I’m not interested in drivers only, but I want to have a bootable copy if something goes wrong.
Can these files be packed into some bootable file format , so I can burn it to a ‘stick’, and later install it when I need it?
Thanks.

sa_cooke
Guest
sa_cooke

Hi, Has anyone tried loading Windows 7 onto a Voyo V3 please?

shomizu9
Guest
shomizu9

Cnxsoft, what kind of display did you use during your testing? I finally got mine after 3 weeks of waiting and when it is connected to my 42 inch 1080p TV via HDMI there is a black border around the edges.

The resolution itself is set to 1920 x 1080, but this border cuts off the image by about 1cm all the way around. I’ve looked at the Intel scaling and underscan options, as well as running an auto-adjust feature on my tv but nothing seems to get rid of the border

Did you run into anything like this?

Burs
Guest
Burs

@shomizu9

If your TV supports overscan, try with that.
It helped me on my Beelink P1 I’m currently using now.

shomizu9
Guest
shomizu9

I am also going to try Ubuntu and Windows 7 and will report back*

shomizu9
Guest
shomizu9

@Burs thank you Burs, I will check

shomizu9
Guest
shomizu9

@Burs

Found it! A feature called “Cropping” on this tv, an ancient Olevia. Turned it off and the border is gone

Thanks again

sa_cooke
Guest
sa_cooke

@cnxsoft
Ok! thank you for the helpful reply. Windows 10 it is then.

Gabriel
Guest
Gabriel

Hi, why cant i run windows 7 on the voyo v3?

Paul Pleming
Guest
Paul Pleming

Hey guys- hope i am not hijacking your post- looking for direction/assistance. What would be the best mini PC with the onboard battery pack? Are these any good- can they just switch to battery in the case of a power outage without having to manually activate (like a mini UPS)?

jim stephens
Guest
jim stephens

Paul,
The V2 has severe battery problems and my Volo V2 is growing out of its container. It also runs pretty hot.

When it is running it is amazing, but I am convinced that it, and a pad I have with the same processor both throttle because they are unexplainably slow from time to time, and I’m suspicious that they throttle when there are the right conditions.

I hope the products pick up in quality, though the price right now is sensational for an activated Windows 10. I also hope they are all legally activated. I’ve done nothing to verify the activation status of mine, but did run Belarc to log the licensing in case Microsoft bricks illegally activated devices in the future.