Home > Hardware, Intel Atom, Testing, Video, Windows 8 > MeLE PCG03 Windows 8.1 Fanless mini PC Unboxing

MeLE PCG03 Windows 8.1 Fanless mini PC Unboxing

MeLE PCG03 was announced in October 2014 with an aggressive price tag of $49 for large orders for barebone systems, and was said to support Windows 8.1 or Android 4.4. MeLE is PCG03 now is now available with 2GB RAM, and 32GB eMMC, and with a properly licensed “Windows 8.1 with Bing NTE”, but no Android for $149 on Ebay, or Aliexpress, and it should eventually show up on MeLE Amazon store. The company sent me a sample for review, so I’ll start by listing the updated specifications, and taking pictures today, before running benchmarks, trying out Kodi, and trying Ubuntu in other posts.

MeLE PCG03 Specifications

The look of the device and available ports have slightly changed since the first prototype was revealed last year.

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz (Bust freq: 1.83 GHz) with Intel HD graphics
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC + SD card slot (up to 512 GB)
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4, and VGA
  • Audio I/F – HDMI, 3.5mm earphone jack
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host
  • Misc – Power Button, power LED, Kensington security lock, small battery (for RTC?)
  • Power Supply – 12V/1A (12W max)
  • Dimensions – 150 x 120 x 40 mm
  • Weight – 360 grams

The system runs “Windows 8.1 with Bing NTE”, the official Microsoft operating system for mini PCs according to MeLE.

MeLE PCG03 Unboxing Pictures

I’ve received the device by Fedex in the following package.
Mele_PCG03_Package
The number of accessories is quite minimal compared to ARM based Android mini PCs with just a 12V/1A power adapter, and a Quick Start Guide.

Mini PC, Power Supply, and Quick Start Guide (Click to Enlarge)

Mini PC, Power Supply, and Quick Start Guide (Click to Enlarge)

The device’s enclosure is made of two parts with the top made of plastic, and the bottom and rear panel made of metal.

MeLE PCG03 (Click to Enlarge)

MeLE PCG03 (Click to Enlarge)

The front panel has an LED, abnd button (with no purpose), one side comes with a USB 2.0 host port, an SD card slot, and the power button, and the reat panel features most of the ports: kensington slot, power jack, VGA output, HDMI output, Ethernet port, two more USB 2.0 host port, the Wi-Fi antenna, and the earphone jack.
You can check out the unboxing video if you prefer.

MeLE PCG03 Tear-down

My favorite part of the unboxing post is to open the box to see what’s inside, and MeLE PCG03 is made to be opened so everything is pretty straightforward and comes out easily. First remove four screws on the bottom of the enclosure, and two screws on the rear panel to lift up the plastic top.

Top of Board (Click to Enlarge)

Top of Board (Click to Enlarge)

The solution is comprised of a baseboard and a system-on-module. The Wi-Fi module is based on Realtek RTL8723BS. Other chips on the baseboard include ASIX AX88772CLF USB 2.0 to Fast Ethernet controller, Realtek ALC5640 multi-channel audio hub, and Analogix ANX9833 DisplayPort to VGA adapter. Intel Atom Z3735F being mostly a tablet SoC, they had to use a few extra chips to add missing features like Ethernet and VGA output, btu I guess it’s a bit still cheaper than using more powerful Bay Trail-D processor like Celeron J1800. Three headers are unpopulated on the right of the board, but I’m not sure what they are for.

Bottom and Board and "Heatsink" (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom and Board and “Heatsink” (Click to Enlarge)

I’ve removed four more screws to completely take out the board.  There’s an opening on the baseboard to let the Intel processor touch the thermal pad placed on top of the metallic case.

Bay Trail CPU Module (Click to Enlarge)

Bay Trail CPU Module (Click to Enlarge)

Finally, I’ve taken out the CPU module by removing two tiny screws, and pushing on the metallic bits on the side of the connector. I assume this is a proprietary solution so if somehow you could upgrade the module it would have to be purchased from MeLE, but with USB 2.0 and Fast Ethernet, I’m not sure an upgrade would be that interesting any way. Intel Atom Z3735F is the shiny chip in the center of the board, and is coupled with four Samsung K4B4G1646q-HYKO DDR3L chips, and a Samsung KLMBG4GEAC-B031, a Class 2000 eMMC 5.0 flash with 32GB capacity and read and write speed rated respectively at 240 and 60 MB/s. X-Powers AXP288 is the power management IC.

 

  1. The Cageybee
    January 26th, 2015 at 18:39 | #1

    Hmm….confused!!
    So does the module plug into the bottom? If so, what’s the big socket on the top that looks like an SO-DIMM slot for?

  2. January 26th, 2015 at 18:42 | #2

    @The Cageybee
    Ah OK. The pictures may not make it clear. The big socket is for the module which looks all green without component on the top picture, and the CPU module is connected at the top. On the bottom picture there’s a hole in the main board which give access to the other side of the module, so that the extruded part of the casing can touch the module via the pink thermal pad.

  3. The Cageybee
    January 26th, 2015 at 19:04 | #3

    @cnxsoft
    Ahhh. Got you. I thought the top picture showed the connector unpopulated. Looking at it more closely now I can see what’s going on. Time for new glasses maybe? 🙂

  4. onebir
    January 26th, 2015 at 19:12 | #4

    “Intel Atom Z3735F being mostly a tablet SoC, they had to use a few extra SoC to add missing features like Ethernet and VGA output”

    But not SATA :s

  5. January 26th, 2015 at 19:17 | #5

    so no SATA and Ethernet only via USB?

    doesn’t sound too promissing

  6. January 26th, 2015 at 20:17 | #6

    @onebir
    I’d like to see some Celeron N2830 or J1800/J1900 mini PCs made by Chinese. They would have Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and SATA that people ask, and probably still below $200 (without Windows license).

  7. January 26th, 2015 at 20:19 | #7

    @cnxsoft
    Oh… I’ve just seen they have some…

  8. Ciro
    January 27th, 2015 at 16:10 | #8

    @cnxsoft Some link please?

  9. Galll0s
    January 27th, 2015 at 19:59 | #9

    What is Windows 8.1 with Bine NTE?

    Windows 8.1 Bing..?

  10. January 27th, 2015 at 20:02 | #10

    @Galll0s
    Sorry, yet another typo.

  11. January 27th, 2015 at 22:20 | #11

    @Ciro
    Yes. I wrote about some yesterday: http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/01/26/x29-intel-celeron-j1800-j1900-mini-pc-sells-for-125-and-up/

    Also read comments there, as people added more.

  1. January 26th, 2015 at 21:10 | #1
  2. January 27th, 2015 at 17:12 | #2
  3. January 29th, 2015 at 20:30 | #3
  4. February 4th, 2015 at 16:45 | #4
  5. April 30th, 2015 at 11:55 | #5