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Posts Tagged ‘cherry trail’

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro Windows 10 Pro mini PC Review – Part 1: Specs, Unboxing & Teardown

August 11th, 2017 6 comments

While I reviewed MINIX NEO Z83-4 mini PC last year, I found out the fanless mini PC based on Intel Atom X5-Z8300 processor performed well, even matching some Atom X7-Z8700 and Braswell systems in some cases, and offered some BIOS features not always found in competitor models, with the only real downside being the 32GB eMMC flash with average performance. Since then, it’s become quite popular becoming the best seller on Amazon US in the mini PC category, outselling devices like ASUS Chromebox and Apple Mac Mini, and the company has now launched a new variant called MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro with Windows 10 Pro, an upgraded Intel Atom X5-Z8350 processor, and an included VESA mount making it more suitable for enterprise applications such as digital signage, point-of-sales, and thin client.

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro Specifications

Highlights show differences against Z83-4 model:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz (Turbo) with 12 EU Intel Graphics HD graphics 400 @ 200 / 500 MHz (2W SDP)
  • System Memory –  4GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC 5.0 flash + micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K @ 30 Hz, and mini DisplayPort (only support mini DP to D-sub conversion or direct Mini DP to MiniDP/DP connection, bot mini DP to HDMI or DVI)
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port supporting phone charging while the PC is turned off
  • Misc – Power button and LED, RTC battery, Kensington lock ready
  • Power Supply – 12V/3A
  • Dimensions – 12.8 x 12.8 x 2.75 cm
  • Weight – ~350 grams

So from the mini PC point of view on the processor has changed, but it comes with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit instead of Windows 10 Home 64-bit, and as we’ll see below supports VESA mount.

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro Unboxing

I’ve just received an unexpected review sample this morning, so I’ll start by doing an unboxing and teardown post, before completing the review with Windows 10 Pro in a few weeks.

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The package lists the main selling points of NEO Z83-4 Pro fanless mini PCs with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, VESA mount, and the main target: industrial and commercial applications.

The other side of the package lists the specifications mentioned above.

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When you first open the package, and take out the mini PC, you’ll find out it’s already clipped to the VESA mount, but it’s very easy remove it by pushing the top of the clips.

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The mini PC also ships with an external WiFi antenna, a HDMI cable, 6 screws for the VESA mount (only four are normally needed), a 12V/3A power supply and power cord, MINIX product brochure, and MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro setup guide.

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The ports are exactly the same as in MINIX NEO Z83-4 unboxing post, but last time I forgot to mention the pinhole close to the WiFi antenna connector is used to reset the CMOS memory in case of issues.

 

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro VESA Mount Installation

If you want to leverage the VESA mount, you’ll need to find a compatible TV or monitor, and tighten the mount to the back of the display with four screws.

Then it’s easy just clip the mini PC to the back. No tools required for that last step.

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro Teardown

In order to open the case, we need to take out the rubber pads, and remove the four screws underneath.

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The bottom cover should then come off fairly easily, and the board and thermal design appear to be identical to the ones used in MINIX NEO Z83-4 with a large heatsink covering the processor, storage, memory, and (Realtek) Gigabit transceiver, that makes contact with a thermal pad glued to the bottom of the case.

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I’ve not removed the heatsink since this time, but since the company still uses an eMMC 5.0 flash, they certainly went with the same Samsung KLMBG4GEND-B031 flash since it’s the fastest 32GB eMMC 5.0 flash from Samsung, and SKHynix SDRAM chips.

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The bottom of the board comes with the same Realtek ALC5645 audio codec, and Winbond 25Q64FWSIG 64Mbit SPI flash.

The original MINIX NEO Z83-4 mini PC sells for $179.99, so what can we expect for the Pro version with the VESA mount, a faster processor, and a Windows 10 Pro license? It’s actually not that higher, as MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro sells for US$199.99 including shipping on sites like GeekBuying. If you already own MINIX NEO Z83-4, and are just interested in the VESA mount, it’s called MINIX M-83, and sold for $14.90 on Amazon.

Intel Mini PCs Sold with Ubuntu on Aliexpress

August 4th, 2017 7 comments

Many low power mini PCs equipped with Intel Bay Trail, Cherry Trail, Braswell, or Apollo Lake processors have been launched over the years, but most of those come pre-loaded with Windows 10, and many readers of this blog prefer to run a Linux distribution. It’s usually possible to install Ubuntu by yourself, but not always, and when you buy a Windows 10, this increases the price by several dollars (around $20). The ideal case would be to get such low power, low cost mini PCs pre-installed with a recent version of Ubuntu, without having to worry (too much) about hardware support, nor having to pay the “Windows tax”. MeLE used to sell Ubuntu mini PCs on Aliexpress, but sadly not anymore, so I went to Aliexpress to look for those Ubuntu mini PCs, and BBen offers three operating systems options for some of their systems with “Windows 10 Activated”, “Windows 10 pre-loaded” and “Ubuntu”.

The last two options have the same price, and the “Windows 10 Activated” adds $17 for the discounted Windows 10 license. I found two such models with an Ubuntu option: MN-C200 mini PC (left) and MN9 TV stick (right) powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail processor starting respectively at $148.99 and $97.99 including shipping with 2GB RAM and Ubuntu, but you can also select 4GB RAM model. I could not find any more recent Apollo Lake models sold with Ubuntu pre-installed on any Aliexpress sellers. BBen does not specify the Ubuntu version used, so I asked for that information for the MN-C200 model, and the answer is somewhat perplexing at first:

It is 16.04 Ubuntu version.
But we don’t suggest the Ubuntu system. because you couldn’t adjust the time after we have set it well for you. Please know that.
We also have another mini pc that supports Ubuntu. You could have a look.
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Newest-BBen-Mini-PC-Stick-Windows-10-Ubuntu-Intel-Z8300-Quad-Core-2GB-32GB-4GB-64GB/2659132_32757157813.html
Thanks for your work and understanding. Any other question or anything I could do for you, just contact me freely. I will do my best to assist you.

The good news is that Ubuntu 16.04 is installed, but somehow it’s not possible to adjust the time in MN-C200, while it’s no problem with MN9 TV stick? I guess they mean the front panel clock display shown in the top photo does not work in Ubuntu, which may not be a big issue.

I continued searching for other Ubuntu computers up to $150, and many sellers are using “Ubuntu” are a SEO word, just to indicate that you could install it yourself, and/or get more traffic to their page. The only other alternative I found was MeegoPad T02, but it comes with an unsupported Ubuntu 14.10 version. The only advantage is that it’s quite cheaper than BBen MN9 at $80.84 shipped. So overall the choices are extremely limited, if you want a computer pre-installed with Ubuntu.

UP Core Intel Board Has Launched for 69 Euros and Up on Kickstarter

June 1st, 2017 2 comments

During spring, we discovered UP Core, a tiny board powered by Intel x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail processor  that promised to sell for as low as 69 Euros. But at the time, it was not available yet for purchase, and the good news is that UP has just launched a one month crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds for mass production, and promote the board.

UP Core specifications have not changed since the first announcement:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz (Burst frequency) with Intel HD 400 graphics @ 200 / 500 MHz
  • System Memory –  1, 2 or 4 GB DDR3L-1600
  • Storage – 16, 32, or 64 GB eMMC flash, SPI flash ROM
  • Video Output / Display – HDMI 1.4 port, full eDP (embedded DisplayPort) connector
  • Audio I/O – Via HDMI, and I2S
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi  @ 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP614A)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host port, 2x USB 2.0 via header
  • Camera I/F – 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI
  • Expansion
    • 100-pin docking connector with power signals, GPIOs, UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, SDIO, I2S, HDMI SMBUS, PMC signals, 2x USB HSIC, CSI, and PCIe Gen 2
    • 10-pin connector with 2x USB 2.0, 1x UART
  • Misc – Power & reset buttons, RTC battery header, fan connector, BIOS reflash connector
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A via 5.5/2.1mm power barrel
  • Dimensions – 66 x 56.50 mm
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 60 °C
  • Certifications – CE/FCC Class A, RoHS compliant, REACH

Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board supports Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 10 IoT Core, Linux via Ubilinux, Ubuntu, and the Yocto Project, as well as Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The block diagram shown in March also included an extension HAT connected to the 100-pin docking port, but we did not have many details. With the launch on Kickstarter two stackable expansion boards are available:

  • Expansion board A [BRKH01] carrying high-speed signals: 1c2 channel PCI Express switch, Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8111G-CG / RJ45), HSIC/USB ports, uSIM card reader, SD card, etc…
  • Expansion board B [BRKL01] based on MAX10 CPLD exposing low-speed signals such as RS-232/422/484, I2C, I2S, and GPIOs, as well as 12 to 24V power input

The documentation to make your own UP Core expansion board will be made available, so more are likely coming, and up to three expansion boards can be stacked under UP Core board. The company will also pay royalties to makers of expansion boards that are selected (by UP community) to be sold on their store.

A chassis for UP Core and its carrier boards is also available in your prefer to keep the boards in an enclosure.

The company goal is to raise at least 10,000 Euros, but they should reach a much higher level once the campaign is completed. Some of the most interesting rewards are:

  • 69 Euros (early bird) then 75 Euros for UP Core with 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC
  • 85 Euros (early bird) then 95 Euros for UP Core with 2GB RAM, 32GB eMMC
  • 119 Euros (early bird) then 129 Euros for UP core with 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC
  • 125 Euros starter pack with UP Core with 2GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC, aluminum chassis, AC adapter, and WiFi+Bt antenna
  • 189 Euros dev.pack with UP Core with 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, A & B expansion boards, AC adapter, and WiFi+Bt antenna

They also have variations up to the 225 Euros super pack with comes with the 4GB/64GB board, the two expansion boards, three aluminum chassis, and accessories. Shipping adds 16 to 27 Euros depending on the destination country, and delivery is scheduled for August to October 2017 depending on the selected reward.

Thanks to Harley for the tip.

$399 Intel Euclid Robotics Devkit Runs Ubuntu & ROS on Intel Atom x7-Z8700 Processor

May 22nd, 2017 No comments

We’ve seen many mini PC based on Intel Atom x5/x7 “Cherry Trail” processor in the last year, but Intel has also integrated their low power processor into hardware aimed at robotics, such as Intel RealSense development kit based on Atom x5 UP Board and RealSense R200 depth camera. The company has now launched its one-in-all Intel Euclid development kit combining Atom X7-Z8700 processor with a RealSense camera in a single enclosure.

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Intel Euclid specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x7-Z8700 Cherry Trail quad core processor @ up to 2.4GHz with Intel HD Graphics Gen 8
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR3-1600
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC 5.0 flash, Micro SD slot up to 128GB
  • Video Output – micro HDMI port up to 4K @ 30 Hz
  • Audio – 2x I2S interfaces, 1W mono speaker, 3x DMIC with noise cancellation
  • Camera – Intel RealSense ZR300 camera
    • RGB camera – 2MP up to [email protected], 16:9 aspect ratio, rolling shutter, fixed focus, 75° x 41.5° x 68° FOV
    • Stereo imagers – 2x [email protected], global shutter, fixed focus, 70° x 46° x 59° FOV
    • Depth output – up to 628 × 468 @ 60fps, 16-bit format; Minimal depth distance: 0.6 M (628 x 468) or 0.5 M (480 x 360); active IR stereo technology
    • Tracking module
      • Fisheye camera resolution: VGA @ 60fps,  FOV: 166° × 100° × 133° FOV,
      • IMU: 3-axis accelerometer & 3-axis gryroscope with 50 μsec time stamp accuracy
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n 1×1 WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS (GNS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, WAAS, EGNOS)
  • Sensors – Integrated Sensor Hub (ISH), accelerometer, digital compass, gyroscope, ambient light, proximity, thermal, environmental (barometer, altimeter, humidity, temperature)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x micro USB OTG port with power, 1x micro USB 2.0 port for UART / serial console
  • Misc – ¼” standard tripod mounting hole; power and charging LEDs;
  • Battery – 2000 mAh @ 3.8V
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A via battery terminals
  • Temperature Range — up to 35°C (still air)

The kit runs Ubuntu 16.04 with Robotic Operating System (ROS) Kinetic Kame, and custom software layer to allow developers to control the device using a web interface. It also supports remote desktop application, and includes evaluation versions of Intel SLAM and Person Tracking Middleware.

Euclid Camera Output: Color Stream, Depth Stream, and Fisheye Stream – Click to Enlarge

Intel RealSense SLAM Library middleware enables applications in robots and drones to understand their location and surroundings more accurately than GPS allows in GPS denied environments and inside yet unmapped spaces. You’ll find documentation about SLAM, person tracking middleware, the camera API,  RealSense SDK framework, Euclid user guide and more in Intel Euclid product page. You’ll be able to get support in RealSense forums and Euclid developer kit community, where you’ll find tutorials and example projects.

Intel Euclid Development Kit can be pre-order for $399.00 on the product page with shipping starting on May 31, 2017.

Via LinuxGizmos

$100 Qotom Q1900G4-M Nano-ITX Board Powered by Intel Celeron J1900 SoC is Equipped with Four Gigabit Ethernet Ports

March 30th, 2017 22 comments

Qotom Q1900G4-M is a motherboard designed for networking applications thanks to four Gigabit Ethernet ports connected to an Intel Celeron J1900 quad core “Bay Trail” processor. The board supports up to 8GB DDR3 RAM via a SO-DIMM slot, storage through a SATA port and an mSATA connector, and WiFi or cellular connectivity through a mini PCIe slot and SIM card slot.

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Qotom Q1900G4-M board specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron J1900 quad core “Bay Trail” processor  @ 2.0 GHz / 2.41 GHz (Burst) with Intel HD graphics (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 1x SO-DIMM sockets for up to 8GB DDR3 memory
  • Storage – 1x SATA 3.0 port + power (14 & 15), 1x mini PCIe connector for mSATA SSD (16)
  • Video Output – VGA (5)
  • Connectivity
    • 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports (3) with Wake-on-LAN support
    • SIM card socket (17)
    • USB only mini PCIe connector for WiFi, 3G or 4G (18)
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port (4)
  • Expansion
    • Front panel audio header (6)
    • RS232 header (10)
    • USB header (12)
  • Misc – HDD LEDs (2); power LED (7); power button (8); CPU fan header (9); automatic boot jumper (11)
  • Power Supply – 12V DC (1)
  • Dimensions – 120mm x 120mm (Nano-ITX form factor)
  • Temperature Range – -10°C to 50°C

The board comes with a heatsink by default. You’ll find some details about the hardware in the user manual. The board is said to run Windows 7/8/10 and Linux distributions, especially now that Linux 4.11 is almost out with several fixes for Bay Trail processors.

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Since the board is supposed to comply with Nano-ITX form factor, you should be able to find a case for it, but if not, Qotom also sells Q190G4 mini PC based on the board. It reminds me of X29 mini PC, except it comes with four Gigabit Ethernet ports instead of just two, and lacks HDMI and audio ports, as it targets networking applications.

Qotom Q1900G4-M board sells for $99.90 + shipping, while Q190G4 barebone mini PC goes for $120 plus shipping with a 12V/3A power supply and free VESA brackets, and you can optionally add WiFi, memory (up to 8GB RAM), and/or storage (up to 64GB SSD) to your order. I could also find Q1900G2-M motherboard still with 4 Gigabit Ethernet port – contrary to what the name implies – and selling for $91 + shipping. I have not been able to find a difference between Q1900G2-M and G1900G4-M. If you do, let me know.

isorespin.sh Script Updates Ubuntu ISO Files with Mainline Linux Kernel

March 29th, 2017 13 comments

Devices based on Intel Bay Trail and Cherry Trail processors have been popular due to their integration into low cost system (for an Intel platform), but Intel did not prioritize Linux development for those processors, so while Linux could run, you’d have various problems with HDMI audio, system freezes, and wireless drivers, unless you used a custom kernel. The goods news is that Linux 4.11 will feature fixes for HDMI audio and system freeze, and so you won’t need a custom kernel anymore. Ian Morrison (Linuxium), who has been working on improving Linux for those devices since they were first released, has now released isorespin.sh script to automatically update any Ubuntu ISO image to the latest mainline Linux RC kernel built by Canonical, but not integrated by default in the ISO.

Once you’ve downloaded isorepin.sh and your ISO of choice, e.g. ubuntu-16.04.2-desktop-amd64.iso, you can update the ISO with mainline Linux using the following command:

The script will update the ISO with the latest Linux-4.11-RC4 kernel, but as new Ubuntu mainline Linux kernel versions become available, you’ll be able to update two lines in the script to match the latest version:

If you run this image on Bay Trail or Cherry Trail mini PC, you should get HDMI audio and no problem with the “frequent freezes” bug, but if you also need WiFi and Bluetooth support, you may have to run a few more scripts for Broadcom or Realtek wireless modules, and analog audio (headphone jack) support.

UP Core is a Low Cost & Compact Intel Maker Board Powered by an Atom x5-Z8350 SoC (Crowdfunding)

March 18th, 2017 19 comments

The UP community has already launched Intel Cherry Trail and Apollo Lake boards in the past with UP Board and UP2 (squared) boards, and they are now about to launch a cheaper and smaller board called UP Core powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor with to 1 to 4GB memory, up to 64GB eMMC flash, HDMI, USB 3.0, … and I/O expansion connectors.

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UP Core specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz (Burst frequency) with Intel HD 400 graphics @ 200 / 500 MHz
  • System Memory –  1, 2 or 4 GB DDR3L-1600 (soldered on board)
  • Storage – 16, 32, or 64 GB eMMC flash, SPI flash ROM
  • Video Output / Display – HDMI 1.4 port, full eDP (embedded DisplayPort) connector
  • Audio I/O – Via HDMI, and I2S
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi  @ 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP614A)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host port, 2x USB 2.0 via header
  • Camera I/F – 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI
  • Expansion
    • 100-pin docking connector with power signals, GPIOs, UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, SDIO, I2S, HDMI SMBUS, PMC signals, 2x USB HSIC, CSI, and PCIe Gen 2
    • 10-pin connector with 2x USB 2.0, 1x UART
  • Misc – Power & reset buttons, RTC battery header, fan connector, BIOS reflash connector
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A via 5.5/2.1mm power barrel
  • Dimensions – 66 x 56.50 mm
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 60 °C

The board will support Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 10 IoT Core, Linux including Ubilinux, Ubuntu, and the Yocto Project, as well as Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

If you look at the bottom right connector of the diagram above, we can see an extension HAT for the 100-pin docking port will be offered, as well as an IO board, both of which should be compatible with Raspberry Pi HATs with 40-pin connectors. But so far, I could not find details about the extension HAT, nor the IO board.

The UP core is coming soon to Kickstarter with price starting at 69 Euros with 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC flash, and WiFi and Bluetooth. Other part of the documentation show a $89 price for the 1GB/16GB board, so maybe it’s the expected retail price out of the crowdfunding campaign. You’ll find a few more information on UP Core page, but we’ll probably have to wait for the Kickstarter campaign to launch to get the full details, especially with regards to add-on boards, and pricing for various options.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

GPD Pocket Cherry Trail 7″ Portable Computer Runs Ubuntu 16.04 or Windows 10 (Crowdfunding)

February 15th, 2017 19 comments

GPD HK launched GPD WIN Windows 10 portable gaming console with a Cherry Trail Atom x7 processor and a 5.5″ display last year on Indiegogo, and while the crowdfunding campaign works very well with over $700,000 raised, the company realized many people just wanted an affordable portable computer, so they removed the joyticks, increased the display size, and upgraded the processor in their GPD Pocket 7″ portable computer powered by an Intel Atom X7-Z8750 SoC and pre-loaded with either Windows 10 Home or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

GPD Pocket specifications (subject to change):

  • SoC –  Intel Atom x7-Z8750 quad core Cherry Trail processor @ 1.6 / 2.56 GHz  with a 16EU Intel HD graphics Gen9
  • System Memory – 8GB LPDDR3-1600
  • Storage – 128GB eMMC flash
  • Display – 7″ multi-touch display with 1920×1200 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Video Output – micro HDMI port for final model (prototype has mini HDMI port)
  • Audio – Realtek ALC5645,  built-in stereo speaker, microphone, 3.5mm headset jack
  • Connectivity –  802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 type C port with power/data/audio/video support,1x USB 3.0 type A port
  • Keyboard – QWERTY keyboard
  • Sensors – Gravity Sensor,Hall sensor
  • Battery – Non-removable 7,000 mh Li-Po battery good for about 12 hours
  • Dimensions – 180 x 106 x 18.5 mm (material: magnesium alloy)
  • Weight – 480g

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The portable computer will ship with a  5V/2.5A charger (US plug), an international  warranty card good for one year, and a specification sheet. Note that it won’t be fanless, as it’s cooled with a “copper radiator pipe, a large-diameter heat output pipeline”, and and a fan.

The project has now been launched with a funding goal of $200,000 on Indiegogo, where you can get GPD Pocket with Windows 10 or Ubuntu 16.04 for $399, a $200 discount over the $599 retail price once it becomes broadly available, or so they claim. They also have other rewards including a USB type C hub, and discounts for multiple quantities. Worldwide shipping is included in the price, and delivery is scheduled for June 2017.