Archive

Posts Tagged ‘mini-pc’

MeLE PCG03 Windows 8.1 Fanless mini PC Unboxing

January 26th, 2015 11 comments

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 ACL5640 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.

 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Ugoos UT3S is an Update to UT3 Android & Ubuntu TV Box with a Fan

January 23rd, 2015 10 comments

Many people like ARM based media player because most of them run Android providing access too many apps available via Google Play Store, a similar experience to what they got used with phones and tablets, and also because they are small, inexpensive, and fanless. However, the latest ARM processors such as Rockchip RK3288, can get really hot, so most of the time CPU frequency needs to be limited to avoid overheating and stability, which reduces performance. Which may be why, Ugoos decided to launch UT3S mini PC, an upgrade to UT3 mini PC with a mini Fan placed on top of a larger heatsink.
Ugoos_UT3SUgoos UT3S specifications and look remain very similar to the original model:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3288 quad core CortexA17 @ 1.80 GHz + Mali-T764 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0, and OpenCL 1.1
  • System Memory – 2GB to 4GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB or 32GB eMMC Flash + micro SD card slot (up to 32 GB)
  • Connectivity – 100M/1000M Ethernet, dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz/5GHz) and 802.11 a/c using external Wi-Fi antenna?, and Bluetooth
  • Video I/F – HDMI 2.0 output (female) up to 4k2k @ 60 fps, and AV output (3.5mm jack)
  • Audio I/F – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs
    • Decoding – MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4,H.263, H.264, H.265,AVS, VC-1, RV, VP6/VP8, Sorenson Spark, MVC up to 4K2K @ 60fps
    • Encoding – H.264, H.265, VP8, MVC (1080p)
    • H.264, H.265 Data Rate – Up to 60Mbps
  • Audio Codecs/Formats – MP1, MP2, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, OGA, APE, FLAC, AAC, M4A, 3GPP
  • USB – 4x USB Host port, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions – 115 x 115 x 20 mm
  • Temperature Range – Operating: -10~40℃, Storage: -20~50℃
  • Humidity – 5%-90%, No condensation
  • Certification – CCC,CE,EMC,FCC,Wi-Fi

The company also decided to remove the HDMI input, and replace it with a USB host port. It’s probably not a big loss since I’ve yet to see a Rockchip box with HDMI input support PVR or PiP. The base frequency is listed as 1.8GHz in the specs, but with the fan it should be possible safely (TBC) to overclock RK3288 to 2.2 GHz, The box comes with an HDMI cable, a power adapter, an IR remote control, and a user’s manual by default, and optionally an air mouse, or a wireless mouse or keyboard combo may be provided.
Ugoos_UT3S_fan
The device runs the dual boot Android 4.4 + Ubuntu 14.10 image I tried with Ugoos UM3. The user experience should be the same as any other boxes in Android, and Ubuntu is very usable as long as you don’t try to play full screen 480p or greater online videos smoothly in a web browser, and also don’t expect Adobe flash to run nice and smooth.

Two version of Ugoos UTS3 are available:

  • Ugoos UT3S Black with 2GB RAM and 16GB flash
  • Ugoos UT3S Red with 4GB RAM and 32GB flash

Both models are available for pre-order on GearBest for  $129 and $169 with “UT3S” coupon. I could not find it on other sites, except on DealsMachine, but while the title refers to UT3S, the description is fully about UM3…

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Mouse Box is a ARM mini PC in a Mouse

January 21st, 2015 8 comments

Most people use a mouse with their PCs, and since electronics have become so small, a Polish start-up has decided to design a computer-in-a-mouse that can be used as a normal mouse and an ARM based mini PC.
MouseBoxOnly part of the specs have been disclosed so far:

  • SoC – Quad core ARM Cortex processor @ 1.4 GHz
  • System Memory – N/A
  • Storage – 128GB flash  (cloud storage optional)
  • Video Output – Micro HDMI port
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi
  • USB – 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, gyroscope
  • Optional battery

If the battery is optional, I’m not quite sure where the device gets its power, unless it works with MHL, or one of the USB 3.0 port is used for power. There’s no word about operating system support, but since it’s an ARM processor you should expect Android, and maybe Linux. Future development will include support for Wireless HDMI, and a mouse pad to charge the thing.

The company is currently looking for partners to launch the product. Further details should eventually show up on Mouse Box website.

Via Liliputing and Mybroadband

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Categories: Hardware Tags: Android, mini-pc, mouse box

MINIX NEO Z64 Windows 8.1 / Android Intel mini PC Should Sell Soon for $148 and Up

January 20th, 2015 10 comments

MINIX NEO Z64 mini PC powered by Intel Atom Z3735F was unveiled in September 2014, but as other Windows 8.1 Intel based mini PCs hit the market in late December, early January, some people suggested NEO Z64 may end up being vaporware… Fortunately, it appears those people might be wrong, as I’ve been informed of a cached page on DX.com selling the computer for $148.07 with Android 4.4.4 pre-installed.

MINIX_NEO_Z64_DXMINIX NEO Z64 specifications remain mostly the same as the ones published in September:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz (Burst freq up to 1.83 GHz) and Intel HD Graphics
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash  + micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4
  • Audio Output – HDMI, 3.5mm stereo jack
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0
  • Misc – Power button, IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions – 11.5 x 11.5 x 2 cm
  • Weight – 273 grams

The package will include a MINIX remote control, a power adapter (1.4m cable), an HDMI cable (1.05m), a USB cable (1.00m), and a user’s manual in English, Chinese, German, Russian, and Japanese. The Android 4.4.4 firmware also comes with XBMC pre-installed, but I’d assume it’s just the one released on xbmc.org.  MINIX NEO Z64 is the first Atom Z3735F that officially sell with Android, while all others come with Windows 8.1 with or without proper license. A MINIX NEO Z64 Windows 8.1 version will also be available and might include Word, Excel (TBC) and XBMC, but I don’t have price information yet.

So how soon can we expect the device? According to a Vietnamese website, the product should be officially launched on January 22, 2015, and once it’s up again you’ll be able to purchase the box on DX via this link, as well as many other websites, which should all offer more or less the same price due to strict MINIX pricing policies.

[Update: MINIX NEO Z64 is also listed on Aliexpress (not possible to order), and they mention a $30 Windows 8.1 license]

[Update 2: Listed on Geekbuying for $144.90 (Android) and $174.90 (Windows 8.1). The Windows version is also on DX for $174.91]

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

MBX-3G is an Android Media Player with a Built-in 3G Modem (Crowdfunding)

January 20th, 2015 5 comments

Most full sized TV box comes with both Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity, but if you live in remote area internet may not be easily available, except possibly via 3G or LTE. There are several ways to handle that. You could connect a 3G USB dongle to your box, but this assume the firmware on your box supports it, or you could gt one cheap of these cheap routers with a USB port, plug the 3G dongle into it, and connect your media player to the router via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. If you’d rather have a single device with an easier setup, MediaBox MBX-3G could be an interesting option.
MBX-3G
MediaBox MBX-3G specifications:

Touchpad Remote

Touchpad Remote

  • SoC – Quad core ARM Cortex A9 @ 1.6Ghz with quad core GPU (This looks like Rockchip RK3188)
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8 eMMC flash + microSD slot (up to 32GB)
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4, and AV
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and built-in 3G model (HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps download) + antenna
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Misc – IR sensor, power LED,
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A (TBC)
  • Dimensions – N/A
  • Weight –N/A

The box comes with HDMI and AV cables, a USB cable, a power adapter, and a touchpad remote (which looks very much like Rii mini i8 remote). There’s also a more traditional model without 3G called MediaBox MBX.

MediaBox App

MediaBox App

The device runs Android 4.4.2 with OTA firmware update support, and online videos services such as Netflix, Hulu+, HBO, YouTube, Vimeo, BBC iPlayer, TuneIn,  Spotify & VIDI., are said to be working on the device. Since the device slogan is “Play Anything. From everything. Anywhere”, the South African start-up (MediaBox) behind the project is also developing iOS. Android, and Microsoft Phone apps to interface with the device.

A flexible funding Indiegogo campaign has been launched to raise funds ($65,000 or more)  to complete software development and start mass production. A $120 “early bird” pledge would be you a MBX-3G, while $90 is asked for MBX without 3G. Shipping i $10 to the US and South Africa, and $20 to the rest of the world, with delivery scheduled for June 2015. More information may also be found on MediaBox website, including support forums.

Thanks to Jvan for the tip.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Understanding Windows 8.1 Licenses with MeegoPad T01 (and Other Intel Atom Bay Trail mini PCs)

January 16th, 2015 36 comments

MeegoPad T01 was initially announced as a dual boot Windows 8.1 and Android 4.4 HDMI Stick, and it became quite popular. But as it has recently started shipping, Android is gone, and people who receive it only have Windows 8.1 to play with. Unfortunately, as the review embedded at the end of this post clearly indicates it’s running with a Windows 8.1 trial version that needs to be activated and with an invalid serial number, so it can only be used for 30 days… Normally, I would not be so interested in a Windows 8.1 only device, but since many people seem to have acquired one, it’s probably useful to look into what can be done about the license.

MeegoPad_T01_Windows8,1_License_Costs

So what could you do? There are several options:

  1. One person decided to buy a Windows 8.1 License. Cost? $119.99 + $7.20 for tax for a grand total of $127.19, or more than the device itself
  2. Use a pirated version. I’m not sure how to do, plus it’s illegal, and you’ll lose access to all security updates. Clearly not recommended.
  3. Boot Ubuntu from a USB drive instead. This requires quite a few steps, and Wi-Fi does not work, so you’d need a USB to Ethernet dongle.
  4. You could also try to negotiate a refund with a seller, either full or partial. That will teach them they should not sell products with trial versions of operating systems. With Ebay/Aliexpress, you’d usually have to pay for return shipping if you want a full refund, and if you have already confirmed reception it will be tricky. With DealExtreme, the company may also reimburse shipping fees (up to a certain percentage), as the product was not sold as described (TBC).

If you have not purchased one yet, it does not mean you should avoid this product, and potentially other Intel Atom Z3735 TV boxes and sticks, because there are actually two Windows 8.1 options, as shown on maketheone.com:

  • Windows 8.1 with Bing (Factory activated) – $139
  • Windows 8.1 Pro (30-day trial version) – $108 [Update: Apparently Microsoft does not allow this]

So it becomes clearly that most sellers have gone with the “cheaper” option, providing a 30-day trial of Windows with the device, and if you want something that works without spending an extra $120 or or, go the illegal route, or want to tinker with it and install Ubuntu, Android, or other operating systems (FreeDOS anyone?) you should insist on getting Windows 8.1 with Bing for an extra $29.

You may wonder why Windows 8.1 with Bing is free when you purchased a tablet, but should be $29 on mini PCs? Here’s the explanation from makeone? thanks to Ian Morrison (read comments section on G+ link):

Windows 8.1 with Bing and Windows 8.1 with Bing for Stick are two distinct versions, at least for now. The former is free for manufacturer’s of tablet’s under 9 inches, and some others as mentioned in the article you pasted here. The latter, however, is not free for manufacturers of “computer sticks”, as of yet. There might be changes in the future, but as of now, it is not free. This piece of information can be verified, if you delve deeper or ask Microsoft employees.

and after noticing there;’s no such thing as  “Windows 8.1 with Bing for StickTM”:

My apologies for complicating things. There is not an official name from Microsoft as “Windows 8.1 with Bing for Stick”, the name was used by the manufacturer, instead just calling it ‘OEM’.

So there you have it, if you don’t get the “free” 30-day trial version of Windows 8.1 Pro, you’d need to pay extra $29 at purchase to get a valid Windows 8.1 OEM license. God knows what happens if your Windows gets corrupted, as there’s obviously no “recovery CD”…

If you have other such low cost Windows 8.1 devices based on Intel Atom Bay-Trail SoCs such as Pipo X7, I’m sure others would be interested to read about your experience.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

AMD Mullins Powered Compulab Fitlet mini PCs Run Linux Mint or Windows

January 14th, 2015 8 comments

Finally an alternative to the recent wave of Intel Bay Trail-T mini PCs and sticks thanks to Compulab Fitlet mini PCs powered by AMD Mullins APUs, namely AMD A4 Micro-6400T and E1 Micro-6200T, with Radeon graphics, supporting up to 8GB RAM, mSATA, up to two HDMI port, up to four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and more.

Compulab_Fitlet-i

There are three Fitlet models: Fitlet-i, Fitlet-X with four Gigabit Ethernet port, and Fitlet-B, the entry-level option. In Q2 2015, a MintBox mini model running Linux Mint will also be released.

Fitlet-i specifications:

  • SoC – AMD A4 Micro-6400T 64 bit quad-core processor up to 1.6 GHz with Radeon R3 Graphics (4.5W TDP)
  • System Memory – Up to 8 GB DDR3-1333 (1x SODIMM)
  • Storage –  mSATA up to 1 TB (SATA 3.0), power eSATA (5V), and micro-SD slot (SDXC support, rate 25 MB/s)
  • Video Output – Dual HDMI 1.4a up to 1920×1200@60Hz
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, S/PDIF 7.1+2 channels in/out + stereo line-out/line-in/mic
  • Connectivity – Dual GbE (Intel I211),  802.11ac Wi-Fi  (2.4/5GHz dual band Intel 7260HMW) + BT4.0
  • Cellular – Support for mobile data communication with on-board micro-SIM socket
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 + 4x USB 2.0
  • Expansion – miniPCIe (normally used for WLAN)
  • Other I/Os – RS232, UART (3.3V), SMBUS, 8x GPIOs
  • Dimensions – 10.8 cm x 8.3 cm x 2.4 cm
  • Weight – 250g

Fitlet mini PCs officially support Windows 7/8 64 bit, and Linux Mint. The details specifications for Fitlet-B and Fitlet-X are not available (or I missed them), but the formers features a dual core E1 ​​Micro-6200T processor @ 1.4 GHz with Radeon R2 graphics (3.95W TDP) and the latter the same A4 Micro-6400T processor.

Fitlet Benchmark (Click to Enlarge)

Fitlet Benchmark (Click to Enlarge)

If you wonder about the performance Fitlet mini PC are between “fit-PC4 Value” (AMD A4-1250) and Intense PC Value (Celeron 1047UE) in Geekbench 2 benchmark.

CompuLab fitlets will start selling in February 2015 for $129 for fitlet-B Barebone, via Amazon or directly from CompuLab or their resellers. More information is available on Compulab Fitlet product page, and you may want to check the press kit for pictures of the internals.

[Update: The Wiki shows some block diagrams for all three models, and even better a detailed comparison table between the three models.]

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

PC Partner N258N1-F is a Linux mini PC Powered by Nvidia Tegra K1 Processor

January 8th, 2015 9 comments

Nvidia has done a great job porting Linux to their Tegra K1, and it’s one of the only ARM processor with a GPU supporting OpenGL, which helps a great deal with Unity for example. Nexus 9 supports Ubuntu (somewhat), and platforms like Jetson TK1 board are suitable to developers, but as I and others wondered why nobody ever made a Tegra K1 mini PC, I’ve been informed that such device existed already with PC Partner’s N258N1-F mini PC.

Nvidia_Tegra_K1_mini_PC

N258N1-F technical specifications:

  • SoC – Nvidia Tegra K1 quad-core ARM Cortex A15r3 processor with Kepler GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB RAM
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC + SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI up to 3840×2160 @ 30Hz, 4096×2160 @ 24Hz or 3200×2000 @ 60 Hz
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, headphone jack, and microphone jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi (with external antenna connector)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Misc – Power button and LED, COM port
  • Dimensions – 127 x 127 x 45 mm
  • Weight – N/A
  • Temperature Range – 0 ℃ ~ 40 ℃
  • Relative Humidity – 20% to 95%

 

Tegra_K1_mini_PC_Rear_PanelThe system runs Linux for Tegra operating system based on Ubuntu 14.04 with Nvidia specific drivers. PC Partner computer is targeting the embedded market, and has been launched in December 2014. If you are interested, you can request a quote or more information on Ask Corp’s N258N1-F product page (Japanese).

Via Tech Report, and thanks to Peter for the tip.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter