Until now, if we talked about mini PCs in stick form factor that always meant some ARM or MIPS processor were powering the devices. Intel is not yet into this type of form factor, but with ICE xPC (Indiegogo), you can now find an x86 computer module with the CPU, RAM, and SSD as well as connectivity modules and sensors into a box as small and thin as a smartphone. ICE xPC will also support other low power processors including Core i5 processor and/or ARM SoCs if the concept is gaining traction.
ICE xPC modular computer specifications:
- SoC – Intel Bay Trail 4-cores Atom processor with Intel HD graphics
- System Memory – 4GB RAM
- Storage – 64 GB SSD
- Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi module + Bluetooth module
- Camera – 720p
- Sensors – Accelerometer, Gyro sensor
- Power Supply – 20 Watts. Energy used claimed: between 3 and 11 Watts.
- Dimensions – 123.8 x 58.6 x 8.8 mm
- Weight – About 100 grams
You can’t just use ICE xPC buy itself, as instead it’s a module, some sort of portable desktop computer, that you can currently plug into 4 different type of “carrier” systems:
- xAdapter – mini PC / TV PC for home or office
- xPad – 10.1″ IPS Mobile display / tablet for the road (1080p resolution)
- xTop – mini desktop at the office with 4xUSB, HDMI, microphone and headphone jacks, Ethernet, .., optionally connected with an external USB hard drive (see pic)
- xKeyboard – xPad cover keyboard / stand
This modular system will allow you to upgrade either the processor / memory for your tablet / laptop / desktop, or keep your current processor / memory module, and update the “carrier” systems.
The company will also provide an SDK for xPC open connector architecture to let developers create their own peripherals or accessories. The specs will be available later on on their ICE Development Blog.
The company focuses on Windows 7/8, but since it’s based on x86 there’s no reason it should not work with Linux. You watch the Indiegogo campaign introduction video below.
The cheapest pledge to get a working system is $259 with ICE xPC and xAdapter without OS. The same system with Windows 8 and Microsoft Office will cost $100 more (early bird). There’s no pledge to get xKeyboard or xTop except the most expensive one ($10,000). Shipping outside the US costs $30, and delivery is expected from July to September 2014 depending on the perks. Please note that this is a flexible campaign, so the company will get the funds regardless whether they reach the funding goal or not.
Thanks to CSilie for the tip.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
20W is a lot of power to dissipate in such a small form factor.
Actually I’m not exactly sure if they used a 20W power adapter, or if the thing consumes up to 20W. Probably 20W power supply. I got it from the FAQ:
“Q. How big is the xPC’s power source / adapter?
A. The 20W power was provided through xPC connector.”
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
Yes, I did some reading on the linked website, the Atom version has the CPU running at 2W, but the Core-i3 and Core-i5 versions run at 11.5W, which is still quite high. I hope this thing has a metal case, it will get very hot!
There is another interesting concept with AMD-Hardware:
Funding is running via indiegogo
I don´t know, if those 25 Watt of the A6-5200 aren´t too much for the small case though.
I really like things like this. Too bad this one doesn’t have a little display built into it. I think Android phones that let you spawn a display to your TV are a better approach, even though I prefer a Linux distro to Android for flexibility.
It’s not clear which Bay Trail processor this is using but Bay Trail M has a TDP of 7.5W.