When people think about Linux on Intel platform, they often believe it’s just as easy as flashing an Ubuntu ISO on a USB stick and install it on their computer. While that’s true for desktop or laptop processors, the low power Intel Atom processors for tablets such as Bay Trail-T or Cherry Trail are not well supported in Linux with various issues ranging from an incompatible UEFI binary to a complete lack of audio support. So far, most companies have not provided a decent version of Atom Z3735F or Atom x5-Z8x00 mini PCs with Linux, and all the work has been done by the community such as this Ubuntu 14.04 image for Atom Z3735F. But Rikomagic must have worked on a Cherry Trail Linux port, more exactly Ubuntu 15.04, for their MK36S Cherry Trail mini PC, and has now launched MK36SLE (Linux Edition). [Update: While most features are currently workings, HDMI audio is still not OK, but you can use speakers via the 3.5mm audio jack. See comment]
MK36SLE specifications are exactly the same as the Windows 10 version:
- SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz with Intel Gen8 HD graphics.
- System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L
- Storage – 32 GB eMMC + micro SD slot up to 64 GB
- Video Output – HDMI
- Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm speaker/microphone jack
- Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
- USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port
- Misc – Power button, LED on top of device
- Power Supply – 12V/2A
- Dimensions & Weight – N/A
The mini PC runs Ubuntu 15.04 64-bit with a 64-bit UEFI “BIOS”, and ships with an HDMI cable, a 12V power adapter, and a user’s manual.
Rikomagic Cherry Trail Ubuntu computer is available for pre-order for 114.99 GBP ($174) on Cloudsto.com with worldwide shipping included, and scheduled in one week from now. It’s 5 GBP ($7.5) more than MK36S with Windows on the same site. MK36S is also currently available for $136.90 on Aliexpress, so hopefully the Ubuntu version will also soon be listed for the same price or a few dollars higher. The only other option to have Linux on Intel Atom x5 (that I know of) is UP Board, but it’s not on the market just yet.
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.