Star Cloud PCG03U Bay Trail Ubuntu mini PC with 2GB RAM, 64GB Storage Sells for $90

Last year, I reviewed MeLE PCG03 mini PC with Windows 8.1. and later upgraded it to Windows 10, but the company has now started to launch Ubuntu based TV sticks and mini PCs, under their new Star Cloud brand, with for example Star Cloud PCG02U TV stick, and now they’ve just launched Star Cloud PCG03U running Ubuntu 14.04 for $89.59 shipped on Aliexpress.

Ubuntu_Bay_Trail_mini_PCStar Cloud PCG03U specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz / 1.83 GHz) with Intel HD graphics
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 64 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 up to 300 Mbps, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports (The specs mention 1x USB 3.0 port, but it should be impossible since Z3735F does not support USB 3.0)
  • Misc – Power Button, power LED, Kensington security lock
  • Power Supply – 12V/1A (12W max)
  • Dimensions – 150 x 120 x 40 mm
  • Weight – 360 grams

The mini PC will ship with a 12V power supply and internal plug adapters, as well as a Quick Start Guide. Compared to the windows version (PCG03), the storage has been upgraded to 64GB (was 32 GB), and Bluetooth has been dropped, probably because of drivers issues… The specs on AliexpressThe latter also explains why it’s running Ubuntu 14.04, and not Ubuntu 16.04, which require a more recent Linux kernel, and has not been found to be that stable on Bay Trail and Cherry Trail platforms. If you want a system that works well with the latest Ubuntu 16.04 version, you may need to wait for their Start Cloud PCG61U Braswell mini PC.

Star_Cloud_PCG03UThey appear to have used the same case and cooling solution, which I found to be of excellent, so the $90 price is pretty good for this machine, and they probable sell it with little margins. For comparison, MeLE PCG03 is now sold for $159.99.

Via AndroidPC.es

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11 Replies to “Star Cloud PCG03U Bay Trail Ubuntu mini PC with 2GB RAM, 64GB Storage Sells for $90”

  1. If I have my own copy of windows can I install it instead of the Ubuntu that comes with the device?

    1. @Drone

      The author does point out the issues with Linux on BayTrail. In fact the author states the reason it ships with Ubuntu 14.04 is due to issues newer kernels have with BayTrail. You obviously need to re-read the second to last paragraph of the article.

  2. @cnxsoft

    The issues begin with 3.16 which so happens to be the current Debian stable release. Ben Hutchings is expected to maintain the kernel until 2020 but the audio, wifi and bluetooth drivers aren’t backported. Most people are using older development version of drivers that are littered with security holes and memory overflows due to not being able to use the current drivers since they’re targeting newer kernel APIs. More over, the power management in the 3.16 kernel doesn’t turbo-boost and has an unoptimized governor state switching so it’s running at 60% power efficiency and 80% performance.

    A few people have taken to using later kernel versions and forcing the Intel cstate so the system won’t crush. They get the new drivers and better performance, but the power efficiency drops to 10% since there’s no down-throttling. They need to be selective about the kernel versions they’re using since some versions still crash even when cstate is forced.

    The real problem is that an LTS kernel doesn’t mean userland software gets security patches backported. Debian uniquely makes an effort at manually patching issues, but it’s volunteers reading through change-logs and making best efforts at patching code where they can. There are a LOT of issues that fall between the cracks doing this and it’s EXTREMELY common for Debian user-land to have security issues. For servers that run a small and controlled stack and firewall everything else it’s not an issue. But for individuals running ancient browsers using ancient libraries with dozens of services that are years behind release it’s nothing short of reckless to hold off updating.

    So, releasing an internet facing linux BayTrail product that isn’t confined to the server room is a terrible idea.

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