While there are plenty of low power x86 mini PCs running Windows 10, and although in most case it’s always possible to install a Linux distributions yourself, it’s much more difficult to find products that ships with Linux by default.
Launched a few years ago, MintBox Mini and MintBox Mini Pro mini PCs are such options being powered by AMD A4 Micro-6400T and AMD A10 Micro-6700T processor respectively, and running Linux Mint. The Mint team has now announced upgraded versions with MiniBox Mint 2 and MiniBox Mini 2 Pro, both based on Intel Celeron J3455 quad core Apollo Lake processor, and just differing by the amount of memory and storage.
Just like the previous model, they collaborated with Compulab for the hardware, and went with a design based on Fitlet2 fanless mini PC with the following specifications:
- SoC – Intel Celeron J3455 quad core processor @ 1.5 / 2.2 GHz with 12 EU HD graphics; 10W TDP
- System Memory & Storage
- Mintbox Mini 2 – 4GB DDR3L-1866 (upgradeable to 16GB) + 64GB M.2 SSD + micro SD slot
- Mintbox Mini 2 Pro – 8GB DDR3L-1866 (upgradeable to 16GB) + 120GB M.2 SSD + micro SD slot
- Display – mini DP 1.2 up to 4K @ 60 Hz; HDMI 1.4b up to 4K @ 30 Hz
- Audio – ALC886 audio codec; stereo line-out, stereo line-in / mic, 7.1 S/PDIF out (via optional 3.5mm to SMA cable), HDMI & DP audio
- Network Connectivity – Dual Gigabit Ethernet (via Intel i211), dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi + Bluetooth 4.2 (Intel 8260AC card)
- USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports
- Serial – RS232 port (via micro USB port)
- Power Supply – 7V to 20V DC input
- Power Consumption – 5 to 15 Watts
- Dimensions – 112 mm x 84 mm x 34 mm
- Weight – 350 grams
- Temperature Range – 0°C to 45°C
- Relative humidity – 5% – 95% non-condensing
The CPU performance should be quite better than the Mintbox Mini and Mini Pro mini PCs based on the GeekBench 4 scores published below, but graphics performance may be a little lower than on the previous generation Mini Pro (Radeon R6).
The new Mintbox Mini 2 / Mini 2 Pro mini PCs will become available in June 2018 around the time of Linux Mint 19 “Tara” release, and sell for respectively $299 and $349. More technical details & features can be found on the product page.