More Intel Processor HW Security Flaws. Meet Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS)

Intel MDS Zombieload, RIDL, Fallout

2018 did not start so well for processor vendors, especially Intel, but also AMD, Arm and others as some of their processors leveraging speculative execution were impacted by Spectre and/or Meltdown hardware security bugs. The workarounds to improve security had a downside as they affected performance in some specific use case. Panic ensued as the bug was revealed to the public a bit too early, so companies were not fully ready with their mitigations / workarounds. Then in summer of 2018, another hardware security flaw known as Foreshadow or L1 Terminal Fault came to light. The new flaw potentially enabled the attacker to access data stored in L1 cache.  Provided you have updated your operating systems to the latest version, your computers and devices should be protected against those vulnerabilities, and you can even check with a script working in Linux or FreeBSD. But this now looks like a never ending game, as security researchers have found yet other hardware …

Intel Elkhart Lake Processors To Succeed Gemini Lake Processors in 2020

Intel Elkhart Lake Tablet

Intel Gemini Lake processors were highly anticipated as soon as they were first reported in September 2016, and even more so before launch since Gemini Lake products promised to be about as expensive as their older Apollo Lake counterparts. Interest somewhat fizzled despite a clear performance advantage over the previous generation, as prices did not match initial expectations, likely due to a shortage of Intel cheaper processors. In recent weeks, we started to read about Intel Elkhart Lake processors that are meant to be the successors of Gemini Lake processors, based on Tremont microarchitecture, and featuring Intel “i915” Gen11 graphics. The new processor should be manufactured using a 10nm process, but it’s still unclear whether some Elkhart Lake processors will be part of Intel Foveros which combines a fast Sunny Cove core with several Atom class Tremont cores. That’s about all we know from the technical side so far. A product roadmap (PDF) from MITAC, a Taiwanese electronics company, however …

KODLIX GN41 Gemini Lake Ubuntu Mini PC Sells for $215

Most Intel mini PC ships with Windows 10, so when we see models shipping with a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu we like to point those out. Recently we covered MINIX NEO-Z83-4U Ubuntu 18.04 mini PC that comes in a well designed and passively cooled enclosure, but also a relatively underpowered Intel Atom x5 processor, and geared towards business use cases such as digital signage player or thin client. KODLIX GN41 is another Ubuntu mini PC that would make a decent entry-level desktop thanks to an Intel Celeron N4100 Gemini Lake processor, 8GB RAM, and 64GB eMMC flash that can be complemented with your own 2.5″ hard drive or SSD. KODLIX GN41 specifications: SoC – Intel Celeron N4100 quad core processor @  1.10/2.40 GHz with Intel UHD Graphics 600; 6W TDP; 4.8W SDP System Memory – 8GB DDR4L RAM Storage – 64 GB eMMC flash flash; 2.5″ SATA slot for HDD or SSD, micro SD slot up to 128GB Display …

AAEON RTC-1010M Semi Rugged Tablet Runs Windows 10 IoT or Android 9

Windows 10 IoT Tablet

AAEON has introduced a new semi-rugged Intel Apollo Lake tablet with a 10.1” sunlight readable screen, IP54  certification, and optional modules such as a smart card reader, magnetic stripe reader (MSR) and 2D barcode scanner, as well as various mounting options from docking mounts to shoulder belts. The choice of operating system is also interesting for AAEON RTC-1010M tablet as it will come with Windows 10 IoT by default, and support for Android 9 is planned for Q2 2019. AAEON RTC-1010M tablet specifications: SoC (One or the other) Intel Celeron N3350 dual core processor @ 1.1 GHz / 2.4GHz (Turbo) with Intel HD graphics; 6W TDP Intel Pentium N4200 quad core processor @ 1.1GHz / 2.5GHz (Turbo) with Intel HD graphics; 6W TDP System Memory – 4 GB DDR3L (Default), up to 8GB Storage – 64GB eMMC  flash, microSD card slot, optional mSATA III drive up to 512GB Display – 10.1″ WXGA (1280×800) 300-nit TFT LCD with projected capacitive 10-point …

Acute Angle AA is a Triangle Shaped Mini PC with a Wooden Finish

Acute Angle AA

Most mini PCs are boring black boxes, and maybe that’s the way it should be, but if you are looking for something a bit fancier Acute Angle AA is an Apollo Lake mini PC with a triangular shaped enclosure made of aluminum and something that looks like wood… The mini PC is equipped with an Intel Celeron N3450 quad core processor, 8GB RAM, 64GB eMMC flash, 128GB SSD, and is currently sold for $199.99 shipped on GearBest. Acute Angle AA was apparently launched at CES 2018 riding the cryptocurrency wave, and selling for $600 as a dual use machine: a standard mini PC and an Ethereum mining machine during idle time working together with other Acute Angle AA mini PCs as part of the Acute Angle Cloud. None of the Ethereum / cryptocurrency mining / cloud options are mentioned in the specifications, but you still get a uniquely designed machine with decent features for the price: SoC – Intel Celeron …

GPD MicroPC is a Windows 10 / Ubuntu MATE Portable Mini PC for Sysadmins (Crowdfunding)

GPD MicroPC

I shortly discussed GPD MicroPC, a portable computer specifically designed for for network engineers and sysadmins in a post about the company’s Pocket 2 Amber Black mini laptop, but I did not go into details at the time since it was not available. GPD has now launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for the portable Gemini Lake mini PC, where you can pick one of the 2,000 units that are available for $299 including worldwide shipping. GPD MicroPC specifications: SoC – Intel Celeron N4100 quad core Gemini Lake processor with Intel UHD Graphics 600 System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 Storage – Replaceable 128GB M.2 2242 SATA SSD, micro SDXC card slot Display – 6″ display with 1280×720, Gorilla Glass 4, 178° viewing angle Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 30 Hz Audio – Built-in microphone, headphone jack, digital audio via HDMI Networking Gigabit Ethernet 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi 5 Bluetooth 4.2 USB – 3x USB 3.0 type A …

ZOTAC Unveils ZBOX PRO Embedded Mini PC Line-up

Zotac ZBOX PRO CI329 nano

ZOTAC  is known for their ZBOX consumer and business mini PCs, but they are now entering the embedded computing market with the launch of ZBOX PRO line-up based on their commercial offering but with more robust designs for medical equipment, industrial robots, casino game systems, IoT gateways, ATMs, and more. The company launched 5 models features various Intel processors from Celeron to Core-i7, but I’ll focus on the three passively cooled low power models in this post. ZBOX Pro CI329 nano Specifications mostly follow the ones of ZBOX CI329 Nano model with differences highlighted in bold or stricken-through: SoC – Intel Celeron N4100 quad-core processor (1.1GHz up to 2.4GHz, 4MB cache) with Intel UHD Graphics 600 System Memory – 2x DDR4-2400MHz dual-channel SO-DIMM slots, up to 8GB Storage 1x 2.5″ SATA 6.0 Gb/s HDD/SSD bay 1x M.2 2242/2260 key-M socket for SSD SD/SDHC/SDXC card reader Video Output 1x HDMI 2.0, max resolution 4096×2160 @ 60Hz 1x DisplayPort 1.2, max resolution …

LIVA Q2 Review – ECS Micro PC Tested with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.10

ECS LIVA Q2 Teardown

ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) is a Taiwanese company that has been offering mini PCs for several years now. Last year they announced their ‘pocket-sized’ model the LIVA Q. Originally featuring Apollo Lake SoCs it has now been upgraded and renamed as the LIVA Q2 and offers a choice of Gemini Lake SoCs. The distinguishing feature of the LIVA Q series however is the form-factor. Compared with Intel Compute ‘stick’ PCs and Intel NUC ‘mini’ PCs the LIVA Q2 is a ‘micro’ PC. This micro PC is like a minimalist mini PC that includes just the minimum number of useful ports namely a couple of USB ports (3.1 and 2.0) on one side, a micro SD card slot on another and finally an HDMI (2.0) and gigabit Ethernet at the rear. The resultant micro PC is beautifully small consisting of a 70mm (2.76″) square case by 33.4mm (1.31”) tall which can still be mounted on the back of a monitor using …