MINIX Unveils USB-C Hub with 960GB SSD, 100W USB Charger

MINIX, the Hong Kong company, is well-known for its Android media hubs and Windows 10 mini PC‘s but in recent years they’ve started designing accessories for Windows & Mac computers and laptops. In the past, we’ve checked out MINIX NEO C Plus USB-C Adapter, an M.2 SSD card pre-loaded Windows 10 Pro for N42C-4 Mini PC, and another USB-C hub with integrated 120 or 240GB SSD. The company has now unveiled four new accessories with three USB-C hubs, including one with a 480GB or 960GB SSD, and one compact 100W USB charger using the latest Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology. This morning, I received two pairs of USB-C hubs with different colors and two 100W USB chargers. The model I did not get – MINIX NEO Storage Pro – is specifically made for Apple MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with built-in SSD storage, HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz, Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.0 ports. But that’s all good […]

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Intel Introduces Thunderbolt 4, Showcases MultiPort Thunderbolt 4 Docks

Intel has just introduced Thunderbolt 4 universal cable connectivity solution for data, video, and power with up to 40 Gbps bandwidth, and USB4 specification compliance. The new standard can support up to four Thunderbolt ports in docks and universal cables up to 2 meters in length. Compared to Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4 doubles the minimum video and data requirements leading to support for two 4K displays or one 8K display, and PCIe storage speeds up to 3,000 Mbps. It also enables PC charging on at least one computer port and allows you to wake your computer from sleep by touching the keyboard or mouse when connected to a Thunderbolt dock. It also adds mandatory Intel VT-d-based direct memory access (DMA) protection to helps prevent physical DMA attacks. The first processors to integrate Thunderbolt 4 will be “Tiger Lake” mobile processors, and the company also announced the Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series compatible with existing Thunderbolt 3 PCs and accessories: JHL8540 […]

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NanoPi M4 SBC Metal Case Comes with an NVMe SSD Adapter and Cooling Fan

NanoPi M4 Metal Case

There are several single board computers that come with NVMe SSD either directly like on ODROID-H2 SBC or indirectly via an expansion board such as M2X extender board for Khadas VIM3.  But if you’d like an enclosure for your system it either further adds to the cost, or you need to develop the case yourself. If you’d like an SBC that takes an NVMe SSD in a fairly compact enclosure and at a affordable price (under $100 excluding the SSD),  NanoPi M4 metal case kit looks to be a good option and sells for $28 with SSD adapter and fan, or just $26 if you already own the SSD adapter. As a reminder, NanoPi M4 is a Rockchip RK3399 SBC that mostly follows Raspberry Pi form factor comes with 2GB or 4GB RAM with price starting at $50. See NanoPi M4 specifications for more details. One selling point of this board is that Rockchip RK3399’s PCIe signal are exposed through […]

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MINIX NEO S1 & S2 Combine SSD and USB-C Hub into a Single Device

MINIX NEO S2

MINIX has sold accessories for mini PCs for a little while, and last year I wrote a short review for MINIX NEO C Plus USB-C adapter with dual HDMI output, Ethernet, USB ports, and microSD and SD card slots. The company is apparently about to launch two new USB-C hubs that come with built-in SSD storage. MINIX NEO S1 & S2 USB-C hub include respectively a 120GB and 240GB SSD, and while they are not yet listed on MINIX website, GearBest is offering the two new accessories for $84.99 and $97.99 with shipping scheduled for early July. MINIX NEO S1/S2 specifications: Storage – Built-in 120GB or 240GB SSD storage up to 415MB/s read speed and 400MB/s write speed Video Output – HDMI up to  4K @ 30Hz USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, USB-C port for power delivery only, USB-C cable to connect to laptop, computer or board. Misc – LED indicator Dimensions – 11.50 x 4.35 x 1.10 cm […]

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Silicon Motion SM3282 is a Single Chip Solution for Portable USB SSD Sticks

SM3282 USB SSD Stick

Portable USB SSD drives are nothing new, but they are usually implemented using a stand-alone SSD with its own SSD controller combined with a USB to SATA or PCIe bridge chip in order to interface the SSD drive with the host computer or board. Silicon Motion has recently unveiled SM3282 SSD controller that also comes with an on-chip USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface providing a complete single-chip hardware and software solution for portable USB SSD sticks. This should enable smaller and cheaper USB SSD drives. Some of the key features of the SM3282 controller include: Peak sequential read and write transfer speeds of over 400MB/sec Supports USB 3.2 Gen 1 type A and type C Crystal-less design for bill-of-materials cost savings Built-in 3.3V/2.5V/1.8V/1.2V voltage regulators Supports LED for indicating access status 68-pin QFN package Compatible with Windows 10, Mac OS 10.x and Linux kernel v2.4 and greater The chip also supports the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) and 2 NAND […]

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Intel Optane memory H10 M.2 Card Combines Optane Memory with QLC NAND Flash

Optane Memory H10

Nearly exactly two years ago, Intel announced the first commercial Optane memory M.2 cards that provide excellent random read/write performance, and can greatly boost boot times and app loading times. That means you need to insert an extra card in your system, and for compact laptops, or mini PCs the extra socket is simply not there due to lack of space. To solve this issue, Intel has just announced Optane Memory H10 M.2 card that combines Optane Memory high IOPS with the lower cost and higher capacity associated with QLC NAND flash since it combines both technologies into a single card. In the press release, Intel explains 8th Generation Intel Core U-series mobile platforms featuring Intel Optane memory H10 will become available through OEMs this quarter, and provide the following benefits:everyday users will be able to: Launch documents up to 2 times faster while multitasking. Launch games 60% faster while multitasking. Open media files up to 90% faster while multitasking. […]

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MINIX NEO J50C-4 Pentium J5005 Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Windows Remote, M.2 SSD, and Teardown

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Review

MINIX has just announced a new Windows 10 Pro mini PC with MINIX NEO J50C-4 mini PC that just looks like their previous models like MINIX NEO N42C-4, except it comes with a Pentium Silver J5005 “Gemini Lake” processor. The company sent me a sample together with some accessories, and it will be interesting to see how it performs. But before I’ll go through the specifications, checking the devices and some extra accessories namely NEO W2 windows remote control, and an M.2 SSD pre-loaded with Windows 10 Pro. Finally, I’ll have a look at the internals in the first part of this review. MINIX NEO J50C-4 Specifications SoC – Intel Pentium Silver J5005 quad core “Gemini Lake” processor @ 1.50 / 2.80 GHz with 18 EU Intel UHD Graphics 605 (10W TDP) System Memory – 4GB DDR4 upgradable to 16GB via 2x SO-DIMM slots Storage – 32GB eMMC 5.1 flash, 1x 2280 M.2 SATA III SSD slot up to 512GB […]

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Acer Aspire 3 A315-41G (AMD Ryzen 7 2700U) Laptop – Installing Ubuntu 18.04 and “Hidden” M.2 SSD Socket

Acer Aspire 3 A315G-41 Ubuntu 18.04

Everyday I’m using a tower PC running Ubuntu 18.04 to take care of this blog, but when I travel it’s obviously not so convenient, so a few years ago I bought an  Acer Aspire E5-421G laptop powered by an AMD A4-6210 processor with 4GB RAM, 512GB HDD, and a 14″ display. I installed Ubuntu on the laptop and it works, but with 4GB RAM, it’s not always usable while multitasking. For example I can run Thunderbird and Firefox, but if I ever make a Skype call for example, the system becomes unusable, and I have to close one of the programs. Tasks like video editing are also quite slow on the machine. So since I’m going to travel in a few weeks, I decided I needed a new laptop. My requirements were 8GB RAM,  SSD and HDD support, a 15″ display, the ability to run Ubuntu 18.04, and possibly a processor with a performance close to the AMD FX8350 processor […]

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