Using an eGPU with a mini PC

using r43sg egpu with mini PC

Mini PCs have grown in popularity in part due to their small form-factor offering low-powered basic computing with sufficient ports for connectivity. As such they are useful both in commercial settings such as digital signage as well as with consumers needing a small-footprint or VESA-mounted low-cost computer. However, one drawback is their limited graphical performance due to using CPUs with integrated graphics which results in the options for playing games being somewhat restricted and ‘AAA’ titles typically being unplayable. Lower-priced laptops often share the same drawback and one of the ways that users have addressed their graphical need is by utilizing an external GPU (eGPU) however the commercially available ones are both expensive and require connecting via a Thunderbolt 3 port. Unfortunately, not many Chinese-made mini PCs currently include a Thunderbolt 3 port however now that they have started to include M.2 NVMe ports this has created the possibility of adding a GPU using a ‘PCIe x16 to M.2 NVMe […]

TerraPi modular case system for Raspberry Pi supports multiple SSD’s, DIN rail, horizontal & vertical mounts

TerraPi modular mounting system Raspberry Pi

We already have many cases for Raspberry Pi SBC’s. Besides the official one, we already have third-party enclosures such as a KKSB compact fanless metal case for Raspberry Pi 4, Argon One enclosure brings all ports from the SBC to the side, as well as a variant for M.2 SSD’s, and even DIN rail enclosures. But here are more options as INUX3D, a design studio and 3D printing facility based in Slovakia, decided to create its own 3D printed modular case system for Raspberry Pi. The TerraPi module enclosure system supports passive and active cooling, up to two 2.5-inch SSD’s or HDD’s, as well as horizontal or vertical mounting, and there’s also a DIN rail option. Apart from the fanless model targeting uniquely the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, all TerraPi enclosures also work with Raspberry Pi 3 B/B+ models and are especially suited for people wanting to use the board as a NAS Server, surveillance station, or even a web […]

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

MINIX USB-C Hub with 480GB 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 […]

Intel Introduces Thunderbolt 4, Showcases MultiPort Thunderbolt 4 Docks

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 […]

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 […]

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


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 […]

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 […]

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. […]