A Quick Look at MINIX NEO C Plus USB-C Adapter, and Windows 10 M.2 SSD Card for N42C-4 Mini PC

MINIX NEO C Plus USB-C Adapter Android 7.1

A couple of weeks ago, MINIX announced their NEO C Plus USB type C adapter with 9 ports including two HDMI outputs. The company has now sent me samples of the adapter, as well as an M.2 SSD for MINIX NEO N42C-4 pre-loaded with Windows 10 Pro. I’ll first have a look at the accessories I received before testing MINIX NEO C Plus adapter with Android 7.1 running on NanoPC-T4 board. MINIX NEO C Plus and M.2 SSD Unboxing I received two USB-C multiport adapter with dual HDMI output which are identical, except for the color with one white version and a silver version, as well as a “128GB M.2 SSD for MINIX NEO N42C-4”. The USB-C adapter comes with a bilingual English-German user manual. We learn some interesting information and limitations from the device. First, the adapter is only certified to use with MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, and some of the limitations include: Total USB output is limited …

MINIX NEO N42C-4 Pro Review – Part 3: Ubuntu / Linux

In the second part of MINIX NEO N42C-4 review (and on linuxium website), we looked at the device and the performance using Windows.  In this third part, we will look at how to install and the performance of using Linux (Ubuntu). The BIOS does not include an option to select Linux as a boot OS and a standard Ubuntu ISO written to a USB will not boot. So to install Ubuntu to the eMMC as dual-boot first it was necessary to respin a standard Ubuntu ISO using my ‘isorespin.sh’ script with the ‘–apollo’ option, and which after creating a LiveUSB using the ‘dd’ command was used to boot and install Ubuntu. First let’s remind ourselves of the hardware configuration by running some standard Linux commands:

This shows the memory will be dual-channel once the second slot (bank:1) is populated and also confirms that the eMMC 5.1 (mmc0) is running the faster HS400 interface. Headphones shows up as ‘Line Out’ …

MINIX NEO N42C-4 Mini PC Review – Part 2: Windows 10 Pro

MINIX NEO N42C-4 is the first Apollo Lake mini PC from the company, which also happens to be their first one with a fan, using internal antennas for WiFi and Bluetooth, and offering user-upgradeable storage and memory thanks to M.2 and SO-DIMM slots. The device also features three video output via HDMI 2.0, mini DiplayPort, and USB Type C  ports supporting up to three independent display. I’ve received a sample and already checked the hardware, and showed how to install an M.2 SSD and SO-DIMM RAM to the device in the first part of the review entitled  MINIX NEO N42C-4 Triple Display Capable Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown, so I’ll report my experience with Windows 10 Pro in the second part of the review, and there should also be a third part specifically dealing with Linux support. MINIX NEO N42C-4 Setup, System Info, BIOS The device is basically an update to MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro mini …

Intel Apollo Lake Windows 10 Benchmarks Before and After Meltdown & Spectre Security Update

So this week, there’s been a fair amount of news about Meltdown & Spectre exploits, which affects all major processor vendors one way or another, but especially Intel, and whose mitigations require operating systems and in some case microcode updates that decrease performance for some specific tasks. Microsoft has now pushed an update for Windows 10, and since I’m reviewing MINIX NEO N42C-4 mini PC powered by an Intel Pentium N4200 “Apollo Lake” processor, and just happened to run benchmarks before the update, so I decided to run some of the benchmarks again to see if there was any significant difference before and after the security update. First I had to verify I had indeed received the update in the “installed update history”, and Windows 10 Pro was updated on January 5th with KB4056892, which is what we want, so let’s go ahead. Benchmarks before Update PCMark 10 is one of my favorite benchmark since it relies on typical program …

Year 2017 in Review, Top 10 Posts, and Some Fun Stats

2017 is coming to an end, and as I do every year, I’ll take a look back at the year that was on CNX Software. The pace of development boards launches has not slowed down this year, and we get an even wider range from the low-end with Orange Pi or NanoPi boards, to much more powerful ARM boards, and some new entrants like Libre Computer. The same is true for TV boxes, most of which now support 4K HDR, ranging from ultra cheap models selling for less than $20 to higher end Android TV boxes, while mini PCs were dominated by Intel Apollo Lake models, although some Cherry Trail products were also launched. Processor-wise, Amlogic launched more Amlogic S905X derivatives with S905W/S905D/S905Z, which are popular in the TV box market. Rockchip’s most interesting processor this year was RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor designed for 4K HDR Android TV boxes, but also popular with single board computers thanks to …

What’s the Best Android TV Box (2017/2018 Edition)?

Since I was often asked which TV box to buy, I wrote a guide entitled “What’s the best Android TV box?” in April 2016. Time has passed, new products have launched, I tested more devices, and got further reader feedback, so it’s time for an update. There’s still no device that rules them all, and since everybody has different requirements and price points, what could the best Android TV box ever to one person, maybe be a piece of junk to another. Before purchasing a TV box, you should consider what you plan to do with it, and find the device with matches your needs and budget. So first, I’ll provide a list of things to look for – beside the SoC/RAM selection – before selecting three TV boxes that stand out (in no particular order), as well as alternatives worth looking at. Things to Look for The list is basically the same as last year, except I added two …

MINIX NEO N42C-4 Triple Display Capable Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

MINIX NEO N42C-4 mini PC was first unveiled last September at IFA 2017, as the first Apollo Lake mini PC from the company. The device has some interesting features like the possibility to upgrade the RAM thanks to two SO-DIMM slots, and storage via an M.2 SSD slot, and support for up to three display via HDMI 1.4, mini DisplayPort 1.2, and USB type C connector. Just like MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro model, the device is pre-loaded with an activated version of Windows 10 Pro, and includes a VESA mount. The company has now officially launched the device, with sales starting at the end of December for US$299.90 / 299.90 Euros on sites like Amazon [Update: NEO N42C-4 is now up for pre-order on GearBest]. MINIX has sent me a unit for review, so as usual, I’ll start by checking out of hardware, before testing Windows 10 Pro, system performance and stability in a separate post. MINIX NEO N42C-4 Unboxing …

MINIX NEO N42C-4 Apollo Lake Mini PC To Launch Soon with SO-DIMM and M.2 Slots

I’ve just completed MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro review, a Cherry Trail mini PC with Windows 10 Pro, but if you’d like something with a more recent and faster processor, the company will soon launch a MINIX NEO N42C-4 with an Apollo Lake processor, and upgradeable memory and storage. MINIX NEO N42C-4 preliminary specifications: SoC – Intel Pentium N4200 quad core “Apollo Lake” processor @ 1.10 / 2.50 GHz with 18 EU Intel HD Graphics 505 (6W TDP) System Memory – 4GB DDR3L SO-DIMM module (upgradeable to 8GB via 2x SO-DIMM slots) Storage – 32GB eMMC 5.1 flash, 1x 2280 M.2 SSD slot Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K @ 30 Hz, mini DisplayPort up to 4K @ 60 Hz, USB type C up to 4K @ 60 Hz(video only, no audio); supports for up to 3 independent displays Audio – Via HDMI, miniDP, 3.5mm audio combo jack Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.1 USB …