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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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 …

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Beelink X45 Basic/Premium NUC Clone Launched for $220 and Up

Beelink X45 SSD HDD

Last week, we started to read about Beelink X series mini PCs powered by Gemini Lake processors, and with a design similar to Intel NUC mini PCs. Three models will be available at first with Beelink X45 Basic/Premium based on Intel Celeron J4105 processor with respectively 4GB/64GB and 6GB/128GB RAM/storage configurations, and Beelink X55 with a more powerful Intel Pentium Silver J5005 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD. The Beelink X45 models have now showed up on GearBest with pricing starting at $219.99 shipped, but you can bring that down to just under $200 with GBmidyear2018 coupon. Beelink X45 Premium model sells for $259.99 before applying any coupon. [Update: Banggood lists Beelink X45 for $172.99 shipped] Beelink X45 Standard/Premium specifications: SoC – Intel Celeron J4105 quad core Gemini Lake processor clocked @ 1.50 GHz / 2.50 GHz (Turbo) with Intel UHD Graphics 600; 10W TDP System Memory / Storage X45 Standard – 4GB LPDDR4, 64GB eMMC flash, 2.5″ SATA …

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