The Mini-PC Explosion

16l-boxA new genre, the Mini-PC is rising in importance in the market place. Current machines are supplied with Windows 10, usually installed on an internal eMMC solid state drive. Some can be dual booted with Android but none are supplied with Linux installed. Neither does the Linux community seem to support this segment of the market, yet.

The Mini-PC is based on either the Intel Bay Trail or Cherry Trail chip set, and the so called Atom processors. Intel seem to be using the Atom name to cover a wide range of CPUs aimed at the battery efficient Android market.

Some of the earlier Bay Trail CPU/chip set Mini-PCs are still on the market, at around £70 and provide excellent value for money, IMO. The newer Cherry Trail CPU/chip set Mini-PCs seem to be aimed at the media centre market.

Currently, the top of the range is the Intel Atom x7-Z8750 Processor that can run up to 2.56 GHz. Launched Q1’16, it will support 4GB RAM. The earlier CPUs will only address 2GB and their burst frequencies are lower but most seem very capable CPUs. You pay your money, up to £150 at present, and take your choice. My current system is based on a Quad Core x5-Z8300 running at 1.45Ghz with a burst frequency of 1.84Ghz and plays HD video very well. No, it is not a gaming machine, but does everything that I throw at it very well, using Xubuntu.

Some of the other systems currently for sale that I found on Amazon UK, are:

  1. MINIX NEO Z64-W, Intel Mini PC Windows 10 Edition. Intel Z3735F
  2. GULEEK i8S Pocket Mini PC Windows10 Android4.4 2GB/32GB, Bay Trail CR Z3735F, 1.33GHz, up to 1.83GHz
  3. Stoga Umin SVJ001 Windows 10 mini PC with 2MP Camera, Bay Trail Z3735F 1.8GHz, 2GB/32GB
  4. PowerLead Ptox P1030 Windows 10 Mini PC Bay Trail Z3735F 1.8GHZ 2GB/32GB 2MP Webcam
  5. DroidBOX Wintel W8 PRO Windows10 Mini PC 1.84ghz CPU Cherry Trail Z8300 2GB/32GB
  6. JUSTOP G-PC i10 Windows 10 Mini PC Intel X5 Quad Core Z8300 1.84Ghz 2GB/32GB Expandable With Extra SSD Bay
  7. Sumvision Cyclone Mini Micro PC 2 Windows 10 Cherry Trail Intel Quad Core x5-Z8300 1.84Ghz 2GB/32GB USB3.0 Launched Q2’15 4 Core
  8. Tronsmart Ara X5 Plus Windows 10 Cherry Trail Z8300 Quad Core 1.8G Gen 8 Graphics GPU 2G/32G 2.4Ghz/5Ghz LAN HDMI H.265 XBMC BT4.0 USB3.0
  9. Plater Beelink BT3 MINI PC 4K Intel Atom x5-Z8300 2GB/–40GB Local Disk(D:)–20GB
  10. Plater Beelink BT7 Windows Intel Atom x7-Z8700r 2M Cache DDR3 4GB/64GB