The slimmer, completely air-cooled Black Lab Briq Gen 5 mini-PC has Mac Mini-like specs and runs Black Lab Linux on a Core i3 or i5 CPU.
PC/OpenSystems has offered a commercial version of the Black Lab Linux distribution since 2007, and sponsors Black Lab Software, which sells the community version. The company has now released its fifth generation of the Black Lab BriQ mini-PC. The system is pre-installed with the commercial version of the Ubuntu-based Black Lab Linux, with prices starting at $450, including a three-year warranty.
Black Lab Briq (5th Generation)
(click image to enlarge)
The base system is available with a 1.7GHz Intel Core i3 CPU, and a Pro version moves up to a 1.7GHz Core i5. No model number was provided for the i3 chip, but the i5 on the Pro is listed as the Core i5-3337U, a dual-core processor from Intel’s 3rd Generation “Ivy Bridge” processors. This is the same model that runs on the MintBox 2 mini-PC from CompuLab and the Linux Mint project.
The base system is said to offer the same specs as Apple’s equally configured Mac Mini, which ships with 4th Generation “Haswell” Core CPUs. However, the Briq is said to offer a savings of over $300 compared to the Mac Mini.
Side view of Black Lab Briq with antennas
The 5th generation Black Lab BriQ has brought back the VGA port while retaining the HDMI port. The BriQ is now totally air‐cooled, and is claimed to reduce energy savings compared to the previous model by over 64 percent with the SSD drive option and 38 percent when using a SATA HDD.
The 5th Gen Black Lab BriQ is also 20 percent slimmer and has a chassis made of recycled and recyclable aluminum. The motherboards are 98 percent carcinogen free,” says PC/OpenSystems, which calls the BriQ is “the most environmental friendly system on the planet.”
The base system starts at $450 with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD, and moves to $515 with a 64GB solid state drive. The Core i5-based Pro system, meanwhile, starts at $775 with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, or $995 with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD.
No detailed specs were provided, but the photo shows six USB ports, an Ethernet port, audio jacks, and the aforementioned HDMI and VGA ports. Two antenna connectors are also available.
It’s unclear if the Briq is manufactured by Zotac, which was true of at least one of the earlier models. The 5th Gen Briq’s specs do not appear to match any of Zotac’s Zbox mini-PC models. More information on mini-PCs with pre-installed Linux may be found in this Linux.com post.
Black Lab Linux 7.0
Black Lab Linux, which was recently updated to version 7.0, is touted for its ease of use for Linux newbies. Based on Ubuntu, the open source Black Lab Linux supports 32- and 64-bit desktops.
Black Lab Linux
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Unlike Ubuntu, Black Lab Linux offers an XFCE desktop environment, and it supports a wide variety of multimedia formats including Quicktime and Windows Media. Prices range from $26 with 30 days support to $90 with a full year’s subscription. It is unclear which support package is provided with the Briq.
The 5th Gen Black Lab Briq appears to be available now, starting at $450. More information may be found at the PC/OpenSystems Black Lab Briq shopping page.