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Latest MintBox miniPC advances to Apollo Lake based FitLet2 foundation

Mar 26, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 933 views


The Linux Mint project unveiled a “MintBox Mini 2” mini-PC with Linux Mint 19 preloaded on a Compulab Fitlet2 with a quad-core Celeron J3455, up to 8GB RAM and 120GB SSD, dual GbE, wireless, and mini-DP.

For years, Compulab’s mini-PCs have offered pre-loaded Linux Mint, in addition to Windows and barebones options, and every few years the Linux Mint project comes out with its own Linux Mint branded versions. In 2016, there was the MintBox Mini Pro, based on a Compulab Fitlet-RM, which in turn ran on an AMD A10 Micro-6700T. Before that there was a 2015 MintBox Mini variation of the AMD A4 6400T based Fitlet.

Now the project has announced the $299 MintBox Mini 2 (4GB RAM/64GB SSD) and $349 MintBox Mini 2 Pro (8GB/128GB), which both move up to the Intel Apollo Lake based Fitlet2. The fanless, 112 x 84 x 34mm MintBox Mini 2 devices, which support -40 to 85°C operation, update the Mini and Mini Pro, respectively.



MintBox Mini 2
(click images to enlarge)

The MintBox Mini 2 and Mini 2 Pro are identical aside from their different RAM and storage. They offer several advantages over the original models, from doubling the GbE ports to advancing to 4K video. The announcement and the simplified spec charts below details specific comparisons between the generations.


MintBox Mini 2 comparison charts with older, AMD-based Mini (left) and Mini Pro models
(click images to enlarge)

Both Mint 2 models offer pre-installed Linux Mint 19 “Cinnamon” (with accompanying splash screen), on Intel’s quad-core Celeron J3455. This model was not included among the three Apollo Lake variants announced for the Fitlet2 last November. The Celeron J3455 is clocked to 1.5/2.3GHz, and offers Intel HD Graphics 500 and a 10W TDP.

The 64GB and 120GB SSDs listed for the MintBox Mini 2 and Mini 2 Pro, respectively, would appear to use the Fitlet2’s M.2 M-key storage interface. The Fitlet2 also provides optional eMMC or SATA 3.0 storage via a Compulab FACET card add-on, but these options require a riser on the bottom of the unit, which is not indicated in the photos. A microSD slot is also available.



MintBox Mini 2 (left) and Linux Mint supplied Geekbench 4 performance benchmarks comparing it to earlier models
(click images to enlarge)

The MintBox Mini 2 computers are further equipped with dual GbE ports and an Intel 8260 wireless chipset with WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2. It’s unclear if the antennas in the photo are standard or optional. You get HDMI 1.4a and mini-DisplayPorts, with to [email protected] or [email protected] playback, respectively.

There are four USB ports, with two front-facing USB 3.0 ports and two rear-facing USB 2.0 ports. Two 3.5mm audio jacks and a mini-RS232 port are also available.



Fitlet2 front and back detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Other Fitlet2 features that are not mentioned in the MintBox Mini 2 announcement include an S/PDIF 7.1 out interface, 9 to 36V DC input, and FACET I/O expansion. (See our Fitlet2 story for a full spec list.)


Airtop2

Compulab recently launched a higher-end Airtop2 mini-PC that runs Linux Mint on an Intel Kaby Lake chip. Compulab then launched a Kickstarter campaign for a gaming-oriented Airtop2 Inferno model, which did not meet its goal. Added Compulab: “We will make something better…”
 
Further information

The $299 MintBox Mini 2 (4GB RAM/64GB SSD) and $349 MintBox Mini 2 Pro (8GB/128GB) are expected to be available in June. More information may be found in the Linux Mint project’s MintBox Mini 2 announcement.
 

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