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Intel Core i5 CPU update sweetens MintBox mini-PC

Jun 28, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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The Linux Mint project and CompuLab announced an updated version of their MintBox mini-PC, which comes with Linux Mint pre-installed. The MintBox 2 switches to a faster Intel Core i5 processor, doubles the storage to a 500GB HDD, adds a second gigabit Ethernet port, and bumps the price up to $599.

CompuLab and the Linux Mint project announced their first MintBox collaboration in May 2012. For the initial models, CompuLab loaded the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint distro onto two of its Fit-PC3 mini-PCs, giving 10 percent of the proceeds to the Mint project. Presumably the same deal goes for the MintBox 2, on which both partners have narrowed their profit margins, according to the announcement on the Linux Mint project’s blog.



MintBox 2 runs the popular Linux Mint OS
(click image to enlarge)

 

The MintBox 2 is a customized version of CompuLab’s Intense PC rather than of the Fit PC, on which the MintBox Basic and Pro are based. Like the earlier MintBox models, the MintBox 2 is implemented as a rugged, fanless, 7.5 x 6.3 x 1.57-inch (190 x 160 x 40 mm) design. However, it switches from dual-core AMD processors to an Intel Core i5 CPU, presumably of the previous 3rd Generation “Ivy Bridge” variety, rather than the new 4th Generation “Haswell” CPUs. As indicated in the comparison table below, the new MintBox 2 earned a 7541 score on the partners-supplied Geekbench benchmarks, compared to 1615 for the MintBox Pro and 1077 for the MintBox Basic, making the new model about four times faster than the Pro.

Comparison of MintBox models

MintBox Basic MintBox Pro MintBox 2
CPU AMD T40 AMD T56 Intel Core i5
RAM 4GB 8GB 4GB
Hard drive 250GB 250GB 500GB
Ethernet Gigabit Gigabit Dual Gigabit
Warranty term 1 year 1 year 5 years
Geekbench score 1077 1615 7541
Price $476 $549 $599

 

Additional changes include doubling the size of the hard drive to 500GB and adding a second gigabit Ethernet port. The MintBox 2 stays with the 4GB of RAM provided by the Basic rather than the 8GB offered by the Pro. Also, the system’s warranty has been increased, from one to five years.

While the MintBox Basic and MintBox Pro come in standard and ribbed enclosures, respectively (see photos below), the MintBox 2 will have a ribbed case, according to the preliminary photo released by the partners.



MintBox Basic and Pro have standard and ribbed cases, respectively
(click image to enlarge)

 

The next pair of photos shows the front and rear views of CompuLab’s standard Intense PC, under the assumption that the MintBox 2 will be similar, other than being branded with the Linux Mint logo on the front panel.



CompuLab Intense PC front and back views
(click images to enlarge)

 

We’ll forego a full feature list until we see the final product. However, in the mean time we’ve shown the block diagram of CompuLab’s standard Intense PC below, again based on the assumption that the customized MintBox 2 version will likely implement a similar set of features. (CompuLab currently offers



CompuLab Intense PC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

 

For its OS, the Mint project hints that the MintBox 2 might run the new Linux Mint 15 (“Olivia”) distribution, which was released in May.

One nice thing about open source projects is they generally explain why they made certain decisions. According to the Linux Mint project’s MintBox 2 announcement, if they had gone with Core i7 instead of the Core i5, the price would have jumped $200, but with only an additional 5 percent performance gain.

Neither the Linux Mint project nor CompuLab is saying when the MintBox 2 will ship, but they say it will once again be available on Amazon, as well as at CompuLab. More information on MintBox 2 may be found on the Linux Mint project’s MintBox 2 announcement page, and more details regarding the original MintBox models can be found on the MintBox page of CompuLab’s website.
 

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

2 Responses to “Intel Core i5 CPU update sweetens MintBox mini-PC”

  1. boxofrox says:

    Your table of specs is misformatted.

    MintBox Basic AMD T40
    MintBox Pro AMD T56
    MintBox 2 Intel Core i5

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