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Rugged mini-PC runs Linux on quad-core G-Series SoC

Feb 25, 2014  |  Eric Brown
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[Updated Feb. 26] — CompuLab announced a fanless mini-PC based on AMD’s quad-core, 2GHz G-Series SoC, and featuring dual gigabit Ethernet, dual HDMI, SATA, WiFi, and Bluetooth.

The “Pro” model of the Fit-PC4 uses AMD’s newer G-Series SoC, which integrates the controller chipset along with 28nm “Jaguar” x86 cores and improved Radeon 8000 graphics. The Pro uses the top-of-the-line quad-core, 2GHz, AMD GX-420CA model, enabling the mini-PC to score over 5000 in Geekbench 2 benchmarks. This is three times faster than the scores of its earlier Fit-PC3 mini-PCs, claims CompuLab. The Fit-PC3 uses AMD’s older dual-core G-Series APUs, which lack an integrated controller.



Fit-PC4 Value and Fit-PC4 Pro
(click image to enlarge)

A Fit-PC4 “Value” model is also available, which uses the similar A4-1250 “Temash” procesor. Like AMD’s similar “Kabini” SoC, it also features 28nm Jaguar cores in a fully integrated SoC. The A4-1250 is limited to dual 1GHz cores, but it features an 8 Watt TDP, compared to 25W for the quad-core GX-420CA.

Both the Pro and Value Fit-PC4 models supports up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM, four times the limit of the earlier computer. They also and offer a 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD bay, an mSATA port, and a microSD slot for storage.

Like CompuLab’s higher-end Intense PC line, which forms the basis for the MintBox 2, the Fit-PC4 adds a second gigabit Ethernet port. The Pro model offers the new dual-band 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 while the Value model gets by with 802.11n and Bluetooth 3.0. Both are equipped with an on-board uSIM for cellular communication, and one of the two Mini-PCI-Express slots can be used for a cellular modem.

Instead of the Fit-PC3′s HDMI and DisplayPort combination, the Fit-PC4 provides two HDMI ports, one of which provides CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) support, enabling multiple devices to be controlled from a single remote control. In addition to the usual stereo I/O, the computer supplies S/PDIF 7.1 audio inputs and outputs.



Fit-PC4 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The Fit-PC4 adds two USB 3.0 ports to the earlier six USB 2.0 ports, for a total of eight USB ports. There’s also CompuLab’s FACE mezzanine module interface, letting users add various peripheral mixes for specific applications. Presumably, CompuLab will once again offer preconfigured versions of the mini-PC, such as its earlier LAN, serial/CAN, USB/mSATA, and mini-PCIe FACE versions.

The Pro model measures 190 x 160 x 37mm, while the Value comes in 160 x 160 x 25mm. Both ship with a 5-year warranty. The initial models are “Barebones” configurations without an OS. Presumably, CompuLab will once again offer versions preconfigured for Linux or Windows. The systems are optionally available in models supporting temperature ranges as wide as -40 to +70°C, when equipped with SSD instead of HDD storage.

Specifications listed for the Fit-PC4 include:

  • Processor — AMD G-Series
    • Pro — GX-420CA SoC (4x Jaguar cores @ 2.0GHz) with Radeon HD 8400E graphics; 25W TDP
    • Value — A4-1250 APU “Temash” (2x Jaguar cores @ 1.0GHz) with Radeon HD 8210 graphics; 8W TDP
  • RAM — up to 16GB DDR3/DDR3L/DDR3U (via 2x SODIMMs)
  • Storage:
    • 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD bay
    • mSATA port
    • MicroSD slot
  • Wireless:
    • uSIM socket (Mini-PCIe slot supports cellular modem)
    • Pro — 802.11ac (2.4/5GHz, Intel 7260HMW); Bluetooth 4.0
    • Value — 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 3.0 + HS
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet ports (Intel i211)
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0
    • 6x USB 2.0
    • 2x HDMI 1.4a at up to 1920 x 1200 (1x with CEC)
    • S/PDIF 7.1 audio input and output
    • Stereo audio line-out, mic-in
  • Expansion:
    • Full-size MiniPCIe slot
    • Half-size MiniPCIe slot
    • CompuLab FACE module interface
  • Other features — 1-screw service door; optional heatsink ribbed casing
  • Dimensions:
    • Pro — 190 x 160 x 37mm
    • Value — 160 x 160 x 25mm
    • Passively cooled die-cast aluminum
  • Operating temperature:
    • Commercial — 0 – 50°C (HDD); 0 – 70°C (SSD)
    • Extended — -20 – 70°C (SSD only)
    • Industrial — -40 – 70°C (SSD only)
  • Power:
    • Input — unregulated 10 to 15 VDC
    • Consumption (at 12VDC) — Pro, 8 – 25W; Value, 5 – 11W

The still-available Fit-PC3 forms the basis for the Linux Mint-ready MintBox Basic and MintBox Pro. Last year, CompuLab also spun off a Fit-PC3i model specifically aimed at signage, surveillance, and telecommunications applications.

“Fit-PC3 gained excellent traction in signage, video surveillance and many other vertical markets where durability, functionality and modularity matter,” stated Irad Stavi, Chief Product Officer at CompuLab. “The performance boost and improved networking capabilities make Fit-PC4 an outstanding miniature fanless solution for demanding applications.”

 
Further information

The Fit-PC4 is available now starting at $299 for the Value-Barebone model or $380 for the Pro-Barebone model. More information may be found at the Fit-PC4 product page.
 

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