Friday, June 28th 2013

Compulab MintBox 2 Unveiled

Compulab's MintBox 2 unveiled, its second generation compact desktop that runs Linux Mint out of the box. While its first generation ran embedded chips such as AMD E-series "Zacate" APUs, MintBox 2 is much better equipped, with passively-cooled Intel Core i5 processors, that promise four times the performance as the previous generations. Our educated guess here is that Compulab must be using mobile dual-core variants, which would still be four times as fast as an E-series APU.

In addition to a faster processor, MintBox 2 will ship with at least 4 GB of dual-channel memory, a 500 GB hard drive, and two gigabit Ethernet interfaces. Measuring 190 x 160 x 40 mm, the metal body of MintBox 2 doubles up as a heatsink to cool the processor. Linux Mint 15 "Olivia" (possibly 64-bit) comes pre-installed. The MintBox 2 from Compulab is expected to start at US $599.

Source: FanlessTech
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24 Comments on Compulab MintBox 2 Unveiled

#1
Deadlyraver
Any information on available sound inputs????
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#2
james888
4 times as fast, 1.8 times as expensive.
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#3
TheinsanegamerN
imagine a core i7 4770r or a a10-5750m in that case :drool:
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#4
Deadlyraver
by: TheinsanegamerN
imagine a core i7 4770r or a a10-5750m in that case :drool:
I can already see this box filling the same duties as those CPUs. I think HTPC or a portable game server for LAN meets. Epic.
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#5
Solidstate89
I actually think an AMD APU would have better. Better GPU capabilities for HD decoding. Thing would have made a helluva an HTPC if it was a bit cheaper and had more balanced hardware.
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#6
xvi
I was saddened slightly when I realized it probably wouldn't ACTUALLY come filled with mints.

I have to agree with Solidstate89. To me, AMD makes more sense in the budget market.
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#7
Deadlyraver
by: xvi
I was saddened slightly when I realized it probably wouldn't ACTUALLY come filled with mints.

I have to agree with Solidstate89. To me, AMD makes more sense in the budget market.
Yeah, I agree too. I admittingly found the specs of this machine a bit overloaded with hardware. But if you want a decent HTPC now, just drag an old dual core machine back from the basement unless if you decode a ton.
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#8
crabtoad
What a little cutie...Mint is my favorite "out-of-the-box" distro currently, it's a great distro to cut your teeth on and doesn't have the spyware that Ubuntu does (even though it's forked from Ubuntu).

Nice and small @1.216L volume, decent specs for regular use, USB port for DAC/AMP, Looks like Intel HD4600 for graphics. Not Iris, but still a decent upgrade over Ivy's APU.

Yeah, this thing looks alright.
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#9
de.das.dude
Pro Indian Modder
4 times as fast and still crap at graphics.
i bet intel is running a scam which is why no one seems to be using AMD E2 1800s anymore
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#10
Fourstaff
by: Solidstate89
I actually think an AMD APU would have better. Better GPU capabilities for HD decoding. Thing would have made a helluva an HTPC if it was a bit cheaper and had more balanced hardware.
Since its passively cooled I think they will be running 17w parts. In this category whatever AMD has is not going to be much faster than Intel's offerings in terms of graphics, but Intel is going to completely crush AMD in CPU power. AMD gets the upper hand with graphics at 35w though, but that will necessitate a fan (however small and quiet) unfortunately.
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#11
crabtoad
by: TheinsanegamerN
imagine a core i7 4770r or a a10-5750m in that case :drool:
Those 5750m chips look like really nice low TDP APUs. I kinda recant what I said in praise about this box, I'd rather have a similar form-factor with killer integrated graphics. Usually I slant AMD for it's high TDP, but that's a really nice 35W chip.

How do those stack up against Iris or Iris Pro? I couldn't find any benchmarks/reviews including both of them. Probably because it's too soon, but just wondering.
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#12
TheinsanegamerN
by: crabtoad
Those 5750m chips look like really nice low TDP APUs. I kinda recant what I said in praise about this box, I'd rather have a similar form-factor with killer integrated graphics. Usually I slant AMD for it's high TDP, but that's a really nice 35W chip.

How do those stack up against Iris or Iris Pro? I couldn't find any benchmarks/reviews including both of them. Probably because it's too soon, but just wondering.
anandtech reviewed the iris pro, and has the a10-4600m in the benchmarks as well. typically, the iris pro is at least twice as fast as the 4600m, sometimes 2.5x as fast. great little chip, cant wait to get a laptop with it.
here is link:http://www.anandtech.com/show/6993/intel-iris-pro-5200-graphics-review-core-i74950hq-tested
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#13
TheinsanegamerN
by: de.das.dude
4 times as fast and still crap at graphics.
i bet intel is running a scam which is why no one seems to be using AMD E2 1800s anymore
or, it might be because the e2-1800's cpu performance is downright horrible, and is outclassed even by the pentiums. and the intel hd 4000 is about the level of the a8-4500m, and far above the e2, which is only mabye a third the speed of the a8. using the e2 over a passsive i5 would make no sense whatsoever in this case.
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#14
crabtoad
by: TheinsanegamerN
anandtech reviewed the iris pro, and has the a10-4600m in the benchmarks as well. typically, the iris pro is at least twice as fast as the 4600m, sometimes 2.5x as fast. great little chip, cant wait to get a laptop with it.
here is link:http://www.anandtech.com/show/6993/intel-iris-pro-5200-graphics-review-core-i74950hq-tested
Thanks a bunch for the link!

That thing is so crispy for an IGP... Can't wait to see mini-clients with one of those in it. If they put that thing in NUCs it'll dominate. I wonder if AMD has an ace in their sleeve still...

Could be a good year for Intel...I really wish AMD could offer something top-tier to make Intel compete more though :(.

edit:// What I see in Intel's sudden desire to put out a compelling APU: They're aware of the fact that AMD has trumped their APUs in the current generation of processors and are taking steps to correct this fact.
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#16
TheinsanegamerN
by: crabtoad
Thanks a bunch for the link!

That thing is so crispy for an IGP... Can't wait to see mini-clients with one of those in it. If they put that thing in NUCs it'll dominate. I wonder if AMD has an ace in their sleeve still...

Could be a good year for Intel...I really wish AMD could offer something top-tier to make Intel compete more though :(.

edit:// What I see in Intel's sudden desire to put out a compelling APU: They're aware of the fact that AMD has trumped their APUs in the current generation of processors and are taking steps to correct this fact.
supossedly, the kaveri chip will have the equivelent of an underclocked hd 7750, which would demolish the iris pro. but kaveri is being delayed, which i cant figure out why. the gpu is more than a year old, the process (tsmc 28mm) has been around for a long time, and has no supply issues. the only thing that i can think of is AMD is waiting for ddr4 memory to hit shelves, since a gpu of that power would never perform, even with the fastest ddr3 memory avaliable.
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#17
de.das.dude
Pro Indian Modder
by: TheinsanegamerN
or, it might be because the e2-1800's cpu performance is downright horrible, and is outclassed even by the pentiums. and the intel hd 4000 is about the level of the a8-4500m, and far above the e2, which is only mabye a third the speed of the a8. using the e2 over a passsive i5 would make no sense whatsoever in this case.
i was talking about the quad A10-4500m use in laptops. its 35W overall. so very much passively coolable with a good heatpipe and fin array.
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#18
crabtoad
by: de.das.dude
i was talking about the quad A10-4500m use in laptops. its 35W overall. so very much passively coolable with a good heatpipe and fin array.
Is this a typo? I can only find information regarding A8-4500M and A10-4600M.
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#19
crabtoad
by: TheinsanegamerN
supossedly, the kaveri chip will have the equivelent of an underclocked hd 7750, which would demolish the iris pro. but kaveri is being delayed, which i cant figure out why. the gpu is more than a year old, the process (tsmc 28mm) has been around for a long time, and has no supply issues. the only thing that i can think of is AMD is waiting for ddr4 memory to hit shelves, since a gpu of that power would never perform, even with the fastest ddr3 memory avaliable.
I think the reason that the new Intel chips have eRAM (I think it's called eRAM) is to circumvent the memory bottleneck you're referring to, and GDDR is used on graphics cards for similar graphics-specific high-bandwidth needs.

Could AMD not use their own solution in this vein? They're the other big graphics card manufacturer in the world, it doesn't seem too far fetched that they could get around it without higher speed DDR.

I would love to see AMD slay Intel in the HTPC/Mobile market in the next 12 months, especially since Intel has indicated their plan to phase out their desktop division(s) over the next [x] years.
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#20
de.das.dude
Pro Indian Modder
yes, typo. The a10 4600m.
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#21
crabtoad
by: de.das.dude
yes, typo. The a10 4600m.
Relevant review comparing some Iris Pro CPUs with AMD A10-4600M

All the mobile Iris Pro chips I know of are all 47W, which is spitting distance from the 35W AMD alternative:

i7-4950HQ
i7-4850HQ
i7-4750HQ

The benchmarks I saw in that review up above seem to indicate that Iris Pro 5200 nearly doubles performance for 12W higher TDP that the 4600M...AMD needs to counter.

After going on about processors for awhile...I realized this thread was supposed to be about the MintBox2. I think the APU used in this box isn't up to snuff for a desktop replacement or baller-grade HTPC, and I can't really justify the price tag. The compute performance is there but it can't play games (which are moving over to Linux more and more), which I assume at least some people would want to do in their livingroom.
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#22
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
To all those who wish this thing came with an AMD Trinity/Richland APU: No way you can cool a 65W~100W TDP chip with MintBox' case. This mobile Core i5 probably caps out at 23W.

by: de.das.dude
4 times as fast and still crap at graphics.
i bet intel is running a scam which is why no one seems to be using AMD E2 1800s anymore
And what do you do with non-crap graphics on Linux Mint? Play Battlefield 3?
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#23
crabtoad
by: btarunr
To all those who wish this thing came with an AMD Trinity/Richland APU: No way you can cool a 65W~100W TDP chip with MintBox' case. This mobile Core i5 probably caps out at 23W.



And what do you do with non-crap graphics on Linux Mint? Play Battlefield 3?
Eh, there are more and more games being ported over to Linux. Right now there's only a few titles on steam that would warrant any significant graphics muscle at all, but this seems to be changing as a trend. It also opens up the door for dual-booting into Windows to take advantage of DirectX.

That being said...Not sure what 100W TDP CPU was being discussed in here. Most of the conversation was regarding a 35W and the 47W Iris Pro Mobile SKUs. The Iris 5000 mobile processors seem to only be 15W and the 5100 are just a bit higher @28W.

Not trying to be argumentative, but wanting some graphics muscle at low TDP is desirable on an HTPC rig for several reasons.
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#24
TheinsanegamerN
by: btarunr
To all those who wish this thing came with an AMD Trinity/Richland APU: No way you can cool a 65W~100W TDP chip with MintBox' case. This mobile Core i5 probably caps out at 23W.



And what do you do with non-crap graphics on Linux Mint? Play Battlefield 3?
things like legend of grimrock, killing floor, half life 2 at 1080p (still a little much for hd 4000 to handle). also, for the record, amd has a 25 watt a10, the a10-4655m. I dont think much tinkering would be needed to fit a full 5750m in there though.
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