Sunday, 6 March 2016

The cost of converging mini PC and barebone PCs


Will the next round of Cherry Trail mini PCs be just too expensive as Linux boxes?

Initially I compared the Tronsmart Ara X5 with the ECS Liva X2 using the Intel Compute Stick as a baseline. The performance and functionality improvements showed that for only $20 extra the Braswell SOC coupled with the extra USB 3.0 and Gigabit LAN was much better than the Cherry Trail device.

Which led me to then compare against the Intel NUC (see the table I've created showing key highlights). Whilst the NUC is barebones, I already have spare RAM and SSD and I want Linux and not Windows, so the price now becomes relevant. And the NUC is extendable. So for a Linux box, I think we are now at the convergence point between cheap mini PCs and barebone PCs. Where the tendency for mini PCs is to increase in price for improved functionality, barebone PCs are getting cheaper and better.

My conclusion is that for Linux boxes the next round of Cherry Trail mini PCs will be too expensive and that barebone PCs are now viable.




Reference Links

Intel Compute Stick benchmarks: http://www.anandtech.com/show/9167/intel-compute-stick-reviewTronsmart Ara X5 benchmarks: http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/08/24/review-of-tronsmart-ara-x5-windows-10-mini-pc-with-intel-atom-x5-processor/http://hometheatrelife.com/tronsmart-ara-x5-review-windows-10-cherry-trail/ECS Liva X2 benchmarks: http://www.anandtech.com/show/9554/ecs-liva-x2-review-a-compact-fanless-braswell-pcNUC NUC5CPYH benchmarks: http://nucblog.net/2015/07/braswell-nuc-nuc5cpyh-review-windows-performance/Linux benchmarks (Z3735F vs N3050): http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel-celeron-n3050

Pricing Links

Intel Compute Stick: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA24G36F9195&cm_re=intel_compute_stick-_-83-800-004-_-Product
Tronsmart Ara X5: http://www.geekbuying.com/item/Tronsmart-Ara-X5-Windows-10-TV-Box-Cherry-Trail-Z8300-Quad-Core-1-8G-Gen-8-Graphics-2G-32G-2-4Ghz-5Ghz-351938.html
ECS Liva X2: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856501013
NUC NUC5CPYH: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856102140&cm_re=NUC5CPYH-_-56-102-140-_-Product
Kingston 2GB RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820239853&cm_re=SODIMM_2GB-_-20-239-853-_-Product
Mushkin 60GB SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226677


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