Utilite mini PC starts at $99, scales up to quad-core ARM and 512GB SSD

By on July 15, 2013, 11:30 AM

Truly affordable and compact computing devices aimed at education and do-it-yourself markets have taken off in recent months. Although Raspberry Pi is certainly the most popular example, similar initiatives include devices such as the ODroid-X, FXI Cotton Candy, BeagleBone Black and Via’s APC lineup. Now, Compulab is throwing yet another option into the ring, an ARM-based PC running Ubuntu called Utilite.

Measuring just 5.3 x 3.9 x 0.8 inches, the Utilite packs a single-, dual- or quad-core Freescale i.MX6 Cortex-A9 MPCore processor clocked at up to 1.2 GHz, a maximum 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and an mSATA SSD with up to 512GB of storage capacity. Connectivity and expansion options include Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, HDMI and DVI-D outputs, two Gigabit Ethernet sockets, four USB 2.0 ports, one micro-USB OTG connector, audio jacks (analog and S/PDIF), a micro-SD XD slot and two ultra-mini RS232 interfaces.

Compulab doesn’t specify how much of that will go into the base $99 model beyond saying the Utilite is capable of delivering rich multimedia and PC-like user experience, unlike a range of underpowered Android TV dongles on the market. The company also touts support for OpenGL ES, OpenVG and OpenCL EP plus multi-stream 1080p H.264 on-chip decoding -- all while consuming just 3-8W using a 10-16V supply.

On the software front, Utilite is capable of running either Ubuntu or Android. Liliputing's Brad Linder also notes Freescale offers far more documentation about its processors than most companies making ARM-based chips, which makes it much easier to run other GNU/Linux operating systems on the device.

The Utilite will be available this August and joins other tiny desktop computer offerings from Compulab, including the Fit PC, Trim Slice and the Linux Mint powered MintBox.




User Comments: 10

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Guest said:

These little PC's are nice but most lack 1 important thing. quality Audio

YEs they have HDMI 1080P support BUT the audio is one thing these mini pc's are lacking.

im still using my PS3 has a media server since it has the best video upscaling and great sound output for my Yamaha/Paradigm suround system

1 person liked this | howzz1854 said:

If you're serious about HTPC, you wouldn't use an internal audio card. you would pass the audio through HDMI and let your AVR do the work. having an audio card in the mix will just limit your sound system's potential.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

How come nobody offers top configuration on ARM? I would be very interested to see a similar box, but with something like Snapdragon 800 (8-core), 4GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, USB-3 ports, - something like that wouldn't cost much, or at least not more than modern smartphones cost, but would make an excellent alternative desktop with Android on board, so you can have it on a 24" touchscreen, which is also affordable now.

But nobody offers anything like this...

howzz1854 said:

How come nobody offers top configuration on ARM? I would be very interested to see a similar box, but with something like Snapdragon 800 (8-core), 4GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, USB-3 ports, - something like that wouldn't cost much, or at least not more than modern smartphones cost, but would make an excellent alternative desktop with Android on board, so you can have it on a 24" touchscreen, which is also affordable now.

But nobody offers anything like this...

I believe those specs would put the product at a $350~$500 range, which is in line for high end smart phone. but I think this article is referring to low cost media PCs.

I believe what you're referring to belongs to the mid grade HTPC crowd.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I believe those specs would put the product at a $350~$500 range, which is in line for high end smart phone. but I think this article is referring to low cost media PCs.

I believe what you're referring to belongs to the mid grade HTPC crowd.

Perhaps, but it would be awesome to have an Android on a big screen, and maybe even with Leap Motion when it comes out

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

You can put Android on the big screen already with your tablet using HDMI output. Android mini PC would solve some media issues with WTV devices. But these devices need more than 1GB of RAM though and this one has 4GB. I might get one and see how it goes.

Guest said:

Can it transcode? Nope? Didn't think so. =(

Guest said:

No usb 3.0? thx ill pass

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Can it transcode? Nope? Didn't think so. =(

No usb 3.0? thx ill pass

I'm not sure why you think those features would be included, while looking at a $99 base price for a PC.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

I am more interested in the Gigabit and HDMI for making it so I can watch WTV on other sets in the house without the need for full dual core desktop or laptop.

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