Popular Linux distribution Linux Mint has announced it is to expand into hardware sales by joining forces with Israeli-based, energy-efficient computer solutions provider CompuLab to sell its own Mint branded computers with the operating system pre-installed and ready to use out of the box.

"We're passionate about what we do and for our very first Mint device, we wanted something unique, something special and extraordinary. The mintBox is Mint in a box. It's tiny, it's silent, it's extremely versatile and it comes packed with connectivity," they announced on their official blog.

Both models come with a two year warranty and feature a die-cast metal case which they say acts as a massive heatsink with a footprint smaller than a DVD case. The basic model has a smooth top, whereas the pro model has a ribbed effect top cover, otherwise they both look more like a router than a desktop PC.

The mintBox has impressive connectivity options for its small size, with 8 USB ports offered, four on the front, and four on the rear, two of which are USB 3.0 ports. Also present is ethernet, WiFi, bluetooth as well as HDMI and DisplayPort connections capable of running dual displays.

Prices start at $476 (before shipping) for the basic model, which comes with a 250GB hard disk, 4GB DDR3 RAM, the flat metal case and AMD's G-Series Fusion APU G-T40N dual-core which runs at 1.0 GHz with a Radeon HD 6290, all of which consumes just 17W at full load.

The mintBox Pro comes in at $549 and doubles the RAM to 8GB, increasing the power output at full load to 24W with the inclusion of AMD's G-Series G-T56N APU dual-core running at 1.65 GHz with a Radeon HD 6320.

For those that would like to upgrade the memory or hard disk, they'll be pleased to see both can be easily accessed from underneath by removing a cover with a screwdriver. It can also be VESA mounted using the optional mounting kit from CompuLab, and the case also features a Kensington lock for additional security.

It comes with the distributions Linux Mint 13 release with Cinnamon fully functional, as well as full 3D effects without any additional configuration required. Both models are available for purchase on CompuLab's website, with 10% of the proceeds of every sale going to Linux Mint.