The MintBox 2 is now available and can be ordered from CompuLab at http://fit-pc.com/web/products/mintbox/
The MintBox 2 will also soon become available from Amazon.com and Amazon.de for US and European customers.
Overview of the MintBox 2
The MintBox 2 is a mini-computer which connects to TVs or computer monitors via HDMI or DisplayPort. It comes with 8 USB ports as well as in/out audio jacks, eSATA, Ethernet, Wifi and Bluetooth so you can connect it easily to any network or device.
The unit feels very special and very unique. It’s small, about the size of a router, so it fits behind your keyboard, your TV and it’s easy to bring with you anywhere you go.
It’s extremely sturdy and completely silent. There is no plastic, the case is entirely made of solid die-cast aluminum and acts as a heat sink, so there are no fans inside of it.
It boasts 4 times the processing power of the previous generation and comes with a 5 years warranty.
The MintBox 2 shines by its versatility. Its form-factor provides a fantastic compromise between desktop computing and mobility. It’s as if your desktop environment could come with you. A desk, a chair and a large screen is all you need. Connect a full size keyboard to the unit and there you are: operational and fully productive anywhere you go.
The MintBox 2 was previewed in June: http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=2383 . We’ll soon post a full in-depth review.
CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-3337U Processor (dual-core 64 bit, 3M Cache, 1.80 GHz up to 2.70 GHz, 17W TDP)
Integrated GPU: Intel® HD Graphics 4000 with dynamic frequency up to 1.1 GHz
Chipset: Mobile Intel® HM76 Express Chipset
Memory: 4 GB DDR3 upgradable up to 16 GB
Main storage: Internal 500 GB 2.5” hard disk (upgradable)
Operating system: Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” 64 bit
Extra storage: mSATA socket + 2x eSATA ports
Display: HDMI 1.4a 1920 x 1200 + DisplayPort 1.1a 2560 x 1600 dual-head
Audio: S/PDIF 7.1 channels + stereo line-out / mic
Networking: 2x Gbit Ethernet
Wireless networking: 802.11b/g/n dual antenna up to 150 Mbps + Bluetooth 4.0
USB: 2x USB 3.0 + 6x USB 2.0
Serial: RS232 full-UART
Expansion: Full-size mini-PCIe (shared with mSATA) + half-size mini-PCIe (used for WLAN)
Enclosure: Passively cooled fanless die-cast aluminum case
Dimensions: 19 cm (w) x 16 cm (l) x 4 cm (h)
Input voltage: 10V – 15V DC (12V PSU 100V-240V AC included)
Power consumption: 10W – 26W
Operating temperature: 0°C – 50°C
Warranty: 5 years (2 years for the hard disk)
- To order the MintBox 2: http://fit-pc.com/web/purchasing/order-mintbox/
- Product page: http://fit-pc.com/web/products/mintbox/
- Full specifications: http://fit-pc.com/web/products/mintbox/mintbox2-specifications/
Sounds seriously cool, especially if the price is right. But for a device like this, wouldn’t a SSD type of disk be better suited?
If you’re making it fanless and passively cooled, it would be annoying to have all that potential wasted on a mechanical disk causing noise.
Besides, if there were no moving parts, this would make for heckuva portable computer. With a fragile disk, you might not want to bring it along as much as you otherwise would.
Just my 2 cents.
Edit by Clem: Yes. For some people definitely. I think it depends on the usage. The price goes towards a silent SSD or more disk space via mechanical HDD. I use the MintBox for desktop computing on the move (versions coming out in November ~ Mint 16, 14, 12.. are traditionally designed in France), for me it’s all about compilation, virtualization and testing so I need the space more than the SSD. If you value complete silence and performance over disk space though, note that the compartment can be opened with a traditional screwdriver so the HDD can be swapped for an SSD.
Good news. 🙂 The packaging and finish looks absolutely great. Wishing all success for new mint box.
I’m from India and with the current $ – Rs exchange rate almost touching all-time high, it is pretty much out of my budget, right now. Hoping that I grab one in few months.
Not sure if these replies are ever read, but 2 quesetions:
1. Why are there 2 ethernet ports? This is not a criticism, but I don’t get the use case. I assume there is a reason that they manufacture them this way, but the reason is escaping me.
2. This device looks like a gaming console. 4 of the usb ports could easily be used as controllers. While the specs look good and appropriate for what it is, is moving to a gaming-centered device a future goal?
I’ve been looking for a small set-top box that I can plug in an external hard drive and watch some of my favorite DVD rips using my favorite Linux Distro. My laptop is running Linux Mint 13 Maya and I love it. My desktop is running Mint 15 Olivia Cinnamon 64 bit, and again, I love using it.
Is it just like Mac Mini ?
You guys need to team up with someone for a low cost box as this is just too expensive for what it is.
@ Clem – Just a minor correction needed in the article.
In the Overview, it states that the case is die-cast iron.
But in the Specifications, it states that it is die-cast aluminum.
Hi looks good but how much it’s the cost, thanks.
@labatts I believe the dual ethernet ports are useful for clustering computers and small boxes like these are great for quick and easy mini clusters. I also agree that it looks like a gaming console :).
labatts – I’m assuming the 2 NIC’s are so that you can use it as a firewall or router, or to connect to 2 separate networks.
Yes these specs are cool indeed !
The previous version had just awful specs.
I like it
would be cool if there are video review,i found nothing on youtube
Too expensive!!! This product isn`t interesting
Wow, that little box packs quite the punch. I’ve been looking for a nice little Linux machine I can use at home. This little thing may just fit the bill.
Addressing question 1. Several uses for multiple ethernet ports, especially when dealing with virtual machines and/or travel. Would also be a great bare metal firewall for high throughput connections with advanced features (VPN, QoS, forward proxy, etc…) or even to test server applications before committing them to your real hardware.
May have to pick one of these up – great specs!
Looking really great! Buying one!
This might be an excellent server device for countries with unstable electrical power, like those in West Africa. With a consumption of <= 26W and a five-year warranty, it should be possible to set it up on a small solar panel with battery and have it run 24/7.
I really like this! I use my computer for application and web development, graphics design and artwork, writing, a little gaming, surfing on the web, watching HD movies, and listening to music. I’m curious to whom this little beast is intended for?
Only 26W power consumption maximum? It almost seems unbelivably low when the CPU is working at full steam.
Congratulations! I think thats this wonderful device is the most reasonable option to average desktop user. Small, transportable, fast, reliable, cheap… I see in this amazing little box the future of desktop computing, with the best, by far, current desktop OS.
Thanks Linux Mint community and Compulab.
Stand by for one fewer on the shelf.
So is the case made of iron or aluminium? The article says both. My guess is aluminium.
Edit by Clem: Sorry, my mistake. It’s aluminium indeed. I’ll edit the article.
Dual ethernet ports? Woohoo! Instant server!!
Instead of purchasing proprietary (expensive) dedicated appliances this could be very handy for a NAS or Webserver or all kinds of things..
Velcro it to the back of a large monitor & you have no big loud box on your desk at all..
I would definetly pull out the presumably slow lap top type hard drive & throw in a SSD. All our data is housed on a NAS or cloud. Given up on keeping data on isolated pc’s.
The price is very reasonable when you louuk at its specs closely.
So nice to have a better alterantive to a Mac Mini with iits extorionate pricing for RAM & HDD/SSD!
Please update mint-flashplugin, linux flash gets security updates for a reason. I would install flashplugin-installer but I must remove mint-flashplugin and mint-meta-codecs and I don’t wanna mess up my production system. LM 13 Maya MATE 😀
Looks like the Best of many Worlds,
Linux, Ubuntu, Thin Clients, Solutions for Small Biz and Linuxmint!
On the Other Hand this is a very Volatile Industry and Even Apple Iphone is Changing, Dell Re-owned and MS Takeover of Nokia for just a few of Big News.
One example from the Past in France there was Government Sponsorship of Minitel way before Internet got Commercial in 1995, Later Minitel was converted to Regular Internet and Minitel has been Forgotten.
Most People do not know that wikipedia works on Ubuntu Server for some years now.
The previous MintBox wasn’t that good. So I decided to build a DIY based on Akasa Euler and a sandy bridge on an intel mini itx mobo. It costed me almost 1000 USD (but I used a Samsung 840 SSD).
Now MindBox 2 looks marvelous. I feel bad that I couldn’t wait for the release. It also has a wifi and bluetooth and front panel usb’s, which my DIY does not have. This baby has got all it takes to conquer the market. I wish you luck. Do some good advertising.
Please offer a good SSD as an option. People will appreciate a box with no moving parts and a 3-5 sec boot time.
How about perinstalling XBMC (with Aeon Nox skin) on Mint. Or at least provide instructions how to do so.
It looks good, will it be available outside the United States?
Edit by Clem: Yes. Here are the details for pricing and availability:
– From CompuLab (for customers Worldwide): $599 + duty + VAT + shipping. Available now.
– Amazon.com (for US customers): $599. Available by end of September.
– Amazon.de (for European customers): $599 + duty + VAT. Available in October.
Congratulations. I just feel it’d be more appropriate to use LMDE than Linux Mint 15, because this should work and be supported for a long time.
I think if the price was around $399.99USD, I would purchase it today. I bet your volume would be VERY high as well. For $599USD, you are making people look at a BeagleBoardBlack or other alternatives I have yet to see. That is the price HIGHER than that of one of those Win-Pad thingys that’s a computer with a screen. I think the Marketing department missed on this one. Good luck in the 2014 season!
Why is it that from-the-factory Linux computers have only Intel hardware? You guys bitch about Windows’ monopoly on Operating Systems, yet gleefully use hardware from a company that has used every dirty trick in the book to suppress their rival (AMD). There’s an ideological inconsistency, here.
For the record, I am using Mint 15 Cinnamon, but I’m not a die-hard Linux nerd.
Edit by Clem: CompuLab choses the best components to come up with the best unit at the lowest possible price. They’re not interested in hitting the budget market but costs and performance are nonetheless key here. Another factor is power consumption and heat. With the i5 they came up with a unit that was 4 times more powerful than the previous generation at roughly the same price. So that alone, is an achievement. On our side, we also welcomed the idea to migrate to Intel hardware as it meant the unit no longer needed fglrx. When it comes to the company itself, we’ve a good relationship with Intel and we’re working with them on a separate project.
Yeah they need to offer SSD enabled versions, think they just wanted to get the price and product out there 1st, and then the SSD more pricey models later.
Hopefully it can be opened and have an SSD installed inside…..
Its a lovely and tempting box indeed, love the line in also.
I take it one can install ubuntu or another linux os on this or even windows ?
Also does not state if it comes with an vesa mount, velcro or taping it to the bank of a monitor is bit too cheesey!
Edit by Clem: To upgrade the RAM or switch the HDD, you can open the bottom compartment with a standard screwdriver. The case features a Kesington lock and there are 4 small dents underneath for it to be mounted on a VESA mount bracket (which will be sold separately by CompuLab). It run Linux Mint 15, but you can install any other operating system on it.
Initially I was on board. Then I found out that Mintbox is manufactured by CompuLab whose headquarters are located in Yokneam, Israel with offices in St. Petersburg, FL.
Edit by Clem: Hi. CompuLab is indeed based in Israel and the USA and you are perfectly entitled to your opinion. As much as we’d love for everybody in the World to lay down their weapons and focus on constructive positive activities such as the creation of new and exciting IT gadgets like this one, we don’t do politics. You can look at CompuLab and see a company based in a country you don’t want to support, or you can look at them and imagine what the country would be like if all Israeli and Palestinians alike were as creative and constructive as they are. We’ve a great relationship with CompuLab and we really enjoy working with them. We’re all human and sometimes we get our emotions divide us on controversial topics, but when it comes to Linux Mint we’re only interested in one thing: do better and enjoy our passion for computing. We share that with CompuLab. If you believe in peace, you need to see beyond borders and welcome people for who they are and what they do, not judge them based on where they come from.
Admin note: Political comments usually get moderated. I removed the second part of this comment as it was purely about Israel and Palestine and had nothing to do with CompuLab.
Looks great, and I will get one as soon as one of my current desktops needs replacement.
What would be appreciated by me and many others would be a version with an EMPTY hard disk slot and EMPTY RAM slots.
This will allow the users to put in the devices they want- I larger HDD, an SSD, or 16 GB of RAM for example. This way we don’t have to waste money on the parts that ship with the box: 2×2 GB RAM and a 500 GB HDD.
Honestly, I have many of such spare parts (small RAM modules and 500 GB HDDs) laying around unused, simply because they are not needed anymore.
Edit by Clem: Hi Peter. CompuLab also sell barebones units, not for the MintBox 2, but with similar specs and with the same case as “Intense PC”.
Sucks $600, I will never be able to buy one of these.
Can it be operated with a rechargeable battery? It sounds very innovative, but that’s no surprise to me as I am getting used to that with Linux Mint.
Edit by Clem: Hi David, I’m not sure at all. I don’t think so. I’d suggest you check with CompuLab to make sure.
just how cool does it run when the air temp down here in Turkey is 38C-42C in the summer. Looks like a bit of a cooker. Maybe we would need to run a fan onto it? Has anyone tried one at these temps and seen the cpu temperature?
We have problems with plc.s in machinery down here.
Also air temp in winter is minus in the office.Guess the unit should be left running.
a Cutebox(tm)? reservations aside
Edit by Clem: There is a security mechanism to shut-down the CPU when it approaches 105C. DeltaT between case and CPU is 20-25C under load. There is also a throttling mechanism that kicks in at CPU temp of 85C, which nearly always prevents system shut-down.
I’m not infatuated with the enclosure design. I don’t want to carry around something made of iron that doesn’t have a screen or a keyboard. I would rather have a fan and an SSD drive, then a hip-looking box with a storage medium that has given me decades of grief. No thanks.
Cool idea, but I wouldn’t pay 600 dollars for it. Why does it cost so much if it runs an open-source OS?
Edit by Clem: The OS costs 5% and CompuLab’s margin is also very low. It costs money mostly because it’s small, full of connectivity and features and because it’s silent and consumes low power. It’s quite hard to find and integrate components suitable to design such a unit. In a desktop tower for instance, size, noise, energy consumption don’t matter and you can use any budget components from the market. Components also cost more as the MintBox 2 is not mass-produced. If you compare it to say an Apple smartphone or a Dell laptop where components are bought in batches and millions of units go get produced somewhere in China, these companies pay their components cheaper obviously, but also their workforce and even their taxes… the bigger these companies are the cheaper their production costs get. Linux Mint is basically handmade and CompuLab doesn’t mass produce its units.
My fit PC3 has been great with a SSD drive. Still running Linux Mint 12. I wanted a silent computer for multimedia. I wanted something robust and reliable to get a long life out of it. If you get a new computer every couple of years to just stay at the cutting edge its not great for you. If you want something to last, that is not wasteful of materials or electricity and doesn’t cost you when OSes are upgraded; this is for you (and me!). It does everything I need at home. I can watch films on my projector, play music, everything. The new one is even more powerful. But I probably won’t need a new one unless I get into power gaming, running large databases or editing video. The new model is probably fine for those too. The 5 year warranty says it all.
Certainly a good spec, has all I need. I am using Linuxmint 15 at this time with multiple boot options for other OS’s. will be about £400 or more in the UK if its $600. But my dual core amd 64 working well after several years. So cannot Justify the Cash, apart from down sizing physically from Huge Tower. I have a bespoke ITX system I built for comms use, a dual core 1.6ghz Atom. Certainly cheaper to buy a new case HI. Even SSD’s are reasonable price now. Yet I spent £130 on a 1GIG Quantum Hard disk nearly 20 years ago along with £25 per 256k memory sim, so cannot complain about todays price.
But two things bother me:
– the lack of CPU choice
– too pricey
This what I usually do on my PC: transcode videos, virtualize operating systems, run a LAMP stack, SSH, heavy browsing and other stuff. I have a Core i3-3225 (Ivy Bridge) with Intel HD4000 GPU and it fits my needs very nicely. If they would offer an i3 version for $400 I would consider it for my next purchase. Sure, I could also give up on bluetooth, second gigabit LAN, the serial port and I could definitely live with only 4 USB ports.
So being unable to choose custom configurations is disappointing. I know it’s not easy to make everyone happy, but it’s way too easy for me to say “it packs more than I actually need so it doesn’t make sense to pay for all that”. It would be even lower-power if it didn’t come with the stuff I mentioned, so they would have an even more interesting product to offer and we would have real options to consider. If they are “handmaking” these products then it would virtually cost the same to produce something lower-power and in the end cheaper, more available for end users. I hope they will consider this.
this reads fine and with $ 599, also the price seems fair. I read, that a 64bit LinuxMint will be installed. But – and that’s now my question – which version of LinuxMint will be installed??
One more question: can this price also be paid in other currencies like Euro??
Edit by Clem: Yes, the conversion would be done via Paypal/Amazon I assume. At the moment the MintBox 2 ships with Linux Mint 15 MATE 64-bit pre-installed in OEM mode (i.e. when you first boot it it asks you for your username, locale, password etc..). Note that you can install any other edition/OS via USB.
This is great! I’m not going to be in the market for this sort of thing until my setup dies, but I’ll definitely keep this in mind. It’s great to see how much improvement there’s been from Mintbox 1 to 2.
Also thanks for mentioning that you can get similar setups from compulab:
If I were ordering today, I’d probably need to go with them simply because I would like an SSD and more RAM. Possibly you guys will be offering such options with the Mintbox by the time I’ll be in the market (though I understand the need to keep things simple).
Regardless thanks again for an awesome hardware solution to accompany an awesome software solution. Great work!
thanks for the hint to the barebone intense PC as an alternative.
However, I’m very much confused about pricing:
Mint Box 2 (500 GB HDD, 4 GB RAM): 599 USD
Intense PC Business i5 Barebone: 641 USD
Intense PC Business i5 Linux (500 GB HDD, 8 GB RAM): 789
From what I can see on the CompuLab website, the technical specs are identical for these three devices, except RAM and HDD. So I wonder why the Mint Box 2 is still cheaper than the corresponding barebone- there has to be some difference that I’m missing?
Edit by Clem: I’m not really sure as we’re not involved in the other SKUs. It was important for CompuLab and Linux Mint to get under the $600 bar for the MintBox 2 and both of us halfed our margins to do so.
Wow! This looks very, very cool. One question: can these systems dual-boot? I’d love to use it with some version of Linux and Windows 7 / 8. (Not that I’m super happy to need Windows, but, there it is…)
Edit by Clem: Yes. You can install any combination of operating systems via USB and set up a dual-boot or even a multi-boot.
Very tempting one – I’m using an old mini tower desktop (originally XP Pro operated) with my Sony 32″ TV. Mint 15 gave second life to that old tired machine. As a media center type of use there is only one downside: some of the TV channels/media companies use MS Silverlight in their web services (the latest version of course) and Moonlight for Linux is outdated.
The Mintbox2 specs are OK but how about the software? Have to connect my MS7 laptop to my TV still (like I’m doing now-a-days)? Or there another way to fix that Silverlight thing.
I’m more or less p’n’p type a guy and don’t have that passion to fiddle around with the operating system/settings/terminal
Nice specs. But a bit expensive 🙁
Great development, but I would definitely choose as storage device with the best of both worlds: a hybrid drive! Like the Seagate 1TB.
I don’t think it’s much more expensive compared to traditional HDD and adds a lot of space and speed!
Hi Clem – Your reasons for deciding upon Mate may have valid reasons and justified. Pray tell us some of them? For such good h/w config, i thought Cinnamon also would run well and may have been a better choice as a better desktop? I know we could install the DE we want still..
I was about to place an order through my friend returning to India from Dec after a week but looks like Florida office does not have stock yet and heard Israel has long weekend. BTW, Compulab staff are very prompt in their responses on the MintBox2 G+ page.
Edit by Clem: We are neutral between the two editions and both are considered flagship products. Cinnamon is very promising, a little more popular but also less mature. The stability argument is less of a concern since Cinnamon is known to work well on the MintBox 2 and the hardware is known. To be completely honest, I would probably have chosen Cinnamon (I’m a little biaised though I do enjoy both DEs), CompuLab initially chose MATE and we were happy with that. Of course when Mint 16 is out the DE installed by default might get upgraded and by then it could switch to Cinnamon. I think both editions do a great job and we’re very proud of them.
above post…Dec should have been DC (Washington)…
The concept is nice for a setup box. However, I would be concerned about using a “passively cooled fanless” small enclosure.
The Intel i5 CPUs can generate considerable heat. With the large CPU cooler that normally is required by Intel i3/i5/i7 CPUs, this will actually restrict air-flow inside of a small case.
Another temperature concern: They used “internal SATA HDD+SSD”. There’s not much description. If a 2.5″ laptop-like HDD is used inside the case instead of an SSD, then that’s another heat generator.
Usually, one needs at least one case fan to to provide adequate air-flow for the motherboard and the system components.
This small enclosure, Intel i5 CPU + cooler, and the HDD might make heat management a challenge. Call me a “worry-wort” but I have been forced to make assembly/re-assembly decisions before.
Has anyone see a box tear-down with a performance review of MintBox 2? Someone like one of the analysts at http://www.anandtech.com/ could provide a good review.
How easy would it be to make these operate like a embedded read-only thin client? These seem like the perfect Windows thin client replacement.
That looks SICK. It’s out of my budget though. If it was around $400 I’d snap one up quick. I’d much rather have a 16gb SSD and a cheaper price.
is there a recommended keybord? (Wireless I guess) Or can every keyboard be installed to Linux mint? I would prefer to mount the box behind TV and the have the keyboard on the table…
Edit by Clem: Any keyboard should work fine, wireless or cabled.
Is LMDE an option?
If not would there be any issue installing LMDE on this?
How can I become a reseller of the Mint Box? I’m a small business in the Netherlands. It would be nice to offer this product.
Do you plan to release also a regular PC desktop version?
I mean this box is for specific use (e.g. HTPC) or for those that want to have something really small.
But for others that just need a regular PC (with upgradable GPU, CPU, etc.) it would be nice if a PC composition with guaranteed HW compatibility was out there. It would be cheaper and towards to more people.
It would help to support also the Mint project.
I mean, the small box is a nice idea….but is not useful for all the needs. It is for specific needs. A wider “audience” is out there seeking for simple desktop PCs.
I would have just add a solid state hard drive and left out the normal hard drive
I have just ordered one of these wonderfull nice little things 🙂 I want to use it as a Multimedia box under my Samsung TV. I have searched for a wireless keyboard with a embedded touchpad and I found this test:
I didnt want a micro keyboard (i think the keys are too small) so I ordered one of these Logitech K400 wireless keyboard. Price about 240DDK ~ 40$.
Now I am waiting very excited for my new toys to arrive!!!!
Looks like a VERY capable machine, although the price is a still a bit high I have to agree. These have been getting a LOT of recent ads placement at web-buying sites lately, and hopefully that will boost sales/provide mass-buying funds/lower retail pricing soon.
Fell in LOVE with the concept 1st time I saw it, My background is 15+ yrs rebuilding/upgrading used systems to give away when I can, and doing virus cleanouts/data saves in between free for friends. This looks like it would be the perfect box for that use, with minimal OS mods.
Last quick note – For all those who mentioned they’d prefer an SSD inside … One of the most beautiful thigs about “modern” Linux distros is that their Live CD/DVD versions can now be run from a USB flashdrive, and in Boston, MA/MOST OF the US … we can get a 16Gb flashdrive for under $10US, and a 32Gb at USB 3.0 speeds for under $22.00US. Use a simple and free Live USB utility with any Mint version and You have an instant SSD that will work with any partition type(s) You want to use for the 500Gb internal harddrive. I’d prob’ly use a 150/350 split between ext2/3/4 and NTFS, because of the less-effective NTFS filesplitting.
BUT – It would also be perfectly suited to something like a complete set of OS diskimage files and as a server for a retail POS system to run their registers through, especially with dual LAN (1 out as a hub, 1 uplink to a corporate server). Or for a small-office with soemthing like Quickbooks Multi-user.