The recent emergence of the mini PC has opened up new horizons for the Linux user.
The form factor of the Mini PC is a square having approximately the same dimension as the long side of a DVD box and thin in profile. The mini PC is designed to be very power efficient, typically using a 65 Watt power supply. The CPU is a low-voltage power efficient type, there are no fans, and the power supply is often an external DC adaptor like that of a laptop. Because there are no fans, the computer runs silently.
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My mini computer is equipped with an AMD Trinity quad core 1.6GHz processor, and it runs not much slower than a desktop Intel quad core i7 computer, thanks to the efficiency of the built-in AMD Radeon graphics. I measured the CPU temperature when the computer was in an idle state to be 9 degrees C higher than an Intel quad core i7 computer which was running the same operating system.
There are two types of mini PCs on the market: those for Windows and those for Linux. The most suitable OS to use can be determined by studying the specifications. I estimate that the copy of Windows Vista that I had available to install on the computer would have run three times slower than Ubuntu 12.04 which I installed. This is because Vista is slow anyway, and the 32-bit version I had couldn't take advantage of all of the available RAM.
The installation of Ubuntu 12.04 from a USB flash drive was straightforward. Everything worked out of the box, including the proprietary graphics driver which I installed from the Ubuntu Software Center.
Now the only problem left was to get rid of the annoying AMD logo watermark in the lower right hand corner of the screen. I searched the Ubuntu forums for help, and came up with several answers which I tried one after the other, but nothing worked.
I decided to relax and give myself six months to think about it before I tried to make any major changes to my system. This strategy has worked for me in the past, and after all, everything was working. Two days later I found a bash script for getting rid of the watermark, and now everything works for me 100%.