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18 Apr 2013

Linux on the Mini PC


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.

Sapphire EDGE VS8

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%.


This is a guest post by Karl Jablin, which won a prize in the joint contest of Linux notes from DarkDuck and Zinio.


12 comments:

  1. Although I don't think I will buy this computer anytime soon, I would be nice for the benefit of others if you provide a link to that bash script.
    It will save a lot of people time searching.
    Cheers,
    Oz

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  2. just a little piece of advice, if you can find a dvd of vista/7/8 64 bit, the license is valid for both x86 and x64 versions

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  3. How about a link to the actual MiniPC?

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  4. Which company makes these? Where do I get one? What's the down side of it all? Is it too expensive? This is too good to be true...

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Mihalis, different companies produce Mini PCs. Some of them are available at Amazon.

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    2. It would be nice to have a link to the computer you bought. I know Amazon sells a lot of the mini pc's but it would be nice to have a link to the one your purchased.

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    3. Karl advised me that he owns a model from Sapphire Edge VS8 range, namely Sapphire Edge VS8 - 4H000-10-40G

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    4. By the way, both Sapphire Edge VS8 range and this particular model Sapphire Edge VS8 - 4H000-10-40G are available in the UK too.

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  5. Computer shown on picture is a scam.
    It is NOT an AMD-Trinity powered system, it is a Cherrypal C114, circa 2008, and the picture is ripped directly from the wikipedia page linked here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherrypal .
    Shame on the author, I guess, for not being accurate. Other than that, i'd love to have a fanless "4000-point" computer, if you use the CPU Benchmark as the rating scale, so, please do post your links, do post an ECD to market of such a remarkabl edevice, if it exists.

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Mihalis, the image source for the first image was clearly stated at the end of the article. I honestly did not know the exact model, because Karl did not mention that in the article.
      I think, although, that the image correctly shows approximate size of the device - that was the purpose.

      For the sake of truth, I added an image of Sapphire EDGE VS8 device, taken from manufacturer's site.

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    2. Many thanks for clarifying. After a second read of my earlier post, it does read unnecessarily harsh, and I apologize for that.

      The Sapphire Edge is indeed real, and a very impressive machine indeed. I think I'm going to order one sooner than later...

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

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    3. Mihalis, You're welcome. I hope you'll use a link above if you decide to order. ;-)

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