Intel Celeron powered mini-PCs for under $200

A handful of new mini-computers featuring Intel Celeron dual-core processors, 2GB of RAM, and 8GB of solid state storage have popped up at AliExpress.

These little computers are about the size of a Nintendo Wii, but they’re full-fledged computers. They come without an operating system, but they should be able to run most versions of Windows or most popular GNU/Linux operating systems such as Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, or Fedora.

The best part: these mini-PCs are cheap, selling for under $200.

X-26 Celeron mini PC

A model called the X-26 sells for under $140, although international shipping brings the price up to about $190. Another model is available for $145, or about $185 after shipping — although you’ll have to pay an extra $10 if you want WiFi on that model.

The first model is probably the better bargain, unless you need a few extra USB ports. The second model has 6 while the first has 4. But the X-26 description also says the system is fanless, while the other model seems to have a small fan which could generate a bit of noise.

Both systems feature 1.8 GHz Intel Celeron 1037U  dual-core processors and Intel HD graphics with a clock speed running between 350 MHz and 1 GHz. That’s a 17W processor which is designed for low-cost laptop and desktop applications, but it should provide enough oomph for HD video playback, among other things.

The 8GB of storage won’t give you a lot of room for a lot of apps, music, movies, or other large files if you decide to install Windows on one of these little computers. But for under $200, you could probably build a halfway decent media center designed to stream videos from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu and other sites. Or you could build an XBMC system and stream content from the internet or from other drives on your home network.

There’s also nothing stopping you from adding an external hard drive or even cracking open the case and installing a larger SSD or hard drive.

The computers appear to have 2.5 inch drive bays, Ethernet, VGA, and HDMI ports, audio jacks, and wireless antennae.

via Fanless Tech

  • SiruS

    I’ve talk to the seller and the cheapest option avaliable – barebones without RAM and 2.5″ HDD/SSD for 120$!

    • brian

      Any web page for this? VERY appealing for 120USD.

      • SiruS

        unfortunately no, I’ve just mailed with seller.
        p.s. according to seller info – there is 2xDIMM slots

  • e

    Depressing that these no-name companies in China can already churn out fanless Ivy Bridge-based mini PCs, whereas the cheapest machines from ZBox, Foxconn, etc. are still on Sandy Bridge Celerons and with fans.

  • Keith

    From the specs these look like they are targeted to run x86 builds of Android, not Windows or conventional Linux. Not that that’s a bad thing, the result might be a nice alternative to ARM based mini-PCs or TV boxes.

    • Guest

      “or conventional Linux” I think you’re way off there. This will run most distros fine. Put something like Lubuntu or even Xubuntu with their lighter desktop environments and these will be quite snappy.

      • Arrdee

        I don’t think he meant you couldn’t do it.

      • Guest

        It’s not just that you can do it. You can do it very well.

    • Alan

      What about the specs imply this isn’t targeted towards desktop Linux distros and Windows?

      • Keith

        CPU, RAM, and mass storage (flash or SSD).

      • Alan

        CPU: Ivy Bridge Based 1.8 GHz Celeron
        RAM: 2 GB RAM, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB
        Storage: 8GB SSD, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB 2.5″ Drive

        All those are pretty much good specs for a desktop Linux or Windows PC. Way beyond what any ARM or Atom based Android device has.

      • Alan

        You can get a barebones model put in a lot of RAM and a big 2.5″ drive and you have a more than decent desktop.

      • Arrdee

        What am I missing here? Barebones model plus shipping about $180, add $140 more for large RAM and drive… now $320 or more plus thermal issues and P/S overloading?

      • mojo

        What’s your point? As said, it’s a desktop PC not a crappy gimped Android device. What thermal issues and PSU overloading? Do you have one that overheated and drew more power than the included PSU could provide?

        Where’d you get the $180 from. Someone here got a barebones model for $120. How much RAM and storage are you thinking of to get to the $320 mark? Besides, maxing out the RAM and storage still makes it a cheap desktop that’s fanless and small.

      • endgenerate

        If I can get a bare bones one (ie. no RAM and an SSD/HDD), I’ll get a $50 HDD and 4 GB of RAM for $40. I could just use one of my 2.5″ drives from laptops that got upgraded to SSDs but they’re on the slow side for most HDDs.

        Too bad I’m not really sure about buying from AliExpress. It’d be nice if these small fanless Ivy Bridge machines get sold directly by Amazon.

  • Nathan Ellsworth

    However – you have to watch out for sellers without any feedback on aliexpress. The second seller may cost more and it may have a fan, but they have a record of sales.

  • Patrick Dolan

    Do we think it can run 1080p from a vlc video?

    • Labmouse

      Depends on codec and bitrate. I have a celeron 847 (1.1ghz sandy bridge) box that runs 1080p bluray rips through VLC to my TV. It stutters a bit every now and then especially at full screen pans. This thing has twice the power of my celeron 847, so it should work fine.

  • Jason

    Are these powerful enough to be used as a full media pc? What would, in your opinion, be the specs required to record from, say, 2 x Hauppauge DVB-T2 290e tuners (for example) and overall have a decent experience?

    I am very much in the market for something new and something as small as possible!

    • clkeagle

      You’ll want something with full hardware HD decoding for a proper media machine. I’d look for something like an Aspire Revo, probably in the $350 range.

  • abquo

    Anxious to see a report from someone who actually has received one of these

  • nards barley

    Can I assume the com port is for a joystick?

    • Michael Thompson

      Or my dialup modem for an old-timey BBS experience? WWIV?

    • Noone

      Its an industrial computer if you read the site. For that use it does make sense. A lot of things outside of the consumer desktop space still use it if they dont use usb.

  • nards barley

    Good riddance to the DVI port frequently seen on FoxConn and Zotacs

    • Noone

      Huh? Good riddamce to the dvi port but no mention of the VGA?

      • nards barley

        I like VGA. Where I live, the overwhelming number of monitors sold are 19 inch LCD, VGA-only.

      • Brendan Feldwick

        Yet 2560×1440 usage is on the rise. I’d rather see DP/DL DVI and force people to get an adapter if they have to use legacy connections.

      • nards barley

        I have a Foxconn with DVI and HDMI and a 15.6 720p vga monitor. With any DVI to VGA adapters I use, I have to use set the resolution lower to 1280×768 instead of 1366×768. With the HDMI to VGA adpater I recently bought I get 1366×768.

        It just doesn´t make sense to me to build computers exclusively that require adapters to work, especially in markets where vga-only monitors still domininate and are the cheapest model.

  • brian

    shipping costs on these are pretty heinous. I wonder if these will make their way to the NA market. Also it would be interesting to see this celeron benchmarked against sandy based celerons.

  • Mort

    What are the hardware decoding capabilities of the Intel HD graphics for H.264 videos? Profile, bit rate, CABAC, reference frames, etc.

    • monoreviews

      I have zbox culv1007 (1.5 ghz celeron cpu) and it has stripped down HD2500 gpu which doesn’t have ability to play full sbs 3D content. However, it can decode everything including bluray by DXVA2 method. XBMC works fine on windows7/8 but Openelec (bootable usb linux with xbmc) works even better.

  • Brendan Feldwick

    Be interested to see how they compare against the NUC/Brix level devices. They’re a bit cheaper to be sure, but the Brix for instance comes with Displayport, and that’s a pretty big thing for me.

  • Ed

    I think the minix Mini HD is a better deal, dual core, usb 3.0, 2 gig ethernets for $119, not sure how the atom compares to the celeron on power…celeron probably has better graphics with the 512M video memory.
    http://liliputing.com/2013/07/minix-mini-hd-is-a-cheap-barebones-low-power-desktop-with-an-atom-chip.html

    • SiruS

      unlike atom, this celeron 1037U supports intel VT-x and up to 16GB RAM, versus 4GB for atom, so it could be used for low-cost home virtualization

      • http://romanovskis.blogspot.com romanovskis

        how does 1037u compare to Baytrail-D CPUs like J2850. Both can be had fanless, but which one is more powerful?

      • SiruS

        nobody doesn’t know this yet =)
        but afaik baytrail-d cpus build on top of new atom architecture, so it should be a bit slower than core 3rd gen cpus imho.
        p.s. on baytrail-d acrh max memory supported is 8G vs 16G supported on 1037u or other core i 3rd gen,

    • Labmouse

      The minix Mini HD is really only suitable for use as a 32-bit pfsense box. The celeron 1037u is way more powerful, more than 2x as a D2700 according to passmark.

      The Intel HD graphics in the 1037u has both x86 and x64 drivers and supports up to 16gb of ram

  • http://home.comcast.net/~tomleem BigGoofyGuy

    It is cool that it can be opened to alter what is inside. The price seems reasonable.

  • gurdonark

    This all gives me hope for an inexpensive Linux future. As the price of simple flash drives continues to fall, I can now find a 64 GB flash drive for 30 dollars on sale at a big box store. Combined with one of these units, I can have a cool unit for under 225. The issue with this sort of things remains that I could get a used laptop, on eBay for 150 that will give me a bit more of everything.