Minix Neo Z64 is a pint-sized $129 PC (with Android or Windows)

Minix has been offering small boxes that you can use to run Android apps on your TV for the past few years. Now the company is getting ready to launch a new model that can run either Windows 8.1 or Android.

The Minix Neo Z64 is basically a low-power, fanless desktop computer that’s small enough to hold in one hand. It’s expected to go on sale soon for $129.

minix neo z64
Minix is basically cramming the guts of a cheap Windows tablet into this little desktop. It’s powered by an Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core processor and features 2GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage.

It has a microSD card reader, 10/100 Ethernet, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and HDMI output. It also has an IR report and comes with a wireless remote control.

Minix will actually ship the Neo Z64 with Google Android 4.4 KitKat, but since this is the company’s first model with an x86 processor it’ll also be able to run Windows 8.1 and Minix plans to offer an option for users that want to install the operating system themselves.

With a starting price of $129, the Minix Neo Z64 could be an inexpensive alternative to another tiny Windows PC on the way. The Zotac ZBOX PI320 is expected to sell for $199. But that model will come with Windows 8.1 pre-installed. It’s not clear if customers who want to install Windows on the Minix computer will have to pay extra.

minix neo z64_02

via AndroidPC.es and Fudzilla

  • Michael

    Good morning Brad…

    What about a flavor of linux, such as Ubuntu or Mint…or just using the device as an XBMC streamer. Will it be able to handle these tasks as well?

    • Phonzie

      I would think that installing Ubuntu should be easy enough. When I installed Ubuntu on my ECS Liva PC, I noticed a number of drivers for Linux, available from Intel I’ve only seen a few different GPUs being offered on these different Atom SoCs. So, if the drivers are available and you choose a distribution with UEFI support, iI would think it should work.

      A year or so ago, I saw a video where an engineer from CircuitCo (BeagleBone Black, MinnowBoard, Sharks Cove, and I believe they are making the new the Arduino Tre’) He compared the MinnowBoard to the BeagleBoard/BeagleBone Black – he said that it takes time to learn things and the initial board that cost $200 will result in a $45 – $55 board, over about three generations. It was just a little while later that the MinnowBoard Max was announced ($99 to $140). With the new cheap Intel Atom SoCs on the way, I wonder if we could see a Raspberry Pi like board, or even the “Model C” having an Intel Soc. I think the only thing that would prevent that, would be the close relationship with Broadcom.

      There’s things I like about ARM and I’m learning about MIPS, but for general use, the legacy of Linux with Intel processors, just seems to have more OS and application options than the ARM ports, with less problems.

    • mo

      I’d really like to know if the UEFI implementation on this and that Zotac one can boot 64-bit Linux ISOs or if the UEFI firmware is like the ones on Bay Trail T (the Z series ones) tablets where they can only boot 32-bit bootloaders.

  • Michael Thompson

    Wow this looks like an interesting piece.
    Very curious about the details surrounding a Windows install.

  • jerry

    Is the memory and storage upgradeable? If not I’d probably go for a better know manufacturer.

    • optimismprime

      Memory and Storage are not upgradeable, but no manufacturer in the world can change that using Z37xx Atoms.

      These Chips are bare bones, stripped down versions designed for cheap tablets, they don’t have SATA, don’t have USB 3.0, don’t have anything you wouldn’t find in an 8 inch tablet.

      What you’re getting is something designed to have soldered on RAM chips directly on the motherboard, eMMC storage (think soldered to the motherboard SD-Card in terms of performance), and everything else is connected via USB 2.0, that’s why you’re only getting 10/100 MBit/s, because everything else would be hamstrung by the slow USB 2.0 speed.

      • Rimantas Čalyj

        My Ainol Inovo8 tablet has usb 3.0 port. It is up to manufacturer to decide if they want to implement all features supported by Intel SOC.

      • Mark

        The Z3735F SoC doesn’t have USB 3.0 support.

      • Rimantas Čalyj

        It has a lane where to connect high speed USB 3.0 controller.

      • Kegs

        What interface does that lane use?

      • David Richardson

        How do you like the Inovo8? I’m thinking of ordering a couple but haven’t found a good review of them yet.

      • Rimantas Čalyj

        Battery life is not great as expected from 3500mah battery. But I use it mainly as big laptop substitute and also bought power bank just in case. Also windows 8.1 was bluescreening a lot when coming back from sleep. So I disabled sleep when on AC. Wifi is 30mbps tops and sometimes doesn’t reconnect after sleep but that appears to be W8 problem. Another big problem is touchscreen. Edges of a screen lack sensitivity and precision when using fingers. Will try with stylus when it arrives. Also there is a weird glitch with touchscreen when tablet lies on desk. If you hover you hand over it like 2 inch from unit it starts to register touches all over the screen! This does never happen when you hold the unit in hands.

      • David Richardson

        Thanks for letting me know. I think I’ll hold off on that order and look over some other models… I was just leaning to the Ainol because I had one of the 7″ android tablets and was pretty happy with it.. and I like the fact that it has USB 3.0.. so far its the only one I’ve seen with USB 3.0…

      • Rimantas Čalyj

        It could be my unit though. I noticed that issue with touchscreen is actually happening only when AC adapter is connected. Also I have updated wifi drivers and will need to check how it works now when resuming from sleep as they claim they fixed re-connection issue. Also I am not sure if it was wifi driver update but now sensitivity on edges of the screen is improved? Maybe just my mind playing tricks on me.

  • mike

    I’m thinking the Windows will be free if you want it. MS has dropped the licensing fee to like $0 dollars for products in this price range I think. They just need to make bing the default search engine on IE as shipped.

    That can be changed by the user is my understanding. Though anyone who would know enough to do that would know enough to install a different browser altogether.

    Again too bad no USB 3 port though.

    • David Gosnell

      And 10/100 network must have saved them a good 50p

  • Grant Russell

    I’m super interested, as long as it can boot linux. If it has a 32 bit UEFI, then forget it. ..

    • mo

      I’m concerned about this too.

    • Jason

      I can live without USB 3.0 and somewhat without gigabit Ethernet but not being able to boot popular desktop Linux distros using their default ISOs is a deal breaker.

  • fredphoesh

    Brad, any idea if this will be able to dual boot (android and windows)?
    Also, any idea of a release date?
    This would answer my pain points about Android WRT flash playback on the web… so many sites premium content sites ONLY have flash.

    • tk76

      If ConsoleOS works as advertised in a few months then it will dual boot. And there is supposed to be a free version.

      • fredphoesh

        ooooo….. NICE!!!

  • Mark

    I wonder why they chose the Z3735F. Is it really so much cheaper than the other Atoms that it’s worth losing gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0?

  • Guest

    $10 more and you can get an HP Chromebox. I don’t see a good reason to get any of these cheap Android sticks/boxes now that we have $139 Haswell Celeron Cromeboxes.

    • tk76

      Because a Chromebox cannot run windows apps or android apps.

      • Guest

        Soon Chrome OS will run Android apps.

  • Bruce

    How can Windows run in 2GB Ram? Even Android phones these days have 3GB. Plus, we are just on the cusp of 64 bit Android. I think I’ll wait for the next gen.

    • tk76

      Using Win 8.1 32 bit it runs fluidly on a number of tablets such as the Dell Venue Pro and Asus T100. You just have to use it for what it can do and not as a power user. For example, I’ve had 8 tabs open in chrome while having a few things like Pandora in the background and it is very smooth. Handles 1080P youtube and flash videos easily. But I’d never try and have 40 Chrome tabs open or use CPU or RAM intensive programs, nor do I use it for gaming.

      90% of casual computer users want fast web browsing and streaming video from their laptops. That is sot of the idea behind a Chromebook. A 2 GB Baytrail computer does this equally well, with some additional capability as well. It is particularly good if using legacy apps is important to you.

    • David Richardson

      The eMMC storage memory is also much faster than a normal hard drive, and Windows Virtual Memory can page pretty quickly…

  • Nitin

    I am going to buy this instead of neo x8-h

  • Chauyan

    Suer cool, i love it

  • http://swagbucks.com/refer/greertro Troy Greer

    Why is it expected to cost so much less than the Neo X8 and Neo X8-H by Minix? Are there any particular caveats to waiting for this lower priced model that, at first glance, looks more appealing?

    • http://swagbucks.com/refer/greertro Troy Greer

      Regardless, the x86 processor sure entices me to get this one for a set-top installation of XBMCbuntu or another multimedia-oriented Ubuntu variation. The ability to support dual-boot Android and XBMCbuntu or the like would be ideal for me, if that’s possible.

  • abdullah Salahaldin

    why
    Minix Neo Z64 better than neo x8H but z64 support real 4k hd ??