Asus started showing off a tiny new desktop computer with an Intel Haswell processor and support for Windows 8.1 software recently. The Asus VivoMini is expected to sell for around $149 and up in the United States.

Now the company is starting to share more details specifications and configuration options for the VivoMini.

asus vivomini_01

According to documents obtained by Hexus, the VivoMini will come in at least 4 different versions:

  • Barebones VivoMini UN42 w/Celeron 2957U
  • VivoMini UN42 w/Celeron 2957U, 2GB RAM, 32GB SSD, Windows 8.1 with Bing
  • Barebones VivoMini UN62 w/Core i3-4030U
  • Barebones VivoMini UN62 w/Core i5-4210U

The barebones models will ship without storage, memory, or an operating system. But they’ll support up to 16GB of RAM and accept mSATA solid state storage.

Each model features 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, SDXC card readers, 2 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and DisplayPort output, and each measures about 5.1″ x 5.1″ x 1.7″.

Prices in the UK will range from about £100 for a barebones model with a Celeron processor to £240 for a barebones model with a Core i5 CPU.

via Hexus and Minimachines

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44 replies on “Asus VivoMini desktop coming soon for around $149 and up”

  1. Why can low end pcs play video just fine but can’t render Web pages well at all. Seems like something is odd in the optimization.

  2. All of these mini desktop PCs coming out have an external PSU, so I started wondering: how does Apple fit their PSU into the Mac Mini? (Maybe that’s why the call it “magical”?)

    1. The Mac Mini is also 3x bigger than the Intel NUC, by volume. I did the math, and the Mac Mini is 1.33 litres of volume. The Intel NUC is 0.43 litres.

      1. I knew the NUC was smaller but I thought this ASUS one (and a few others that I’ve seen) were about the same volume. I did the math on this one and it turns out that it’s only 0.72L in volume, so it’s a little over half of the volume of the Mac Mini at 54%. Since it’s so small already and I wouldn’t be moving it around, I’d happily take the extra volume if I didn’t have to deal with a power brick.

        1. I actually prefer using an external PSU. I’d rather spend $10 on replacing it, than over $100 on a Mac Mini PSU. Not to mention an internal PSU would be proprietary in design. A replacement power supply for my NUC could be bought locally.

          Google Image search “mac mini replace psu”, and you’ll see all sorts of hilarious DIY fixes people have used for replacing their failed Mac Mini PSU.

  3. I’m pretty happy with the VivoPC I bought. The only downside is that there’s some compatibility issues with Ubuntu, so I’m forced to use Win 7. VivoPCs are cheaper than Intel’s NUCs, though (mine cost $200), and for an HTPC, they work fine. I’ve never any performance issues despite the Celeron processor and small amount of RAM. When these things go under $100 I’ll be really happy. I remember when all desktop PCs cost $2-3k… I’m so glad you can get them for a fraction of that cost now.

  4. Interesting product but these are all probably fan cooled. I want my next HTPC to be totally silent.

    1. There are a few Mini ITX motherboards out there with integrated fanless J1800 Celeron CPUs. Very low end Cpus, but would pay videos just fine.

    2. Ya, I want all my PCs (desktops, notebooks, tablets, etc.) to be fanless. After slapping together a fanless desktop using those huge heatsinks and fanless PSU, I got addicted to fanless.

    3. Why does it matter? I have a VivoPC, it’s fan-cooled, and I almost never notice it, because when it’s on, it means I’m watching something, and the sound of the media drowns out any fan noise.

      1. Because my HTPC runs 24/7. Even if you can’t hear the fan, it is still running. Eventually it will fail. I would much rather have a fanless design.

        1. I would agree with you, but I would also suggest using the sleep function so that it isn’t running 24/7.

          1. Probably the best solution, unless you run your HTPC as a NAS.

            Just change your BIOS settings to shut down the PC in the event of a fan failure.

  5. These look like really good buys compared to the NUC. I just wish they had a model that accepts a 2.5″ HDD. If it did, that Celeron model would make a really cost effective HTPC setup. Even without it, you could just pull content over your network.

    Some really good advantages over the NUC:
    – Speaker jack on the back (i3/i5 NUCs have speaker jack on the front)
    – USB 3.0 ports on the back (celeron NUC only has USB3 on front)
    – Uses full size HDMI (i3/i5 NUCs use Mini HDMI)
    – Displayport (celeron NUC doesnt have this)
    – SD card (no NUC models have SD)

    1. Not following you on the 2.5″ drive. Wouldn’t a relatively small mSata drive along with an external USB 3 drive work well for HTPC?

      Also, what does the size of the HDMI plug matter (other than having to perhaps buy a new cord/adapter)?

      1. Sure an external hdd would work, but the drives inside external hdds are usually very low performance drives. And it makes the whole setup just that much less portable.

        My complaint about the mini HDMI is just regarding the fact that i need a special cable. My HTPC gets moved around alot. If i move it to a TV with an inaccessible rear-panel, i can’t just simply borrow the cable from another device.

        1. Thanks, but I was thinking the external drive would be used for recordings. That doesn’t require much in the way of a drive. But it would limit what Homer wants to do–mount it on the back of a TV.

          BTW, before posting my question I did look on Amazon and saw a 256GB mSata drive for only about $135, so the price premium isn’t all that great.

          1. 2.5″ drives give you the option of adding up to 2tb of storage. It also gives you the option of buying 2.5″ SSDs, which are a bit more cost effective than Msata drives.

            I have a Celeron NUC with a 1tb HDD in it. It serves as a really small footprint NAS/HTPC. It runs Xubuntu, and it works very well.

            However this Asus Vivomini addresses EVERY complaint I have about the NUC.

        2. There are adapters that fit on the end of any regular HDMI cable to plug them into micro-/mini-HDMI jacks, and they cost 2.49 EUROs on Amazon, I’ve gotten 4 of these and never had any issues with them.

          1. Of course there is a solution to everything. I just prefer it when devices use the most universal interfaces. I don’t like having to buy special wiring and adapters.

      2. 2.5″ drives are cheaper than mSata so I guess it would be nice to have 2.5″ drive slots.

    2. NUC’s are meant to be mounted behind TV’s or monitors. My celeron NUC is mounted behind my 22 inch and ports are on the left or the right side when mounted. I have a powered USB hub that extends under the monitor so I don’t have to stand up to access the USB every time but it’s not very often either. Mini or full size HDMI cables cost exactly the same. I have a couple of them lying at home. They’re really no different from each other.. Yeah, having a displayport for a second monitor would be nice on my celeron but for a TV media center, it’s not necessary at all. And lastly, USB SD Cards are like $2 a piece.

      The only advantage I see from the cheapest model is that the 2957U processor outperforms the Celeron N2820, but at twice the power consumption.

    3. The ASUS VivoPC-VM40B-02 accepts a full-sized HDD, which would be perfect for HTPC use if it came with Windows 7 and Windows Media Center.

      1. I think I’d prefer Win 8 just to get the Win8 Metro Netflix app. WMC is virtually the same in both versions, as I understand it.

        1. WMC is literally identical in Win7 and Win8, you just have to pay $100 to get it back when using the latter. I use a CableCard tuner, and WMC is the only game in town with those.

          1. My HTPC also has a CableCard tuner (HDHR Prime), but runs Win7 because I didn’t think it was worth the effort to upgrade it, and everything was working. But when Win8 was released they were giving away WMC licenses. I have WMC installed on the Win8 computer I’m typing on right now, but I’ve never really used it. I think I requested a second WMC license for another upgrade I did, but I suspect that has probably expired if I could even find it.

          2. I had two of those, but found out that the codes are only valid for Win8 Pro. Which is a rare beast indeed.

          3. I have 8.1 Pro on this computer, probably because it was offered at a huge discount at launch. I found my receipt and it was only $40 per license. Apparently though I only requested one WMC license.

  6. Too expensive, plenty of ARM devices and newly the A80 and RK3288 too. Lets hope there will be full Linux support on these SoC’s and then we’ll no longer need to pay crippling prices.

    Just checked, Intel NUC’s run for exactly the same price and have been around for almost 3 years.

    1. Crippling prices? The Celeron model would cost around $250-270 to put 4gb ram, and a cheap SSD in it. If you can’t afford that, then stick with your third-world ARM computers.

      You obviously didn’t spend too much time comparing them to the NUC, because the Celeron model has a CPU almost 50% more powerful than the N2820 in the NUC, and the i3 is also a faster model.

    2. I think that the phrase crippling prices refers to the $100 retail for 8.1 and then another $100 for Windows Ten (it’s not an operating system so much as a perpetuity for MS). That said, I wholeheartedly agree that Linux support is crucial for these devices. On the other hand, I have yet to find (not for lack of trying) an ARM device (presumably with Linux) that can serve as a true desktop replacement for light computing. Very excited for this. Hopeful with reservation.

      1. I used to be in the same boat as you. I was hoping for the day someone would make a small ARM box that had perfect Linux support, and could serve as a Desktop replacement.

        But now that I can spend $200, and get something x86 powered, I don’t even care if someone makes something around $100 and ARM powered. I’ll gladly pay $100 more to make it x86

        1. As a side note, Intel is talking about making an Atom powered half-size NUC. It will be even cheaper than the Celeron NUC. Theyre even talking about making a battery powered one. This is the death knell for ARM powered PCs.

          1. Have you heard of the MeegoPad T01? I’m just waiting for that kind of devices to rush into the market. And I will say bye bye to my rockchip Android sticks.

          2. Yes, I’m very interested in getting one. I’m just waiting to see how Linux-friendly the wifi, and bluetooth are.

          3. I had problems connecting to wifi network with the ASUS VivoPC, and couldn’t resolve the issue, so I was forced to use Win 7. I hope this doesn’t have the same issue, but I’m anticipating that it will.

          4. Translated

            “As a side note, Intel is playing catch up, trying to take back some of the market with Atom Bay Trail. Confined and limited to the NUC and a limited number of adopters. But right now, excluded are Chinese mini PC manufacturers.”

            A little ambitious to say its the ‘death knell’ for ARM. But if the price is anywhere near the ARM mini PC market / tablet then I’d say they have a chance at taking back some market share.

            Intel NUC Celeron (4th Gen) – $134.99. Excluding HDD, RAM, BT….

            Intel NUC i3 (4th Gen) – $230. Excluding HDD, RAM, BT.

          5. Intel isn’t really playing catch up. They are just fighting to keep their market relevant. I am, of course, only referring to desktop computing. I don’t think Intel is even the least bit concerned about ARM chips entering the desktop PC market.

            If you are referring to CPUs in general, This new market of small-scale CPUs, and ultra portable computing doesn’t really belong to anyone yet. Intel and ARM chip makers entered this market from opposite ends. ARM chip makers entered the market from the cellphone/small electronics market. Intel entered from the laptop market.

            The difference is however the consumers view the products. To some consumers, it is the miniaturization of the personal computer. To some consumers, it is the evolution of the embedded SOC. To other consumers, it is whoever can get them Youtube, and Facebook for the cheapest.

            Regarding your second comment, you’ve misquoted me. I said, “The death knell of ARM powered PCs”.

            I’m not trying to sound anti-ARM. Up until this year, I thought that ARM was going to be the future of small-scale computers, because I had no faith in Intel achieving their scale and efficiency. In the past year, they have really proven themselves.

        2. I agree with you, Grant, 100%. I used buy a number of low cost ARM boards and devices, starting with the Raspberry Pi and the Rikomagic HDMI sticks, and now, with these low cost devices running Intel processors, I have little to no interest in the ARM boards and devices.

        3. You’re strangely obsessed about Intel, if you were genuinely interested in a “small ARM box that had perfect Linux support” then you still would be.

          These new Intel devices still cannot compete with ARM end-to-user prices or their new SoC’s (e.g. RK3288, [email protected], GPU, low power etc). ARM has been innovating and Intel are clearly playing catch up as they loose the market under their feet, this is where ARM has been winning for the last 5-10 years. Competition is healthy.

          A good example of catch up? Intel’s Bay Trail Atom, a good SoC might I say. Maybe a little too late.

          1. I wasn’t interested in an ARM powered PC for any reason other than it being a cost effective, small PC. There weren’t any companies that stepped forward to produce an effective enough product to fit the bill.

            Intel succeeded in catering to this niche fast enough. Intel wins.

            Of course, the mini desktop PC is a small battle, in the overall war. For now I don’t care about things like market share. We are in a state where there is healthy competition, which spawns interesting products, things that appeal to my interests.

    3. I wouldn’t put this exactly in the same category as an RK3288. Or any ARM solution, including the K1. This is a desktop PC intended as one, whereas the ARM devices you think of are media boxes that (with some limitations) can be used as low-end thin client PC-s.

    4. Keyword is “let’s hope” because the Rockchip ARM devices have been for around for awhile and nobody is giving a crap about supporting their linux on them.

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