Chinese device maker Mele plans to launch its first fanless mini PC with a 7th-gen Intel Core “Kaby Lake” processor this year. The Mele PCG63-KBL1 is small computer with a massive heat sink on the top and support for passive cooling on some models.
Mass production is set to begin in early March, which means the computer should be available for purchase in the first half of the year. Mele had initially promised to deliver Kaby Lake mini PCs in 2017, but it took a little longer to figure out how to fit the chips into a fanless design… although not all PCG63-KBL1 models will be fanless.
The company is also showing off its new design for mini PCs with Intel Celeron and Pentium “Gemini Lake” chips. The Mele PCG63-GML1 should enter mass production in late March, and all models in that series are fanless.
Mele’s Gemini Lake mini PC
This model is a small square that looks sort of like an Intel NUC with an aluminum heat sink covering the top.
It’s expected to be available with a choice of Celeron J4005 dual-core or Celeron J4105 or Pentium J5005 quad-core chips.
It supports up to 8GB of RAM, and supports eMMC, M.2SSD, and 2.5 inch hard drives or solid state drives for storage. There’s also an SD card reader and the system supports WiFi, Bluetooth and has a Gigabit Ethernet jack.
There’s an HDMI 2.0 port with support for 4K output, a VGA port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as USB 3.1 TYpe-C, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 ports.
Mele plans to support both Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux
Mele’s Kaby Lake mini PCs
The company’s new Kaby Lake mini desktops are a bit larger and a lot more powerful. They use a chassis originally designed for Apollo Lake processors, with a heat sink along the top and plenty of ventilation.
A barebones entry-level model with a Celeron 3865U processor and no memory, storage, or operating system has a wholesale price of about $99. Once you add everything you actually need to use the computer, the price is likely to be closer to $300, so expect retail prices of maybe $350 and up.
Mele says models with Celeron 3865U, Pentium 4415U, or Core i3-7100U processors will be available with just passive cooling. But if you opt for a Core i5-7200U or Core i7-7500U model, you’ll get a small fan to help keep the system from overheating.
Like the Gemini Lake models, these little computer ssupport Windows or Ubuntu and can use M.2 SSDs, 2.5 inch hard drives or SSDs, and up to 32GB of eMMC storage.
The Kaby Lake models have DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, VGA, and headset jacks, a microSD card reader, a USB Type-C port, and three USB 3.0 ports.
I asked when we’ll see versions with 8th-gen Intel processors, and a Mele representative said that could happen in the third quarter of 2018.