AMD’s answer to Intel’s NUC line of tiny desktop computers is here. But unlike Intel, AMD has no plans to make its own computers. Instead, the company is partnering with PC makers to create an ecosystem for Mini PCs with AMD Ryzen Embedded processors.

We’ve already seen a handful of mini PCs with Ryzen Embedded chips in the last few months. The new partnership means that we should see more in the coming months and years… and it also means we could see improved support for peripherals, additional security features. and more.

ASRock iBOX-V1000
ASRock iBOX-V1000

Among other things, AMD promises that each Ryzen Embedded chip selected for the ecosystem will be available for at least five years, which gives PC makers some assurance that they can keep building around a chipset for some time to come.

AMD says the systems can “run software for machine vision, object detection, edge interference, and analytics from AMD software ecosystem partners” and support open source software including Radeon Open Compute and OpenCL.

Mini PCs are an interesting product category — many small computers are designed for business, enterprise, retail, or industrial applications such as digital signage, point-of-sales systems, or other applications where a full-sized PC may not be necessary or desirable.

But little computers also have a following among home users looking for a low-profile media center PC, office workers who want to maximize their desk space, or folks who want to build a sort of DIY all-in-one PC by connecting a mini PC to the back of a monitor with a VESA mount.

Intel’s NUC line of computers hasn’t exactly had this space to itself in recent years. Other PC makers including Gigabyte, Zotac, MSI, and ASrock are just a few of the companies that have offered their own mini PCs. But most current-gen models are powered by Intel processors.

It’s unclear if AMD’s efforts will make much of a dent in the space. But the company notes that there are already a few Ryzen Embedded mini PCs available, including:



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8 Comments

      1. I think the engineers at GPD are standing at the ready.
        The V1605B SoC is decent, and the best option at the moment. But something much better will come very soon. Just combine your 12W TDP with 7nm lithography, Zen2 architecture, and a Navi-iGPU.

        As long as the rest of the hardware is high quality, portable, and the batter is decent capacity… it’s an instant win for Liliputers.

        The GPD XD was okay, the XD Plus was decent, the GPD Win was good, and the GPD Win 2 was better. I say come-on with the GPD Win 3!!!

  1. The main reason people are still stuck to Intel, is driver support, in the Linux Kernel. A lot of Intel HW is supported OOB

    1. Im going to have to disagree with you about that being the “main” reason people choose Intel. Linux averages a 2% market share for PCs. Sure, Intel takes it more seriously, but it’s hardly a deciding factor in most consumer’s minds.

    2. I agree. AMD hardware requires proprietary drivers that aren’t included in free open source Linux repositories. For example, ATI/Raedon graphics are always a hassle with Linux. But Linux has no problems with Intel graphics. I’d really like a Linux fanless mini PC with AMD hardware and NO WinTel Inside, but instead I bought a Minix NEO Z83-4U with a Intel hardware for better Linux compatibility.

  2. I’ve always liked the small form market, but never bought one. The first I noticed was probably back in the days of the 386–a product called the Brick. I came really close to buying it, but couldn’t justify the price even with it possibly filling my computer needs in two locations. This I think was a later 486 model.

    http://www.thepcmuseum.net/details.php?RECORD_KEY%28museum%29=id&id%28museum%29=155

    Anyway, without being able to sell mass volume of product the price points are too high. Similar powered laptops tend to be less expensive, and they have a monitor and built in UPS.

    1. “Similar powered laptops tend to be less expensive, and they have a monitor and built in UPS.”

      My “small form factor” computers have always been laptops with the screens removed. They can be cheap (you’re buying a broken laptop after all), they functionally have UPS, and also you can use the built-in keyboard & touchpad and not have to worry about a KVM switch or whatever if you have a multi-machine setup.

      I used an ancient headless iBook as a home server for about 8 years, and the role is currently taken by a headless Dell Latitude E6430 (admittedly, not a very “mini” laptop) that I pulled out of the trash. It lives under my dresser.

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