Mini-computers with ARM-based processors and low price tags have been getting a lot of attention lately. But ARM-based systems like the Raspberry Pi or UG802 aren’t the only games in town when it comes to low-power computers that cost less than $100.
You can pick up an Asus C60M1-I board for just under $80. For that price you get a dual core x86 processor, AMD Radeon HD graphics, and more ports than you can shake a stick at. You’ll need to bring your own memory, storage, and case though.
Basically what you’ve got here is a mini-ITX motherboard which comes with a CPU and a heat sink.
The system is based around a 1 GHz AMD C-60 dual core processor with Radeon HD 6290 graphics. It’s not exactly a high end system. This is the sort of chip you’d normally find in a netbook. But it can handle basic computing tasks, HD video playback, and 3D accelerated graphics.
Since this is an x86 chip, it can also support a wide range of operating systems including Windows 7, Windows 8, and many Linux-based operating systems.
Unfortunately one thing that the AMD C-60 processor doesn’t handle well is high definition Netflix video playback. That could be a bummer if you were planning to use the ASUS C60M1-I as the basis for a cheap home theater PC.
On the other hand, if you’re not a Netflix subscriber, that probably won’t be a problem. AMD’s Radeon HD graphics for its budget C and E series chips can play back HD video stored on your hard drive just fine, and have no problems with YouTube and most other online video sites.
The ASUS C60M1-I supports up to 8GB of DDR3 1066 memory, has a connector for a SATA III hard drive or solid state disk, and includes a nice array of ports, including:
- 6 USB 2.0
- VGA, DVI, and D-Sub
- 3 audio jacks
It also features 8-channel audio output. While the CPU is covered by a fanless heatsink, there are also connectors for a CPU fan and chassis fan if you need the extra cooling.
Once you add storage, memory, a case, power supply, and any additional cooling, the price of this system will be noticeably higher than the $80 starting price. But it’s still a pretty versatile and cheap alternative to an ARM-based development board like the Hackberry A10 or VIA APC.
Just don’t expect this system to outperform a high-end (or even mid-range) Windows or Linux computer.
Is there an x86 computer like this that I can still buy or otherwise acquire in 2019? Used or refurbished is OK as long as it is still reliable. I want a low-cost, fanless, small, 80686 or x86-64 computer with at least three SATA ports using normal connectors, as used by 2.5-inch HDDs and SSDs, instead of mSATA to replace some full-size ATX tower computers with fans and using Core 2 and earlier hardware platforms. Ideally, I want to continue using the current installations of Ubuntu 10.04.x LTS for x86-32 from 2011 because it still works for my application so I want to avoid the chore of upgrading the OS only to use a newer computer. The primary market lifetime (correct term?) of x86 motherboards is frustratingly short for someone like me who still does not have a newer than Core 2 era x86 computer in 2019 because the Core 2 era and earlier x86 computers I use still suffice for my application. I use the same computer hardware until the hardware, such as through-hole electrolytic capacitors, fails.
“Just don’t expect this system to outperform a high-end (or even mid-range) Windows or Linux computer.”
Windows and Linux are irrelevant to that point.
I will replace my atom based D510MO with this. Main reason: hardware virtualisation is included unlike the intel atom 510 which I require for an ESXi based installation.
good write up – i am able to play netflix hd and regular hd on my p4 3.4 extereme Cer PU but only after i upgraded video card….
For $80 you can also get this which has HDMI and is a good bit more powerful to boot: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128561
A board similar to the one in this article can be had for $60:
I’d be interested to know how well this would run an XBMC Live distro. Is there any based on XBMC 12 alphas?
Also, there’s no HDMI connector on this.
i guess this is geared for a different crowd. I dont think its meant to be a media pc, but more of a htpc. I like the ability to add my own usb dac and run it to my ht speakers, but maybe im in the minority on that one.
You could always just use an adapter to connect the DVI and Audio out to a HDMI.
You;ll miss out on the sound though. Kille dit for me, no HDMI 🙁
Note, I specifically stated a adapter that would include audio.
HDMI is basically a combined DVI and Audio cable format and they have adapters so you can connect a HDMI to DVI and audio jack source.
Besides, you could always connect better speakers than the TV comes with instead.
Please show an adapter like mentioned to me. Thanks
Posting link doesn’t seem to be working. So just do a search for DVI and audio converter. Amazon, Newegg, etc carry them. There’s also combo audio and DVI cables, if the monitor/TV supports audio auxiliary input.
That is a lot of USB ports. I wonder whether you’ll run into power problems using all six ports. With the Raspberry Pi, you really need to use a powered USB hub if you want to use more than one USB device.
Well since this thing is powered from a standard computer power supply, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.
That’s because the Raspberry Pi is powered via USB cable. The USB spec puts a low limit on maximum power delivery, because it’s supposed to be safe. USB devices have almost no impact whatsoever on the power budget from a real power supply though.
I think the big appeal of the arm devices is the power consuption.
nice… fanless/cheap/hd-able? sounds like an worthy replacement to my old atom330
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