Linux PC company Star Labs is taking pre-orders for a compact desktop computer with an Intel Processor N200 chip based on Alder Lake-N architecture and support for up to 16GB of RAM and two storage devices.

The Star Labs Byte MK II will sell for $595 and up when it hits the streets in September, but customers who pre-order now can pick one up for as little as $452.

The little computer has a polycarbonate and nickel chassis that measures 127 x 127 x 43mm (5″ x 5″ x 1.7″), and the starting price includes 8GB of DDR4-3200 memory and a 480GB PCIe SSD.

But you can also configure the computer with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1.92 TB of storage or bring your own: there’s a SODIMM slot for memory, an M.2 2280 slot for storage, and room for a 2.45 inch hard drive or SSD (using an optional connector that’s included with the computer).

At the heart of the system is the Intel N200 chip, which is a 4-core, 4-thread chip with a 1 GHz base frequency, support for boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz, and a base power consumption level of 6 watts, but a PL2 power limit of 25 watts and 750 MHz Intel UHD graphics.

It’s part of Intel’s Alder Lake-N family of chips designed for inexpensive, energy-efficient devices. The Byte MK II comes with a 36 watt DC power supply.

That makes the new computer significantly less powerful than the first-gen Star Labs Byte, which launched last summer with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor. But the new Byte MK II is also cheaper – the older version sold for $753 and up during pre-orders and head a retail price that started at $793.

Ports include:

  • 1 x USB-C
  • 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio
  • 2 x Ethernet

The computer also has an Intel 9560 wireless card with support for WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1.

What really makes this computer different from other mini PCs with Alder Lake-N chips, though, is the software. It ships with open-source firmware (based on Coreboot and TianoCore EDK II) and the Byte MK II comes with a choice of GNU/Linux distributions including:

  • Elementary OS 6.1
  • Linux Mint 21
  • Manjaro 21.3.7
  • MX Linux 21.1
  • Ubuntu 22.04 LTS
  • Zorin OS 16.1

You can also opt to have Windows 11 Home or Professional installed, but those options will add $158 or $290 to the price, respectively. If you’re looking for a Windows-powered mini PC, there are probably better options available.

via @starlabsltd

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  1. Pff, a $500 pc with the performance and parts cost of a $100 pc. Can’t do 1080p gaming on it, unless it’s dx9, and performs worse than a much cheaper core i3 or even celeron.

  2. Not sure why this exists when AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 – as well as Intel Core i5 – devices from the same chip generation are available for $100 or more less. Plus the other Alder Lake N devices are as little as half the size.

  3. Should I be worried about my Chinese mini-PC which had identical spec to the first gen Star Labs box but at half the price?

    1. @riddick said: “Should I be worried about my Chinese mini-PC which had identical spec to the first gen Star Labs box but at half the price?”

      Not if the very real chance of Pooh-Bear sitting on your shoulder taking notes 24×7 is OK with you.