True PC power is now in a smartphone-sized package


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/28/true-pc-power-is-now-in-a-smar.html


#2

I doubt anyone will ever give up the power of a decent desktop system for one of these which i’m guessing is no better then a cheap laptop in terms of performance. Don’t get me wrong, i would like one myself but purely for the novalty of the thing and never as a serious replacement for anything i have now.


#3

This is rather pointless, aside from specialized purposes. To be decently useful you need, at a minimum, a screen and a keyboard which you both want to be pretty hefty for reasons of comfort. Unless you are sure you will have both anywhere you go (an unlikely contingency) you need to take them with you, and the best way to take such a device with you is as part of a laptop which is also more powerful and a vastly more mature technology.


#4

It’s fanless, so basically about the same as your typical ultrathin ultraportable with a 5 watt CPU and integrated GPU.

It’s a novel way to take your work with you between locations where you are certain you will find a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to plug into it.

But… for the same money, you could buy a couple of $100 refurbed desktops plus a bootable USB stick or external SSD. Which strikes me as a far more sensible solution - less costly to lose, more flexible (since you’re limited only by the machine you plug it into instead of by whatever anemic hardware they can stuff into a pocket PC), and if your needs change you can upgrade easily.


#5

Considering that the market for desktops is shrinking as just about everyone moves over to laptops, no.

Also tiny non-cluttery desktop PCs have been a thing ever since the Mac Mini wowed everyone with its teenyness back in 2005. These days the only people cluttering themselves with desktop towers are a) companies buying the cheapest possible PC for their workers, and b) people who need big assed high powered desktops that they can cram with cutting edge GPUs, massive amounts of storage, and so on.


#6

I could see this being used as a spare/additional system (kitchen computer, if coupled with an appropriate touchscreen and protected keyboard), something for that family member that just needs something basic (internet, office style apps), a movie player, or pick up a handful of them and put Artemis or something on them for a compact bridge set that one can strap onto the back of a monitor.


#7

It’s a great idea, but you can buy a quad core tablet for $50, plug a keyboard/mouse into it and have a much more powerful (with more memory) device. Price point is pretty high.

The interesting thing is that these kind of devices are the exact opposite of the current less portable giant screen which happens to have a computer in it like the iMac or Dell All-In-One systems.

You can also carry your computer around with you if you have a bootable USB stick with your OS of choice, and whatever user data you need. (assuming whatever you plug into allows booting from USB)


#8

With all the associated cable clutter. Or, for less money, you could buy a refurbished laptop - no cable clutter, better ergonomics, more stow-away-able. I still don’t see a persuasive use case for something like this.


#9

There are a couple of instances in which I “need” True PC power.

One is games. Surviving Mars looks amazing, but I don’t have the power to run it at a steady 60 fps. maybe bootcamp will work better. Granted, I am using a 2880p monitor. Perhaps I should have chosen an architecture with an upgradeable GPU.

One is Photos-- I can use Affinity Photos to tweak my photos better than with Aperture. BUt it’s slow.
One is OCR-- Finereader will chew on a document for hour and hours.

Browsing the web? That just needs a reasonably high resolution screen and fast connection.

Video? Well, I’m a consumer, not a producer. The solution to my woes apparently requires DRM hell, not a fast CPU.

Word Processing, email, spreadsheets. Yea, a nice big screen is nice, but they don’t really need CPU. What they need is a screen and a keyboard.


#10

Originally $349, the Ockel Sirius B Windows 10 32GB Pocket PC is now more than 25% off at $249.

$249 is now the MSRP.

The CPU is the four-year-old Intel Atom Z3735F, featuring worst-in-class benchmark performance.

“Storage that a smartphone can’t handle?” The base Windows 10 Home installation will chew up half of that storage, leaving 16GB.


#11

Ever wonder why, in this age of smartwatches and VR, we’re still cluttering our desk with PC towers?

… No?

Seriously, though, this is neat, but does it come in FreeBSD/Linux flavors instead of Windows? I think this could make a nice wee server somewhere.


#12

The only use case that came readily to mind was as a machine to drive an Artemis bridge station, with the control surface being a touchscreen monitor; again, a refurbished laptop would easily do the same task, but this would be a nifty ‘brain’ module for someone that had gone full geek and built bridge stations (the forums for Artemis has an entire section devoted for bridge builds, DMX interfacing, etc.), however, there are cheaper options than this with the same (or better!) specs; Intel Compute Sticks or NUCs would work quite nicely for such a thing. (No, I haven’t given this much thought, have I… :smiley: )


#13

Why not add another chip to give it phone capability, along with a small display?


#14

Replace that device with your cell phone plugging into a small dock and you have the future of PCs.


#15

You could stick it to the back of your telly to make it more media-capable, but I could do that with a RasPi and a smartphone with Unified Remote on it for a fraction of the price (I currently have a slightly b0rked laptop balanced behind the cabinet, which does fine).


#16

I’m sure there’s a market for a device like that… :smiley:


#17

It’s a Netbook in a different form factor long after the fad has passed. With that ancient Intel Atom and very limited storage it’s not even worth the discounted price.


#18

I contemplated a similar pc about a year ago. Instead, I bought a laptop with those exact same specs a few months back at Best buy. For $130. Being a laptop, it came with a monitor and keyboard thrown in. Connects to a tv/monitor fine. Sure, it’s kinda neat for my needs. A teeny PC just didn’t make sense once I found the otherwise comparable laptop. Didn’t even bother ever booting up in Windows. Installed Ubuntu, and it’s been great.


#19

I could see buying something like this if you were going to be on the road but still needed a desktop computer at your destination. If you’re just needing a desktop, though, you can get a refurb for less than $100 that will beat the snot out of one of these. Heck, you could probably find a netbook that’ll beat the snot out of one of these things; these Atom processors are outperformed by decade-old Core 2 Duos. And you probably don’t want to run Windows 10 on 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.


#20

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