CompuLab's fit-PC3 gets redesigned and released
CompuLab has taken the time between announcing its fit-PC3 back in January and actually releasing it to give the low power, fanless mini computer a bit of a redesign. There's more processing and graphics power on offer, support for more memory, two casing designs and something the company has called the FACE Module, which alters the system's I/O capabilities to suit different needs.
CompuLab says that its fit-PC3 is its most advanced and powerful compact PC to date. The AMD Fusion G Series APU at the heart of the new mini-PC has been updated to revision C0, and is now available with an AMD G-T56N 64-bit dual-core processor with 1.65 GHz of processing power and a Radeon HD 6320 GPU featuring HDMI 1.4a and stereo 3D capabilities. Up to 8 GB of DDR3 memory is now available and the mini-PCle now supports mSATA.
A new ribbed design shell designed for higher power versions joins the standard die-cast metal casing - through which generated heat is dissipated, negating the need for noisy cooling fans. As part of a complete thermal redesign, the new mini-PC also incorporates an internal passive heat spreader to eliminate hot spots. Also new to the redesigned fit-PC3 is a one-screw, slide-out service door for easy access to the device's 2.5-inch HDD, memory slots and mini-PCIe.
CompuLab told us that "the most important feature of the redesigned fit-PC3 is the Function And Connectivity Extension Module (FACE Module) that makes fit-PC3 a true modular platform."
The FACE Module is a sheet-metal front panel connected via an internal extension-board. Different I/O FACE Module setups cater for different needs - for example, up to four Gigabit Ethernet and six USB ports can be installed for networking or combinations of GPIOs, ADCs, DACs and serial ports for instrumentation, and so on. CompuLab is currently in the process of designing a number of different FACE Modules, but design specs and complete documentation can also be supplied to businesses wanting to create their own modules.
Both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports also feature, along with eSATA, dual-head DisplayPort and HDMI technology, 7.1 Channel SPDIF audio and a Serial RS232 port. 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 with dual antennas is also available.
The top end pro version will draw from 9W to 24W of power, depending on system load, and has dimensions of 19 x 16 x 4 cm (7.4 x 6.2 x 1.5-inches), but other models in the range are a little slimmer - perhaps a tad chunkier than Lenovo's recently announced IdeaCentre Q180 desktop PC but still able to quietly squeeze into the tightest of locations.
Prices for the new fit-PC3 compact computer start at US$328 for a barebones model.
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Are they just sexed up dumb terminals? Can they do video editing on 2 Gig files? Are they only good for word processing?
While I would love a PC that is the size of a peanut, the lack of inherent muscle in the processor at this point in time says, \"Screw the small form factor, go with the big muscle box\" - because there is no alternative.
Like any tool, one has to choose from many variables when choosing the right one. Size is one of those variables. Where size might be the most important choice (vice speed, video power, etc.), is perhaps mounted in a vehicle, or mounted behind a flat-panel HDTV, in a small cabinet space or in a kiosk commercial situation. Another facet of this small form-factor machine is low power consumption, for example, so that might be a consideration over something larger, requiring more amperage to operate or 110V.
So, just keep an open mind, and don\'t be so \"stiff\" in your opining. ;)
Cheers, Doc Rings
Plus, at 9W idle power consumption, it can stay on all the time, which makes it ideal for driving a home automation system while at the same time providing pervasive web access for the entire family, plus managing some drives and acting as a local media server without having to power up a power-hungry desktop - it eats up less power a day than a microwave oven in 15 minutes of operation.