First Linux Mint PCs go on sale

First Linux Mint PCs go on sale

Summary: The popular Linux Mint desktop distribution has just released its first official PCs.

TOPICS: Open Source

The Mint Linux mintBox PCs are ideal for both hobbyist and business use.

The Mint Linux mintBox PCs are ideal for both hobbyist and business use.

I love the Linux Mint desktop distribution. Lots of people love Mint. Mint's my current favorite Linux desktop distribution. But, like most distributions, to run it, I had to install it myself. Now, Mint, in conjunction with CompuLab, is selling its first Mint-branded PCs.

True, you could buy a PC or laptop from ZaReason and a handful of other Linux PC vendors with Mint Linux, but the two mini-PCs that Mint and CompuLab are offering are the first to have Mint's official blessing.

Setting up Mint 13: 2012's Best Linux desktop

These PCs, the fit-PC3 basic and pro models are now available with Linux Mint branding under the name "mintBox." According to Clement "Clem" Lefebvre, Mint's founder, "The mintBox is amongst the toughest computers on the market. It features a die-cast solid-metal case which acts as a giant passive heatsink. Although the metal makes the mintBox heavier than other devices its size, it makes it feel really unique, robust and well engineered. More importantly, it cools down its components without needing any fans. Other than the noise coming from its internal 250GB hard-drive, the mintBox is completely silent."

The mintBox comes with four USB ports: Two in the front, and two in the back. Two of these support USB 3.0. It also has a pair of external serial AT Attachment (eSATA) ports; two mini-Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) sockets, plus a mSATA port, and a good old RS-232 port. This tiny computer, smaller than a Mac Mini, also comes with Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Gigabit Ethernet. Both models also come with an HDMI port and a DVI adapter.

As you might guess from that construction and all those ports, the mintBox started life as an industrial computer. And, indeed, CompuLab is an embedded and industrial computer specialist.

The mintBox Basic, which list for $476 plus shipping, duty, and value added tax (VAT) comes with a 250GB hard drive. For a processor, it uses an AMD APU G-T40N. This is a 1GHz dual core, which includes an integrated ATI Radeon HD 6290 for graphics. This is an Intel-compatible embedded system unit. This system comes with 4GBs of RAM.

The higher end mintBox Pro retails for $549 plus shipping, duty, and VAT. It is identical to the Basic except it uses the higher-speed AMD APU G-T56N. This is a 1.65GHz dual core CPU and comes with an ATI Radeon HD 6320 for graphics. It also comes with 8GBs RAM and a ribbed metal case for better heat dissipation.

Lefebvre also claims that one of the highlights of both models are how "easy it is to open it. Both the RAM and the HDD are accessible from underneath the box. Use a standard screwdriver to open the bay and you can upgrade your RAM or switch the HDD for a SSD drive without any hassle." This makes both ideal for people who like to upgrade their systems.

The mintBox, according to Lefebvre, with its Kensington lock and 4 small dents underneath it for the mintBox to be mounted on a VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) mount bracket and their low-power consumption "(respectively idle and full load: 8-17W for the basic model, 9-24W for the pro model) make the mintBox an attractive device for companies, hotels and cybercafés where it can be placed or mounted on walls securely and significantly reduce noise levels and electricity bills." In other words, the mintBox is meant both for serious computer hobbyists and for serious business use.

The system has been tested with both Linux Mint 12 and the latest Linux Mint 13. According to a note by Lefebvre, it appears that the mintBox will be shipping with "Mint 13 OEM 64-bit, the big question is whether it's Cinnamon [Mint's own GNOME 2.x style desktop based on GNOME 3.x) or MATE [A Gnome 2.x fork] by default and with or without ATI drivers. Both editions work out of the box on the hardware without drivers, except the sound output via HDMI."

Audio via HDMI requires an AMD/ATI driver, fglrx. If not supplied in the system this can be installed via Mint's Software Manager. I imagine this driver will be pre-installed as CompuLab and Mint ramp up production.

Both mintBox versions are available for purchase today. US and Canadian orders are shipped from CompuLab's US office in Florida. Expected delivery time from "in-stock" is two weeks. In the rest of the world, the units are shipped from CompuLab's Israeli offices. 10% of each sale goes towards Linux Mint.

Related Stories:

2012's Best Linux desktop: Linux Mint 13

Fedora 17 & GNOME 3.4: Return to a useful Linux desktop (Review)

Ubuntu 12.04 vs. Windows 8: Five points of comparison

Mint's Cinnamon: The Future of the Linux Desktop? (Review)

Linux Mint 12 Debian Edition Slideshow

Topic: Open Source

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  • Congratulations to Mint

    Now, if this product fails in the market place please do not go into full blown conspiracy mode and blame Microsoft. The Mintbox will rise and fall on its own merits.
    Your Non Advocate
    • Well, tell me when they start showing up in Wal-Mart or Best Buy . . .

      Well, tell me when they start showing up in Wal-Mart or Best Buy . . .
      • Yea

        Says a lot where you shop for computer systems and parts. Walmart/Best Buy that sounds real cheap.
      • They won't

        These are, essentially, fat thin clients. They will be put in industrial and retail spaces, not the home office.
        Your Non Advocate
      • re: comments

        "Says a lot where you shop for computer systems and parts. Walmart/Best Buy that sounds real cheap."

        Personally, I buy parts from TigerDirect and NewEgg and built it myself.

        But I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about most people. People like my mother and father.

        "These are, essentially, fat thin clients. They will be put in industrial and retail spaces, not the home office."

        Well, why use Mint then? It seems to be a distro aimed at the home office :/.

        Anyhoo, I'm disappointed that Linux still hasn't cracked retail yet.
      • Not My Business Model

        "[i]Well, why use Mint then? It seems to be a distro aimed at the home office :/.[/i]"

        This is not my business model. But, no, this has zero chance of being sold to home office users. Internet cafes maybe. Within businesses, maybe. At the home? No. I cannot see any Linux user explicitly running this device unless they are looking for some XMBC device with NAS storage.
        Your Non Advocate
      • As long as you're *Absolutely Certain* Windows/Mac are the only suitable OS

        and that *quality* is not a concern, and know enough to avoid the "extras" like extended warranties, "set-up services", can diagnose issues on your own, etc, then Wal-Mart or Best Buy *may* be acceptable places to buy a cheap PC.
  • This will fail

    You can get a much better PC than that for that price and install mint yourself.
    • Hard to tell

      Although a 15 month old embedded processor is anything but state of the art, it can find a niche. It's VESA-friendly footprint and quiet operation makes it comparable to many similarly priced thin clients. I would be more inclined to use a Raspberry Pi, but I can see some orgs preferring this footprint.
      Your Non Advocate
      • Re: Hard to tell

        Oh dear. I'm agreeing with @facebook. Should I be concerned?
    • Not a lot of "people"want to do that.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • True, while most individuals won't reformat and install Linux

        Businesses routinely format and load their own images of Windows, so installing Linux if they wanted to is not an issue. I think you get the point.
    • Re; You can get a much better PC than that for that price

      I think the main selling points were rugged and silent.
      If you want both those, the price will go up and performance will not be cutting edge.
  • First Linux Mint PCs go on sale

    for the price, you can get a decent laptop ready to use...
    • You are missing the point....

      I have my share of home made computers, purchased laptops and a couple of tablets, I started my career as a designer of mainframe computers. I love MInt and linux because it's fun and I can make it do what I want it to.

      This is aiming at a different market. If you want to build a super PC go ahead, use the distro that suits, IF you want a laptop (mine run Ubuntu 12 as it is the wife's preference and the lap tops are for all) buy a laptop.

      If you just want an alternative to windows (and windows 8, and I think we may need one) then this might just be your anwer. Even if it picks up a small % of disafffected Windows users who don't want to or are afraid to build their own, then this might just work.

      It's not going to sell by the gazillions, but it just might be worthwhilw and open a few people up to linux, which wasn't possible the way Wal-Mart tried to market it. In their timidity, they tried not to sell Linux but low cost hardware, and got lots of returns, this is a Linux box with an interface close to XP but miles from Metro UI, reasonably cheap, stylish and less of a jump than XP to Metro so it should be viable.
  • Better build it yourself.

    The system spec is complete garbage and for that price I can build a gaming system within the $500. Here is my lists of parts for running just about any games out now 2012, amd x3 460 3.4ghz $84.90, MSI 760GM-P21 $54.99, MSI R6850 $159.99, WD 500gb sata3 $69.99, WINTEC DDR3 8GB DUAL 1333mhz $35.99, Raidmax ATXZ1000BP $39.99, Linux Mint 13 $0, no cd-rom drive.
    small penis
    • But not that small...

      This computer is smaller than a Mac Mini, and silent. If you have no use for those attributes then don't buy it.
      • but do I pay for size or specs?

        In a canned enviornment, this might be great, however, for the average Linux user that builds systrems, it's expensive for what you get and modifying the hardware in the future is an issue.

        Since the form factor is extremely small, it seems the audience is rather limited. the real judgement of success is whether it does well in the target market.
    • Re; for that price I can build a gaming system . .

      It is not for that purpose.
      And what is the expected noise level and what kind of [b] silent and rugged [/b] case will you have for it.
      The combination of silent [b] and [/b] rugged will always increase the price.
  • This is overpriced

    For what you are getting...