Meet Utilite, new Raspberry Pi rival

Meet Utilite, new Raspberry Pi rival

Summary: CompuLab's soon-to-be-released inexpensive ARM-powered Utlite PC can run Android or Ubuntu.


Cheap, low-end PCs -- such as the Raspberry Pi and Parallella -- have become quite popular with do-it-yourself fans. Now, CompuLab, an Israeli computer OEM, is throwing its hat into the ring with its $99 Utilite mini-PC, which might also serve businesses well. 

The $99 CompuLab Utilite PC can run Android or Linux.

Unlike the $25 bare-bones Raspberry Pi PC, the Utilite will come in a paperback-book sized, 5.3-inch × 3.9-inch × 0.8-inch container.

It also boasts far more processing power. The Utilite, which will start shipping in August, is powered by a Freescale i.MX6 system-on-chip with a single, dual, or quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor running up to speeds of 1.2GHz.

This miniature computer can hold up to 4GBs of Double data rate synchronous dynamic random-access memory DDR3 RAM. For storage it can come with up to a 512GB mini-Serial ATA, Solid-State Drive (SSD). The front-panel micro-SD socket supports Secure Digital extended Capacity (SDXC) cards with up to 128GBs of room.

For video output, the Utilite uses High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) 1.4 and a second Digital Video Interface-Digital (DVI-D) port. Both display outputs support resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 and can be operated in dual-head mode. 5.1 channels audio is available through HDMI and through Sony/Philips Digital Interconnect Format (S/PDIF). In addition there are standard 3.5mm jacks for stereo line-out and line-in.

To connect it with your network and other devices, the Utilite comes with a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports and built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It includes four USB 2.0 ports: two on the back and two on the front. It also has a mini RS232 connector.

Users will have their choice of Android or Ubuntu Linux for their operating system. CompuLab has experience in delivering Linux-based systems with its Mint-based MintBox line. No further operating system details are available at this time.

With its combination of power, size, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, and case, businesses might want to consider using Utilite as well. It appears as if it would make a fine low-end server or, with the right Linux server software, a dedicated router, firewall, or file-server.

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Topics: Hardware, Android, Linux, Servers, Ubuntu, PCs, DIY

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  • Interesting

    Wonder how much it will cost for a full model. Becuase based on their other prices, the prices of these small PC's can be pretty high. So it might be that a $99 machine comes with almost nothing...
    • Not sure the $99 price point will be a seller with hobbiest

      That's the nice thing about the Pi - $25 for something to play around with, and you can get 4 Pi's for the price of just one of these, if trying to intigrate this into a robot or some other project is the end result.
      William Farrel
      • Agreed....

        $25 is a lot easier to sneak by the wife. $99 is more "father's day" territory. Not sure if I'm willing to trade a new powertool vs. a mini pc at that point.... But hey, there might be some business utility in this. I can definitely see the "small file server" thing for small offices. Heck, maybe even just a backup file server?
        • LOL. "$25 is a lot easier to sneak by the wife"

  • I'm guessing $99 gets you...

    No RAM and no SSD. Does it use a SO-DIMM or some other form-factor RAM? Is it user serviceable?
    Would be great if this article had a little more info about this computer.
  • The BeagleBone Black is more of a rival to the RasPi

    It's $45 and can run Ubuntu as well as Android.
    Mac Hosehead
    • I agree

      At this price point, this isn't really a Raspberry Pi rival. It's definitely an interesting piece of hardware and will probably make it onto the list of candidates to upgrade my current Android based set-top box, but it's not a rival for the Raspberry Pi, which I also own.
  • Another point of reference:

    If you Google "The Ben Heck Show", he's got instructions for building a Raspberry Pi (as well as other products, such as an NES with a VCR-style cart insertion system.
    Richard Estes
  • Irony of the aggressive spam filter

    The spam filter is so aggressive that many legitimate posts never show up, yet actual spam still gets through. So much for heuristic programming.
  • When will Americans learn...

    I know... I know... am sure my subject triggered your troll alerts.

    But for us outside the US (pun intended), hearing that a box is "5.3-inch × 3.9-inch × 0.8-inch" when it should have been "13.5 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm" (look Ma, just one decimal point!) is soooo jarring, that our eyes hurt.

    99% of the world now speaks metric and I'm sure the open world (Linux, ARM, Android, etc.) is filled with metric-loving guys. Alas, Israel is one of those places also.

    To keep things civilized why don't you quote the two scales and let other's choose which ones to ignore.

    My two cents... and I guess those could be dollars, euros, yens or whatever.
    • Huh?

      You went to a US site and complain that it uses US measurements in the story? What's next, you going to complain the story wasn't written in French instead of English?

      To answer the question in your subject line, "When is the rest of the world going to learn we just don't give a crap what you think about America using 'inches' as a unit of measurement." (In fact, the more you complain about it, the more we want to use it.)
      • So if I understand, you guys do not care about the reader out of US...

        Isnt your duty at all, but isnt a question of duty...

        Generally I hope that someone interested in your "clients" regardless of where they come from does not have that kind of attitude like "bad luck of yours", even the enterprise that sell the computer, put mm and inches even if an non US enterprise and isnt hard to think why, and why isnt the same as a language.

        Its just my opinin...
        Romulo Pulcinelli Benedetti
  • Too much computer

    I don't get it why this things has to have so many interfaces. Each interface adds costs for the controller/chips and ports. For example, if one wants to build a router, an (say) $50 MicroTik device will do the trick -- replace it's software if you don't like what is inside.
    If one wants to build a thin client, two Gigabit Ethernet ports are not necessary.

    KISS is a great way to be successful.
  • How much is that doggy in the window?

    I suspect that by the time you add the quad processor, max the memory and the 1/2 GB SSD, you could add the price of a Raspberry Pi, and spring for a Surface RT.