The original Mintbox Mini is one of the best PCs available if you're looking for a Linux-based tiny desktop. That's in part because it runs the Mint flavor of Linux desktop, which ZDNet's own Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has called "the best of the best" of desktop UI regardless of operating system.
But the folks at Linux Mint clearly saw room for improvement, as the Mintbox Mini 2 was just announced at the team's blog. The most important of these upgrades comes in the form of the processor, which goes from an AMD A4 Micro-6400T to an Intel Celeron J3455. Based on the Geekbench 4 scores, the new Mini 2 provides a fourfold boost in performance over the original. Even against the Mintbox Mini Pro, which uses an AMD A10-Micro 6700T chip instead, the Mini 2 is over 50 percent faster.
There are many additional upgrades to the Mini 2 that should make for an improved experience, everything from moving from 802.11n Wi-Fi to dual-band 802.11ac (and adding Bluetooth support) to changing the second HDMI to a Mini DisplayPort connection to placing a second USB 3.0 port on the front of the chassis. Speaking of the unit's housing, the Mintbox Mini 2 is based on Compulab's Fitlet2 fanless design, which now sports a taller top heatsink to help keep the components inside cool and supports up to 16GB of RAM.
As with the original Mini, the Mini 2 will come in standard and Mini Pro editions when they become available in June, with similar or lower price tags to their predecessors. The Mini 2 ships with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of solid-state storage, whereas the Mini Pro 2 doubles the RAM and boosts storage capacity to a 120GB SSD. While the Mini 2 is a mere $4 more than the first Mini ($299 versus $294), the $349 Mini Pro 2 is actually $45 cheaper than the previous version.