Meet Utilite, new Raspberry Pi rival

CompuLab's soon-to-be-released inexpensive ARM-powered Utlite PC can run Android or Ubuntu.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

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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