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26 January 2011, 12:48

Fanless 3-watt PC with Dual Core ARM CPU, HDMI and Linux

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Zoom The CompuLab Trim-Slice.
Source: CompuLab
Now, Intel's Atom also has competition from ARM in the desktop PC arena. Israel's CompuLab has presented the Trim-Slice, a tiny, fanless PC using NVIDIA's Tegra 2 platform. The System-on-Chip (SoC) has two ARM Cortex-A9 CPU cores with clock rates up to 1 GHz, offering roughly the same computing power as an Intel Atom. But the multimedia equipment is even better. Two HDMI ports are provided, and Tegra 2 also includes an HD video accelerator.

The Trim-Slice reportedly only consumes an average of 3 watts at 8 to 16 volts. 1 GB of RAM (DDR2-800, but probably running at 333 MHz) is on board. Up to 64 GB of SATA-SSD can reportedly be used, but CompuLab has not announced the size – mSATA or 1.8 inches is likely. In addition, two SDHC-compatible card readers are available in the standard and micro formats. Four USB ports are available for periphery devices along with a gigabit ethernet adapter (10/100/1000) and a wireless module (WLAN 802.11n and Bluetooth).

Zoom The Trim-Slice features HDMI 1.3 full-HD output.
Source: CompuLab
CompuLab has not said which operating system is used, though it does say it is open source. The Trim-Slice will reportedly also serve as an open platform for software developers and at a later date, CompuLab plans to provide complete operating systems. Linux distributions are already available for other Tegra 2 devices, such as those shipped with Android. For instance, Ubuntu 10.10 is now used in the Toshiba AC100, which sells for around £224. Admittedly, the alternative operating system still has its driver problems. Audio output does not work out of the box, and there are no drivers for GeForce Go's HD video and 3D acceleration. The issue is currently being discussed in NVIDIA's Tegra developer forum.

CompuLab does not plan to begin taking orders for the Trim-Slice until April and has only given a rough idea of the price, which is to be "cheaper than a tablet". In addition to components for embedded systems, the Israeli firm also manufactures a number of mini-PCs, such as the Fit-PC2 with Atom Z500 series CPU and the Fit-PC3 with an AMD-APU.

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