Intel's first 'open-source PC' on sale for $199
The MinnowBoard is the first commercially available open-source PC board with an Intel chip
IDG News Service - Intel has shipped its first "open source PC," a bare-bones computer aimed at software developers building x86 applications and hobbyists looking to construct their own computer.
The PC, called the MinnowBoard, is basically a motherboard with no casing around it. It was codeveloped by Intel and CircuitCo Electronics, a company that specializes in open-source motherboards, and went on sale this month for US$199 from a handful of retailers.
It's the first open-source PC to be offered with an Intel x86 processor, and the board's schematics and design files are published and can be replicated under a Creative Commons license. Development kits based on x86 processors from Via Technologies are already sold for robotics and other projects, but those boards are not open source.
Intel has also shared server designs through Facebook's Open Compute Project, but they're aimed primarily at large companies that design and build servers in-house. The MinnowBoard, which measures 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) by 4 inches, is Intel's first open-source hardware design for enthusiasts and developers.
Other open-source boards are available based on ARM processors or Arduino microcontrollers. The most notable ARM example is the Raspberry Pi, which starts at $25 and has sold in the millions.
The MinnowBoard is more expensive than ARM or Arduino boards and might be less attractive since it uses older hardware, including a 1GHz Intel Atom E640 processor, a 32-bit chip that was released in 2010.
However, the MinnowBoard is still cheaper than most PCs and could appeal to developers looking to write and test commercial applications before they're deployed in servers, embedded devices and other computers.
Other hardware in the MinnowBoard includes 1GB of DDR2 memory, an HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet, USB ports, and a micro-SD slot for expandable storage. The board's open-source UEFI firmware allows for the development of custom secure boot environments.
The board comes pre-loaded with the Angstrom Linux distribution and is compatible with Yocto Project, which enables the creation of hardware agnostic Linux-based systems.
The MinnowBoard also includes support for Intel's hyperthreading and VT virtualization technology, which are only available on processors from Intel. Advanced Micro Devices and Via use different technologies to speed data transfer on chips.
Intel and CircuitCo have also established a community website for MinnowBoard, which provides the specifications and other details of the PC.
- An Insightful Approach to Optimizing Mainframe MLC Spend This paper discusses how you can penetrate the complexity of IBM mainframe MLC products and the MLC price model to gain insight into...
- Meeting the Exploding Demand for New IT Services In this eBook, explore the top trends driving the New IT for IT Service Management, and how leading organizations are evolving to focus...
- Hybrid IT-A Low-Risk Path from On-Premise to ITaaS This white paper provides a strategy to move part or all of your ITSM suite to the cloud as a stepping stone to...
- Paving the Windows XP Migration Path to Success Support for Windows XP has ended, leaving organizations with three choices: Windows 8, Windows 7 or a combination. With the right planning and...
- Increase Your Data Center IQ Discover how to improve network efficiency, lower IT costs and more proactively manage your physical, virtual and cloud environments.
- Optimize Data Center Resources and Plan for the Future Eliminate over-provisioning and capacity shortfalls with pro-active capacity optimization. Join us in the evolution from capacity monitoring to capacity optimization in your data... All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts