If you’re stuck deciding between a new PC to freshly install Linux on and an Android tablet, Chinese Internet retailer Geekbuying may have just the solution.
That’s because the firm is preparing to launch Geekbox, a tiny computer with some appreciable internals, including an octa-core processor, 2 gigs of RAM, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11ac Wi-Fi capabilities, Gigabit Ethernet, and 4K video support. Unfortunately, the Geekbox is held back by an all-too-conservative 16GB flash storage capacity.
But what makes Geekbox interesting isn’t its guts, at least not in the hardware sense. Rather, it’s the versatility of this little machine, which is capable of running both Android and Ubuntu right out of the box, thanks to a set of preloaded software. And if for some reason Ubuntu doesn’t feed your desktop appetite, there’s compatibility with Rockchip’s Light Biz OS to consider as well. Unlike vanilla Android, Light Biz is configured specifically for desktops in order to transcend that feeling that you’re using a watered-down mobile OS.
Even outside the software, Geekbox offers a generously open hardware experience as well. You can open up its case, take out the components, most of which are soldered to the system-on-a-module, and use the insides for whatever you’d like. This includes, if Geekbuying has its way, connecting to a 7.9-inch 2,048 x 1,546 “Retina” display (don’t tell Apple). Or, if the aforementioned specs aren’t enough, LandingShip offers a printed circuit board that sports a number of additional input and output options, as well as a 2.5-inch SATA bay, LEDs, a 60-pin GPIO header, and connectors for cameras and displays, in addition to a number of other enhancements.
You can pre-order the Geekbox now for the modest price of $110. What’s more, if you leave a comment on the Geekbuying promotional page, you’ll earn a $20 coupon towards your purchase. That’s 90 bucks for a Rockchip RK3368-equipped computer that can effectively dual-boot Android and Ubuntu immediately out of the box.
With the PC, you’re getting a microSD card slot, a single HDMI 2.0 port, a micro USB port, two standard USB ports, and a Rockchip RK3368 Cortex A53 processor with a PowerVR SGX6110 graphics chip. It’s even packaged with an infrared remote, making it a practical streaming box solution.
By design, the mini PC abstains from using fans for cooling, as a means of limiting system noise when you’re trying to catch up with Casual on Hulu. However, if you’re looking to do some more intensive things with the device, Geekbuying thoughtfully included a fan connector that allows for the installation of an active cooling system.
Surely, this is one of the more flexible mini PCs on the market, though it’s certainly not for someone just looking to do some light web browsing and video streaming here and there. No, there are plenty of devices for that. Clearly, Geekbox is for those who need all of that and more — a compact, modular PC with tons of customization.