Right now, we seem to be on the cusp of a dramatic drop in PC prices (given the end of lockdown buy-ups and looming “Black Friday” sales) and we’re certainly starting to see some interesting deals appear in the mini-PC market already.
Here’s one attractive, pre-Black-Friday deal already available from Amazon.com. It is currently available for $100 ($129.99 listed price with a $30 discount coupon available). As far as I can tell, the coupon code is good for non-US purchasers too (there’s nothing that I can see in the Term & Conditions related to geographical location), but remember that you will be charged for transport and import fees, even assuming that Amazon will ship to your country.
If you can’t get it from Amazon in your country, GMKtec are running a “free, worldwide shipping” offer on their own web shop too, although the deal isn’t quite as sweet.
As you can see, although it’s a Gemini-Lake based system, it does have multiple USB-3 sockets, as well as both VGA and HDMI video (not to mention the snazzy, Cisco-esque ventilation hole pattern). It is also advertised as coming with 6GB of main memory and 128GB of eMMC, which is pretty decent.
Now I have to say up-front that I don’t own this particular model, but I have been running its baby-brother for a couple of years now — an N4000, 2-core system, badged by a different maker, but almost identical in the external configuration of ports. It runs FreeBSD, providing standard LAN services (unbound, nsd, NTP and DHCP) and has 20TB of disk storage attached across the multiple USB-3 ports; mainly providing back-up services to other machines on the LAN via ZFS send/receive and Jim Salter’s excellent “syncoid”. As well as all of that, it also runs multiple VMs. To date, it has provided me with sterling, trouble-free, 24/7 service.
The point is though, that my 2-core machine only came with 4GB of memory and a 64GB eMMC and it still works perfectly adequately as a headless server, so I think the 4-core model above, with its 6GB/128GB configuration should be a pretty reasonable investment for similar workloads (in case it’s not obvious, I wouldn’t advise anyone to buy this system as a desktop workstation).
The small(ish) print:-
- I have no relationship (not even as a customer) with GMKtec, nor (as already mentioned above) do I actually own any of their products.
- This is not the newest or best machine on the market. It does come in at an extremely attractive price, though.
- Unlike the RPi range, it is available (I know, I’m going to get shirt for that remark).
- You may want to wait to see what the Black Friday prices on N5105-based Jasper Lake systems are like.