Linutop create new model

September 22nd, 2009 Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Linutop 3

This is the Linutop 3, a small form factor PC running Linux.  Linutop promote these PCs for various usages; kiosks, digital signage, standalone usage, but we think these PCs also work well in a couple of other scenarios too; as fanless PCs, they can serve well in bedrooms, or in the lounge to act as a quiet PC for various internet tasks.

The Linutop 3 has a Via C7 1GHz processor (compared to the Geode 500MHz in the Linutop 2), and features 1GB DDR2 RAM (up from 512KB) and 2GB of Flash (up from 1GB).

In fact, we’ve had a Linutop 2 in for review for some while, and really accpreciate the additional effort Linutop has taken with the OS; as well as providing a customised Ubuntu install (based on Ubunto v8.04), it also features additional controls, such as locking the whole OS so nothing is preserved between boots (very useful for kiosk environments).  On top of that, Linutop update their OS image every few months, incorporating the latest software updates into the core Flash image, allowing valuable space that the software updates take up to be reclaimed.  You can also backup to a USB key, or boot and restore the device from a key (providing a nice easy upgrade path when they release the new OS images, although you do lose all data).

Within that OS image, Linutop include Firefox (with Flash support), OpenOffice, VLC Media Player, and even Pidgin Instant Messaging.

The Linutop 3 is larger than the Linutop 2 (9.3 x 9.3 x 2.2 inches, compared to 5.5 x 5.5 x 1.4), is a little heavier, and now draws 20 Watts instead of a more average 8 Watts from the Linutop 2.  This low power consumption makes these devices very good for leaving permanently on all the time, without the normal overhead of a full PC.  However, these devices will never compete on speed of tasks, so be prepared for a slightly slower experience.

In other areas, the Linutop 3 offers DVI support and a higher resolution that than the Linutop 2 (now 1920 x 1080), more USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet (up from Fast Ethernet), and an internal PCIe expansion option.

Our biggest issue with the Linutop 2 is the difficulty in getting BBC iPlayer working on the device, which would make it a lot more useful…

The Linutop 3 sells for €340, and the Linutop 2 is still available at €280 (both require an additional €28 for delivery) direct from the manufacturer here.  By the way, if you think the Linutop 2 is the same as other manufacturer’s devices in the same form factor (eg the Viglen unit), think again; the Linutop 2 is a higher spec device, both in terms of memory, flash and processor.


2 Responses to “Linutop create new model”

  1. Peter Says:

    So, did you get the Linutop 3 to run the BBC iPlayer nicely or not in the end? Thanks!

  2. UK Gadgeteer Says:

    Sorry, I should have been clearer (and I’ve updated the text); No, I could not get iPlayer working with the Linutop 2. It seems to be an issue between the Flash software Linutop pre-install (and link into Firefox) and the minimum version required by the BBC.

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