All News | Boards | Chips | Devices | Software | Archive | About | Contact | Subscribe
Please whitelist in your ad blocker. Without ads from our sponsors, we cannot continue publishing this site. Thanks :-)

Tiniest mini-PC with a quad-core ARM SoC and 4GB RAM?

Apr 29, 2015 — by Rick Lehrbaum — 14,212 views

SolidRun has added a high-end model to its cubic mini-PC line, claiming the 2 x 2 x 2-inch Cubox-i 4X4 to be the “smallest ARM quad core 4GB mini computer.”

Tel Aviv-based SolidRun has just rolled out a top-end version of its 2 x 2 x 2-inch CuBox-i mini-PC line. The new model, dubbed the “CuBox-i 4X4,” uses Freescale’s i.MX6 Quad processor, and in a first for SolidRun’s CuBox-i mini-PCs, the 4X4 backs the quad-core SoC with 4GB of RAM. Accordingly, SolidRun claims the CuBox-i 4X4 to be “the smallest ARM quad core 4GB mini computer.”

Despite its appearance in this promotional photo, SolidRun’s Cubox-i 4X4 doesn’t really have wheels!
(click image to enlarge)

Of mini-PCs we’ve seen, Ugoos’s UT3 and UT3S mini-PCs also use quad-core ARM SoCs backed by 4GB of RAM, but they’re roughly eight times larger, at an estimated 5 x 5 x 1-inches.

CuBox-i front (left) and rear panel connections
(click images to enlarge)

The diminutive CuBox-i 4X4 mini-PC’s embedded electronics consist of SolidRun’s 30 x 47mm MicroSOM computer-on-module (shown below), plugged into a tiny, 2 x 2-inch carrier board. The MicroSOM also serves as the core of the company’s $40 Linux-ready Hummingboard SBC (also shown below).

MicroSOM computer-on-module (left) and Hummingboard SBC
(click images to enlarge)

Although SolidRun’s website currently lists 2GB as the maximum RAM available on the MicroSOM, the company confirmed in an email to LinuxGizmos that the CuBox 4X4 is built around a 4GB version of the MicroSOM. It’s not clear, however, whether all of the MicroSOM’s (and therefore the CuBox 4×4’s) 4GB of RAM is actually usable, in light of an interesting exchange between SolidRun’s CTO, Rabeeh Khoury, and a CuBox user on the company’s discussion forum, which mentioned that only 3.8GB might be accessible.

The device supports full HD multi format video decoding at over 100Mbps bit rate, as well as encoding of Full-HD video streams, says SolidRun.

Block diagrams: CuBox-i mini-PC and its i.MX6 SoC
(click image to enlarge)

Specifications listed by SolidRun for the CuBox 4X4 are listed below:
  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6 Quad:
    • CPU — 4x Cortex A9 cores with NEON @1GHz-1.2GHz)
    • GPU — GC2000 (OpenGL/ES 2.0, OpenCL 1.1)
  • RAM — 4GB (DDR3; 64-bit, 1GHz)
  • Storage — MicroSD slot for OS; eSATA II 3Gbps (i2Ultra and i4Pro only)
  • Ethernet — gigabit Ethernet; limited to 470Mbps bandwidth “due to internal chip buses”
  • Wireless — WiFi 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI 1.4; supports full HD multi format video decoding at over 100 Mbps bit rate, as well as encoding of full-HD video streams
    • Optical audio SPDIF out
    • InfraRed receiver and transmitter
    • 2x USB 2.0 host
    • MicroUSB port for system console
  • Other features — real time clock with backup battery
  • Power — 5V; 2.1/5.5mm power jack optional power or BYO that can source 3A
  • Dimensions — 55 x 55 x 42mm (2 x 2 x 2 inches)
  • Operating system — ships with optional Android 4.2.2 microSD card; supports various versions of Linux

“The CuBox-i 4X4 module addresses the growing need for increased high capability power efficient fan-less mini-computers,” stated Atai Ziv, CEO of SolidRun. “Its unique nonmoving parts and passive cooling design increase reliability in various home, city and industrial floor environments targeting multimedia and digital signage, industrial, and IoT applications.”

Adds SolidRun’s CTO, Rabeeh Khoury, “The new capabilities of CuBox-i 4×4 meet the demand of developers and makers who look to expand the performance envelope and offer innovative new applications. In addition, we further support their needs with our improved portfolio of open source Linux based offerings, such as Kodi, Android, Yocto and Debian.”

Further information

The SolidRun CuBox-i 4×4 with an i.MX6 Quad SoC and 4GB RAM will begin shipping in May, priced at $170. Additional details are available on the company’s CuBox-i product page.

Last Fall, SolidRun introduced a $110 CuBoxTV model running OpenElec Linux and Kodi (formerly XBMC) on a quad-core i.MX6 SoC, and offering 100Mbps+ video decoding. For further insight into CuBox capabilities, read our detailed CuBoxTV review.

(advertise here)


3 responses to “Tiniest mini-PC with a quad-core ARM SoC and 4GB RAM?”

  1. Nikolai says:

    Such devices highlight one design problem: so small device is linked by 8+ cables. It creates dissonance, because long cables over-shape small box, creating image of a spider. Time to go 100% wireless, is it? And, built-in camera plus mic could be helpful either.

  2. Alex says:

    The imx6 series of SoCs typically feature 1 or 2GB of RAM or less when featured on a development board or inside a commercial product, I think this device has been mistaken, and that it actually has 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. 🙁

Please comment here...