With what seems to be a ceaseless torrent of Netbook releases and distros to match; itâ€™s great to see a new system soon to enter the market which makes the best of the standard installation of Ubuntu. The Fit-PC2 is smaller than your average Dictionary, measuring in at only 1 1/8″ (27 mm) x 4 1/2″ (115 mm) x 4″ (101mm). Despite itâ€™s diminutive size it manages some pretty good specs.
An Intel Atom Z530 processor running at 1.6 GHz motors through your tasks and the included 1 GB of RAM holds those tasks in place. Graphics are catered for by the Intel GMA500 graphics chipset with hardware acceleration and a DVI interface. A 160 GB SATA drive is more than capable of storing your files; Remember, a typical installation of Ubuntu takes up only 3-4gb (5-6 at the very most, 10 maybe for those of us compiling programs as well as getting a little apt-happy) of that space. A quick check of my Vista (I say quickâ€¦ it took around a minute to calculate the file contentsâ€¦) install shows me that currently it takes up 24gb. Thatâ€™s a lot of hard drive real-estate Iâ€™d rather have for my files, not the systemsâ€™.
To round off the specs it also sports Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11g wifi (a small antenna is fitted to the back of the case), 6 USB 2.0 ports; two of which are on the front and are befriended by an SD card slot and an infra-red port. Personally, I think bluetooth wouldnâ€™t have gone amiss as it offers a far greater scope of functions than IR.. but a remote control is seldom something to scoff at.
This is also a very green pc, running only on a laptop style power-brick rated 12 volts at 1.5 amps. Can anyone say car pc! A bracket is also included allowing you to attach the machine to the back of your monitor in a slightly poor-mans imac style, I like the idea though I think Iâ€™d rather show off the unitâ€™s tiny size than hide it.
Mini-ITX and similar technologies have been around for years and used by Linux heavily. Many products which we take for granted such as network routers often are actually embedded Linux systems. But embedded desktop systems first saw a surge of popularity with Damn Small Linux. They booted from solid-state pen drives so were blazingly fast, and ran silently on fanless Via EDEN processors. You can still buy them now and support DSL in doing so.
However, what this computer brings to the market is not a â€˜liveâ€™ Linux system, with limited storage space and a need to set up alternative data-storage, but a full Desktop with all the features you could need. With the price of $359 for the Linux variant, this could be a very popular purchase indeed. Hopefully it will be and customers can start testing what can actually be done with it, like the ITX projects of old.