The future of desktop computing

The Linutop is a tiny Linux computer that you stick onto the back of your flat screen monitor (and hook it to the monitor, obviously), plug in, and go. It makes no noise, produces very little heat, uses hardly any electricity (eight watts) and seems to be reasonably powered. It cost about 300 bucks.

There are things it won’t do. The system is solid state, which means it is totally secure but upgrading would not be done in the usual way. I believe this computer is what you want to use if you are not storing data or if all your data is stored on line.

But for public computers in internet cafes or hotels, as your second computer in your home network, etc. this may be just the thing.

Check it out.


  1. #1 StuV
    August 20, 2008

    Umm, Greg… 280 euro is about $410.

    For that money, I’ll just take an eee Box and a night at the movies, thank you very much.

  2. #2 Joel
    August 20, 2008

    I have to agree with StuV. You can pick up a Mac Mini, 1GB RAM, 80GB Hard drive for $600.00.

    But the Linutop is about the same as a thin client, a bit more useful I imagine.

  3. #3 Donna
    August 20, 2008

    I picked up an Acer Aspire for $350 at Circuit City which is almost identical to this only in the laptop version and it runs like a dream. It is perfect for taking notes during class (working on a masters degree in anthro) and only weighs 2 lbs, For what I need, this computer is perfect

  4. #4 Carl Feagans
    August 20, 2008

    It should be a simple matter for the manufacturer to install a slot for a SDRAM card. I have a 4 GB on my Nokia Tablet, which is essentially a solid state linux box with a screen. 32 GB cards are now on the market, which would make the device extremely useful.

    Edit: I just flipped over to the link and the “Linutop 2” tab seems to be a flash memory version. I don’t see why it’s limited to just 1 GB, though.

  5. #5 Ian
    August 21, 2008

    “280 euro is about $410.”

    No, it’s fractionally under $414. Now let’s see someone post the new rate tomorrow. This could go on forever!

    But seriously, if you consider that electronics devices are typically cheaper in the spoiled USA, maybe there will be one for ~$300 available here.

    The really interesting news here, when you couple this revelation with the $149 board Greg blogged about recently, is small, quiet, low power, and cheap. If this is the new trend in computing, then it’s to be welcomed – as long as low power means little energy use, and not poor computing power!

    Bring it on!

  6. #6 greg laden
    August 21, 2008

    OMG what happened to the dollar!!1 Oh, right, Bush/Cheney.

    My opinion is that all these devices afre twice the cost they should be, but if more widely adopted, they’ll drop in cost.

  7. #7 StuV
    August 21, 2008

    Just wait until Intel rolls out a good, 45nm Atom chipset.

  8. #8 jan
    August 21, 2008

    There are a few similar PCs here in the US, check out:
    – Koolu: $299
    – CherryPal:

    They look cool…

  9. #9 phisrow
    August 22, 2008

    Outside the land of people with marketing budgets large enough to keep their websites typo free, you can get some really cheap mini-pc units: is the most dramatic example I know of. is more of an industrial supplier; but also has interesting low cost systems.

    These sorts lack the polish of some of those listed above; but are delightfully low cost, and probably did the actual manufacturing for the other guys anyway.

  10. #10 Brian X
    August 22, 2008

    I’d like to see… no, wait, already used that one.

    Actually, this is a great idea — it would, among other things, make kiosk designs much cheaper, since they wouldn’t have to accomodate a full-sized desktop CPU box. Not to mention it’d be great for hobbyists — it would drastically lower the price of a homemade arcade cabinet, for example, or be the perfect size to operate as a controller for a video or animatronic sculpture.