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Linutop 2 Mini PC
Even in these times of the diminutive nettop, it's not everyday that a fully working PC measuring a mere 14 x 14 x 3.5cm (5.5 x 5.5 x 1.38in) arrives in the office. With its svelte dimensions and weighing only 562g, the Linutop 2 (yes, there was a Linutop 1) is one little box that truly deserves the tag of 'miniature PC'.
Despite the low weight, Linutop's little box is encased in a relatively thick aluminium shell, giving it build quality only somewhat less impressive than a Sherman tank. Though we didn't test it this time around, the Linutop 2 is another machine you could probably drive a car over and still leave it intact afterwards.
Only at the front and back of the machine do the recessed panels around the ports flex slightly when applying pressure, but we can't see many scenarios where this would be an issue. At its bottom are two thick rubber strips giving it a secure grip and also making sure the metal casing doesn't damage anything.
Another big ace up the Linutop's sleeve is that it has no moving parts, and therefore runs absolutely silently. Basically, the only way to tell if it's on are the LEDs at the front (or of course by checking your monitor). It also means you can put the unit anywhere and in any way you want, whether that's upside-down or diagonally, and it won't suffer from a dusty environment either because there are no vents.
The third factor differentiating the Linutop 2 from other miniature desktop PCs is its power usage: supposedly it never uses more than 8w. In our testing we actually found it to be more like 8.5w, though considering the tiny difference this could easily be due to variations in what keyboard we were using at the time. Also this is still less than half the drain of competing Atom-based nettops.
Of course it's a trade-off with less powerful components meaning the Linutop 2 can't run Windows, but we'll get to the internals in a bit. Also keep in mind that when turned 'off', the Linutop 2 still consumes up to 1.7w despite the USB ports not being powered, so if you're really serious about saving energy you'll want to switch it off at the mains. The power brick, meanwhile, takes a standard kettle lead just like a PC or monitor, and despite being quite small is still almost a third as large as the main unit itself.