Quad-core AMD SoC squeezes into pocketable mini PC

Remember Zotac's pocketable "Pico" mini PC? The fanless Bay Trail variant has multiple USB ports, Wi-Fi, wired Ethernet, a mini SD slot, and an HDMI output for under $200. At the Consumer Electronics Show today, Scott caught up with an upcoming version based on AMD's Mullins processor.

Dubbed the PA330, the red team's entry houses a quad-core A4-6400T processor with 1GHz base and 1.6GHz boost frequencies. The chip has a 4.5W TDP, and it sports Radeon R3 graphics with 128 GCN-class ALUs clocked at 350MHz. Odds are the GPU upgrade is responsible for the Mini DisplayPort out, which is missing from the Bay Trail original.

Like its predecessor, the PA330 is equipped with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage. The networking has been upgraded to 802.11ac and Gigabit Ethernet, though, making the system even more intriguing for in-home Steam streaming rig. The hardware should be potent enough for HTPC and possibly even light local gaming duties, as well.

Although the spec sheet doesn't list an operating system, Zotac will likely ship the machine with a Bing-ified version of Windows 8.1, like it does with the current Pico. We don't have pricing information, but availability is scheduled for March.

Comments closed
    • liquidsquid
    • 6 years ago

    How awesome for unattended PCs hosting data gathering software? (i.e. Weather data) I need one of these so I can leave my main machine off except for the big tasks.

    • shank15217
    • 6 years ago

    Why don’t make a dual nic variety. It would have been a great router…

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 6 years ago

    Price this right and you have a hell of a Steam streamer.

    Perhaps Valve should buy a bunch of these, make them black and blue (to match the new color scheme), stamp a valve on it, and call a Steam Machine.

    Really love the gigabit controller.

      • Dygear
      • 6 years ago

      Ok, I want 3 of these. I need to replace the rPi with something just a little bit faster, and this should do the trick. AND X86!

    • tootercomputer
    • 6 years ago

    All these minis are going to be the mainstream desktop computers in the not-too-distant future. Think of a company or university IT director who has to purchase hundreds of computers for mostly non-graphic intensive tasks, these will be real attractive. They use minimal electricity, they take up little space, cheap to ship, and so on and so on. There will always be us enthusiasts with our huge cases and cooling systems and multiple cards and multiple storage units, but these will be the mainstream. A nice trend, and I’d love to see AMD be a player.

      • DarkMikaru
      • 6 years ago

      Agreed, not ground breaking news by any stretch but good to hear some news from the AMD camp. But I do disagree with your statement that these will replace standard PC’s. I think they will once they can get the performance & storage capacity to equal desktop pc’s.. sure.

      I’m not to sold on these setting the world on fire yet as the performance for these x86 SoC’s are just not there yet. I run an older AMD C60 1Ghz Dual Core in my HTPC / Server and if I had to use that thing for my daily computing needs I’d shoot myself in the face! Even paired with a Samsung Evo 840 120GB drive it still tends to lag a bit while surfing the web. But as a server its perfect.

      But sure, as Kiosk / General Computing I guess they’ll do ok. But that performance might be the main thing that holds these Mini PC’s back.

    • Voldenuit
    • 6 years ago

    Bingdows.

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    So if it’s got a 4.5w TDP it can be used in a tablet, right? How does this compare to similar quad core ARM SOCs?

      • NeelyCam
      • 6 years ago

      It’s probably too expensive, since x86 tablet chips from the competitor are priced below $0.

      But wouldn’t it be funny if Intel’s contra-revenue dollars enabled a strong x86 tablet/phone ecosystem, just in time for AMD to get their chips to good enough power efficiency to reap the benefits…?

    • Welch
    • 6 years ago

    Hmmm, I like the size, the number of ports for the size also look glorious… and thank you for putting Gigabit on it and Wireless AC. Seems like every small little box like this wants to be WIFI only or 100mbps. Gigabit is so cheap to add its ridiculous, no real lost profits from including.

    I might have this replace my godly over-sized Win7/XBMC home theater setup, a Dell Precision Workstation…OVERKILL lol. Slap a few TB drive off of the USB 3.0 port with intelligent power/sleep mode for local storage and call it a day.

    Sort of disappointed in my RT-N66U not having its own power options for the USB 2.0 ports on the rear. Otherwise I was able to stream from an external drive to my TV and even to my phone over WIFI flawlessly. If your drives are never allowed to sleep its going to eat up some power being on 24/7 attached to the router.

      • Duck
      • 6 years ago

      It’s up to the USB HDD to power down when idle. You don’t simply cut power to the drive to stop it spinning otherwise it would be unavailable after that.

        • Welch
        • 6 years ago

        Yes but some lesser drives require an OS software installed to manage the power settings.

    • willmore
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<] The fanless Bay Trail variant has multiple USB ports, Wi-Fi, wired Ethernet, a [b<]mini SD slot[/b<], and an HDMI output for under $200.[/quote<] I doubt it had a mini-SD slot. Micro, maybe?

    • Kurotetsu
    • 6 years ago

    It’d be awesome if this had an IR receiver built-in, would make a great frontend for a network CableCard tuner.

    • drfish
    • 6 years ago

    Did someone say Minecraft?

      • Neutronbeam
      • 6 years ago

      Minecraft! There, said it!

    • Helmore
    • 6 years ago

    Red team? Did AMD finally officially switch to red as it’s main color? The ATI takeover is complete?

      • auxy
      • 6 years ago

      Haven’t been to AMD.com lately, have you?

    • DPete27
    • 6 years ago

    Looks like a thick iPhone…(waits for lawsuits to ensue)

      • nico1982
      • 6 years ago

      Ahahah, I tought the same.

      • UnfriendlyFire
      • 6 years ago

      And then Apple will be credited with pushing AMD over the edge with the lawsuits’ expenses…

      • oldog
      • 6 years ago

      Naw, too many ports! Apple would get rid of all of ’em ‘cept one.

        • dpaus
        • 6 years ago

        …which would be proprietary and expensive as hell. But magical!

          • NeelyCam
          • 6 years ago

          Or USB-C. Non-proprietary and not-so-expensive but still magical.

          Seriously, I think USB-C/USB3.1 is going to revolutionize the market. The connector/cable can run 20Gb/s in each direction (four differential lanes) or 40Gb/s in one direction – that’s enough for pretty much everything that’s out there right now, including DisplayPort.

          So, no DP, Ethernet, USB2/USB3, DVI, HDMI, TB, Lightning.. just one port to rule them all. And since only one port is needed, only one type of cable is needed, increasing cable volume and pushing the cable prices down.

          • UnfriendlyFire
          • 6 years ago

          …In making your wallet lighter

    • chuckula
    • 6 years ago

    Mullins… IT LIVES!! IT LIVES!!

    If TR gets its hands on one for a review, I’ll try to run similar benchmarks with my Core-M (also a 4.5 watt TDP) to see what the differences are.

      • auxy
      • 6 years ago

      You really think Mullins can compete with Core M?

        • UnfriendlyFire
        • 6 years ago

        The best AMD can do is price it lower and market it (which is NOT their strength).

        Carrizo-L isn’t going to help much since Skylake is also launching around the same time.

        • chuckula
        • 6 years ago

        Not really but it will finally shutup some naysayers.

        I’m moderately interested to see the Mullins GPU in action against Baytrail’s GPU when both chips are required to operate in the same power envelope. I’d probably bet on Mullins to win, but by a vastly narrower margin than all those tests where AMD shows off the GPU prowess of a 25 watt Kabini vs. a < 5 watt Baytrail.

          • Andrew Lauritzen
          • 6 years ago

          Baytrail has a pretty weak GPU… Core M vs Mullins would be more interesting I think. Or maybe Cherrytrail when it’s available.

            • chuckula
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<]Core M vs Mullins would be more interesting I think.[/quote<] Core-M vs Mullins is a bloodbath [and not in AMD's favor]. Hell, [url=http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/01/05/nvidia-corporations-tegra-x1-how-does-it-compare-w.aspx<]this article written from a pro-Nvidia viewpoint [/url<] shows the GPU score for the Core-M being within 5% of the Maxwell GPU in the supposedly "revolutionary" Tegra X1. Oh, and the the X1 has a 10 watt TDP. Core-m isn't a "gaming chip" by any means and Intel can definitely still improve, but even Nvidia needs a bigger power envelope to deliver similar performance. You are right that Baytrail has a rather weak GPU... Cherrytrail will fix that in the ~2 watt power envelope range.

            • UnfriendlyFire
            • 6 years ago

            Does that take in account of throttling? A review for a Core-M laptop was unimpressed by the weak performance and warned that it would not be able to handle anything beyond movies, web browsing and office work, and 15W Ivy Bridge CPUs perform better.

            EDIT: Here’s the review: [url<]http://www.ultrabookreview.com/5868-asus-zenbook-ux305-review/[/url<]

            • Zizy
            • 6 years ago

            Sure about these numbers for Core-M? Tom’s Broadwell-U shows i5 5200U to be slower than the supposed core-M results and core-M in Yoga pro 3 to be much slower than in your link.
            [url<]http://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-broadwell-u-first-benchmarks,28342.html[/url<] X1 overtakes core-M score in everything but physics. But I wouldn't trust X1 score till I see Anandtech's benchmark 🙂 Sure about 10W TDP official number for X1? Link please. I do find it plausible, as it matches A8x's performance using 1.7W for the GPU. Perf *1.6 or so => freq * 1.6 => power * 3-ish or so, not sure => 10W TDP for the soc sounds about true. However, if NV's claim of doubled perf/W vs K1 is true, TDP should be lower.

            • chuckula
            • 6 years ago

            Considering the original source for the Core-m benchmarks is ALSO Tom’s Hardware… I’d take it all with a grain of salt including their Broadwell-U scores.

            However, I’ve seen very similar scores for Core-m from other websites so, once again, I’m not shocked.

            Tegra X1 is well-known to have a 10watt TDP, go look it up in Nvidia’s official press slides… or read the article that TR wrote about Tegra X1 here: [url<]https://techreport.com/news/27589/nvidia-tegra-x1-soc-has-8-cpu-cores-maxwell-graphics[/url<]

            • Zizy
            • 6 years ago

            I will rather take Yoga pro 3 review. Notebookcheck: [url<]http://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-Yoga-3-Pro-Convertible-Review.129882.0.html[/url<] That 35k is much closer to 32k in my Tom's link than those 50k in that first one straight from IDF. I tend to distrust all official marketing numbers. According to those even AMD's BD wasn't a pile of turd. Yeah I also "know" it is 10W... but couldn't find the source for the number, as whitepaper does not have power draw numbers in it or I missed it. Thanks for the link.

            • NeelyCam
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<]I will rather take Yoga pro 3 review.[/quote<] If I remember right, Core M in Yoga Pro 3 was gimped by Lenovo configuring it to 3.5W TDP instead of 4.5W TDP, and screwing up the cooling.. Chuckie - do you have benchmarks for your Helix? Is that running better? Mmm... maybe I should've benched my Dell Venue Pro before shipping it back

            • chuckula
            • 6 years ago

            In order to run the “true” 3dmark Benchmark with Ice Storm *unlimited* (vs. regular Ice Storm) I need to pay for 3dmark… but the non-commercial license is only $25 and I might just do it.

            That also makes me suspicious of some of Tom’s numbers since they are looking at preview units on the CES show floor and it is unclear if they are actually running the 3dmark *unlimited* benchmark or just the free version. The difference is that “unlimited” renders offscreen to eliminate different screen resolutions, refresh rates, etc. from the equation to provide a test that’s more accurate across different hardware devices.

            I’ve run a bunch of the other free benchmarks and so far they seem pretty consistent. Even running the Linpack torture test for half an hour pegs both CPU cores at about 1.7GHz and makes the back of the Helix warm (not super hot).

            As for thermal throttling: Don’t think for one second that Intel is the only company that has to deal with thermal throttling….

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