Compulab fitlet2 slaps Apollo Lake in a compact, fanless package


A name like "fitlet" brings to mind something compact and cute, and Compulab's fanless fitlet2 delivers on those promises. The compact computer measures just 4.4" wide and 3.3" deep (11.2 cm x 8.4 cm) and packs Intel's latest Apollo Lake Atom and Celeron processors.

Unlike the soldered-in memory in many Apollo Lake devices, Compulab's machine has a SODIMM slot for memory expansion that can accept up to 16 GB of DDR3L memory. There's also an onboard M.2 slot that can take on SATA or eMMC 5.0 storage devices, though device length is limited to the M.2-2242 and M.2-2260 form factors. A special Function and Connectivity Extension T-Card (FACET) slot can accept cards containing extra hardware like additional USB or Ethernet ports, Wi-Fi, or a SATA connector for a 2.5" hard drive. Third parties can also develop specialized cards using Compulab's public FACET specification. That FACET slot also supports M.2 E-key cards. 

Compulab promises that machine can be easily upgraded thanks to a case design that it calls a "3D jigsaw metal puzzle with interlocking parts." Lower-powered models are 1" (2.5 cm) thick, and the faster units' finned heatsink tops extend the height to a still-tidy 1.3" (3.4 cm). The manufacturer offers brackets for VESA or DIN mounting.

The front has a pair of USB 3.0 ports, audio jacks, and a microSD card slot. The back of the machine has a full-size HDMI 1.4 connector, a mini-DisplayPort 1.2 jack, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a pair of USB 2.0 connectors. The power barrel jack on the rear of the fitlet2 can take any input from 9-36 VDC and has a twist lock to prevent accidental unplug events. Users can also power the machine using PoE FACET cards. Compulab offers auxilliary power solutions including a miniature UPS, medical-grade power supplies, and pigtail power connectors.

The manufacturer says the fitlet2 will work in harsh thermal conditions, and the product page shows the computer running at 112° C (234° F) ambient temperature. The official specs say the machine can operate at temperatures from -40° F all the way up to 185° F (-40° C to 85° C). The company says the fitlet2 has the necessary shock and vibration tolerance for use in automotive, industrial, and railway applications. The case has no vents, limiting the internals' exposure to corrosive elements.

Compulab didn't provide exact pricing information, but the scatter graph at the bottom of the product page seems to indicate that fitlet2 units with an Intel Celeron J3455 should start around $160 and that machines with an Atom x7-E3950 SoC will be available for less than $200. The manufacturer backs the machine with a five-year warranty and says it will maintain availability for a full 15 years. Compulab also says it can make customized fitlet2 machines to order, including OS customization. Thanks to FanlessTech for the news tip.

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