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.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    This looks genuinely awesome, given the sleek, no-nonsense form factor and accessibility.

    Apollo Lake has the stigma of the old Atoms and early Bay-Trails to shake off, but Apollo lake is actually pretty decent. I use a J3455-based NUC to run CAD packages on CNC machines and laser cutting beds, and they’re significantly quicker than the Core2 machines that preceded them. They’re definitely good enough for general web/media/router/server roles at the moment.

      • Ummagumma
      • 2 years ago

      I would guess the Apollo Lake NUCs also produce less heat and consume less power compared to the Core2 devices.

      Based on my own experiences with Apollo lake I would completely agree with your assessment of their uses.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        Absolutely;

        The Apollo Lake NUC is 10W, total.
        The Core2 was 65W, the northbridge was 20W, the RAM was 10W, the disk was 5W, the GPU was 25W, the fans were 12W and the PSU was probably only 75% efficient too for a grand total of maybe 180W from the wall under load and still over 100W at idle….

        Annoyingly, the Apollo Lake NUC has a fan at 10W and I was hoping for fanless – but at the same time I’m pretty sure if the fan broke the heatsink would manage to dissipate 10W all by itself anyway.

          • Ummagumma
          • 2 years ago

          Fanless at 10W should be possible with good ambient air circulation across the SoC heat sink.

          I think that’s one reason why I have avoided the NUC form factor; it’s a difficult form factor for moving ambient air over the any existing heat sinks. Even for a home server (Linux) or light use desktop system (Linux & LXDE desktop setup) in a mini-ITX or micro-ITX form factor, a simple low (500-1000) RPM case fan will do fine to keep air moving across the SoC heat sink and added components. Pick the right fan for those speeds and the machine is almost 100 percent silent.

          As for power supplies for Apollo Lake boards, I have had good success with the Pico-PSU products and the “DC Input” style of motherboard. Even an older PC case with a 200W PSU will work fine, though power efficiency may not be as good as it could be due to the age of the hardware.

    • backwoods357
    • 2 years ago

    This might make an OK low end firewall appliance. Definitely need to see some pricing.

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    No Vega no love!

      • smilingcrow
      • 2 years ago

      Is that a newly released Bob Marley song from the vault?

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