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Uhappy X9 mini PC with (Ubuntu 14.10)
























































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UHappy X9 is a NUC style mini PC powered by a Intel Baytrail-T Z3735F that has more muscle then you might expect in a 116*113*18mm package.

Now there are many Z3735F based mini PC's available but this is the only that seems to be equipped with a VGA-out and that makes it ideal to use in combination with an 'older' display that only can accept VGA.  Or even a CRT can be used. But this is not where it ends, lets have a look.

The reviewed mini-PC came with Ubuntu 14.10 Pre-installed by default so that's a nice feature in itself.

Baytrail-T Z3735F:

The Z3735F is a CPU from the Atom product line and it packs a nice amount of power, it has 4 cores, with each 4 threads. In Ubuntu Gnu/Linux They are named a little different. Lets have a look in a terminal:

cat /proc/cpuinfo

Shows 4 Processors (What Intel names Cores) and each processor has 4 cores (Intel names these Threads)
Each core can run nominal at 1.33Ghz and with bursts up to 1.83Ghz
 
Some benchmark info can be found here

The Baytrail chip is mounted together with the 2GB RAM and the 32GB eMMC flash on a SoM module.

X9

Dual Display Setup:

When connecting 2 displays, Ubuntu nicely detects both and by default you get dual display support. Now there was one little snag. For some reason the mouse was held hostage on the main screen. But after some headscratching and fiddling with the settings I was able to get it working. It turned out to be the 'Sticky edges setting' that prevented the mouse cursor from moving to the secondary display. This is probably a bug so in the future this might no longer be an issue, but if you run in to this issue, then just turn off sticky edges and you are ready to go.

A little downside of the VGA is that it doesn't have the screw connections on it. On a stationary setup this will not be an issue, but for some it can be an annoyance.

100 Mbit LAN:

The RJ45 LAN is only 100Mbit, in this day and age I would have expected a 1Gbit LAN (and maybe it is) but the spec sheets says 100Mbit so I'll keep it at that. The network is very responsive I haven't been able to test large file transfers yet but when browsing the web and viewing HD documentaries on Vimeo the speed was absolutely fine.
  

Audio:

The 3.5mm Jack is a combi connector that houses Analog Stereo OUT and Mono Mic IN
S/PDIF is send on the HDMI output
C-Media's CM108 chip is responsible for all internal audio, it's nothing fancy but it works without issues
GNU/Linux seems to have a better driver then the one that Microsoft offers (In windows 7 this chip is know to sound grainy, but on this unit it sounds nice and smooth). And for those who want more sound quality they can simply connect a USB soundcard and go from there.

USB:

The 3 USB ports seem to be just enough. You connect a Mouse keyboard and USB HDD and have a full desktop replacement.  You can also boot from USB

WiFi and Bluetooth:

The unit has a Broadcom WiFi / Bluetooth chip on board, but due to Broadcoms closed source policy there is still no working driver for GNU/Linux but who needs Broadcom Anyway? Just plug in a cheap Atheros AR9271 WiFi dongle, this has more range, is more stable, and has Hotspot functionalities that are fully supported under GNU/Linux

Micro SD:

The Mico SD (TF) slot seems to be connected to the USB brigde.

Power Supply:

The unit is powered by a 5V - 2.5A wall adapter and is connected with a mini barrel plug. It provides enough power, but personally I will replace this in the future with a 4A supply just to be sure that external USB peripherals have enough power and don't over tax the supply. Without thirsty USB load the 2.5A supply is more then enough. And most people will nowadays use a powered UBS hub anyway. Gamers however should keep in mind that those fancy backlit keyboards are very power hungry and might well be using more power for the keyboard lights then what this mini-PC is using all together, so don't look strange if all the bling stresses the PSU.
This mini PC also has a little bling, in standby the power button light is red, and when toggled on it lights up in blue. Actually quiet sublime, often power lights are screaming and distracting, on this mini PC it's the opposite, it's very neutral, a bit dim but still you can tell from across the room if it is in standby mode or powered on.

Casing:

The casing feels very sturdy, and heavier then what you might think when you see the little box.
The bottom plate is an aluminium heatsink for the CPU.

BIOS:

Another notable subject is the BOIS, The AMI BIOS on this mini PC is very extensive. It's always good to have full access to all the settings without show stopping limitations. However with so many settings that can be tweaked there are also many settings that potentially can mess up the configuration. But yeah, this is a very nice BIOS, lots of parameters that can be tweaked.

Support:

There where several little things that where not clear to me and the company was very kind and helpfull to give answers.

For those who want a Linux machine and see this uunit as an option, keep in mind that Ubuntu is still not a common OS to be shipped out pre-installed and that the support isn't always up to speed on everything since it is all new to them. So patience and understanding will be needed for some issues. That said, I'm very positive that Ubuntu and any other GNU/Linux will gain popularity as pre-installed OS.