Star Labs Offers Byte MK II Mini PC with Intel Alder Lake-N Chip and Open-Source Software
Star Labs, a renowned Linux PC company, has recently opened pre-orders for its latest product, the Star Labs Byte MK II. This compact Mini PC features the Intel Processor N200 chip, based on the Alder Lake-N architecture. The Byte MK II offers impressive specifications, including support for up to 16GB of RAM and two storage devices. With an affordable starting price of $595, the Byte MK II is expected to hit the market in September. However, customers who pre-order now can take advantage of a special offer and purchase the Mini PC for as little as $452.
The Star Labs Byte MK II showcases a sleek design with a polycarbonate and nickel chassis, measuring just 127 x 127 x 43mm (5″ x 5″ x 1.7″). The base configuration includes 8GB of DDR4-3200 memory and a 480GB PCIe SSD. However, users have the flexibility to customize the computer with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1.92TB of storage. Additionally, the Mini PC provides expandability options, such as a SODIMM slot for memory, an M.2 2280 slot for storage, and room for a 2.45-inch hard drive or SSD (using an optional connector included with the computer).
The focal point of the Byte MK II is the Intel N200 chip. This processor is a 4-core, 4-thread chip with a base frequency of 1 GHz. It supports boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz and exhibits a base power consumption level of 6 watts. With a PL2 power limit of 25 watts and integrated 750 MHz Intel UHD graphics, the N200 chip belongs to Intel's Alder Lake-N family of chips designed specifically for affordable and energy-efficient devices. To power the system, the Byte MK II comes with a 36-watt DC power supply.
Compared to its predecessor, the first-gen Star Labs Byte, which featured an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor, the new Byte MK II may seem less powerful. However, the Byte MK II compensates for this with a more budget-friendly price tag. The previous version sold for $753 and up during pre-orders, with a retail price starting at $793.
In terms of connectivity, the Byte MK II offers a variety of ports, including 1 USB-C, 4 USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 3.5mm audio, and 2 Ethernet ports. Additionally, the Mini PC is equipped with an Intel 9560 wireless card that supports WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1.
What truly sets the Byte MK II apart from other mini PCs with Alder Lake-N chips is its software. The system comes pre-installed with open-source firmware based on Coreboot and TianoCore EDK II. Moreover, the Byte MK II provides users with a choice of GNU/Linux distributions, such as Elementary OS 6.1, Linux Mint 21, Manjaro 21.3.7, MX Linux 21.1, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, and Zorin OS 16.1.
For those who prefer a Windows operating system, Star Labs offers the option to have Windows 11 Home or Professional installed. However, it's worth noting that opting for Windows will incur an additional cost of $158 or $290, respectively. If a Windows-powered mini PC is desired, there are likely more suitable options available in the market.
With its compact size, versatile specifications, and open-source software support, the Star Labs Byte MK II is an enticing choice for Linux enthusiasts and individuals seeking an energy-efficient, budget-friendly Mini PC solution. By combining affordability and flexibility, Star Labs continues to deliver innovative products that cater to the diverse needs of consumers in the Linux community.