New options for low-TDP PCs

Earlier last week, Intel quietly unveiled a new series of Braswell SoCs, intended for very low-TDP PCs. Literally low-power, as the chips use between 4 and 6 watts. Add the requirements of the motherboard, memory, and an SSD and you’re probably still looking at a computer that uses less than 15 watts.

The SoCs are priced between $121 and $161, which probably means the motherboards will run between $140 and $200 depending on the feature set. Add memory, a case, power supply, and an SSD, and you have a silent, power-sipping computer.

So far only MSI has announced motherboards and they haven’t announced pricing, but given Asrock’s selection of boards featuring previous-generation 6W TDP CPUs, I expect at least Asrock will join in, and probably Asus will as well.

These aren’t powerhouse machines, but they’re fine for everyday use, and someone like me who has a 7-year-old PC that works fine could think about replacing that machine with one of these. It’ll be marginally faster, but with the difference in power consumption being nearly 100 watts, the computer will probably pay for itself eventually. Or go grab one of the previous-generation boards, which sell for well under $100, and settle for less performance but a faster payoff.

3 thoughts on “New options for low-TDP PCs

  • April 13, 2015 at 9:02 pm
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    Would these systems be good for a media computer? When I saw that they would be silent, that was my first thought. I’m an audio geek, and appreciate silent computers (though my home PC decidedly isn’t one). Thanks!

  • April 13, 2015 at 10:02 pm
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    Steve, I think they would be perfect for media PCs. They’d be quick enough to handle A/V while not fouling the audio with noise.

  • April 15, 2015 at 12:11 pm
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    Steve, I’ve been running two El Cheapo Grande (couple of years out of date) systems for a while now on Linux Lite with Spotify and Kodi (nee XBMC) and they both work very well for media use (5.1 sound and HDMI on one); both pull my iTunes library and my YouTube downloads from local NAS.

    System A is powered from an old laptop power suppluy with a converter for the mobo power plug. The other is a mini-itx board in a mini-case. Both use on-board video.

    Again, a year or two out of date, but plenty of oompf for an HTPC. This newer stuff should do as well.

    I’d replace my stuff, but…

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