Quad-core mini PCs haven’t been around long but already, there’s such great competition between the various Chinese manufacturers of these things, that prices are dropping fast.
At the moment, you’ll find single-core MK802 and equivalent models selling on eBay for as little as $40. Dual-core models typically go for around $10 more.
But we’re already seeing quad-core models now selling for under $70 – and with external Wi-Fi antennas that go a decent way to fixing up the problems with internal antennas on some models.
Clones of the CX-919, sometimes labelled has H9 mini PCs, sell for as little as $67 including shipping.
The CX-919 was the first quad-core mini PC to feature an external directional Wi-Fi antenna. Powered by the everywhere Rockchip RK3188 quad-core processor, it delivers Cortex A9 speed but in a power-efficient 28-nanometre fabrication. With quad-core Mali-400 MP4 GPU engine, it’s also able to take on gaming surprisingly well.
The clones we’ve seen are similarly spec’d with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of on-board flash, expandable up to 32GB through the MicroSD card slot. That external antenna feeds an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi module and Bluetooth 4.0.
Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean) is usually the operating system of choice but there are now a number of ROM firmware updates for various models to jack that up to Android 4.2.
We think the external antenna idea is an excellent one as it gets the antenna out from inside the case and away from the RF signal generated by the CPU itself. If you’re thinking about a mini PC, these quad-core models are more expensive but they definitely provide better value for money.
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