JW-11 STB mini PC includes internal 2.5-inch drive bay

jw11Set-top box (STB)-style mini PCs are the most versatile option for many users because they not only have all the features you expect, they often throw in unusual extras such as VGA output.

The new JW-11, found by Androidpc.es, is another STB-style model but while it doesn’t come with VGA output unfortunately, it has another couple of extras features that should impress.

The first is you apparently can get two operating system options – the standard Android 4.0/4.1 OS but the alternative is said to be a Linux with XBMC combination. This is possible thanks to its use of Amlogic’s AML8726-M3 SoC CPU. Amlogic released its kernel source code to open-source some months ago, which apparently included the drivers for the Mali-400 graphics core inside, making it easier for enthusiasts to port a full Linux distro to the chip. Not only that but XBMC could now make use of the Mali-400′s hardware video acceleration for full-motion video playback.

But the other feature that’s equally newsworthy is the internal 2.5-inch drive bay. There’s an internal SATA2 port plus support for NTFS.

As for peripheral ports, you get four USB2.0 connections and an HDMI video output option. There’s built-in Wi-Fi in the form of 802.11b/g/n support, along with RJ45 Fast Ethernet wired networking.

The downside is the AML8726-M3 is only a single-core SoC CPU so while it works well here as an XBMC video box, it won’t be the choice if you’re hoping to play Android games or productivity apps to any great degree.

Still, its available online from Aliexpress for $US68 including shipping, which makes it one of the cheapest ways to get an XBMC-powered media centre. The fact it includes a 2.5-inch drive bay and SATA connector is a bit of a bonus.

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