I have to admit that I think it’s hard to go past the set-top box style mini PC setup – just having that extra room gives you more space for much-need peripheral ports (well, much needed around here). The MK823 might be a familiar chassis, but it doesn’t come with the usual Rockchip RK-series dual- or quad-core CPU. Instead, it’s powered by Allwinner’s A31S quad-core Cortex A7 SoC CPU.
Now, in a straight-line CPU performance shoot-out with a quad-core Cortex A9 chip, the A31S will most likely end up as roadkill – but for one feature. While the majority of ARM-based CPUs around at the moment use ARM’s own Mali-400 graphics engine, the A31S uses the highly-rated PowerVR SGX 544 MP2 GPU, which on paper at least, should deliver better graphics performance for gaming.
As for the MK823 itself, the A31S is accompanied by the usual 1GB/8GB of RAM/flash, preloaded with the latest Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system – but there’s no word on a possible Android 4.3 update at this stage.
Elsewhere, you get three USB2.0 host ports plus an SD card slot, good for cards up to 32GB. On the back, you’ll find one of those USB ports plus a Wi-Fi antenna, HDMI output and RJ45 port giving you fast ethernet.
The package bundle includes a 5V/2A DC power brick, USB-to-DC plug power cable and HDMI cable. All up, its selling for a quite low $57 plus shipping (total $70 to Australia) from Aliexpress.
Our tip: don’t lose that power cable – the MK823 uses a DC plug while the power brick is a standard USB-port phone adapter, so finding a replacement cable may be difficult.
|Processor||Allwinner A31S quad-core Cortex A7|
|Clock||Up to 1GHz|
|GPU type||PowerVR SGX544 MP2|
|Operating system||Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)|
|External storage||SD, up to 32GB|
|Wi-Fi connectivity||802.11b/g/n (inc. RJ45 Ethernet)|
|No./type of USB ports||3 x USB2.0 host (including one OTG)|
|HDMI form factor||v1.4|
|Announce Date||August 2013|
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