So where's Intel Compute Card?

I haven’t seen much talk about it for a while but all the media surrounding it shortly after it was announced during Computex 2017 said it would start shipping in August.

I’ve recently become interested in it because I really like the idea of a DIY laptop that I can build and customize myself just like a desktop computer. Compute card may actually make this idea a reality and I see I’m not the only one who’s thought of this as someone has designed a 3D printable laptop that utilizes the compute card.

Does anyone know anything more? When will this be made available to the public and will Level1Techs be covering it in the near future?

I do not expect it to actually be a thing in the real world that consumers can buy. Also Intel have a terrible history of supporting these kinds of things. Unless it is a very standard mainstream product (like desktop parts) they usually kill them off very quickly or just never support them.

EDIT: maybe a slightly telling hint,

Product and Performance Information
1This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.


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I mean yeah its cool, but intel has a bullshit history of following up on anything and have a genuine mistrust jn their own engineers. If it happens? Well ok then. But we’ll have a better time with multicore pi’s that some garbo intel barfs out.

This article and a few others on that site talk about a number of aspects to these cards:

I’m guessing that Intel is trying to get these things into new markets so they can analyze even more aspects of human actions and sell the info. Or at least facilitate vendors to do such a thing while Intel takes a cut of the action. I really don’t think much of the lower tier hardware from Intel has ever been about profits from hardware sales alone. Including free Windows with low end Atom based machines was not profitable, it was about market saturation. There was a giant thread on Anandtech that talks a lot about that if you want to dig into it, but it is days of reading.

The Liliputing article mentions they don’t specifically plan to use these for laptops, although I guess it is up to the vendors. This makes sense; Intel is already well entrenched in the laptop scene currently, and the 6 watt limit means these cards would only make lower end devices more easily upgradeable. The negligible revenue for that use case wouldn’t be worth their time.

Being able to take their low wattage processors and wrap them up in a tidy package to give to vendors could be a good way to get Intel inside (see what I did there?) fridges, security systems, home automation systems, toasters, over-sized coffee mugs, and countless other places it probably doesn’t need to be.

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That’s a shame.

I realize it wont add up to the power of a dedicated laptop, however the concept is really interesting to me.

I’ve looked at the Pi-Top for playing around with a DIY laptop but the Pi isn’t x86 compatible and its processor is very limited though the Pi 3 is actually somewhat usable in a desktop environment for daily tasks. Its power usage is low so its easy to get hours out of a battery which is nice.

The other idea I had was to take a low end NUC or Brix and take the guts and put it into a Pi-Top. Unfortunately the form factor of a NUC like device doesn’t keep thin-ness in mind like a laptop would. The components are often stacked and may be too thick to place into a laptop form factor.

For $300 that Pi-Top just doesn’t do anything for me. While not much better, the TERES-I DIY Laptop looked pretty interesting, and I like the open hardware nature of Olimex products. There is also the Pinebook Laptop which is much cheaper, but probably would only be upgradeable with future boards from Pine or some serious custom work.

It would be really nice if there were more affordable screens with just an HDMI input and power. Right now the cheapest option is to find an affordable screen and then hunt down the appropriate driver board for it. If ARM isn’t an acceptable solution, then finding a laptop motherboard, or even better a cheap broken laptop you can fix yourself, might be a good way to go. Ascendtech has a bunch of laptop and other computer parts, as well as the other common places like Ebay and Craigslist.

There are some thin-ITX and STX boards that could also be rolled into a DIY laptop, but most DIY laptop projects are going to be a learning experience and not great laptops or money savers. It also really depends on the use case. If you want a portable project that is mostly used connected to a TV, and occasionally used with a built in screen, but doesn’t need to be flat or have long battery life, then the options that will work goes up greatly. There are tons of products made for small and silent computing that would work well for a portable device.

If you want to try and reproduce a reasonable facsimile of a consumer laptop just because you can’t find one that ticks 100% of your specific desires, then prepare to be disappointed. While the nearly $350 price of my Dell Inspiron 3000 was a lot to pay, I got a very small machine with insanely long battery life and the only thing it didn’t have that I wanted was dual channel memory, which isn’t an option on any of the Braswell based laptops I have seen. Unfortunately with laptops, SBC’s, and other smaller devices, even with hundreds of options there never seems to be a perfect product that has great hardware, I/O ports, and reasonable price combined.

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