just one more geek in a sea of austin techies

January 26, 2017

"Mission One" PC is a BRIX #PCGeek

Gigabyte BRIX 2807
The new year started with news of Endless Mobile's expansion of its low-cost PCs into the US market.  The company's premise is that low-cost solutions can still embrace alluring design.  To be sure, the company's brand new "Mission Mini" is likely the best-looking $130 PC I've seen to date (more on that, below).  The company's brand new step-up system, the $249 "Mission One", is bigger and boxy-er but still attractive.

The new Mission One
is a Gigabyte BRIX wrapped
in a warmer-looking package
Good news:  
I have photos of the "Mission One" internal components... or the equivalents thereof, to be exact.

Surprising (maybe) news:  

The "Mission One" is... a re-branded Gigabyte "BRIX 2807" (circa 2014), a PC small enough to be mounted on the back of a computer monitor.

Interesting news:
You can build your own "Mission One" clone PC using a Gigabyte BRIX $99 kit -- just add a DIMM and an SSD and install the free Endless operating system.  Oh, did I forget to mention the OS and 100 accompanying apps are free?  Read on...

"Mission One" = Gigabyte GB-BXBT-2807
Let's get this out of the way right up front:  In order to bring multiple US-friendly designs to market quickly the Mission team decided to use an existing PC as it's "step up" option.  That PC is the 2014 Gigabyte BRIX model "GB-BXBT-2807" which is a nearly-ready-to-use PC kit -- just add memory, storage and install an OS.  The 2807 includes dual-display support (via VGA+HDMI), a LAN port, b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0.

At the time of this writing the kit is available for $99 from either Newegg or Amazon.  Add a 204pin SO-DIMM and a 2.5" SSD and you're all set.

Endless One for $79
Other Endless Systems
Prior to the new 2017 offerings, Endless marketed mini PCs wrapped in lots of curves.  These are also available for purchase and have similar specs to the two new "Mission" models.  The least expensive option is the "Endless Mini" for $79 (very basic) and $99 (adds WiFi and expanded RAM and storage).  The upgrade "Endless One" PC ($189 and $229) is more on par with the new "Mission" PCs.

Mission One:  Let's See Those Internals!
Detailed hardware information from Endless is rather scarce for the two new Mission PCs.  However, we know a LOT about Gigabyte's products and so we already know a lot about the "Mission One" hardware.

First, the BRIX "supported hardware" page is very helpful in identifying how far you'll be able to  upgrade components on the "Mission One":

                Mission One (top-down view)         Gigabyte BRIX 2807 (seen from bottom)

       Mission One:  A BRIX with a custom OS and updated case

Access to the internals is from the bottom of the case.  Unscrew four screws to drop the bottom lid which also provides a mounting point for a 2.5-inch hard drive.

The bottom lid provides a mounting location for the internal hard drive.

The motherboard is as simple as you might expect from a lower-end mini PC.

The Mission One / BRIX systems make port access a bit less cramped by spreading the ports across three of the four sides.  While this makes connections easier to manage, it also makes for a less-tidy setup if you need to make use of the side-mounted VGA port or the front-mounted USB (there are also USB ports on the rear).

Ports on three sides can make for an odd cabling situation if all ports are used.