Intel ships $200 "open-source" PC

Intel has officially begun shipping its first “open-source” PC, which can probably best be described as a bare-bones system targeting x86 devs and the growing DIY market.

The $200 MinnowBoard – developed by Santa Clara and CircuitCo Electronics – is basically a motherboard measuring 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) by 4 inches, sans casing.

As IDG’s Agam Shah notes, the MinnowBoard is the first open-source PC to hit the market with an Intel x86 processor. Indeed, the board’s schematics and design files are published and can be replicated under a Creative Commons license.

Unsurprisingly, the MinnowBoard is more expensive than ARM or Arduino boards and employs older hardware, such as a 1GHz Intel Atom E640 processor from 2010. However, the MinnowBoard is still significantly cheaper than most x86-based PCs and will likely appeal to devs interested in coding and testing commercial apps before they go live.

Key MinnowBoard hardware specs include 1GB of DDR2 memory, an HDMI port, Gigabit ethernet, USB ports and a micro-SD slot for expandable storage. Plus, the board’s open-source UEFI firmware supports custom secure boot environments. In terms of the OS, the board arrives pre-loaded with Angstrom Linux and is compatible with the Yocto Project.

The MinnowBoard is currently available from a number of online retailers including Digi-Key, Farnell, Mouser Electronics and Newark.