The market for Arm-based desktops is dominated by Apple these days largely because major PC makers yet have to ship their Arm-based parts running Microsoft’s Windows. But smaller PC makers look to be a little more active. Recently Planet, a UK-based computer maker, introduced its PlanetPC XR1 Mini and PlanetPC XR2 Mini desktop systems that even have a touchscreen to additional controls.
Planet’s XR1 Mini and XR2 Mini desktops are based on Rockchip’s RK3568 and RK3588 system-on-chips, respectively. The RK3568 is a cheap SoC featuring four Cortex-A55 cores and Mali G52 graphics with two clusters making it more suitable for low-end smartphones or specialized devices.
By contrast, the RK3588 is a quite capable processor featuring four high-performance Cortex-A76 and four energy-efficient Cortex-A55 cores in DynamIQ configuration, a quad-cluster Arm Mali ‘Odin’ GPU, a 6 TOPS NPU accelerator, and an advanced media engine that can handle 8Kp30 video encoding as well as 8Kp60 video decoding.
The two systems come equipped with 4GB of LPDDR5 memory and 32GB of solid-state storage by default, but Planet can upgrade RAM to 16GB and storage to 1TB.
Both XR1 Mini and XR2 Mini share a chassis that measures 29×26×6 cm (11.4×10.2×2.36 inches) and comes with a distinct color touchscreen on the front panel offering quick access to soft keys for common tasks, a system monitor, and controls for Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, VPN, network disk, audio, and other system functionalities. Both PCs have all the I/O that one comes to expect from a desktop PC, including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB Type-A, HDMI, VGA/D-Sub, USB-C (RK3588 only), MicroSD, and audio connectors.
The systems run Ubuntu 20.04 and are positioned mostly for office work with some multimedia playback capabilities. But Planet’s XR Mini PCs look quite expensive for their performance and features: the XR1 Mini is priced at $667 ($800 including VAT), whereas the XR2 Mini costs $840 ($1,008 including VAT).