Desktop solution from purism?

Any possibility of a proper desktop solution from purism coming soon? The mini PC looks all good but it is very small so harder to replace parts and expected issues of heat dissipation will come up. Also, GPU would not be as powerful being forced to be in such a small enclosure (UHD 620) and various other things like the number of ports. My current PC has so many ports that I don’t think I could ever use all of them at once let alone have plugged in a device into each throughout its life. If you want to say UHD 620 isn’t so bad, . I like power from a computer and different port selection and this can’t really do it because it is a mini pc and not a desktop. I want something with 4 HDD bays, 2 M.2 SSD slots and 2 2.5" SSD on the back cover and PCIE slots for various upgrades like having a hybrid system for dedicated GPU passthrough to a VM etc. Any desktop coming up or is it going to just be mini pc?

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The Mini is not a desktop solution at all if we are talking about specs. it is a mobile CPU and platform.

When would a ‘mobile CPU and platform’ be useful? I’d rather buy a laptop than carry that + a display around or have to connect it to a display that I know will be at wherever I am going to.

Well don’t knock it too much, it being a mobile platform means that it sips generally speaking less power. It also means that the cooling solution doesn’t have to be as extensive. There are certainly places for it, that are ideal.

You COULD use it as a desktop, just with the limitations that such a platform present.


How does it being mobile mean that it will consume less power. I was thinking it would consume less power because of hardware that simply needs less rather than because it is a mobile computer. When I think low power small computers, I think of ARM rather than this.



Well you are aware that CPUs meant for laptops are usually made to use less power, generate less heat, and as a result are generally not as powerful as their desktop counterparts? The point on mobile is being able to put the chips in increasingly smaller frames while also getting the longest amount of run time while on battery.

Because of this, they are a good solution in places that require these things. Think of someone who wants a server running, so they can keep their personal Nextcloud up 24/7, but still would like the server to have some grunt to handle more than that should they choose. They’d also prefer to be able to use the vast library of desktop and server software written for x86-x64. They could use a CPU that averages 300 watts or one that sips 5-15 watts. The energy savings are pretty significant.

Sorry, I assumed with some of your past questions, you would be knowledgeable about this stuff. You might want to really look into it some more.

Seems a bit overkill for a nextcloud server. Guess there is a use case which it works well in though for that kind of purpose I wouldn’t really be moving it around a whole lot. A lot more is available for x86 but I thought ARM had gotten pretty good by now but ok. Also, so am a bit confused.

One that uses 300W vs 5-15 is significant but wouldn’t there be quite a significant power difference? You could say well your laptops battery would die quick and all but I could just plug and charge while doing whatever if I am looking for moving about powerful computer.

I guess this product has a purpose in that something you need running 100% of the time and want low power consumption and further need the software availability and support of x86 over ARM though ARM doesn’t seem so bad but specific use cases and unsupporting software exist in this world so whatever. The products main feature isn’t its size but I guess just a plus.

Back to the original point, any real desktop solution coming from purism soon (a few years)?

Soon or later they whould switch on openpower, because x86 it’s a closed platform, at the end of the year or on 2021 power10 should be out, i’m curious to see if they will move on power.
They wrote in the forum time ago they are interested in alternative architecture, so they are aware of it, right now raptorcs do sell this kind of pc, but they are not user friendly if you need to update the bios or some config for the integrated vga you have to mess around configs with glamour, because something is not upstreamed and things like that, in the wiki they wrote detailed guides, but it’s hard to understand for a regular user like me, so i hope purism will join this platform make it easyer upstreaming the needed fix like they are doing for the librem5

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These days, there really isn’t a need for what we used to refer to as a “Tower” PC. PCI is so old-school. Big fans aren’t needed anymore either. The Mini is probably more powerful than yesterday’s Tower PC and is a good desktop solution. You can use the USB 3 to plug in a hub that any number of peripherals you need will connect to. You should be able to plug in several Terabytes of external hard drives to it if you want to. You could even get a mass-storage bay with large hard drives if you really want to. Or you could get a small mass storage bay that does the same job and is very small because it uses several 1TB laptop-sized SSD SATA drives. If you want to, you can still spend (waste) a few thousand dollars for a new Tower PC with lots of open space inside the case and impressive looking hardware. But it’s not necessary.

I have a small Intel NUC PC on my office desktop. It looks like a Librem Mini. It sits directly underneath my monitor inside of the small metal square that supports the weight of the monitor. It even came with the mounting bracket to mount it to the back of the monitor if I would have wanted to do that.

If you need a bonafide server (as-is having more than just yourself as the customer), you can get a ten-dollar per month Windows or Linux Server VM on a commercial server rack with extremely fast upload (and download) speeds. The provider guarantees near 100% up time and your upload speed is never throttled as most home internet connections do. Then you SSH in to set up your server applications. When you have them as you want them, you log out and shut down your home PC while the commercial server does your server jobs.


Speed issues of not using sata but it passing through USB onterface instead?

Cough cough. Mini / micro atx.

Cough cough just anything slightly intensive / resource hungry like video editing, need of high hash rate from a gpu for eg hashcat etc.

Actually sounds pretty gud.

Security/privacy of running tonnes of your stuff on someone elses computer? I like that I can see and use my computer as I wish right in front of me always. My ISP can be annoying and my wifi goes down often (1 or 2 times a month for a few hours) though it gives pretty good speeds so it could be useful I guess but dunno know. Seems a bit spooky. There is also the X price per month thing too but yeah. I think I would rather prefer a big boy than a small boy plus someone elses fat computer l. I would in fact prefer a big boy and a small boy in one house and ssh to big boy for big boy stuff and then shutdown when I want to.

Or take it one step further … passive cooling only. There are certainly places for that e.g. where you want silence and/or no moving parts and/or dust ingress is a consideration.

Fan or passive cooling, an ultra compact suits where space is at a premium.

It suits as a small server - provided that the config is OK e.g. more likely to be suited to home use than business use.

Once you have a small server at home, the amount of local storage on the access devices doesn’t matter so much.

I have a number of x86 ultra compacts running Linux and there are times when the portability has suited me as well.

The low power consumption may suit those who put a value on their power bill and/or on their environmental impact.

I don’t know that the classic tower has much of a future. A lot of home users are going phone or tablet (even a laptop or ultra compact is a bit retro) - while a lot of businesses are going much smaller than a classic tower (various mini formats or an ultra compact) where they aren’t just using a laptop or a tablet. Perhaps the tower will really only be a niche for power users - whether home or business.

I have a number of Pi devices as well. Good, but not threatening to surpass even the level of Intel CPU and system that you find in a current ultra compact.

Referring specifically to Pi devices, rather than ARM generally, the disk bandwidth is fairly limited.

Let’s be absolutely clear. The Mini is not a classic desktop and is not being marketed as one - although it definitely has enough grunt for mid-level desktop use. If you are a power user (based on your description, sounds as if you are) then the Mini - or indeed any other ultra-compact - won’t be suitable for you.

So that therefore comes back to your original question - which of course noone here can answer so if you want an answer, you should email Purism.

All you will get here is speculation and so I will add my speculation: No.

Hands full with … Librem 5, Mini (both not out the door) and speculated v5 laptop models.

I will go email them in a bit. Got to do things right now and also want to plan out my message.

cough - low-latency-ultra-high-end-GAMING - cough - 4k/8k-VR - cough - 3D-accelerated-shit - cough - AV-entertainment-GPU-accelerated-econding/decoding - cough :sweat_smile:

yeah the future of copyright and patents in the realm of software/hardware is looking great. plenty of sheep-market to grab there …


@user1, I was going to suggest that you build your own PC, but there doesn’t seem to be any good options if you want Coreboot and a recent processor. Looking at the list of boards that support Coreboot and the documentation on specific motherboards, I don’t see any recent ATX or micro-ATX boards that you can use. The best that I could find was the ASrock H110M-DVS, that supports a 7th gen Core (Kaby Lake), but no dedicated graphics.

Given that we now have a bunch of Chromebooks and System76 models on the market with 10th gen Comet Lake-U processors that run on Coreboot, it is really sad that we don’t have good options for people who want to build their own PCs.

From a business perspective, I suspect the reason why Purism decided to market a mini PC rather than a full-sized desktop PC is simply that it is hard to charge much of a markup for desktop PCs, when people can build their own for much cheaper. Another factor is that Google, which does most of the Coreboot porting work, only focuses on integrated graphics for its Chromebooks. It seems like discrete graphics should be possible in Coreboot since it supports PCIe, but I can’t find any Coreboot board that offers it since the Thinkpad T530 (from 2012). It probably would take some work on Purism’s part to make it work. If Purism can’t offer dedicated graphics, then there isn’t much advantage of a desktop PC over a mini PC.


As I said, a niche for power users.

lower compile times too if you compile software like chromium or build your own kernels a lot :slight_smile:

I asked on Reddit’s r/coreboot for recommendations for motherboards to build a PC. Somebody recommended the ASUS A88XM-E from 2014, which can use both an APU and a discrete AMD GPU together. That seems to be the most recent Coreboot-supported motherboard that offers discrete graphics, which is really sad.

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If the market for more traditional desktop PCs is there, then perhaps Purism should enter that market for a multitude of reasons. Purism needs both more high-volume manufacturing experience to support the expected big Librem 5 demand, and also to have more revenue to support their development work. Due to the nature of Purism’s products, they might be able to command both high volume and high profit margins at the same time (the holy grail in business) from the secure desktop PC. In college, we studied Dell as a case study. They used new terms like “inventory velocity” to describe how they monitored the flow of products through their factories. Suppliers were not allowed to approach the loading dock more than ten-minutes before their scheduled time and being late was unthinkable. Their suppliers carried all of the inventory burden. Dell had every part of their assembly operations down to a science. Purism will need to do a lot more than to just have a really cool phone to be successful. They need to experience what is like to be a big manufacturer also, ideally before they suddenly get orders for ten million phones to fill. Perhaps the PC could take them there.

Don’t think so.
I went from 0.04 GHz, 0.13 GHz, 0.3 GHz to 1.3 GHz.
Then, more than 10 years ago I built my fifth PC.
I still boot it once a year. And yet I don’t even remember what CPU it has, as it stopped mattering that much.
I had Gentoo on it (before I became lazy and used Ubuntu for a while), so I actually did a lot of compiling. Therefore I upgraded it with an SSD ten years ago.
That was a nice experience. Booting in ten seconds.
The only reason most of us wish for faster PCs is software bloat. It boggles my mind how today’s PCs don’t feel faster than the ones we used more than a decade ago.
Anyway, 2013 I switched to Laptops. Bought 4 laptops and not a single desktop/tower.
At work, I appreciate a power horse, but at home don’t need one.
The market for workstations is shrinking.

I think Purism made a very wise choice with the Mini. It’s exactly what I was waiting for. Can be used as a desktop, but I’ll use it as a NAS/media server, maybe router?

Now, what I really, really don’t get is

  • how you assume a tower would be ordered more than the L5
    (I’d say it’d look like L5 > L13 > Mini > L15 > Librem Tower > Librem server)
  • how you expect that to happen before L5 mass production
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Just between you and me, I think the Mini a) is rather overspecified in most aspects to use as a router and b) in lacking a second ethernet port, is not ideal to use as a straight router. Neither of these is a major problem - and, hey, if you end up doing this, please share your experiences.

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