Mini-PC maker CompuLab has unveiled the next generation of its teeny, Tegra 2-powered Trim-Slice computer. Now called the Utilite, Nvidia's processing heart has been swapped for a Freescale i.MX6 system-on-chip that's available with single, dual or quad cores. The system can run either a desktop-grade Ubuntu or a fully-featured Android operating system, but probably the best news is a starting price of just US$99.

Cheap entry doesn't mean that the Israeli company has sacrificed performance for cost. Buyers of the new Utilite can look forward to up to twice the performance offered by its full-size-PC-in-a-small-package Trim-Slice ancestor for less than half the starting price.

Dotted around its simple 5.3 x 3.9 x 0.8-in (135 x 100 x 21-mm) "no-screws" housing, you'll find two Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, five USB ports (including one micro USB On-The-Go connector), two RS232 Serial ports, HDMI 1.4 and DVI-D display ports that each support up to 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution, and both S/PDIF 5.1 and analog audio.

Under the hood, its ARM-based Cortex-A9 processor runs up to a 1.2 GHz quad-core configuration, and sits alongside a video processing unit capable of supporting multi-stream 1080p H.264 video, with graphics API support in the shape of OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0, OpenVG 1.1 and OpenCL EP.

Systems are available with up to 4 GB of DDR 3 RAM and up to 512 GB of mSATA solid state storage (with expansion possible via an included micro-SDXC card slot). The Utilite also gets 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi via a single antenna, and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless technology.

The small computer is pitched as a good fit for applications like IPTV or infotainment systems, as a media player, and for use in digital signage or as a thin-client desktop replacement. Its high performance, open platform design may also be of interest to software developers. CompuLab expects to start shipping in August.

Product page: Utilite mini computer