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Modular Micro Lego Computer launched

by Mark Tyson on 28 July 2015, 12:20

Tags: Lego Interactive, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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The maker of the Mini Lego Computer has just published details about a cheaper, smaller Micro Lego Computer. True to the spirit of Lego, the new computer offers modular expansion 'bricks' including an external hard disk and a card reader with USB Hub. The guts of the new computer designs are based upon an Intel NUC and you'll be able to purchase machines based upon 5th gen Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs.

Mike Schropp's Micro Lego Computer measures about 5″ x 5″ x 4″ and is fashioned from Lego bricks to look like an oversized 2x2 brick. This time its not just got a modular appearance, it is modular and expandable in a Lego-fashion. As you can see in the image below Schropp has designed some computer accessories that snap to the computer brick to enhance its abilities. There's a slim stackable 3x2 brick, which is a HDD module, and a full height 2x1 card reader (15 kinds of cards) with USB 3.0 hub brick – in signature Lego blue and red respectively.

As you can see from the specifications chart below, the entry level Micro Lego Computer is priced at $599. It sports an Intel i3-5010U Processor, 4GB of RAM and 120 GB SSD Storage. Next up there is an Intel i5-5250U Processor based version with 8GB of RAM at $729. Then there is the top tier Intel i7-5557U Processor based Micro Lego Computer with 16GB of RAM and Intel Iris 6100 Graphics at $879. A Custom-made version with your choice of parts can also be configured. More case colours and designs are in the pipeline. All versions have a couple of USB 3.0 ports and an audio out port on the front and Mini-HDMI, Mini-Displayport, 2x USB 3.0 Ports, LAN and Power Jack at the rear. They feature wireless connectivity thanks to 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

It is notable that Schropp has equipped all these computers with a Noctua Premium Case Fan. The NUCs upon which they are based are fanless designs, according to Liliputing. Lego is a pretty good insulator and there are strategically placed gaps in the case to facilitate airflow.

In a blog post detailing how the Micro Lego Computer was designed Schropp says that a gaming version of the Lego Computer is currently in development. He classifies the above NUC-based micro-computers as suitable for 'mild gaming'.

HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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I was so excited about this… until I saw the pricing. The base model at $599 is presumably based on the NUC5i3RYK which is $280 on Newegg. Add another $79 for m.2 120GB SSD, $25 for 4GB RAM and $30 for the Noctua fan. That leaves $185 for the markup and Lego casing!
Cannot see the point -the cooling will be awful…
I was so excited about this… until I saw the pricing. The base model at $599 is presumably based on the NUC5i3RYK which is $280 on Newegg. Add another $79 for m.2 120GB SSD, $25 for 4GB RAM and $30 for the Noctua fan. That leaves $185 for the markup and Lego casing!

That's pretty close on the pricing, it's roughly $280-300 for the NUC board, it's just depends on when and where you buy them, but that's the range they seem to stay in based on the ones I've purchased. The drive is an M.2 and ranges from $80-85, the memory I've been using has been around $35, and the case fan between $20-30. All together for the computer components that puts me around $415-435. The case is made up of around 350 Lego bricks, which cost about $75 dollars. All together that puts me at about $500 or so in component costs per system. Then I charge about $100 to build, test, and configure the system. I always encourage people to build your own if you've got the time, and are comfortable working with both Lego and computer building. By all means, have at it. :) I offer the built versions for those that are not comfortable with building themselves, or don't have a background in computer building and are not comfortable working with computer components, or setup and configuration of the system thereafter. I build these one by one, with just Lego bricks. I'm sure it could be done cheaper if someone produced plastic molds of the case so it just looked like Lego, or had them manufactured by a company. But my own preference is hand building each system, out of real Lego bricks. I'm definitely more into the one by one, hand built and crafted approach, then mass produced and manufactured.
Cannot see the point -the cooling will be awful…

The cooling is actually quite good. The systems use Broadwell processors, which are 15w TDP for the i3 and i5, and 28w for the i7. The default NUC systems do not use a case fan, they are essentially passively cooled, with only the integrated blower style fan that sits atop the processor. I've added a Noctua fan to the system to make the cooling better than the regular NUC is in default form. With the lower wattage processors, and the addition of the case fan, the cooling is actually quite good, and better than a standard NUC.
Very cool. Makes me want to build one.

And very cool seeing your answers here, totalgeek.