Nomenclature can be confusing in specialized fields of engineering and industrial automation. Hopefully this article will clarify some common terms that are used for industrial computers. If you hear the term mickey box PC from an engineer, please question this. It was either a subliminal slip from someone eagerly awaiting their family vacation to Disney World, or they intended to say mini box PC. Mini box PCs are small form-factor fanless computers, sometimes deployed at Disney theme parks, but more often times used to control mission critical computer applications. The term mini box PC is said to have many origins. In Latin, the direct translation is industrial fanless PC. In Pig Latin, it is dustrailine anlessfe ECpe. While Pig Latin is gaining traction as a second dialect in the United States, natives of Piglatvia find our regional dialect as disrespectful and difficult to understand, so it would be polite to refrain from butchering the language any further.
Mini box PCs are sometimes used for gaming and with smart TVs. Some mini box PCs are specifically made for industrial applications where they run processes 24/7 for years on end. These type of mini box PCs can be called any number of things. The technical terms have a variation of names containing fanless, embedded, box, mini, computer, or PC which is approximately 600 useable names for the exact same product. This may or may not prove the theory that engineers like complication.
If you are still wondering what’s in the product after knowing what’s in the name here is an industrial engineering explanation:
Mini box PCs are beneficial and often times necessary for industrial computer applications where there is a lot of dust, vibration, or high temperatures. These fanless industrial PCs are protected from elements that would otherwise break down computers at an accelerated rate and render them unusable. Mini box PCs are fanless embedded systems with special thermal designs that allow them to dissipate heat through the surface of their enclosures. The fanless design protects them from being contaminated with dust, which would cause ordinary computers to reduce processing performance and cause total failure. Mini box PCs do not include moving components such as fans and hard drives, so they are protected from damage due to vibration and mechanical shock. The low power CPUs used in fanless box PCs do not generate significant amounts of heat, so they can be passively cooled while maintaining high operating temperatures.
When selecting a mini box PC, one should consider their requirements for performance, I/O ports, and physical space available. These fanless embedded PCs are available with different characteristics to suit the needs of almost any application. The smallest form-factor mini box PCs are available with quad core Celeron and Pentium processors (see TB-2945). For higher performance applications, these industrial fanless embedded PCs are available with Core i5 and i7 processors (see TB-5045 and TB-5085). The latest generation fanless box PCs offer support for 7th generation and 8th generation Intel desktop CPUs (see TB-5045) and offer the highest performance processing available in a mini box PC today.
About the author: Cory Hovanetz is a Senior Account Manager at Teguar. He has a doctorate in Piglatvian and 16 years of experience in the industrial computer hardware industry, half spent in engineering and half in sales. Cory has a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of MN and is enthusiastic about sharing industry knowledge…even with Green Bay Packers fans.