PC Engines has announced the successor to their popular WRAP (wireless router application platform) board: the ALIX.

The ALIX comes in three configurations, those familiar will recognize the ALIX2 variations, but the ALIX1 is new and very interesting.

It is a mini-itx thin client board, including 256MB of ram, VGA output, 1 ethernet connector, and the best part: it only uses 5 watts of power! For expandability, it also has a PCI slot as well as a mini-pci slot, which many people use for wireless connectivity in both the WRAP boards and the Soekris boards.

I’ve already pre-ordered an ALIX1c, and am eagerly waiting its shipment. I also plan to order some of the other boards to support our growing networks.

The ALIX uses the VT6105M “Via Rhine” chipset. I’m interested to see how well it performs.

ALIX versus DecTop

The ALIX could be compared to the DecTop in some regards, each has some pros and cons. The ALIX has an on-board NIC, the dectop is cheaper and includes a hard drive. The ALIX is faster, the dectop has upgradeable RAM. The ALIX is RoHS, the dectop is not. The dectop includes a case, the ALIX is a common form factor - mini-itx. The ALIX also includes a mini-pci slot for wireless nixs.

For surfing the web, the DecTop is a good choice in my opinion - it even includes a keyboard and mouse. If you are looking for a network appliance, the ALIX is a better choice.