Meet System76’s Ubuntu-based Mini PC: Meerkat

It seems mini PC boxes are the latest fad. While the traditional PC boxes (read CPU) takes huge space either under the desk or on the table, these mini PC boxes can be conveniently placed in just a few inches of space. No wonder these are getting popular, at least among the manufacturer for the start. You can also check out our list of Linux mini PCs – if you’re curious.

Here, I’m going to talk about System76’s Meerkat, an Ubuntu-based mini PC box. In case you didn’t know, System76 is a computer manufacturer that exclusively builds Linux-based laptops, desktops, and servers.

System76 Meerkat Ubuntu desktop

System76 Meerkat Desktop Specifications

It is worth noting that the mini PC Meerkat is tailored as a performance-focused system, let us take a look at what it offers:

System76 Meerkat
  • Processor: Intel 8th Generation processors (i3 and i5 for the short version, i7 for the tall version)
  • Storage: up to 2 TB of storage (M.2 SATA SSD)
  • RAM: Up to 32 GB DDR4 2400 MHz RAM (16×2)
  • GPU: Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 655
  • Storage: M.2 SSD up to 2 TB (for short version) and up to 6 TB (for the tall version with 2.5″ drive support)
  • Dimensions: 1.42″ × 4.61″ × 4.41″(short version) | 2.01″ × 4.61″ × 4.41″ (tall version)
  • WiFi
  • Gigabit Ethernet, Intel® Wireless-AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • 4× USB 3.1 Type-A, 1× USB Type-C with DisplayPort enabled.
  • Power Supply: 19V, 90W AC-DC Power Adapter


System 76 Meerkat 2

The base model with the i3-8th gen processor, 120 GB SSD, and 8 GB DDR4 2400 Hz RAM will cost you about $550.

And, if you completely get the buffed up edition, it will cost you around $1900 with the i7 processor, 32 GB RAM, 2 TB SSD storage (and 2 TB NVMe OS drive)

You also get the option to extend the warranty to 3 years for a premium. You can check that out for yourself when you’re finalizing the configuration for your desktop.

Wrapping Up

Do you think it’s a good configuration in the given price range? Maybe, for the form factor, the expensive price is good enough? What do you think?

Would you be interested in replacing your existing desktop with Meerkat desktop? Or maybe take a look at some of other Linux based mini PCs available. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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  • Sure, this mini is good. Compare to those running on such OS like Windows 8.1 or soon 10, I would certainly go for such little thing. It “big” enough to work out high res photographs.

  • I bought myself an Intel NUC without Windows. Had to add memory/disk/wireless card as NUC is bare bones. Installed Ubuntu 14.04 on it and have been using it for over a year. I’m happy with it.
    I’m surprised that it took System 76 so long to come up with one. At the time I was looking there were not many pre-built offerings. I got 16GB memory and 240GB SSD and the whole thing ran me about $650. This was reasonable for me considering that I was moving to Linux permanently from a Windows desktop.

  • The price depends on the storage included… 2 Terabyte SSDs are still very expensive, so 500 USD would be a cheap price for that much space. On the other hand, it would be important to know what SSD (Solid-State Drive) technology is provided, because SSDs can have a shorter working life than a platter-based hard disk. That would be an issue for me if the SSD was built into the box and was hard to replace. Are they offering single-core (SLC), dual-core (DLC) or triple-core (MLC)?

    But the general idea of a small-footprint box to replace that huge desktop PC can be attractive for some people, if they can re-use their existing keyboard and monitor. It just depends what your particular needs are.

    Anyway, it’s great to see manufacturers shipping systems with Linux pre-installed. Good luck to System76.

  • Rediculous considering the new Raspberry Pi 2 costs $35. Add a bit more for a wifi dongle, micro sd card and wireless keyboard and you have a descent computer. Portable too. The Meerkat should be about $100 to compete. Get a Pi.

    • I would disagree here. Rsaspberry Pi and other such micro computers are not in the same range of devices.

      System configuration here is way higher than Pi. You won’t be able to get such config in $100.

  • Much to expensive. Ubuntu was originally a lean and light operating system that required very little hardware. Is linux losing direction? Is there really 500 bucks worth of hardware there?

    • You’re paying for the small size and an off-the-shelf just-use-it product. Sure….go build your own from new parts and build your Ubuntu to match.
      See what it costs you in money and time. Especially the time. Now do it 200 times for all the desktops in your office. :-)

      $500 would be cheap at scale. Real cheap.

      • What country? 40 miles North of me, It’ll be 623.00 Canadian. Doesn’t seem like a value. There are i5 mini’s out there for less. They’re charging extra for the dumb name.

        • Oh I forgot, “USA, Canada, and most of Europe.”

          I’m from Barbados. Ever heard of it? To get a computer of those specs, we’d probably pay almost 3 times as much.