The Space Cube: a cute but unbearably expensive fruit-sized computer, possibly alien in origin

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That an entire computer can be crammed into an orange sized case is not really surprising in this day and age. With a 300MHz processor, 64MB of DDR RAM and a 1GB CompactFlash Card, the Space Cube is less powerful than several consumer phones, all of which are crammed into a smaller chassis blueprint.

So that doesn’t impress me. What does impress me is the gorgeous compaction of ports. SP Outs, Mic Ins, Ethernet ports, VGA support, USB port, speaker plug, etc. There’s even a “Space Wire” port: “a type of proprietary interface used by the ESA, NASA and JAXA when the Cube actually goes into space.” That certainly implies one leg up the Space Cube has over its competition: it is at least partially extra-terrestrial.

A neat little machine, I think. But, eyes rolled white, prepare to pull out of your consumerist lust and ejaculate your eyeteeth onto the lusciously taut belly of Dame Mock Outrage: they will be sold for as much as £1,500 ($2,769)!

A Real Space Oddity Arrives at PC Pro [PC Pro via Crunchgear]

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24 Responses to The Space Cube: a cute but unbearably expensive fruit-sized computer, possibly alien in origin

  1. Anonymous says:

    for $200 you’ve been able to get a more powerful computer of the same volume or smaller (albeit a slightly larger footprint) for some five years now: http://www.gumstix.com/waysmalls.html

  2. SamF says:

    “an orange sized case”

    But…that’s an apple in the picture.

    And you can’t compare apples and oranges.

    Even though I like apples better.

  3. John Brownlee says:

    Samf, I did that because there’s no brand of computers called Orange.

  4. strider_mt2k says:

    That’s impossible, even for a computer.

  5. tp1024 says:

    @12:

    This thing is made for space. You pay about $10,000 per kilogram of whatever stuff you want to bring up there. It just doesn’t matter if that one kilogram costs $2,000 or $200 – especially when you consider that, should this one chunk fail, you lose a mission that costs about $60,000,000 just to put into orbit (and this is usually the cheap part, at a bargain price – development and building the satellite usually costs multiples of the launch costs).

  6. Pete says:

    #3 – So APART from a spacecraft, which very few of us own, where would this be useful? World’s smallest render cluster? On a submarine? Travellin’ hobo laptop sans screen?

  7. Enochrewt says:

    I glanced at the picture when the page loaded, and now I have to go change my pants. What a sexy looking little computer.

    It’s like the little engine that could for a new millenium.

  8. Jake0748 says:

    @3 Pete – I think this is the kind of gadget that, once put out there, will find a niche… or not. If it does, then the price will come down (and specs will become a bit more impressive), if not, it won’t.

    Agreeing with Enochrewt, its pretty sexy at first glance. :)

  9. Jake0748 says:

    Oop, sorry… I meant @6, Pete… fat fingers you know.

  10. hemidemisemiquaver says:

    Pretty, but that’s mad overpriced. At $150, The Beagle Board is a similarly small device with most of the same oututs, twice the CPU, 3D acceleration, with a DSP and display hardware (DVI-D and S-video) capable of outputting 720p video.

    It looks really funny with a bunch of PC parts hooked up to it. 1, 2, 3.

  11. Robotech_Master says:

    At that price, I would hope it could calculate a time cube.

  12. dr.hypercube says:

    The price is useful only insofar as it allows Brownlee the oppotunity to pen, “But, eyes rolled white, prepare to pull out of your consumerist lust and ejaculate your eyeteeth onto the lusciously taut belly of Dame Mock Outrage: they will be sold for as much as £1,500 ($2,769)!” Best yet! Now, I’m off to cozy up to a Mock Turtle.

  13. Nightbird says:

    Eeh. I’d rather have an Eee Box. 1.6GHz Atom processor. It doesn’t do IA-64 (drat!), but it does have HyperThreading. Replace the 80GB hard drive with Windows (the only SKU I can find on sale in the US) with something a lot larger with Ubuntu Server.

  14. Pete says:

    It’s sexy, but at that price, what’s it going to be used for? Are there any occasions when you only have a few cubic inches of space, but a couple of spare thousand dollars to blow on a computer?

  15. Anonymous says:

    the artigo pico itx kit was $300 earlier this year and is running my mythbuntu backend.
    http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/embedded/artigo/

  16. echolocate chocolate says:

    #2 – I read about these a few months ago. It was originally designed for use on spacecraft, which fulfill both your requirements. :)

  17. shutz says:

    #16:

    You Do Not Understand The Time Cube. THE TIME CUBE HAS FOUR SIMULTANEOUS DAYS, LIKE THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE CUBE.

    If God Had Meant You To Understand This, He Would Be An Evil God. There Is No God. Only Godism.

    I Have SuperNatural Wisdom. Educated to Death – Creation occurs via Opposites – NOT one.

    I am a Knower of 4 corner simultaneous 24 hour Days that occur within a single 4 quadrant rotation of Earth.

    I have demonstrated absolute proof of “Cubic Creation”, through its attributes of 4 simultaneous 24 hour days within a single rotation of Earth.

    OK, that’s enough, I can’t sustain this anymore, I’m getting a headache just selecting and pasting bits and pieces from that website at random…

  18. shutz says:

    The one thing it’s missing is a way to connect many of those together by pressing them against one another, lego-style, where the interconnections are fast enough that all the CPUs can then sync up as if they were all on one giant motherboard.

    But even with that, I just can’t justify the price tag. I mean, apart from that special spacewire port, something about that size could easily be built using a Pico-ITX motherboard, which would get you at least 1GHz from the CPU, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, and more inputs and outputs than that little cube, all in a formfactor that doesn’t have to be much bigger than 2 or 3 cassette tape cases stacked together (Pico-ITX motherboards are 10cm x 7.2cm, and a little more than one cassette case in thickness.)

    The only thing that would justify this price is if the computer had been “ruggedized” for space. For instance, heat dissipation tends to work differently in zero- or micro-gravity: the hot air tends to clump around the heat-generating elements instead of radiating outwards. Also, outside our atmosphere, there’s all that solar and cosmic radiation, which can affect delicate electronics.

  19. Bugs says:

    I can’t help thinking that we’re looking at the great-great-great grandfather of The Thing, the tiny, cubic self-aware computer from Terry Pratchett’s Bromeliad trilogy.

  20. SamF says:

    @John, Yeah, I got that. :) Although I think if you had used apple without the capital A and the trademark symbol, people would have understood that you were talking about the fruit. But I was just using it as an excuse to make smart-alec comments. :)

    Also, I wonder how mind blowing it would be to that time cube guy if someone pointed out to him that cubes have 8 corners, not 4.

  21. Garr says:

    and ejaculate your eyeteeth onto the lusciously taut belly of Dame Mock Outrage: they will be sold for as much as £1,500 ($2,769)!

    Oh my goodness, they actually managed to be more expensive and outrageous than Apple! Remarkable.

  22. Halloween Jack says:

    Dear Sirs:

    I’ll have you know that Dame Mock Outrage invariably swallows.

    Regards,

    Sir Bullshits-a-Lot.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Best sentence i have read all week: “But, eyes rolled white, prepare to pull out of your consumerist lust and ejaculate your eyeteeth onto the lusciously taut belly of Dame Mock Outrage”

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