A miniature PC manufactured by Saintsong, a small Taiwanese company. The Cappuccino is the successor to the Espresso, Saintsong's first mini-PC. Several companies import and rebrand the Cappuccino in the US, the most prominent examples being Unicomp Laboratories (http://www.cappuccinopc.com/) and ThinkGeek (http://www.thinkgeek.com/).

The Cappuccino PC is roughly the size of a standard CD-ROM drive, although a bit more squarish, and weighs just under two pounds with the optional CD/DVD-ROM drive attached. The case is silver-colored plastic. On top there is a large round vent for the CPU fan, as well as a power button, a blue power LED, and an amber hard drive LED. The sides of the case contain the many I/O ports, and a hot-swappable CD-ROM, CD-RW, or DVD-ROM drive can be plugged into a socket on the bottom and will fit nicely.

Saintsong has produced four models of the Cappuccino:

  • Processor: Intel Pentium !!! / Celeron (FC-PGA)
  • Memory: 1 144-pin DIMM slot for PC100/133 SODIMM (256MB max)
  • Video: Intel 82810E onboard video w/4MB shared memory, 15-pin VGA out, S-Video out, RCA video out
  • Audio: 16-bit SoundBlaster-compatible, built-in speaker
  • Communications: IrDA, 10/100base-T Ethernet (RJ45), Internal 56K V.90 modem (RJ11)
  • Peripherals: 2 USB ports, 1 25-pin parallel port, 1 9-pin serial port, audio out jack, microphone jack, PS/2 mouse port, PS/2 keyboard port
  • Storage: 2.5 inch hard disk (supports UltraDMA 33/66), optional ATAPI CD-ROM/CD-RW/DVD-ROM

  • Same as the G1, but with a smoother, more sleek-looking case.

  • Another new case, similar to the Gx1 but even more rounded and with a larger top vent.
  • New "smart fan" to regulate temperature better
  • Intel 82815 onboard video
  • 4 USB ports
  • 2 FireWire (IEEE 1394) ports
  • All other specs identical to G1

  • Intel Socket 370 Celeron Coppermine or FC-PGA2 Tualatin CPU
  • Up to 512MB RAM (1 144-pin SODIMM)
  • Intel i815E onboard video with hardware motion compensation for MPEG2 playback
  • Full duplex 3D stereo sound
  • All other specs identical to TX2

I've had a Gx1 for about six months now and I love it. It's a bit limited, since you can only put slow notebook hard drives in it and it won't take more than 256MB of RAM or a CPU faster than a P-III or Celeron Socket-370, but I've actually found it quite useful. It's excellent for playing DVDs, and is even more useful for playing DivX movies on my TV over my wireless network using a USB wireless adapter. I've also hooked it up to my audio reciever and used it as an MP3 jukebox. I've successfully run Windows XP, Mandrake Linux, and FreeBSD on it without any trouble.

That said, it does have a downside. I've run into some heat problems since I tend to leave it on all the time. The built-in fan and heatsink do a good job of cooling the CPU, but the hard drive is horribly positioned in a spot where it actually draws heat from the CPU and gets no ventilation at all, so after a while it tends to overheat and cause the system to lock up. Removing the case and pulling the hard drive away from the CPU fixes this, but then the Cappuccino's delicate innards are open to damage (plus it doesn't look as pretty without the case on). This may be fixed in the Tx2 and Tx3.

I've managed to at least partially remedy the heat situation in my Cappuccino by removing the top of the case, throwing away the horrible tiny ducted heatsink/fan combo it comes with, and jury-rigging a massive Athlon heatsink and fan to the processor (which also involved splicing the three-prong power connector wires into the two-prong connector on the motherboard). This setup does a much better job at dissipating heat than the factory setup does, but it's a lot uglier. My Cappuccino looks sort of like a hot rod with the massive engine sticking out the top of the hood.

Depending on where you buy it, you can get a Cappuccino for under $1,000 US.