Mini Lego Computer

Bricknificent

Lego + Computer

If you like Lego and computers you’ve come to the right place, because the only thing better than just Lego, or just a computer… is a Lego Computer!

Yes, I understand I’m geeking out about this, but can you blame me? Two things that have always been near and dear to my heart have been Lego and computers. For decades now I’ve been playing with both of them, so when the opportunity arose to combine them I went all in.

For those keeping track of these kinds of things this isn’t my first foray into mixing Lego and technology, in fact about 4 years ago I built my first system out of Lego. It was a beast of a system that actually housed 3 separate computers all in one gigantic custom Lego case. That system started me down this path and this new Mini Lego Computer system is the result of a couple years’ worth of development of further Lego computing systems.

This Mini Lego Computer system combines everything I’ve learned over the years into one system that has all the features and power needed for everyday use.

Design Insight

Interested in seeing inside the Mini Lego Computer? Click below to see what the Mini Lego Computer looks like on the inside, as well as the details of the design and build process.

Mini Lego Computer Design

Brick Beginnings

The Mini Lego Computer is the culmination of a couple different things all coming together. After building my first Lego based computer years ago I received a lot of great feedback and interest. In fact, it became one of the more common requests people would contact me with, building them a Lego computer of their own.

With a couple of years of building Lego based computers under my belt and no waning in peoples interest for them I decided to look further into developing a new Lego Computer. While most of the Lego systems I had built for people had been custom, I noticed a specific trend in the vast majority of their computing requirements. Most people loved the look and uniqueness of a Lego computer, and in general just used their computers for the same things most people do (Internet, Productivity, Content Creation, Video Playback & Streaming, etc.)

With a pretty solid understanding of what people needed from a computing standpoint I set out to design a new Mini Lego Computer system, one that would have all the features of a modern system, plus the power to get the job done. Researching what small form factor computer systems were out in the market I found that more often than not they were underpowered, not very upgradable, and rather plain looking little boxes.

Based on this I went to work designing a new Mini Lego computer system, something that was quite small in comparison to most computers, but packed the power of a full desktop computer, while being easily upgradable and customizable.

Design

Customizable

Lego offers an almost endless amount of combinations, and that’s just what the Mini Lego Computer is all about. Systems are available pre-configured or with the option of a build-it-yourself top for you own designs.

System Testing

The Mini Lego Computer was carefully tested during development. This ensures that all programs as well as system settings and hardware components are tested fully to verify their performance and stability.

Airflow & Cooling

Case airflow was carefully considered and designed for the Mini Lego Computer. This ensures that every component is cooled actively, thus lowering temperatures throughout the system.

Wire Management

To ensure excellent airflow and cooling performance, all wires are neatly bundled and zip-tied in place. No performance is lost from wires blocking airflow, and everything is neat and tidy.

High Performance

The Mini Lego Computer is built with performance in mind. With available Intel i7 Quad core, 16GB of memory, and dual SSD drives, you can easily handle the most power hungry tasks.

Future Expansion

The Mini Lego Computer was designed for future expansion, saving money and allowing for upgrading components to improve performance. Save money, and upgrade your system instead of buying new.

Noise & Acoustics

The Mini Lego Computer was built with careful attention to detail in the design of the system acoustics. Premium Noctua case and processor fans are used to ensure low noise and excellent performance.

High Efficiency PSU

The Mini Lego Computer is built with a high efficiency Level 5 Energy-Star-rated power supply. This ensures the most efficient possible conversion of electricity, while reducing heat, noise and saving money.

System Configurations

i3 System

$1099

  • Intel i3-4360 Processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 Memory
  • 120 GB SSD Storage
  • Intel HD 4600 Graphics
  • Intel AC Wifi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • DVD/CD Combo Superdrive
  • Noctua Heatpipe Processor Cooler
  • Noctua Premium 140mm Case Fan
  • High Efficiency Power Supply

i5 System

$1149

  • Intel i5-4590s Processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 Memory
  • 120 GB SSD Storage
  • Intel HD 4600 Graphics
  • Intel AC Wifi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • DVD/CD Combo Superdrive
  • Noctua Heatpipe Processor Cooler
  • Noctua Premium 140mm Case Fan
  • High Efficiency Power Supply

i7 System

$1299

  • Intel i7-4790s Processor
  • 16 GB DDR3 Memory
  • 120 GB SSD Storage
  • Intel HD 4600 Graphics
  • Intel AC Wifi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • DVD/CD Combo Superdrive
  • Noctua Heatpipe Processor Cooler
  • Noctua Premium 140mm Case Fan
  • High Efficiency Power Supply

Custom

----

  • Intel i3, i5, i7, Xeon Processors
  • Up to 16 GB DDR3 Memory
  • Up to 3 TB SSD/HDD Storage
  • Intel HD 4600 Graphics
  • Intel AC Wifi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Blu-ray Superdrive
  • Noctua Heatpipe Processor Cooler
  • Noctua Premium 140mm Case Fan
  • High Efficiency Power Supply

Custom Configurations Available

Email for more information and pricing

System Performance

i3 System
General Performance
75%
Internet Browsing
100%
Office & Productivity
100%
Gaming
50%
Photo & Video Editing
80%
HD Playback & Streaming
100%
i5 System
General Performance
85%
Internet Browsing
100%
Office & Productivity
100%
Gaming
55%
Photo & Video Editing
90%
HD Playback & Streaming
100%
i7 System
General Performance
95%
Internet Browsing
100%
Office & Productivity
100%
Gaming
60%
Photo & Video Editing
95%
HD Playback & Streaming
100%

Performance measures listed above are general guidelines of performance increase between systems

Mini Lego Computer Cases

Industrial
Brick
Tiled

One of the great things about using Lego is the endless options you have in terms of customization. With this is mind, you can purchase multiple variations of the Mini Lego Computer. The base construction, which houses the computer components, is identical for every Lego Computer. The top sections, however, are removable to allow infinite customization. There are currently 3 designs available for purchase, with more options to follow.

Custom Top Sections Available

Micro Scenes, Minifigures, 2D Brick-pixel Images. Email for info.

LED Lightbar

Every Lego Computer system has a built in LED lightbar that encircles the upper case slot, hidden behind a clear/white polycarbonate diffuser. The LEDs are controlled with a built-in controller housed in the case, so with just the push of a button, you can change the settings to find the lighting color and pattern that you like.

The LEDs are capable of displaying 20 different colors, while also offering numerous modes of operation. You can cycle through all the colors or choose a transitioning effect with the colors slowly changing or a breathing effect, with the lights dimming slowly and then becoming brighter again. All of these options let you choose the LED colors as well as how fast or slow the mode operates. The light system can also be turned off by holding the middle button for a second.

Standard Features

Front USB 3.0 Ports

The Mini Lego Computer incorporates 2 front USB 3.0 ports concealed under a swiveling Lego tile. Out of sight when not in use, they are right where you need them so that you don’t go fumbling around the back of the computer looking for a port.

Optical Drive

While optical drives are becoming somewhat obsoleted, they still often come in handy. Instead of tracking down a flash drive and an external optical drive to copy a file that’s trapped on a disc, it’s so much easier to just pop it in the computer and be on your way.

Built In AC Wifi

No need to add adapters for Wifi, as the Mini Lego Computer comes with built in Intel wireless. The Intel Wireless chip adds AC Wifi, for blazing fast wireless speeds, while still being compatible with older “G” and “N” speeds as well.

Dual Gigabit LAN

The Mini Lego Computer offers excellent networking options, with dual Gigabit network connections. Use just one, or configure the system to use both in a more advanced networking setup. (Intel & Realtek Network Chipsets)

HDMI & Displayport

Modern displays require modern connection types, and the Mini Lego Computer offers both HDMI and Displayport connections. Enabling both HD (1080p) and 4K (2160p) resolutions, as well as supporting multi-monitor configurations.

Six USB 3.0 Ports

USB 3.0 offers higher transfer speeds and more power than the older USB 2.0 standard, all while being backward compatible with USB 2.0 devices. The Mini Lego Computer offers 6 USB 3.0 ports, plenty to connect numerous devices at once.

Operating Systems

Supports multiple operating systems, including dual-booting.

Premium Components

FAQ

The Lego is not glued together. However, the build incorporates many advanced building techniques that greatly increase the strength of the system. Overlapping plates and bricks are used throughout the design, along with supports and beams to add stiffness. This results in a very strong system that can be easily be moved around, handled, picked up, and put down without any worry of causing damage.

One of the great features about Lego is that it’s pretty much indestructible. With a regular computer, if you drop it, you’ll most likely break its thin plastic case or dent the metal. With the Lego Computer, however, if you drop it, it will most likely just slightly deform as the bricks separate a bit – a problem you can solve by just pushing the bricks back together. But in the event that something more catastrophic happens to the computer, and it’s broken into pieces, you can always send it back to me to be fixed. That said, dropping any computer could damage the internal components, so try not to do that.

When I built my other large Lego computer years ago (Lego Folding Farm) one of the most common questions was how well does the Lego hold up to heat. Well, the answer is: really well. That system has been running for over 4 years without a hitch. The Lego pieces are still just as tight as when I put them together, as the plastic used in the Lego bricks is resistant to heat and holds up very well.

With that said, I would always advise common sense when it comes computing. I wouldn’t leave it in direct sunlight and running at 100% processor usage for days on end. The heat from the sun would rapidly heat the case up – just as anything would heat up in the sun, and the cooling system is designed to account for that sort of temperature increase.

Yes, though the system isn’t designed as a full-fledged gaming system. It is more intended as an excellent all-around performer for multi-tasking and running office software, internet browsers, streaming video, editing photo/video/audio, etc. While light to medium gamers will not encounter any problems whatsoever, the Lego Computer is not designed to be a system devoted entirely to gaming.

Up until recently, on-board GPUs weren’t powerful enough for major gaming, but with the Intel 4000 series HD iGPU and its successors that has changed, and general computers have been more capable at gaming since. This system uses the Intel HD4600 graphics unit, which is powerful enough to run most games at playable frame rates. Keeping in mind that you won’t be able to max out the settings on a lot of newer games, gamers using mid-range settings at lower monitor resolutions can totally play most games.

However, this system is not designed to play the newest and most graphically intense games, or games at very high detail settings at higher resolutions. If users choose high detail settings, the frame rates in modern graphically intense 2014+ games will not be playable. The purpose of this system was to be a well-rounded performer, capable of fulfilling the needs of the majority of users. If you are looking for a purpose-built gaming system made of Lego, please contact me personally, as I could certainly build something to suit your needs.

For further reading on the gaming capabilities of the HD4600 GPU I suggest the following links

(SemiAccurate) HD4600 Gaming Test Benchmarks

(Notebook Check) HD4600 Gaming Test Benchmarks
(Pavel Vladov)
HD 4600 Games & Settings Capability List
(Intel HD4600 Youtube)

Here is a list of some popular games, and how they perform on the HD4600. Keep in mind that these are at mostly stock settings on the HD4600. The HD4600 does have some head room and can be overclocked a little to add some more performance.

Playable at Higher Settings
League of Legends
Starcraft 2
Diablo 3
Torchlight 2
Minecraft
Counter Strike Go
Sims 4
Civilization 5
Fifa 14
Fifa 15
DOTA 2

Playable at Medium Settings
Forest
Skyrim
World of Warcraft

Playable at Lower Settings
Call of Duty
Far Cry 3
Metro
Titanfall
Need for Speed Most Wanted

What good is a computer system without support to back it? That’s the way I look at it at least. I offer support for the computers I build for the lifetime of the system. That means that if you have a question, issues, etc., just contact me, and I’ll follow up and do my best to help. Most support related questions can be pretty easily answered and resolved quickly. If more hands-on involvement is required, I can offer remote support by logging in to your system remotely and trying to fix the problem. Email support for questions, issues, etc. is completely free, remote support will be charged based on the time it takes to resolve the issue.

*(Disclaimer) If you need remote assistance and request that service, you will need to authorize and install software onto the computer. The software will be available for access by you but won’t work unless you choose to install it. I know privacy is a big concern for people, and because of this I will not install any software that allows remote access to a system without your permission. This will therefore be the user’s choice and responsibility, if they want this service.

Yes! The system was designed with the intent of being fully upgradable. It was very important to me that the Lego Computer system be capable of supporting numerous hardware and software upgrades to extend its years of service. Every single component in the system can be upgraded. The processor, memory, SSD drives, wireless card, and even the motherboard itself. This could add years to the life of the computer by just changing out components in the system.

I do offer upgrade services and can upgrade any of the components in the system for increased performance. Most computer systems available today have limited upgradability, allowing only for upgrades in storage and sometimes memory systems. This is often tied to the fact that most of these systems require software and firmware updates in order to utilize new hardware, and the manufacturers only support these software updates for a short period of time in some cases. Another factor is that these retail systems often are built with hardware specific to the chassis and can only accept very similar hardware available at the OEM level.

This is where the Lego Computer is different in its approach. I have only used components that are retail based and have purposefully built the system using a standardized form-factor. This means that all the components can be updated as new technologies become available. I don’t write firmware or software for the system because I don’t have to; the components have their own suppliers that do that. So when that component reaches the end of its life, the system allows jumping forward to the next iteration.

You can send your Lego Computer back to me, and for a reasonable price, I will upgrade components based on your needs.

No, I have zero affiliation with the Lego® group. I do not work for them, represent them or sell products for them. I am just a fan of Lego – a huge fan. You could probably even call me a super fan, as I have loved Lego as long as I can remember and have never stopped playing and building with it. In particular, I am a 80s space-themed Lego nerd, who gets wildly excited by anything M-Tron, Blacktron or Space police. I’ve built so many different Lego sets and custom things over the years that I could never hope to remember them all. In my house alone, I’ve accumulated over 40,000 pieces of Lego. It’s taken decades for this to happen, but I just can’t help it.

But while I’m a huge fan of Lego and love building and creating things with Lego, I have no affiliation with Lego in anyway.

Lego Computer Updates

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