Micro Lego Computer

Bricktastic

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 led later to the creation of the Mini Lego Computer. Which leads me up to this new system, the Micro Lego Computer.

This Micro Lego Computer system is designed for those that want a capable and speedy Lego based computer system, with room to expand the system via add-on Lego brick modules.

Design Insight

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

Micro Lego Computer Design

Brick Beginnings

Following the release of the Mini Lego Computer, I received a lot of great feedback and interest in small form-factor Lego computer systems. It seemed like the Mini Lego Computer was a hit, and people of all ages really loved it. With so much interest in the Mini Lego Computer, I started putting together a list of commonly requested capabilities, the things that really mattered most to people. One of the most common requests was a more entry-level system, still capable of providing a great computing experience but doing so at a lower price point.

While the Mini Lego Computer offers great performance and features, all in a very small form factor, that performance comes at a price, and the cost of the components puts the system out of the price range of some of those individuals that really want a Lego Computer of their own. So I went back and started working on a previous Lego Computer project that I had started developing earlier but paused on during the Mini Lego Computer prototyping. This previous project was built around an even smaller form factor, designed to be a micro variant of the Lego Computer.

The result of this project and development is the Micro Lego Computer, a very small form-factor computer system, housed in a customizable Lego case. Measuring only 4” x 5” x 5” the Micro Lego Computer is… well…. micro! Housed inside of the Lego case is a Intel NUC-based board with the latest 5th Gen Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, up to 16GB memory, SSD drive up to 1TB, AC wifi, USB 3.0, HDMI, Displayport, and more.

Design

Customizable

Lego offers an almost endless amount of combinations, and that’s just what the Micro 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 Micro 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 Micro 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.

Performance

The Micro Lego Computer is built to pack as much more as possible into a small package. With available Intel i7 Dual core, 16GB of memory, and SSD drive, you can easily handle most tasks with ease.

Future Expansion

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

Noise & Acoustics

The Micro Lego Computer was built with careful attention to detail in the design of the system acoustics. A premium Noctua case fan is used to ensure low noise and excellent performance.

High Efficiency PSU

The Micro 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

$599

  • Intel i3-5010U Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 Memory
  • 120 GB SSD Storage
  • Intel HD 5500 Graphics
  • Intel AC Wifi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Noctua Premium Case Fan
  • High Efficiency Power Supply

i5 System

$729

  • Intel i5-5250U Processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 Memory
  • 120 GB SSD Storage
  • Intel HD 6000 Graphics
  • Intel AC Wifi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Noctua Premium Case Fan
  • High Efficiency Power Supply

i7 System

$879

  • Intel i7-5557U Processor
  • 16 GB DDR3 Memory
  • 120 GB SSD Storage
  • Intel Iris 6100 Graphics
  • Intel AC Wifi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Noctua Premium Case Fan
  • High Efficiency Power Supply

Custom

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  • Intel i3, i5, i7 Processors
  • Up to 16 GB DDR3 Memory
  • Up to 1 TB SSD Storage
  • Intel Iris 6100 Graphics
  • Intel AC Wifi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Noctua Premium Case Fan
  • High Efficiency Power Supply

Custom Configurations Available

Email for more information and pricing

System Performance

i3 System
General Performance
65%
Internet Browsing
100%
Office & Productivity
100%
Gaming
60%
Photo & Video Editing
65%
HD Playback & Streaming
100%
i5 System
General Performance
75%
Internet Browsing
100%
Office & Productivity
100%
Gaming
65%
Photo & Video Editing
75%
HD Playback & Streaming
100%
i7 System
General Performance
85%
Internet Browsing
100%
Office & Productivity
100%
Gaming
70%
Photo & Video Editing
85%
HD Playback & Streaming
100%

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

Micro 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 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. Multiple case color options are available as well.

Custom Top Sections Available

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

Add-on Brick Modules

One of the best parts of Lego is it’s flexibility and versatility. The Micro Lego Computer is designed to work with add-on brick modules to offer an easy way to expand the system and add more capabilities. The Micro Lego Computer is a scaled 2×2 brick, the external hard drive module a 2×3 plate, and the card reader-USB 3.0 hub a 1×2 brick. All bricks allow stacking on bottom and top.

External Hard Drive Module

The external hard drive add-on brick module allows for increasing system storage beyond that of the base Micro Lego Computer. The add-on brick is stackable and connects with a single USB 3.0 cable. This allows starting off your Lego Computer system with just the base Micro Lego Computer, and then adding additional storage in the future as your needs grow.

Card Reader – USB 3.0 Hub Module

The card reader – USB 3.0 Hub add-on brick module allows to further expand your Micro Lego Computer system. This allows for adding a USB 3.0 based card reader, that reads 15 different types of memory cards, all at USB 3.0 high speeds.

In addition to the card reader, the module also includes 3 additional USB 3.0 ports, which allow for adding other high speed devices. This allows for expansion of the base Micro Lego Computer to accommodate additional devices.

CompactFlash, CF Type I (UDMA 0-6), CF Type II (UDMA 0-6), SD, SDHC, SDHC UHS-I, SDXC, SDXC UHS-I, microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC, Memory Stick/M2, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick M2

Micro Lego Computer System Stacking

Standard Features

Front USB 3.0 Ports

The Micro Lego Computer incorporates 2 front USB 3.0 ports concealed under swiveling Lego tiles. The yellow port also offers sleep charging for charging devices (phones, tablets, etc.) while the computer is in sleep mode.

Four 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 Micro Lego Computer offers 4 USB 3.0 ports, plenty to connect numerous devices at once.

Built In AC Wifi

No need to add adapters for Wifi, as the Micro 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.

Gigabit LAN

The Micro Lego Computer uses an Intel Gigabit network connection. This allows high speed networking built around a fast and reliable Intel Network system. Connecting to a network or the internet is simple and fast.

HDMI & Displayport

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

International Power

The Micro Lego Computer comes with an international power supply unit, capable of a wide range of input voltages and frequencies to support international use. The adapter also features plugs that match the various international sockets.

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 not 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 Micro 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 in the last couple of years integrated graphics have made big strides in performance.This system uses the Intel HD5500, HD6000 and Iris HD6100 graphics units, which are 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.

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.

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