CUPP Computing's unique ability to blend the x86 and ARM platforms into one device -- at least in prototype form -- and just before the start of Computex 2011 here in Taipei we got a chance to experience the company's latest iteration called PunkThis. The product is meant to replace your computer's 2.5-inch SATA hard drive with a board featuring a complete ARM-based system along with a mini-PCIe socket -- the latter capable of accommodating a physically smaller SATA SSD to handle the missing storage for the x86 host. PunkThis is built around a Texas Instruments DM3730 1GHz ARM CPU with 512 MB of RAM and includes a WiFi radio, as well as connectors and cables to interface the board with existing video, audio, and USB facilities on the host computer (no soldering required).
The Asus Eee PC netbook we got to play with was running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) but was lacking WiFi support. It ran perfectly alongside Windows 7 which was powered by the existing Atom processor. Switching OS-es is just a hotkey away, and battery life is supposedly doubled when the main x86 CPU is shut down and the only the daughter board is operational. PunkThis also provides two microSD card slots -- one for system storage used by the ARM-based OS (Android in this case), the other for mass storage visible to both environments (shared space). Pricing is supposed to remain below $200 and availability is expected in 8 weeks. That's pretty hardcore, but with a name like PunkThis would you expect anything less? Feast your eyes on our gallery and peek after the break for our hands-on video along with the obligatory PR.