Internals, Performance, and Conclusion
The bottom panel comes off easily and once inside we have a look at the system board and its expansion options:
In addition to a free M.2 storage slot the Byte3 offers a SATA port with included data and power cables to easily add either a 2.5-inch hard drive or SSD.
The bottom panel doubles as a home for the 2.5-inch drive, with the four screw holes providing a place to mount the drive.
Reaching the opposite side of the board is tricky and not technically user-accessible anyhow. CPU and RAM needs to be specified at time of purchase, so consider storage to be the only upgrade path for the end-user.
Running the common benchmarks on our Byte3's quad-core system running Windows 10, we saw some pretty impressive results for a low-cost fanless system.
Performance relative to other recent mini PCs on hand place it above the Apollo Lake LIVA mini PCs in multithreaded loads thanks to the quad-core CPU, though single threaded performance is lower than the dual-core mini PCs we tested last year due to lower clocks. During sustained CPU loads (all cores at 100%) the frequency was stable at 1.54-1.56GHz, and thermals were well controlled.
As to thermals, at idle I recorded a temperature of 37 C, and loads topped out at 57 C in my testing (18 C ambient for both readings).
The Byte3 was stable through all testing, provided snappy desktop productivity performance, solid wireless reception, and overall has a level of polish that surprised me at this price level. In the end it was the build quality and above average CPU power for a <$200 fanless mini PC that impressed me, and this looks and performs like a premium device in this category. Recommended!