Vorke V5 Plus Kaby Lake Mini PC Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.04

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The Vorke V5​ Plus​​ mini PC​ just goes to show how initial impressions can be very misleading. Arriving in a plain manila-coloured box with the protection film on the top of the ​device starting to peal​-​off the minimalist contents ​only ​included a round-pin (European?) power supply and a small B&W ‘user’ manual.

The mini PC ​has an Intel Celeron Processor 3865U from the Kaby Lake mobile range which is a dual-core (dual-thread) non-turbo 1.8GHz processor. However this SoC also includes an Intel HD Graphics 610 processor capable of 4K support at 60Hz through DisplayPort, ​although only [email protected] on HDMI (1.4). Additionally ​the SoC​ supports DDR4 RAM in dual-channel configuration. The V5 Plus ​model ​which​ comes with ​both ​​memory and storage although it is sold without them as a ​barebones V5 model.

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Physically the V5 looks similar to a NUC and the pre-populated V5 Plus ​included a single SODIMM stick of Samsung DDR4 Synchronous 2400 MHz memory and a HOODISK 64GB M.2 SSD. Also included is a licensed pre-installed copy of Windows 10 Home. ​The full specs ​are as follows:

The initial boot of Windows reveal​ed​ that an administrator account already exist​ed​ and ​I was ​welcome​d​ with the System Preparation Tool​:​

Given that I’m naturally wary of​ ​pre​-​configured Windows, ​plus I didn’t want to go through all the updates typically required to get​ to​ a working system​,​ I re-imaged the ​SSD ​drive using ​Microsoft’s Windows ISO ​written and ​boot​ed​ from ​a ​USB. I find this approach normally cleaner and quicker although the very latest updates are still ​required ​to be downloaded ​once the installation is complete​.

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Unfortunately while Vorke have a zip file of the drivers on their webpage, it is still missing the driver for the ‘Thread Firmware Extension Device’. So I had to restore the original image and run ‘Double Driver’ to extract the driver, ​which I’ve made available here.

​Finally after a ​somewhat ​shaky start a quick look at the Windows hardware information shows it is aligned to the specification:

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As usual I ran my standard set of benchmarking tools to look at performance under Windows:

Performance was very good compared with other mini PCs and ​is arguably the best mini PC ​tested ​so far​:

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Turning to Ubuntu I first ran my ​benchmarks ​on an earlier release to allow comparison. Installation was straight forward and directly from a USB created by ​”​dd’ing​”​ a standard ISO.

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This time no clear winner is obvious however the V5 Plus performance was one of the best.

Ubuntu’s Octane result was better than in Windows:

Given ​the ​M.2 slot takes only ​a ‘​2280​’​ sized SSD I thought it would be interesting to see if a​ smaller​ ​’​2242​’​ would work:

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After carefully replacing the base of the device I found that the shorte​r​ M.2 was recognized​ on boot​. ​So ​I installed Ubuntu 18​.​04 upgraded with the latest Canonical build of the v4.17 ​fourth ​release candidate kernel and ran some basic commands to look at the hardware in more detail:


For real-world usage I ​tested playing videos under Windows using both Edge and Chrome browsers. With both browsers both [email protected] and [email protected] videos played without issue:

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except that ‘Status for Nerds’ didn’t get updated when playing the [email protected] video in Edge and [email protected] in Chrome was initially stuttery before playing okay.

In contrast playing videos in Ubuntu was a similar story to ​previous Intel processor-based mini PCs with 4K ​videos ​being unwatchable but okay when played at 1080p:

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And even though [email protected] were unwatchable even [email protected] still resulting in a 50% loss of frames:

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Playing videos using Kodi on Windows ​​resulted in VP9 codec encoded video​s​ us​ing ​software for decoding ​generating high CPU usage and a slightly higher CPU temperatures:

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whereas a H.264 codec encoded video used hardware to decode:

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as did videos encoded with H.265 or HEVC:

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The result in Kodi on Ubuntu 18.04 ​were different in that only one format of HEVC used software to decode and was unwatchable:

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whereas hardware was used to decode the others:

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For both Windows and Ubuntu sound worked ​for each of HDMI, the internal speaker and headphones:

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The device is cooled by an internal fan​ which is normally quiet under both Windows and Ubuntu. It kicks in only when necessary but it does have a high speed setting which is audible but this only seems to be required for occasional short bursts:

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The device also ​has ​a digital clock ​display ​on the lid:

​which initially takes the time from the BIOS but can get overwritten by timezone settings as defined within your OS​ depending on the configuration.

Network connectivity throughput was measured using ‘iperf’:

which was very good in comparison with other mini PCs.

Power consumption was measured ​for ​Ubuntu:

  • Powered off – 0.2 Watts
  • BIOS* – 8.0 Watts
  • Boot menu – 4.2 Watts
  • Idle – 4.1 Watts
  • CPU stressed – 9.8 Watts
  • Video playback** – 8.2 Watts (1080p in Chrome) and 11.1 Watts (4K in Kodi)***

* The fan was running at medium speed
** The power figures fluctuate so the value is the average of the median high and median low power readings.
*** A slightly higher power reading given the video ​wa​s running from USB

​with t​he results again ​being very favorable for a mini PC device.

The BIOS appears to be fully unrestricted:

Overall the device performs extremely well. It is competitively priced and represents good value for money given the performance and flexibility.​ ​The ​V5 Plus in this review was kindly ​provided by Geekbuying​ and is available for purchase on their website, ​ and ​after using the coupon​ ‘​YBFUJZXV​’ the ​final price ​is ​$229.99.

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Jose Xavier
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Jose Xavier

offtopic: you show an image with my country jersey from last Euro cup, Portugal. You also show Maxi Pereira that plays on my favorite team: FCPorto :p

Theguyuk
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Theguyuk

Last week when looking at geekbuying they were having a mini pc clear out of lower spec pc’s.

William Barath
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William Barath

To get hardware decoding in Google Chrome / Chromium-Browser:

1) Install h264ify browser plugin from Chrome App Store:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/h264ify/aleakchihdccplidncghkekgioiakgal

2) visit Chrome://flags, set “Override software rendering list” and “GPU rasterization” to Enabled

restart browser, then play a video and visit Chrome://media-internals/ to confirm h264 media format.

Also recommend setting “GPU rasterization MSAA sample count” to 0 for i965 GPU users.

Drone
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Drone

Your link to the driver extracted by Double Drive doesn’t work for me. I get this back:

404: Page not found – the page goo.gl/1ZcmUE%E2%80%8B does not exist.

Linuxium
Guest

The link is somehow malformed. It should be ‘https://goo.gl/1ZcmUE’ without the quotes.

Drone
Guest
Drone

“the pre-populated V5 Plus ​included a single SODIMM stick”

Is there a second SODIMM connector on the bottom of the PCB like the V5?

Is there a part number on the single Samsung SODIMM stick that came with your V5 Plus?

Have you seen a link where we can buy the unpopulated V5 Plus (no SSD & no SDRAM)?

Thanks

Linuxium
Guest

If you click on either of the two open device pictures above and then click again to enlarge you can see all the details on the RAM stick. There are two RAM slots and the ‘unpopulated V5 Plus’ is the ‘V5’ model (the ‘Plus’ only means plus RAM and SSD in this case).

Paul
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Paul

it’s a shame these miniPCs don’t include S/PDIF outputs. AFAICT, only the Intel NUCs do, using a TOSLink combo headphone + optical socket.

Member

Is it possible for me to install my Windows 7 Ultimate ISO that I have on USB stick? Also , I don’t play games and 1080P is good enough for what I do. Sometimes I edit videos., Is it powerful enough for that? Thanks in advance,

Linuxium
Guest

Windows 7 probably wouldn’t work as typically it is not supported by the BIOS on these mini PCs however the manufacturer/reseller should be able to confirm for sure. It is quite powerful for a mini PC but it is not a desktop replacement so while editing videos might be possible I think it will be a case of YMMV.

paul
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paul

hi I am after a little help, I have the Thread Firmware Extension Device driver missing so I downloaded it from here pointed device manager to update driver to download and it wont update, I am doing something wrong

Linuxium
Guest

Google ‘Windows 10 with driver signature enforcement disabled’ to see instructions on how to install the unsigned driver e.g.:

1. Restart your PC while holding down Shift.
2. On the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
3. Select Advanced options and click Startup Settings.
4. Click Restart to restart your PC into the Startup Settings screen.
5. Press 7 or F7 at the Startup Settings screen to activate Disable driver signature enforcement mode.

Driver signature enforcement is now disabled and it will remain disabled until you enable it back on the Advance boot option.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Hi thank you for the reply, I tried your suggestion and it comes back with a screen saying windows found drivers for your device but encountered an error while attempting to install, and the below says, the system cannot find the file specified