ACEPC GK1 is an Intel Celeron N4100 mini PC Cooled by a Fan

Last year, we shortly reviewed ACEPC AK1 mini PC powered by an Intel Celeron J3455 Apollo Lake processor, and greatly inspired from HP Elite Slice enclosure design.

The company is now back with a upgraded model – ACEPC GK1 – that brings another Intel Celeron N4100 mini PC to the market, but with a 4GB/32GB RAM/storage configuration, and a detachable 2.5″ SATA drive bay.

ACEPC AK1ACEPC GK1 specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron N4100 quad core Gemini Lake processor clocked @ 1.10 GHz / 2.40 GHz (Turbo) with Intel UHD Graphics 600; 6W TDP
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash, 2.5″ SATA bay, M.2 SSD slot, micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – 2x HDMI 1.4 ports (but the processor supports HDMI 2.0 natively…)
  • Audio – Via HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports. What looks like a USB type C port to connect to hard drive enclosure (see photo below)
  • Misc – Power button, LEDs, Kensington lock , reset pinhole
  • Power Supply – 18W power supply (12V/1.5A? – TBC)
  • Dimensions – 12.80x 12.80 x 3.65 cm
  • Weight – 957 grams

Intel Celeron N4100 mini PCThe mini PC comes pre-loaded with an activated version of Windows 10 Home 64-bit, and ships with a power adapter, a HDMI Cable, and a “bracket”, which could be a VESA mount.

As far I know so far most Gemini Lake models with Celeron N4100 processor were fanless, but ACEPC GK1 is actively cooled based on the illustration below.

Gemini Lake Mini PC with FanThis should ensure proper cooling under any loads, but we’d have to see how noisy the fan really is. In my experience this varies a lot between brands and models from being basically inaudible in MINIX NEO N42-C to fairly noisy and potentially annoying under load Voyo VMac Mini.

I found the mini PC on GeekBuying where it is sold for $219.99 shipped. It’s actually listed as a pre-order, but the wait should not be too long, as shipping is scheduled in less than 4 days. I could not find it on Aliexpress or other sites at this time. While looking for more information, I discovered ACEPC GK2 model is also coming with more USB and audio ports, HDMI and VGA video output, and possibly more memory (TBC).

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Willy
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Willy

For me a fan is always a no-go. Even if it makes very low noise when you buy it, comes a day where it vibrates a lot, then another day where it stops working, and where the PC cannot be reliably used anymore. I strongly prefer a fanless design even if it implies that the CPU heats to 80-90°C because it’s designed to withstand this. For me fan-based designed in low TDP hardware are either a sign of laziness or incompetence (or both).

fossxplorer
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fossxplorer

Perhaps it depends on where on earth you live? E.g north Europe vs south Asia in terms of climate.

willy
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willy

Sure it plays a role (I’m in France BTW). My main PC runs an i7-6700K unlocked (4*4.4 GHz) and managed to happily build kernels during a hot summer with 33°C in the room. It’s purely passive with a huge heatsink. The on-die temperature probably reached 90-100 and so what? It will shorten its lifespan, it will only last 10 years instead of 100. Not a big deal. In contrast, Atoms often have a large usable temperature range. It’s important to understand that the power dissipation is proportional to the difference between the heat source and the air. So it will be much harder for a 90°C CPU to reach 95°C even when it’s 35°C outside than it will be to move from 50 to 55. Thus the cooling effort to keep it at a low temperature is much higher than the effort to prevent it from going past its maximum rating. In such a large enclosure there’s enough room to place a large heatsink for passive dissipation in my opinion.

Paul
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Paul

I agree, any kind of proprietary fan-sink cooling solution is to be avoided if at all possible.