MINIX NEO J50C-4 Pentium J5005 Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Windows Remote, M.2 SSD, and Teardown

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MINIX has just announced a new Windows 10 Pro mini PC with MINIX NEO J50C-4 mini PC that just looks like their previous models like MINIX NEO N42C-4, except it comes with a Pentium Silver J5005 “Gemini Lake” processor.

The company sent me a sample together with some accessories, and it will be interesting to see how it performs. But before I’ll go through the specifications, checking the devices and some extra accessories namely NEO W2 windows remote control, and an M.2 SSD pre-loaded with Windows 10 Pro. Finally, I’ll have a look at the internals in the first part of this review.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Specifications

  • SoC – Intel Pentium Silver J5005 quad core “Gemini Lake” processor @ 1.50 / 2.80 GHz with 18 EU Intel UHD Graphics 605 (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 4GB DDR4 upgradable to 16GB via 2x SO-DIMM slots
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC 5.1 flash, 1x 2280 M.2 SATA III SSD slot up to 512GB
  • Video Output
    • HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz
    • mini DisplayPort up to 4K @ 60 Hz
    • USB type C up to 4K @ 60 Hz(video only, no audio)
    • Support for up to 3 independent displays
  • Audio
    • Digital – HDMI 2.0, miniDP, optical S/PDIF
    • Analog – 3.5mm audio input jack, 3.5mm audio output jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB – 3x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB Type-C port
  • Misc – Power button, Kensington lock
  • Power Supply  – 12V/3A via power jack or USB type C
  • Dimensions – 139 x 139 x 30 mm

The mini PC runs Windows 10 Pro 64-bit operating system.

MINIX NEO J50C-4, NEO W2 Remote, and M.2 SSD for J50C-4

I received a parcel with three packages inside: NEO W2 “2.4 GHz Wireless Windows Remote”, 128GB M.2 SSD for MINIX NEO J50C-4, and MINIX NEO J50C-4 mini PC itself.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Pentium J5005 Mini PC Review
Click to Enlarge

We can double confirm the specifications on the back of the mini PC’s package, and it’s indeed equipped with Intel Pentium Silver J5005, the most powerful processor of Intel’s Gemini Lake family.

NEO J50C-4 Specifications

We’ll find the device with MINIX branding, as well as the usual accessories for MINIX mini PC: VESA mount, 12V/3A power supply with US, EU, and UK adapters, and HDMI cable, a set with screws and optical S/PDIF adapter, a HDMI cable, a user guide in English, and a product guide.MINIX NEO J50C-4 Accessories

Click to EnlargeLet’s look around the mini PC. One side come with three USB 3.0 ports, and the power button…

Intel Pentium J5005 Mini PC USB 3.0

The rear panel includes the DC jack, Gigabit Ethernet, mini DP and HDMI 2.0 video output, a USB-C port, and 3.5mm headphone + S/PDIF.Intel Pentium J5005 Mini PC USB HDMI Mini DisplayPort

The 3.5mm port can be converted to optical S/PDIF using the adapter as shown with MINIX NEO N42C-4 mini PC below.MINIX-NEO-N42C-4-optical-SPDIF

Finally, we’ll find a Kensington lock, and a reset pinhole on the other side of the PC.

Intel Pentium J5005 Mini PC Kensington LockMINIX NEO W2 remote control looks like any other 2.4 GHz air mouse, but it’s specifically made for Windows 10 with the Windows key and other shortcuts, the remote and keyboard sides are backlight, and it includes a 6-axis gyro for tracking motion.

MINIX NEO W2 Windows 10 Remote Control
Click to Enlarge

You’ll find the RF dongle inside the battery compartment, two AAA batteries are required, but not included, and you can expect a range of 10 meters. I’ll probably do a separate review for NEO W2, and beside Windows 10, I’ll probably it with an Ubuntu 18.04 machine as well.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 M.2 SSD Installation Instructions
Click to Enlarge

The SSD also looks like any M.2 2280 SSD, except it’s pre-loaded with Windows 10 Pro. It has just been made to make life easier for people who want to install Windows 10 on a faster device.

MINIX NEO-J5-SSD
Click to Enlarge

As the user manual suggest you are supposed to activated Windows 10 Pro (on the eMMC flash) first, before installing the M.2 SSD, but I’ll try another method, since I have a train to take very soon, I’m a bit in a rush, and I’ll be away from home/office for a few weeks/months…

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Teardown

Open the mini PC is very easy. Take out the four rubber pads on the bottom of the case, and loosen the four screws.
MINIX NEO J50C-4 Bottom
The cover should then come off without much efforts.
MINIX NEO J50C-4 Teardown
If you like to purchase an upgradable mini PC, you should be happy with MINIX latest mini PC since it comes with two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots (up to 16GB in total, 8GB per channel) fitted with one 4GB TiGo RAM stick, an M.2 slot with the wireless module, and another M.2 socket for SATA SSD.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 RAM Slot WiFi Card
Click to Enlarge

There’s already a screw for the M.2 SSD inside the mini PC, so just take it out, insert the SSD, and put back the screw, and you’re done with hardware installation of the SATA card.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 M.2 SSD Installation
Click to Enlarge

Be reminded you should active Windows 10 Pro, then disable the eMMC flash in the BIOS, before installing the M.2 SSD.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Motherboard
Click to Enlarge

Finally, I’ve taken out the board completely from the case, no extra screws to remove, and it comes out pretty easily. MINIX NEO J50C-4 is not a fanless design, but as I found out in MINIX NEO N42C-4 review, the fan is barely audible. We’ll also notice the RTC / CMOS battery, and three headers for debugging.

That’s all for today, I’ll probably test the NEO W2 remote control first, before doing a full review of the mini PC itself.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 mini PC and the 128GB SSD are slated to be released in  early October for respectively $299.90 and $64.90. However, when bundled with the mini PC, the SSD will cost $54.90 instead ($354.80 in total).

MINIX NEO W2 Windows Remote is already available for $34.90 if purchased separately, or $24.90 when bundled with one of their mini PCs.

Continue reading:

  1. MINIX NEO J50C-4 Mini PC Review – Part 2: Windows 10 Pro
  2. MINIX NEO W2 PC Remote Control Review in Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.04
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Sander
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Sander

” I have a train to take very soon, I’m a bit in a rush, and I’ll be away from home/office for a few weeks/months…”… are you keeping us in suspense, CNX?

TLS
Guest
TLS

That’s a terrible SSD with a DRAM less controller, so about as cheap as it gets today, not counting QLC flash. It’s also a dual channel only controller, so the performance will be reduced even more by that. To get an idea of the performance, this a 2.5″ drive using the same controller https://www.tomshardware.co.uk/hyundai-sapphire-ssd,review-33910.html

LeGyEs
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Exciting machine, but i’m waiting for RyZEN V1000 mini PCs

Matt
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Matt

When doing the full review could you see if it does HDR or HD Audio like Dolby Atmos or DTS-HD.MA passthrough in Kodi?

Ian Charles
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Ian Charles

32GB on board storage with Windows 10 is worthless

TLS
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TLS

Hence the SSD upgrade…

Tomm
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Tomm

Not fanless, meh. NUC7PJYH + Akasa Newton JC case much more worth then.

Groove
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Groove

can you check if m.2 M slot supports PCIe besides SATA ?

Andy
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Andy

MINIX is a well-known operating system. Why reuse an established name which will affect the product’s discover-ability and confuse people?

Sander
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Sander

Because Chinese … ?