Beelink GTR5 Review – An AMD Ryzen 9 mini PC tested with Windows 11, Ubuntu 20.04

Beelink GT5 Review AMD Ryzen 9 mini PC
Beelink’s GTR5 is their most powerful mini PC to date and has been released as part of their ‘GT’ series of slightly larger mini PCs that are notable for expandable storage configurations together with multiple ports and characterized by the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner. Featuring an AMD Ryzen 9 mobile processor with Radeon Graphics, Beelink kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows and Ubuntu.

Hardware Overview

The Beelink GTR5 physically consists of a 168 x 120 x 39mm (6.61 x 4.72 x 1.54 inches) rectangular metal case. As an actively cooled mini PC, it uses AMD’s ‘Zen 3’ Ryzen 9 5900HX processor which is an eight-core 16-thread 3.3 GHz mobile processor boosting up to 4.6 GHz together with Radeon Graphics.

The front panel has an illuminated power button, a ‘CLR CMOS’ button, a USB 3.1 port, a Type-C USB 3.1 port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The rear panel includes the power jack, dual 2.5 Gbps Ethernet ports, an HDMI (2.0) port, a DisplayPort (1.4), dual USB 3.1 ports, and dual USB 2.0 ports. On the top of the device is a fingerprint sensor.

Internally there is an M.2 2230 WiFi 6E (or 802.11ax) Mediatek MT7921K card which supports the new 6 GHz band, an M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe Gen 3.0 SSD drive (the review model included a 500 GB Kingston drive complete with Windows 11 Pro installed) and the ability to add an additional M.2 2280 SATA SSD drive as well as a 2.5” SATA drive to the lid which is connected to the motherboard via a short ZIF cable:

There are also two SODIMM memory slots supporting up to 64 GB of memory and the review model included two sticks of Crucial 16 GB DDR4 3200 MHz memory for a total of 32 GB noting that this particular memory is single-rank:

The specifications state:

and lists three of the USB ports as 3.0 so I tested them together with the Type-C USB port using a Samsung 980 PRO PCle 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD housed in a ‘USB to M.2 NVMe adapter’ (ORICO M2PAC3-G20 M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure) which showed that the USB ports were actually 3.1 (USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 i.e. 10 Gbit/s):

In the box you get a 90 W power adapter with cord, both a short and a longer HDMI cable, a VESA mounting bracket together with a couple of small packets of miscellaneous screws. Also included is a multilingual user manual:

Review Methodology

When reviewing mini PCs, I typically look at their performance under both Windows and Linux (Ubuntu) and compare them against some of the more recently released mini PCs. Where possible I review using Windows 11 version 21H2 and Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS and test with a selection of commonly used Windows benchmarks and/or equivalents for Linux together with Thomas Kaiser’s ‘sbc-bench’ which is a small set of different CPU performance tests focusing on server performance when run on Ubuntu. I also use ‘Phoronix Test Suite’ and benchmark with the same set of tests on both Windows and Ubuntu for comparison purposes. On Ubuntu, I also compile the v5.4 Linux kernel using the default config as a test of performance using a real-world scenario.

Prior to benchmarking, I perform all necessary installations and updates to run the latest versions of both OSes. I also capture some basic details of the device for each OS.

Installation Issues

During initial testing under Windows, the device would occasionally and randomly power off typically shortly after commencing a benchmark when it was placed under load. Having reached out to Beelink regarding this issue they provided a new BIOS (version 1.21) which ‘has solved some of the problems of unbootable and unusable’. After flashing the new BIOS, no further crashes have occurred and the problem appears addressed.

Otherwise running the benchmarks went smoothly with the exception of the ‘Selenium’ test from the ‘Phoronix Test Suite’. When running the test with ‘Chrome’ selected it errored with the message ‘The test quit with a non-zero exit status’. This is typically caused by the benchmark driver used by the test not supporting the newest Chrome release and has been encountered before. As a result, the Octane tests were run manually and edited into the final results.

On Ubuntu 20.04.3 whilst the initial random crashes didn’t occur, the ‘dmesg’ showed some ACPI errors and the significance of which was unknown at the time of testing:

Errors: No handler of Region [ECRM], ACPI Error: Aborting method \_SB.GPIO._EVT
Possibly related and also on Ubuntu, the WiFi does not work immediately after installation as it requires the relevant module to be loaded:

The WiFi module loading can be automated for subsequent boots.

Additionally, the sensors did not detect CPU temperatures:

Whilst this might be fixed with a later kernel release the workaround was to install ‘Zenpower3’ via DKMS:

Initially, the Beelink GTR5 came installed with a licensed copy of Windows 11 Pro version 21H2 build 22000.348 which I upgraded to build 22000.469 after applying Windows updates.

A quick look at the hardware information showed it is aligned to the specification:

A brief check showed working audio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ethernet.

I then set the power mode to ‘High performance’ and ran my standard set of benchmarking tools to look at performance under Windows:

I also tested Cinebench R23:

For my specific set of Phoronix Test Suite tests the results were:

All these results can then be compared with other recent mini PCs:

The results are extremely good making this one of the most powerful mini PCs ever reviewed.

Ubuntu Performance with an AMD Ryzen 9 mini PC

After installation, updates, and fixes as mentioned above, a brief check showed working audio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ethernet.

The key hardware information under Ubuntu 20.04.3 is as follows:

 



I then set the CPU Scaling Governor to ‘performance’ and ran my Linux benchmarks for which the majority of the results are text-based but the graphical ones included:

and the latter can be directly compared to when run in Windows using the OpenGL render:

I also ran PassMark PerformanceTest Linux:

which similarly can be directly compared to the results from when it was run on Windows:

For the same set of Phoronix Test Suite tests the results were:

The complete results together with a comparison against other recent mini PCs are:

The graphical results are also impressive for the integrated GPU and the capability of which will be explored further below.

Video playback in Browsers & Kodi

Video playback was reasonably successful with issues only appearing at the highest resolutions and framerates. On Windows, Edge dropped 5 frames at the start of 4K 60 FPS videos whereas Chrome was perfect. However, on Ubuntu both Firefox and Chrome occasionally dropped frames while playing 4K 60 FPS videos:

I also attempted playing an 8K 60 FPS video in YouTube in both Firefox and Chrome on both Windows and Ubuntu however none were successful with each stalling and dropping frames continuously:

Finally, I played some videos in Kodi of various formats all of which played without issue until I tried 8K 30 FPS and 8K 60 FPS which resulted in some frame skipping and stuttering.

Given the impressive Unigine Heaven scores, I decided to test three games under Steam (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Grand Theft Auto V and Shadow Of The Tomb Raider) at both 1080p and 720p using default settings in both CS:GO and GTA V and with the graphical preset of ‘lowest’ in the built-in benchmark of SOTTR. The very respectable average FPS results were as follows:

Interesting Ubuntu out-performed Windows at 1080p resolution.

Thermals

The Beelink GTR5 uses active cooling and running a stress test on Ubuntu saw the CPU temperature rise to a peak of 85°C with an average around 84°C for the latter duration of the test:

During the stress test, the fan was noticeably audible and measured at times up to 57 dBA on my sound meter next to the device. Even at idle the fan measured around 44 dBA so this is not a particularly quiet mini PC. However, the noise was slightly reduced (55 and 42 dBA respectively) after the installation of the BIOS upgrades as this also included ‘optimizing the sound of the fan’ (see BIOS below).

If the CPU frequency is monitored during the stress test it can be seen that at idle it was 3300 MHz then when the test starts it immediately peaks at 3837 MHz before dropping down to an average of 3622 MHz for the duration of the test:

Networking (WiFi and Ethernet)

Network connectivity throughput was measured on Ubuntu using ‘iperf’:

Power consumption was measured as follows:

  • Powered off (shutdown) – 0.4 Watts
  • BIOS* – 31.8 Watts
  • GRUB boot menu – 28.5 Watts
  • Idle – 7.5 Watts (Windows) and 5.1 Watts (Ubuntu)
  • CPU stressed – 69.2 Watts (Windows ‘Cinebench’) and 66.1 Watts (Ubuntu ‘stress’)
  • Video playback** – 43.4 Watts (Windows Edge 4K 60 FPS) and 46.1 Watts (Ubuntu Chrome 4K 60 FPS)

*BIOS (see below)
**The power figures fluctuate notably due to the fan so the value is the average of the median high and median low power readings.

BIOS

Powering up the mini PC and hitting the F7 key results in a boot menu that includes access to the BIOS. The BIOS is very unrestricted and includes an ‘Ac Power Lost Policy’ setting.

On entering the BIOS the fan runs at maximum resulting in high power usage and the resultant noise measured around 53 dBA. The original testing was undertaken using version 1.17 however Beelink subsequently released a new version 1.21 which ‘optimizes the sound of the fan, [and] has solved some of the problems of unbootable and unusable’ as mentioned above. This updated BIOS does reduce the noise by a couple of dBAs without affecting performance, as confirmed by rerunning the benchmarks which were within margins of testing variance, as well as addressing the stability issue with version 1.17.

The menu structure of the new BIOS is virtually identical to that of the old BIOS with the version clearly identifiable on the main menu:

Upgrading the BIOS is simple and can be done within Windows by running the Beelink provided batch file.

Final Observations

The CPU performance offered by the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX is impressive but it does come at the cost of requiring somewhat noisier cooling. Given the iGPU performance is sufficient for light gaming and basic video editing the device makes a compelling case as a desktop alternative especially given the various storage configurations options. With its included Windows 11 Pro license, memory and storage, and future-proofed networking, it is certainly worthy of consideration.

HighlightsLimitations
Impressive CPU and GPU performance
Relatively noisy
Additional SATA drive expandabilityWiFi may need configuring on Linux
Front and rear USB 3.1 portsNo SD card slot

I’d like to thank Beelink for providing the GTR5 for review. It is available from Beelink and other retailers starting at $799 and up (the price is fluctuating daily) for the current (32GB/512GB) configuration.

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10 Replies to “Beelink GTR5 Review – An AMD Ryzen 9 mini PC tested with Windows 11, Ubuntu 20.04”

  1. Hey,
    thanks for the great review! Where to get the BIOS upgrade? It does not like like that it is already contained in the driver package provided by Bee-Link, or am I blind?

    Best regards
    Matthias

    1. Normally Beelink post drivers and sometimes BIOS on their website. In this instance when no BIOS is posted, if you send them an email request they will send you a link together with full instructions relevant to your specific model. I think they use the ‘direct email’ approach to ensure that users don’t randomly download the wrong BIOS file, brick their device and them ‘demand’ support.

    1. The author of this review is Ian. We live on different continents, so I cannot just easily send him my 2.5GbE switch and vice-versa :).

    1. Intel’s NUC 9 Extreme (or ‘Ghost Canyon’) includes an integrated power supply as does it successor but it will depend on your definition of ‘mini PC’ as to whether you agree or not.

  2. I tried to get one but sadly they don’t ship to some countries (mine included) and that’s not so clear

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