GEEKOM MiniAir 11 Review – A Jasper Lake Mini PC with plenty of ports

Geekom miniair-11 review

The GEEKOM MiniAir 11 is not just another mini PC powered by an Intel Jasper Lake N5095 processor but one that distinguishes itself by having a comprehensive range of ports. GEEKOM kindly sent a MiniAir 11 for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows 11 and Ubuntu 22.04.

MiniAir 11 hardware overview

The GEEKOM MiniAir 11 physically consists of a 117 x 112 x 34.2mm (4.61 x 4.41 x 1.35 inches) square plastic case. As an actively cooled mini PC, it uses Intel’s new 10 nm Jasper Lake N5095 processor which is a quad-core 4-thread 2.00 GHz Celeron processor boosting to 2.90 GHz with Intel’s UHD Graphics.

The front panel has an illuminated power button, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 port, and a Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 port.  It also includes a CIR (consumer infrared) port which supports remote control. The rear panel includes a Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 port, an HDMI (assumed to be 2.0) port, dual USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, a Mini DisplayPort, and the power jack. The left panel includes a full-sized SD card slot and the right panel has a Kensington security slot.

Internally the motherboard sits inside a ‘metal inner frame’ and has a soldered-on WiFi 5 (or 802.11ac) Intel Wireless-AC 7265 chip. The review model included a 256GB M.2 2280 SATA SSD drive complete with Windows 11 Pro installed:

Geekom miniair 11 motherboard

and two sticks of single-rank 8GB DDR4 2666 MHz memory making a total of 16GB:

windows memory rank bank miniair-11 windows 11 memory speed

The specifications state:

Geekom miniair 11 specifications

and an accompanying picture on GEEKOM’s website documents the USB port specifications as well as each port being labeled on the actual device:

miniair 11 port specifications

I tested each of the USB ports 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 confirmed that the device labeling was indeed correct. However whilst the rear Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 port was correctly labeled and included the DisplayPort Alt Mode logo the picture text was incorrect in that it states ‘data only’ whereas the Type-C port does actually support video output through ‘Alternate Mode’:

miniair 11 windows 11 type-c displayport alt mode

so the device can support triple 4K displays.

Box contents

In the box, you get a power adapter and power cord, an HDMI cable, a mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, a VESA mounting bracket together with a small packet of miscellaneous screws, a storage bag and a ‘Thank You’ card which includes GEEKOM’s contact channels:

Geekom MiniAir 11 power supply

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. I now review using Windows 11 version 21H2 and Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. I 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’ version 10.8.3 and benchmark with the same set of tests on both Windows and Ubuntu for comparison purposes. On Ubuntu, I also compile the v5.15 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 version of the OS. I also capture some basic details of the device for each OS.

Installation Issues

When booting Ubuntu 22.04 there are various BIOS errors being reported in the ‘dmesg’ although the significance of which has not been determined:

ACPI error Jasper Lake dmesg errors ubuntu dmesg BIOS errors

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.

Windows 11 performance on GEEKOM MiniAir 11

The GEEKOM MiniAir 11 came installed with a licensed copy of Windows 11 Pro version 21H2 which after applying updates was build 22000.778. A quick look at the hardware information shows it is aligned to the specifications:

12-windows-configuration 13-windows-disk-management 14-windows-info
Similar to when I reviewed other N5095-based mini PCs, the iGPU showed limited details in HWiNFO and was unknown to GPU-Z:

windows 11 hwinfo64 GEEKOM MiniAir 11 windows 11 TechPowerUp gpu-z

A brief check showed working audio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SD card, 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:

MiniAir 11 review windows cinebench r23

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

MiniAir-11 windows phoronix overview

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

windows mini pcs comparison july 2022

Interestingly the performance of the SATA drive impacts the results and this is most noticeable in the Passmark scores:

Windows 11 disk passmark

Ubuntu 22.04 performance

After shrinking the Windows partition in half and creating a new partition I installed Ubuntu using an Ubuntu 22.04 ISO as dual boot. After installation and updates a brief check showed working audio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and SD card:

Ubuntu 22.04 sd card

The key hardware information under Ubuntu 22.04 is as follows:

ubuntu 22.04 SD card (SP32G) MiniAir 11 ubuntu 22.04 info


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:

GEEKOM MiniAir 11 geekbench 5 cpu ubuntu

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

GEEKOM MiniAir 11 geekbench 5 cpu windows 11

I also ran PassMark PerformanceTest Linux:

PassMark PerformanceTest ubuntu cpu passmark

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

windows 11 passmark cpu memory

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

MiniAir 11 ubuntu phoronix overview

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

linux mini pcs comparison july 2022

However, on Ubuntu, the SATA drive does not appear to be slow and all the results are generally marginally better than other similar mini PCs using the same processor.

Video Playback in browsers & Kodi

For real-world testing, I played some videos in Edge and Chrome on Windows and in Firefox and Chrome on Ubuntu. On Edge the initial codec for a video is ‘av01’ however as it then typically struggles to play the video it switches to ‘vp09’ whereas Chrome typically used ‘vp09’ except for 1080p where it used ‘av01’:

MiniAir 11 review video Youtube Chrome vs Firefox vs Edge comparison

I also played variously encoded videos in Kodi all of which played up to 8K @ 30 FPS without issue and used hardware for decoding:

Windows 11 kodi norway 8k video

However whilst hardware decoding was used when trying to play 8K @ 60 FPS videos it resulted in frame skipping and juddery playback:

Kodi ubuntu 22.04 peru 8k video

Overall the results were consistent with similar mini PCs using the same processor.

MiniAir 11 thermals

The GEEKOM MiniAir 11 uses active cooling and running a stress test on Ubuntu saw the CPU temperature climb to a peak of 64°C and then drop to an average of 55°C for the duration of the test:

ubuntu stress test jasper lake

If the CPU frequency is monitored during the stress test it can be seen that it flat-lined at 2800 MHz during the test whereas it bounced around 2500 MHz when idle:

Ubuntu 22.04 CPU frequency monitoring

During the stress test, the maximum temperature I recorded on the top of the device was around 27.1°C in an ambient room temperature of 16.5°C which was cooler than at the start of the test when it registered 33.2°C. This is because during the test the fan ramped up and cooled the whole device and once the test completed, the temperature dropped considerably. Once the fan was no longer running the device started to warm up slightly even though it was idle. As a result, I decided to repeat the stress test with this new cooler starting point, and whilst the temperature initially climbed and then dropped in a similar manner, the maximum reached was only 60°C before dropping to the average of 55°C for the rest of the test:

ubuntu rerun stress test

As mentioned the fan ramped up during the tests however it only makes a very low humming sound which did not register a reading on my sound meter next to the device during the stress tests.

Networking (WiFi and Ethernet)

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

network throughput wifi ethernet

with relatively poor Ethernet performance.

GEEKOM MiniAir 11 power consumption

Power consumption was measured as follows:

  • Powered off (shutdown) – 0.7 Watts
  • BIOS*  – 12.9 Watts
  • GRUB boot menu – 12.2 Watts
  • Idle – 7.8 Watts (Windows) and 6.0 Watts (Ubuntu)
  • CPU stressed – 21.5 Watts (Windows ‘cinebench’) and 17.2 Watts (Ubuntu ‘stress’)
  • Video playback** – 12.5 Watts (Windows Edge 4K 30 FPS) and 14.7 Watts (Ubuntu Firefox 1440p 30 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 extremely restricted with virtually no settings except the ability to set or change the boot order.

Final Observations

The wide selection of ports and inclusion of an SD card slot will appeal to the consumer market. And the inclusion of a CIR port may also be useful for business usage such as digital signage and kiosks.

HighlightsLimitations
Wide selection of ports including SD card and CIRNo option to add additional SATA drive
Minimal thermal throttling and near silent operationPoor GPU performance with 4K high framerate videos
Included mini DP to HDMI adapterLimited BIOS options

I’d like to thank GEEKOM for providing the GEEKOM MiniAir 11 for review. It retails for around $239 for an 8GB/256GB configuration, but you’ll find it for $219 in a few days, as GEEKOM are about to launch a ‘Summer Sale’ that will last until the end of July.

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7 Comments
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Sander
Sander
4 months ago

Nice box.
For EU buyers: https://www.geekom.de/geekom-miniair-11-mini-pc (Germany, so EU), offers it for €219.00, and says “Steuern inklusive. Kostenloser Versand.” so including VAT/Tax and shipping. Nice!

The French geekom site offers the box for €239.

domih
domih
4 months ago

phpbench 234359 (Win) vs 502379 (Lin) while pybench 2048 (Win) vs 1602 (Lin) ?
openssl and gimp unsharp-mask: measuring the same thing?
:

linuxium
4 months ago

Given the same ‘PTS’ version on Windows and Linux/Ubuntu and exactly the same installed phpbench and pybench test versions run the same way (see https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FXW7P7baQAY8GlO?format=png&name=4096×4096) makes me wonder whether the variance is down to how ‘PTS’ is both implementing and running the tests by using Cygwin on Windows verses natively on Linux/Ubuntu. The gimp unsharp-mask test is a slightly later revision on Linux/Ubuntu as that is forced by ‘PTS’ but again, in theory, should be measuring the same thing, which conceptually, may be the implementation and performance of gimp in a specific task on Windows vs Linux/Ubuntu rather than the performance of the unsharp-mask… Read more »

linuxium
4 months ago

The URL might need to be https://twitter.com/linuxium/status/1546348928735784960 to see the image I am referring to.

Yuri
Yuri
4 months ago

Thanks for the interesting review! One big drawback with this system that I would highlight is the non-existent BIOS/UEFI firmware update support from the OEM, Geekom. I tried going to their Support page and they don’t provide any BIOS/firmware updates for any of their PCs! As you know, patching security issues in the platform firmware can be vital to the security posture of the PC, so it’s a pretty big oversight to not provide this software to customers. They also host driver downloads on Mediafire… this does not inspire confidence. Would it be possible for you to reach out to… Read more »

linuxium
4 months ago

I contacted GEEKOM regarding BIOS updates. They confirmed their committment to supporting their products, and would produce updates when required with users to contact their support service ([email protected]) to request updates when needed.

Mikael Muntz
Mikael Muntz
4 months ago

Why is it not on sale at Amazon?

Weller PCB manufacturer