Beelink SER5 Review – An AMD Ryzen 5 5600H mini PC tested with Windows 11, Ubuntu 22.04

Beelink ser5 review

New to arrive in the Beelink SER lineup is the SER5 marketed as a ‘SER PRO’ and features one of last year’s AMD Ryzen 5000 H-series processors typically used in high-performance productivity and gaming laptops. Beelink kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows 11 and Ubuntu 22.04.

The Beelink SER5 physically consists of a 126 x 113 x 42mm (4.96 x 4.45 x 1.65 inches) square metal case. As an actively cooled mini PC, it uses AMD’s 7 nm Zen 3 Ryzen 5 5600H Cezanne processor which is a six-core 12-thread 3.3 GHz mobile processor boosting to 4.2 GHz with Radeon Graphics.

The front panel has an illuminated power button, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Type-C USB 3.1 port with Alternate Mode, dual USB 3.1 ports, and a reset pin-hole ‘CLR CMOS’.  The rear panel includes a gigabit Ethernet port, a USB 3.1 port and a USB 2.0 port, dual HDMI 2.0 ports, and the power jack.

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 NV1 drive complete with Windows 11 Pro installed) and the ability to add a 2.5” SATA drive to the lid which is connected to the motherboard via a short ZIF cable:

Beelink SER5 motherboard

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:

Single rank memory

The specifications state:

Beelink SER5 specifications

and the Beelink webpage lists all 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 an ‘USB to M.2 NVMe adapter’ (ORICO M2PAC3-G20 M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure) which showed that all the ‘blue’ USB ports and the Type-C USB port were USB 3.1 (USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 i.e. 10 Gbit/s):

Beelink SER5 windows 11 blue usb

however, the ‘black’ rear USB port was only USB 2.0:

 

Windows 11 black usb speed
Additionally, the Type-C port also supports video output through ‘Alternate Mode’:

Beelink SER5 windows usb type-c alt mode
Beelink SER3 ubuntu usb type-c alt mode

so the device can support three 4K displays.

Box contents

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

Beelink SER5 power supply 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. I now review using Windows 11 version 21H2 and Ubuntu 22.04.1 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. 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

On Windows running the pre-installed AMD Radeon Software (version 21.6.1) errored with a software and driver version mismatch:

error: radeon software and driver versions do not match

however, this was easily resolved by downloading and installing the latest version (22.7.1):

AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition

When booting Ubuntu 22.04.1 there are various BIOS errors being reported in the ‘dmesg’ although the significance of which has not been determined:

dmesg errors: acpi error region embeddedcontrol dmesg errors: mtd device must be supplied

Running the benchmarks went smoothly with the exception of the ‘OpenSSL’ test from ‘sbc-bench’. When running the test the results were inconsistent including across runs. Both the reason and implications of this are not currently known and as such will be ’taken with a huge grain of salt’:

AMD Ryzen 5600U SBC Bench benchmarks

ubuntu openssl results

The Beelink SER5 came installed with a licensed copy of Windows 11 Pro version 21H2 which after applying updates was build 22000.832. A quick look at the hardware information shows it is aligned to the specification:

windows configuration windows disk management windows info windows hwinfo windows gpu z

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:

Beelink SER3 windows 11 cinebench R23

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

windows mini pcs comparison august 2022

The Beelink SER5 performance is quite similar to the SER4. The SER5 (Ryzen 5 5600H) reduced core count is mitigated by the higher base frequency for results when compared to the Beelink SER4 (Ryzen 7 4800U) and the faster drive performance results in an overall improvement for the SER5 over the SER4 despite the lower graphics of RX Vega 7 verses RX Vega 8.

Ubuntu 22.04 Performance

After shrinking the Windows partition in half and creating a new partition I installed Ubuntu as dual boot using an Ubuntu 22.04 ISO as the first point release has been delayed and it was necessary to perform a manual upgrade to 22.04.1.  After installation and updates, a brief check showed working audio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet.

The key hardware information under Ubuntu 22.04.1 is as follows:

Beelink SER5 ubuntu disk management Ryzen 5 5600h 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:

AMD Ryzen 5 5600H ubuntu 22.04 geekbench 5 cpu Beelink SER5 review ubuntu 22.04 octane AMD Ryzen 5 5600h ubuntu 22.04 heaven

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

AMD Ryzen 5 5600U windows 11 heaven opengl benchmark

I also ran PassMark PerformanceTest Linux:

AMD Ryzen 5 5600H mini PC PassMark Linux

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

Passmark CPU Memory Beelink SER5

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

linux mini pcs comparison august 2022

Again the higher single core base frequency and faster drive speeds are evident when comparing the SER5 (Ryzen 5 5600H) to the SER4 (Ryzen 7 4800U) as is the slightly reduced graphics performance.

Video playback in browsers & Kodi

For real-world testing, I played some videos in Edge, Chrome, and Kodi on Windows and in Firefox, Chrome, and Kodi on Ubuntu. No issues were encountered playing up to 4K 60 FPS videos, however Chrome did occasionally drop frames on Ubuntu for the highest quality playback:

Beelink SER5 Windows 4k 60fps edge YouTube Beelink SER5 ubuntu 22.04 4k 60fps YouTube chrome

I also tested 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 ‘high’ and ‘low’ in the built-in benchmark of SOTTR. The very interesting average FPS results were as follows:

Beelink SER5 windows 11 sottr 1080p high Beelink SER5 ubuntu sottr 720p low Beelink SER5 gaming fps

with Ubuntu out-performing Windows likely due to Valve’s ongoing commitment to Linux.

Thermals

The Beelink SER5 uses active cooling. Running a stress test on Ubuntu saw the CPU temperature climb to a peak of 83°C where it remained for the duration of the test:

Beelink SER5 ubuntu stress test

During the stress test, the maximum temperature I recorded on the top of the device was around 30.2°C in an ambient room temperature of 15.6°C and the fan was hardly audible reaching 38 dBA on my sound meter next to the device during the test. If the CPU frequency is monitored during the stress test it can be seen that it averages 3580 MHz:

Beelink SER5 ubuntu cpu frequency

Networking

Network connectivity throughput was measured on Ubuntu using ‘iperf3’:

SER5 network throughput wifi ethernet

and showed good WiFi performance.

Power Consumption

Power consumption was measured as follows:

  • Powered off (shutdown) – 0.3 Watts
  • BIOS  – 20.5 Watts
  • GRUB boot menu – 19.1 Watts
  • Idle – 5.3 Watts (Windows) and 3.7 Watts (Ubuntu)
  • CPU stressed* – 46.5 Watts (Windows ‘cinebench’) and 42.4 Watts (Ubuntu ‘stress’)

*The power figures fluctuate 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 which is relatively unrestricted.

Final Observations

Whilst the SER5 uses a newer Zen architecture the performance is not substantially different from the SER4 so this mini PC should be seen as an alternative rather than as an upgrade. Overall the performance is very good.

HighlightsLimitations
Excellent WiFi performanceSingle-rank memory
Additional SATA drive expandabilityNo SD card slot

I’d like to thank Beelink for providing the Beelink SER5 for review. It retails at around $469 for a slightly lower spec’ed configuration of 16GB/500GB on the Beelink store, and can also be found on Amazon US.

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5 Comments
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tkaiser
tkaiser
1 month ago

As for the inconsistent OpenSSL results. According to sbc-bench output cpufreq scaling happened while running the test (3272 – 4242 MHz).

Can you please rerun MODE=extensive sbc-bench.sh and then after a minute report from another shell the contents of /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpufreq/policy0/scaling_governor?

Also contents of /sys/devices/system/cpu/offline would be interesting.

linuxium
1 month ago

I ran my ‘edited’ version of sbc-bench.sh in which I commented out a couple of lines so that it just runs the OpenSSL test in ‘extensive’ mode and it gave what look like correct results: <code> OpenSSL results: type       16 bytes   64 bytes  256 bytes  1024 bytes  8192 bytes 16384 bytes aes-128-cbc  1304100.96k 1501533.57k 1558133.50k 1572947.97k 1577317.72k 1577626.28k aes-128-cbc  1302604.83k 1501480.60k 1558082.82k 1572957.87k 1577328.64k 1577609.90k aes-192-cbc  1129372.19k 1275310.31k 1316397.99k 1326951.42k 1330001.24k 1330206.04k aes-192-cbc  1129860.94k 1275264.77k 1316384.00k 1326933.33k 1329984.85k 1330195.11k aes-256-cbc   996228.76k 1111020.99k 1139462.31k 1147360.60k 1149673.47k 1149861.89k aes-256-cbc   997510.47k 1111167.02k 1139464.96k 1147376.64k 1149708.97k 1149850.97k </code> however the logs are not uploaded as this was commented out! I also had a loop running every 60 seconds concatenating the two files requested and it always reported ‘performance’ and ’12-15′ respectively. Interestingly this was the after the first cold boot of the day having not run… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 month ago

Thank you for the output! Could you please give latest version from Github another try?

linuxium
1 month ago

Unfortunately the OpenSSL results are still inconsistent. The logs for three consecutive runs spread over an hour are uploaded to http :// ix.io / as 47mk, 47mw and 47mC.

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 month ago

Two months ago when testing parallel openssl executions I learned that on Intel scores with parallel execution (as much benchmark runs as cores/threads) are way lower compared to ARMv8 where combined scores scale linearly with core count and no drop in cpufreq could be observed. Most probably it’s the same on AMD and the identical scores you got with one try were more or less by accident. Quoting Willy with whom I discussed this back then amongst other things: ‘It’s due to the usual turbo mode limitations depending on instructions in use. AES uses AVX and most x86 cores have… Read more »

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