Beelink SEi11 Pro Review – An Intel Core i5-11320H mini PC tested with Windows 11, Ubuntu 22.04

Beelink SEi11 Pro review

The latest mini PC marketed in the ‘Pro’ range from Beelink is the SEi11 Pro and features one of last year’s Intel H-series processors typically used in gaming laptops. Beelink kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows 11 and Ubuntu 22.04.

The Beelink SEi11 Pro physically consists of a 126 x 113 x 40mm (4.96 x 4.45 x 1.57 inches) square metal case. As an actively cooled mini PC, it uses Intel’s ‘10 nm SuperFin’ Tiger Lake processor and the review model included an i5-11320H which is a quad-core 8-thread 3.20 GHz Core processor (at 35W TDP) boosting to 4.50 GHz with Intel’s Iris Xe Graphics.

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

Internally there is a 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 SEi11 Pro motherboard

There are also two SODIMM memory slots supporting up to 64 GB of memory and the review model included two sticks of Crucial 8 GB DDR4 3200 MHz memory for a total of 16 GB noting that this particular memory is single-rank:

Beelink SEi11 Pro dual-band memory

The specifications state:

Beelink SEI11 Pro specifications

and 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):

Windows blue USB 3.1 10Gbps ports

and that the ‘black’ rear USB ports were USB 2.0:

Windows black USB ports 2.0 480 Mbps

Unfortunately the Type-C port is neither a Thunderbolt port:

Windows type c not thunderbolt

despite the controller showing up in ‘lspci’ on Ubuntu (see key hardware information under Ubuntu 22.04.1 below), nor is it capable of supporting video output through ‘Alternate Mode’:

Beelink SEi11 Pro USB Type C no alt mode

so the device can only support two 4K displays via the HDMI ports:
Beelink SEi11 Windows 11 second hdmi port

Beelink SEi11 Ubuntu 22.04 second HDMI port

Box contents

In the box, you get a power adapter and cord, both a short and a longer HDMI cable, a VESA mounting bracket, a spare ZIF cable for connecting a 2.5” SATA drive together with a small packet of miscellaneous screws. Also included is a multilingual user manual:

Beelink SEi11 Pro content 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

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

Tiger Lake ACPI BIOS Error

Also on Ubuntu, having installed Steam I could not get Grand Theft Auto V to run.

The initial launch errored stating that the ‘Rockstar Games Launcher failed to initialize’:

ubuntu 22.04 rockstar error

Thereafter starting the game always failed to launch:

Ubuntu 22.04 GTAV error

Even after both verifying the game data as instructed and then downloading and reinstalling the 100+ GB game it still failed with the same errors.

The Beelink SEi11 Pro came installed with a licensed copy of Windows 11 Pro version 21H2 which after applying updates was build 22000.918. A quick look at the hardware information shows it is aligned to the specification:

HWiNFO64 Intel Core i5-11320H mini PC Windows 11 disk management 500GB NTFS SSD Beelink SEI11 Pro Windows 11 info Windows 11HWiNFO64 AZE SEi TechPowerUp GPU-Z Tiger Lake GT2

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

I first checked the CPU power limits and confirmed that both ‘PL1’ and ‘PL2’ were set at 35 Watts:

Beelink SEi11 Pro Windows 11 TDP 35W

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 SEi11 Pro Windows 11 Cinebench R23

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

Windows mini PCs comparison September 2022

The Beelink SEi11 Pro performance is very similar to the previously reviewed Beelink GTi11. The extra iGPU ‘Execution Units’ result in better benchmark graphics performance however this does not extend to gaming performance which remains similar as shown below.

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 22.04.1 ISO. 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:

Ubuntu 22.04 disk management KINGSTON SNVS500G SEI11Pro Ubuntu 22.04 info


I first checked the CPU power limits and confirmed that both ‘PL1’ and ‘PL2’ were set at 35 Watts:

Ubuntu TDP rapl-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:

Beelink SEi11 Pro Ubuntu Geekbench 5 CPU score Ubuntu 22.04 Octane 2.0 SEI11 Pro Beelink SEI11 Pro Ubuntu 22.04 Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0

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

Windows11 OpenGL Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0

I also ran PassMark PerformanceTest Linux:

Ubuntu CPU Passmark

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

Windows 11 CPU Memory Passmark

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

Linux mini PCs comparison September 2022

Again the improved graphics performance compared with the GTI11 due to the increased number of ‘Execution Units’ can be seen in the benchmarks.

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 upto 4K 60 FPS videos on Windows:

Beelink SEi11 Pro YouTube Windows 4K 60fps chrome

however Chrome did occasionally drop frames on Ubuntu at 4K 60 FPS and also when the quality was dropped to 1080p:

Beelink SEi11 Pro YouTube Ubuntu 1080p60 Chrome

I also played variously encoded videos in Kodi all of which played up to 8K @ 60 FPS without issue and used hardware for decoding:

Beelink SEi11 Pro Kodi 8K Ubuntu 22.04 Beelink SEi11 Pro Kodi 8K Windows 11

I attempted 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. As mentioned above, GTA V failed to run on Ubuntu, however the average FPS results for the games that worked were as follows:

Beelink SEi11 Pro Gaming

Notable is that CS:GO on Ubuntu is nearly twice as fast as on Windows. It is also interesting to see the gaming performance improvement since the GTi11 was tested. Being a similar mini PC whose gaming performance is comparable on Windows, the noticeable Ubuntu improvement is likely due to Valve’s ongoing commitment to Linux.

Thermals

The Beelink SEi11 Pro uses active cooling. Running a stress test on Ubuntu saw the CPU temperature climb to an average of 79°C with occasionally peaking at 81°C:

Beelink SEi11 Pro Ubuntu Linux stress test

During the stress test the maximum temperature I recorded on the top of the device was around 26.5°C in an ambient room temperature of 15.9°C and the fan was hardly audible reaching 41 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 3690 MHz during the test:

Ubuntu CPU frequency temperature

Networking (Ethernet and WiFi)

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

Beelink SEi11 Pro network throughput

and showed good WiFi performance.

Power consumption

Power consumption was measured as follows:

  • Powered off (shutdown) – 0.6 Watts
  • UEFI (BIOS) – 17.1 Watts
  • GRUB boot menu – 16.4 Watts
  • Idle – 10.3 Watts (Windows) and 9.4 Watts (Ubuntu)
  • CPU stressed* – 46.0 Watts (Windows ‘Cinebench’) and 47.9 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.

UEFI (BIOS)

Powering up the mini PC and hitting the F7 key results in a boot menu which includes access to the UEFI (BIOS) which is relatively unrestricted.

Final Observations

Whilst the SEi11 Pro uses a newer Tiger Lake mobile processor with additional ‘Execution Units’ the performance is only marginally better that the GTi11 so this mini PC should be seen as an alternative rather than as an upgrade. Equally significant is that the USB Type-C port on the GTi11 functions as Thunderbolt 4 and supports video output through ‘Alternate Mode’ and this is missing from the SEi11 Pro.

HighlightsLimitations
Improved graphics performanceNo Thunderbolt or ‘Alternate Mode’ support
Additional SATA drive expandabilityNo SD card slot

I’d like to thank Beelink for providing the Beelink SEi11 Pro for review. It retails at around $429 for the tested configuration of 16GB/500GB on the Beelink website, and you’ll also find it on Amazon.

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2 Comments
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tkaiser
tkaiser
22 days ago

> the Type-C port is neither a Thunderbolt port despite the controller showing up in ‘lspci’ on Ubuntu Yep, there is neither a TB controller nor TB bridge (all their names start with DSL or JHL). To be sure about TB capabilities in Linux you could also use tbtadm from Intel’s thunderbolt-tools: [email protected]:~# tbtadm topology Controller 0   ├─ Details:   │ ├─ Name: Macintosh, Apple Inc.   │ └─ Security level: SL1 (user)   │   └─ Pegasus2-R, Promise Technology, Inc.     └─ Details:       ├─ Route-string: 0-1       ├─ Authorized: Yes       ├─ In ACL: No       └─ UUID: 00000000-0000-0008-8055-560742443851 123456789101112 [email protected]:~# tbtadm topologyController 0  ├─ Details:  │ ├─ Name: Macintosh, Apple Inc.  │ └─… Read more »

William Barath
21 days ago

Thanks Ian – I thought all the iNtel 11xxx-series chips were Rocket Lake! But just to be super confusing, Intel made the 11xxxh series Tiger Lake when all the other Tiger Lake parts are 11xx-series. Gotta love inconsistent marketing. I’ve been counselling people to stay away from 11xxx-series laptops and NUCs because Rocket Lake is literally hot garbage…

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