MeLE Quieter HD3Q Review – A fanless mini PC with dual-channel memory, 2.5-inch SATA bay

MeLE Quieter HD3Q review

MeLE has launched a new range of passive mini PCs known as the ‘Quieter HD Series’ and first in the lineup is the Quieter HD3Q. Not only does this new mini PC address the main criticism of their earlier models by now including dual-channel memory, but it is also slightly larger allowing the ability to add a 2.5” SATA drive, and also has a higher power limit to improve performance. MeLE kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows and Ubuntu.

MeLE Quieter HD3Q hardware overview

The MeLE Quieter HD3Q consists of a 150 x 105 x 37mm (5.91 x 4.13 x 1.46 inches) rectangular plastic case with a metal base plate. Gone are the faux heat spreader fins from the top of the case as it is now finished with a very fine dimple effect. As a passively cooled mini PC, it uses Intel’s 10 nm Jasper Lake N5105 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 just has an illuminated power button whilst the rear panel includes a data-only Type-C USB 3.0 port, the power jack, a VGA port, two HDMI ports that straddle a gigabit Ethernet port, a reset pin-hole to clear CMOS, and a Kensington security slot. Only the right panel has additional ports and includes two USB 3.1 ports, a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, and two USB 2.0 ports.

The review model included a soldered-on 256 GB eMMC drive complete with Windows 11 Pro installed and an M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe Gen 3.0 SSD drive (the review model included a 512 GB Foresee drive) which is covered by a thermal pad and then a large aluminum heatsink which in turn is connected to the metal base plate by two screws. Also included is a soldered-on WiFi 6 (or 802.11ax) Intel AX201 card together with some cables to allow adding a 2.5” SATA drive:

MeLE Quieter HD3Q motherboard

Additionally, there is soldered-on dual-channel 16GB LPDDR4 2933 MHz memory:

Windows 11 dual-channel memory speed

The specifications state:

MeLE Quieter HD3 specifications

and lists the USB ports as either 3.0 or 2.0 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 ‘blue’ USB ports were ‘USB 3.1’ (USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 i.e. 10 Gbit/s):

MeLE Quieter HD3Q Windows 11 blue USB SuperSpeedPlus

the ‘black’ USB ports were USB 2.0:

MeLE Quieter HD3Q Windows 11 black USB High speed

and the Type-C USB port was ‘USB 3.0’ (USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 i.e. 5 Gbit/s):

MeLE Quieter HD3Q Windows 11 USB Type-C SuperSpeed

which, as per the specification, was indeed data only and did not support power delivery.

Box contents

In the box you get a power adapter and cord together with a plug adapter appropriate for your country, a quick start guide, a VESA mounting bracket together with a small packet of miscellaneous screws:

MeLE Quieter HD3Q power supply quick start guide

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 was the usual UEFI (BIOS) error being reported in the ‘dmesg’ that appears common with Jasper Lake mini PCs and whose significance of which has not been determined:

MeLE Quieter HD3Q linux dmesg ACPI errors

Windows 11 performance on MeLE Quieter HD3Q

The MeLE Quieter HD3Q 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:

Celeron N5105 Mini PC HWiNFO64 Windows 11 configuration Windows 11 Disk Management 229.63GB SSD Quieter HD3Q Windows 11 Info

Similar to other Jasper Lake mini PCs the iGPU showed limited details in HWiNFO and was unknown to GPU-Z:

Fanless Mini PC Quieter HD3 Windows 11 HWiNFO64 TechPowerUp GPU Z 4E61 GPU

A brief check showed working audio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, HDMI and micro-SD card:

MeLE Quieter HD3Q microSD Card Windows 11

I first checked the CPU power limits and found that ‘PL1’ was set at 10 Watts and ‘PL2’ was set at 15 Watts:

MeLE Quieter HD3Q TDP Windows 11

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:

MeLE Quieter HD3Q Cinebench R23

together with the performance of the included NVMe drive:

Windows 11 NVMe SSD CrystalDiskMark

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

Windows mini PCs comparison mid-September 2022

with the Quieter HD3Q performing slightly better than the Quieter3C and Quieter3Q.

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, Ethernet, HDMI, and microSD card:

MeLE Quieter HD3Q microSD Card Ubuntu 22.04

The key hardware information under Ubuntu 22.04.1 is as follows:

ubuntu 22.04 disk management SCA256 Quieter HD3Q Ubuntu 22.04 About


Interesting when I checked the CPU power limits I found that similar to Windows, ‘PL1’ was set at 10 Watts but on Ubuntu ‘PL2’ was higher and set to 20 Watts:

Quieter HD3Q Ubuntu 22.04 TDP Power Limits

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:

Fanless Mini PC Quieter HD3 Ubuntu Geekbench 5 CPU MeLE Quieter HD3Q Ubuntu Octane Chrome MeLE Quieter HD3Q Ubuntu Heaven benchmark

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

MeLE Quieter HD3Q Windows 11 OpenGL Heaven benchmark

I also ran PassMark PerformanceTest Linux:

Intel Celeron N5105 Ubuntu 22.04 CPU PassMark

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

Windows 11 CPU Memory PassMark

Similarly to Windows, I tested the performance of the NVMe drive:

Ubuntu NVMe Speed

together with verifying that the Type-C USB port functioned under Linux:

Quieter HD3Q Ubuntu USB Type C

The complete benchmark results can be compared against other recent mini PCs:

Linux mini PCs comparison mid September 2022

and shows that the Quieter HD3Q performs slightly better than the Quieter 3Q and has performance comparable with other Jasper Lake N5105 mini PCs.

Video playback in web browsers

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 always used ‘vp09’:

YouTube video playback in Windows Ubuntu browsers

Overall when browsing the Quieter HD3Q performs very similarly to the Quieter3Q.

Thermals

Running a stress test on Ubuntu saw the CPU temperature rise quickly to 69°C and then drop to 58°C before slowly climbing to a peak temperature of 81°C with an average temperature of 79.0°C towards the end of the test:

MeLE Quieter HD3Q Ubuntu stress test

If the CPU frequency is monitored during the stress test, it can be seen that the initial temperature peak is caused by the CPU running at an average of 2800 MHz for the ‘PL1’ duration after which it power throttles and drops to an average frequency of 2620 MHz:

MeLE Quieter HD3Q ubuntu cpu frequency

During the stress test, the maximum temperature I recorded on the top of the device was around 67.1°C in an ambient room temperature of 17.0°C, and although the device was not too hot to touch this is some 10°C hotter than the Quieter3Q and Quieter3C.

Networking (Ethernet and Wi-Fi)

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

MeLE Quieter HD3Q Network Throughput

and showed a similarly low 5.0 GHz download speed that was found with the Quieter3Q. It is still not known whether this is a result of the distro release used or the driver versions used by this distro.

Power consumption

The power consumption was measured as follows:

  • Initially plugged in – 1.2 Watts
  • Powered off (shutdown) – 0.5 Watts
  • UEFI (BIOS) – 11.0 Watts
  • GRUB boot menu – 9.1 Watts
  • Idle – 5.6 Watts (Windows) and 2.5 Watts (Ubuntu)
  • CPU stressed – 14.8 Watts (Windows ‘Cinebench’) and 13.0 Watts (Ubuntu ‘stress’)
  • Video playback* – 10.8 Watts (Windows Edge 4K30fps) and 14.4 Watts (Ubuntu Chrome 4K30fps)

*The power figures fluctuate 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 that includes access to the UEFI (BIOS) which is relatively unrestricted.

Final Observations

Essentially the MeLE Quieter HD3Q is an improved and slightly larger Quieter3Q. The increased power limit under Windows and the inclusion of dual-channel memory is evident in the ‘Heaven’ benchmarks and will no doubt benefit any potential eGPU configuration. Despite the higher thermals and exterior surface temperature, the mini PC performs well without adverse thermal throttling.

HighlightsLimitations
Dual-channel memoryType-C USB is data only
Internal PCIe 3.0 x2 M.2 NVMe slot
Slow 5.0 GHz download performance on Ubuntu
Additional SATA drive expandability
Relatively high thermal temperatures

I’d like to thank MeLE for providing the Quieter HD3Q for review. It retails at around $420 for the tested configuration of 16GB/512GB on Amazon.

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