Pocket-sized 2.8-inch mini PC features an Intel N100 processor, 12GB RAM, up to 2TB storage

A pocket-sized 2.8-inch (72 x 72 x 45mm) mini PC based on an Intel Processor N100 SoC with 12GB LPDDR5, and up to 2TB storage has started to show up on Aliexpress for $154 and up under the names ZX01 Plus and Topton M6S.

This is the most compact Alder Lake-N mini PC we’ve seen so far, yet it still comes with two HDMI 2.0 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, Gigabit Ethernet and WiFi 5 connectivity, and three USB 3.2 ports, plus a non-standard 12V USB-C port that’s now common for this type of mini PC.

Pocket-sized mini PC Intel Processor N100

ZX01 Plus / Topton M6S specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Processor N100 Alder Lake-N quad-core processor @ up to 3.4 GHz (Turbo) with 6MB cache, 24 EU Intel HD graphics @ up to 750 MHz; TDP: 6W
  • System Memory – 12GB LPDDR5 @ 4800 MHz
  • Storage
    • Optional 128GB to 2TB M.2 2242 SATA SSD, but the socket is also said to support NVMe SSDs (PCIe 3.0 x2)
    • MicroSD card slot
  • Video Output – 2x HDMI 2.0 up to 4Kp60
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, digital audio via HDMI
  • Networking
    • Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port
    • Dual-band WiFi 7 and Bluetooth 4.2 via Intel 7265AC module
  • USB – 3x USB 3.2 10Gbps ports
  • Misc – Power button, smart silent fan for cooling
  • Power Supply – 12V/3A via USB Type-C port (not USB PD compatible)
  • Dimensions – 72 x 72 x 44.5mm
  • Weight – 150 grams

ZX01 Plus Topton M6S specifications exploded view

If you do NOT order the barebone model, the mini PC will ships with Windows 11, and the company specifically says it does support Windows 10, but as we’ve just seen in Beelink EQ12 review, the Intel Processor N100 can run various operating systems such as Ubuntu, Debian, TrueNAS, pfSense, and so on. Ian’s review did however mention that WiFi and Bluetooth did not work. It’s not the same module here, so we’d have to see…

The mini PC ships with a 12V power supply, an HDMI cable, and a user manual. The $154 price tag is for the barebone model with 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and no storage, but sellers provide the mini PC with storage for about $167 with a 128GB SATA SSD and up to $268 with a 2TB SSD. The price is not that much different from the feature-rich Beelink EQ12 mini PC, so I’d say the ZX01 Plus/Topton M6S pocket-sized Intel Processor N100 mini PC is mostly interesting to people who care about the ultra-compact form factor.

Via Liliputing and AndroidPC.es

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36 Comments
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Kienan A
1 year ago

It’s amazing how small these are getting! Intel phone when?

nobitakun
nobitakun
1 year ago

I don’t think they are interested in x86 phones, let alone with a 6W TDP for CPU only. Z8300-8500-8700 were the only ones really suitable for low cost phones.

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> a 6W TDP for CPU only

Why do people still talk about these 100% meaningless TDP numbers?

Intel’s TDP ratings are marketing BS and only valid at base frequency (that’s laughable 800 MHz for N100) while the things are supposed to run at burst frequency (2.9/3.4 GHz multi/single threaded). According to Ian’s latest review of Beelink EQ12 N100 consumes +16W fully loaded (CPU only with DDR5) compared to idle.

persondb
persondb
1 year ago

Intel doesn’t give Base Frequency numbers for those, it’s very likely to be higher than that. Those base frequency numbers are very useless since they will depend too much on what is being run at the moment. Say, go execute a lot of AVX2 with Prime95, it will probably start at rather high frequency than go down a lot. How much is hard to say as it can depend on the rest of the system too(e.g. how much the GPU, memory controller and stuff are being hit). They assure it will at least be 800 MHz though, from what I… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> the sustained frequency

This is another (un)related area. But we were talking about this TDP BS. reviewed recently N100 (6W TDP) and N305 (15W TDP) boxes. Consumption difference between idle and ‘full load’ was ~15W with N305 but +16W with N100 but of course N305 outperformed N100 substantially (4 more CPU cores).

While the TDP BS suggests N100 being way more efficient than N305 the exact opposite is true.

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> the sustained frequency will be somewhere between 800 MHz and the turbo frequency

And a final one. Based on tests with sbc-bench it seems on these Alder Lake N thingies once the CPU temperature hits 70°C the memory controller will be severly throttled while CPU clockspeeds still remain high (strong mismatch between compression/decompression speeds with 7-zip’s internal benchmark).

Willy
1 year ago

I’m sorry but you’re comparing apples and oranges here, due to both not having the same number of cores nor frequency. The reality is that one was running at ~30W while the other was running at ~22W but at different workloads. A good comparison would involve running them both at the same frequency and the same number of active cores. There we could see which of the two consumes the least. And it remains possible that under such a workload the N100 would consume slightly less despite probably running on lower quality bins, just due to all the extra circuitry… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> The reality is that one was running at ~30W while the other was running at ~22W but at different workloads

Nope, I was comparing using Ian’s reviews of Beelink EQ12 (N100) and Weibu N10 (i3-N305) using exact same workloads (Windows Cinebench, Ubuntu stress) and looking at the consumption delta between idle and ‘fully loaded’.

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> Intel doesn’t give Base Frequency numbers for those Not in their slides or on ARK but as ‘CPU metadata’ it’s available (use dmidecode or similar tools). Based on what Geekbench lists as ‘Base frequency’ combined with Intel’s TDP marketing BS we know this about these SKUs:  * N50: 2 cores, 3400 MHz / ? MHz @ 6W  * N95: 4 cores, 3400 MHz / 1700 MHz @ 15W  * N97: 4 cores, 3400 MHz / 2000 MHz @ 12W  * N100: 4 cores, 3400 MHz / 800 MHz @ 6W  * N200: 4 cores, 3700 MHz / 1000 MHz @… Read more »

David Jashi
1 year ago

He mentioned 6W as being too much for a phone, so 16W would avert him from this idea even more.

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

While the 6W ‘number’ is pure marketing BS the 16W number is questionable as well. Since so far all the reviewed Alder Lake N boxes show grotesque high idle consumption and running ‘fully loaded’ they need north of 25W!

Who knows whether it’s some silly UEFI bug that will never get fixed for these cheap boxes? Most people block out that UEFI is something entirely different than ‘good old’ BIOS…

CampGareth
CampGareth
1 year ago

Tried and failed I’m afraid back in the early 2010s. X86 can shrink pretty far but struggles in a phone power envelope.

Pete
Pete
1 year ago

To be fair, they were manufacturing Atom Z2560 (Geeksphone) on a 32nm process. and battery technology is a lot better than a decade ago.
If it happens, it won’t be x86, Intel’s future forays into phones will be fabbing other people’s RISC-V designs.

FreekieDeCakie
FreekieDeCakie
1 year ago

This has more to do with chip design than ISA advantage.

The advantage of ARM over x86 is low single digit.

wboz88
wboz88
1 year ago

These n100 are about the same performance as the i5 6500 in the ex-corporate refurb mini PC I just picked up. It’s no slouch for everyday tasks .. and the n100 does it with 6w. Pretty impressive! 🙂

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> and the n100 does it with 6w.

Scary. Marketing BS really works.

wboz88
wboz88
1 year ago

Ok fine – idle consumption. Maybe Intel ought to list something besides just that? 🙂

The atom based celerons of the 6500s era were terribly plodding … Z8350 etc. I think it’s a big improvement.

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> Ok fine – idle consumption

Huh? Intel’s TDP ratings are not about ‘idle consumption’, they claim to be the thermal challenges of some imaginary workload involving CPU and GPU at some imaginary clockspeeds. And in reality they’re 100% pure marketing BS since these ‘numbers’ have no relationship with anything happening in the real world at all.

But it works. Search for ‘N100 consumption” and you’ll have a hard time not being confronted with the 6W marketing BS (+25W in reality).

wboz88
wboz88
1 year ago

I guess you’re right. I usually think about it as somewhere close to idle, and the “prior” TDP something close to full load. I think Intel changed TDP around the time when their tablet chips were losing out to power sipping ARM? And their logic about TDP helping to size the needed cooling solution makes .. some .. sense. But while it might be useful for an OEM figuring out that or battery life, it’s NOT very useful for anyone trying to size a power supply or gaming CPU cooler … imo. Looks like briefly they also disclosed base and… Read more »

Willy
1 year ago

To do a bit of justice to CPU vendors, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to predict power usage nowadays: the top frequency isn’t always held for long depending on the instructions used due to thermal concerns, so even the power drawn under such conditions isn’t useful for thermal cooling. In addition nowadays CPUs can be configured for different average power usage levels. And these ones are just made to limit heating and preserve batteries while being fast for short periods (typical usage: browser fetching a complex page quickly and idling while the user reads it). Mainboard makers will design their power… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

>  the “prior” TDP something close to full load

At certain clockspeeds (“Base frequency”) that have become irrelevant over the years since they’re so much off from those clockspeeds the CPUs will really run: with N100 it’s 800 MHz vs. 2900/3400 burst clock (multi/single).

And wrt idle: at least based on Ian’s reviews of Alder Lake N boxes here there’s something seriously wrong since those PCs all idle above 10W.

back2future
back2future
1 year ago

maybe I’m wrong for general consideration, but i think i read that (at least for one device) a M.2 SSD on high performance quality level for high performance demand disk I/O (production line including U.2/U.3 E1.x/E3.S devices also) could have idle power at ~5W (with probably higher connection bandwidth ~PCIe3-4 and some pretty high capacity ~1-3xTB). Seems to me, with today’s variety on consumer hardware CPU’s (and peripherals variety) it’s very often a comparison, that ‘should’ be called summary with possibility for, more or less momentarily (including progress on firmware/software, technology support, clearances on cost), variances? Getting this more standardized,… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

Just got an i5-6600T. I assume the main advantage of an N100 would be substantially faster integrated graphics, along with the video decode capability.

wboz88
wboz88
1 year ago

I ordered a 6500T box but it came with higher power 6500.
Yes, you are right, imo, re advantage. Also heat.

Da Xue
Da Xue
1 year ago

Never buy anything with a 12V USB Type-C. Just plain stupid.

Willy
1 year ago

I agree, and it seems to become more and more common 🙁 At work we bought two MeLE Quieter3 or something like this. they’re really great machines for a meeting room, except that they have that shitty 12V USB-C adapter. I had to put some color tape on it with a big warning sign, hoping nobody will ever have the idea of plugging it into their phone or such a thing! I’m extremely angry at them just for this. Otherwise the device is cool and perfectly matches our needs.

Willy
1 year ago

In fact I’m wondering if one solution couldn’t be to make some barrel-to-USB-C adapters to plug and glue into such devices so that they’re powered by real 12V supplies coming with a barrel connector. Or just cut the adapter’s cable in the middle and attach a pair of male and female barrel connectors. This will repurpose the PSU and avoid any risk.

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> Never buy anything with a 12V USB Type-C

In addition: never buy anything with a fan online if the return procedure is not simple (since that fan might be annoying as hell) and never buy any PC thingy from vendors known to not provide UEFI updates (applies to other firmwares too, e.g. for Wi-Fi chips).

Neorej
Neorej
1 year ago

So is their anything left to buy?

Seriously even “big” vendors often stop shipping uefi/*ware updates very quickly (depending on the purchase date and how long a device was already on the market one can be already happy for 1-2 years updates).

The short lifecycle of products and the (to some extend) included planned obsolescence doesn’t look to get better in the near future.

Mike
Mike
1 year ago

My problem with this computer is that it comes from China. It could be preloaded with malware embedded in the hardware with no way to remove it or disable it without destroying the computer. China could use it as a backdoor

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> It could be preloaded with malware embedded in the hardware with no way to remove it or disable it

True for every CPU designed in the US.

Visitor
Visitor
1 year ago

Now we know why you are so actively commenting.
At least you had some reasonable reasons when talking about TDP for every comment..

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

TDP ist meaningless. You need to measure power consumption while you running standard tasks: OS loading, idling, and then stress tests (CPU/GPU/network). Also you need to add that RAM works in single channel.

Peeko
Peeko
5 months ago

In Vietnam and got one of these little bad boys last week. Using it for retro gaming and as my sonarr/radarr/plex media center. Have 2 x 1TB drives (enclosure with SSD M.2 NVMe ) attached to the front USBs. And a mouse dongle at the back. Just to report a few things. 1. It’s fricking awesome 2. USB 3.0 only 3. DDR4 ram not 5 If it’s a media center or a retro gaming PC your after (ps2 max), or just something to browse the web/do non taxing work on this is a beast for the size of it. Blown… Read more »

Khadas VIM4 SBC