Review of GEEKOM Mini Air12 Processor N100 mini PC – Part 1: unboxing and teardown

GEEKOM Mini Air12 mini PC Review

GEEKOM Mini Air12 is a mini PC powered by the popular Intel Processor N100 CPU and coupled with 16GB DDR5 SO-DIMM memory, a 512GB NVMe SSD upgradable up to 1TB. The Windows 11 Pro mini PC also features USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB Type-C ports, HDMI 2.0 video output, gigabit Ethernet, as well as WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 via an Azureware module.

GEEKOM sent us a sample of the Mini Air12 for review. Since we’ve already written about the Mini Air12 specifications, today we will go through an unboxing and look at the hardware design with a teardown, before testing the mini PC in more detail with Windows 11 and Ubuntu 22.04 in the next parts of the review.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 Unboxing

We received the mini PC is a retail package that protects the device and accessories inside well.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 package

The back side of the package lists some basic specifications showing which model we’ve received. In our case, we got a Mini Air12 mini PC with an Intel Alder Lake N100 CPU, 16GB DDR5, and a 512GB SSD.

Mini Air12 Processor N100 16GB DDR5 512GB SSD

The mini PC Comes with a 45W (19V/2.36A power supply), an HDMI cable, a VESA Mount plate with a screw set, a user manual, and a Thank You card.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 mini PC Accessories

The GEEKOM Mini Air12 is quite slimmer than other GEEKOM mini PCs we’ve reviewed. As usual, each USB port has clear markings showing which speed and features are supported. The front panel comes with a storage LED (SATA SSD: red; PCIe SSD: Green), a 10 Gbps USB Type-C port for data only, a 10 Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones with a microphone, and a power button with on/off with a built-in LED (power on: blue, S3: blinking orange), while the right side comes with a Kensington lock slot to prevent theft.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 front panel

The rear panel features a 19V DC jack, a Mini DisplayPort (miniDP) port, an RJ45 gigabit Ethernet LAN port, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports with a speed of 10 Gbps, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with speed up to 10 Gbps, one HDMI 2.0 port, and ventilation hole. From this angle, there’s also a full-size SD card reader on the right side.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 rear panel

As we noted above the GEEKOM Mini Air12 is quite thinner than models like the Mini IT13 or A5 which are 15 mm taller.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 vs GEEKOM A5 size
GEEKOM A5 (left) vs GEEKOM Mini Air12 (right)

Teardown

Time to open the case and take a look inside! Just loosen the four nuts on the bottom side to remove the bottom cover

Intel Processor N100 mini PC bottom cover

The mini PC comes with a 16GB DDR5-4800 RAM stick via a single SO-DIMM socket, as well as 512GB Lexar M.2 2280 PCIe Gen 3 x4 NVMe SSD with a thermal pad mounted on top for cooling.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 teardown

If we remove the M.2 SSD we can have a look at the Azureware AW-XM548NF wireless module supporting both WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. It should work fine in Windows 11 Pro, but as we’ve seen with the GEEKOM A5 mini PC with an AW-XB547NF wireless module, the Linux kernel may have to be updated for this to work reliably in Ubuntu 22.04.

Azureware AW-XM548NF WiFi 6 module

First boot

Turning on the device for the first time will require you to go through a screen of basic Windows 11 Pro settings such as language selection, network configuration for Ethernet or WiFi, etc…  We had no issues with the setup and could access the Windows 11 Pro desktop with an internet connection using WiFi 6.

GEEKOM Mini Air12 mini PC Windows 11 Pro

The mini PC came with Windows 11 Pro 22H2, but we went through the updates to get Windows 10 Pro 23H2 with new features such as dynamic lighting. If we go to System->About in the setting we can confirm we have a mini PC with an Intel Processor N100 CPU clocked at 800 MHz (base frequency) and 16GB RAM.

Windows 11 Pro system about GEEKOM Mini Air12

That will be all for today, in the next article, we will test the performance of the mini PC running the preinstalled Windows 11 Pro, before moving on to Ubuntu 22.04 to test Linux support.

We’d like to thank GEEKOM for sending the Mini Air12 mini PC with an Intel Processor N100 CPU, 16GB DDR5 SO-DIMM RAM, and an M.2 512GB NVMe SSD for review. The model reviewed here can be ordered in the company’s online store for $249, but you can get an extra $20 discount with coupon code cnxsoftware20. Alternatively, the mini PC is also available on Amazon, and the code WJKL697Z provides a 10% discount. Users in the UK can purchase the mini PC for 229 GBP when using coupon code cnxsoftware20.

Continue reading

  1. Review of GEEKOM Mini Air12 mini PC with Windows 11 Pro (Part 2)
  2. GEEKOM Mini Air12 mini PC review – Part 3: Ubuntu 22.04 Linux

CNXSoft: This review is a translation of the original article on CNX Software Thailand by Suthinee Kardkaew.

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4 Comments
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ASM
ASM
2 months ago

Can you verify how many lanes are assigned to the NVMe?

Bill
Bill
2 months ago

I like that all of the USB ports are 10 Gbps, which may also help to offset that there is only a single internal storage option.

Overall, decent enough specs for me but I do wonder whether the price will be seen as competitive enough in a market where N100 boxes are very popular and widely available.

Camillo
Camillo
9 days ago

Install and configuration was smooth. But now continue to freeze and crash…
Tried to update drivers, remove Windows updates but no improvement…

Khadas VIM4 SBC