Intel NUC 9 Extreme “Ghost Canyon” Kit – NUC9i9QNX Review

I’ve previously written about Intel’s (relatively) new NUC 9 range of mini PCs and now I am following up with my experiences of having bought one. Whilst I’ll cover some performance metrics from both Windows and Ubuntu I’ll also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using either OS together with a comparison of gaming, thermals, and power usage as well as a brief look at overclocking potential and implications together with highlighting the issues encountered. NUC9i9QNX Hardware Overview The model I purchased and will be reviewing here is the NUC9i9QNX from Intel’s Ghost Canyon lineup and is formally known as the Intel NUC 9 Extreme Kit – NUC9i9QNX. It contains a “Compute Element” with an i9-9980HK which is an eight-core 16-thread 2.40 GHz processor boosting to 5.00 GHz with Intel’s UHD Graphics 630. The full specifications of the NUC9i9QNX include: The NUC9i9QNX is sold as a kit which essentially means barebones as it consists of a case containing a baseboard, …

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Beelink GT-R Review – An AMD Ryzen 5 Mini PC Tested with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20.04

Whilst Windows mini PCs have traditionally used Intel processors similar small form factor (SFF) devices using AMD based processors have recently been announced and Beelink is amongst the first manufacturers to deliver one with their newly released GT-R mini PC. Available as a barebones device and in various configurations Beelink sent a fully configured model for review. Hardware overview The Beelink GT-R is a slightly larger mini PC physically consisting of a 168 mm x 120 mm x 39 mm (6.61 x 4.72 x 1.54 inches) rectangular metal case with a plastic top. It is an actively cooled mini PC that uses a (previous generation) Zen+ microarchitecture 12 nm Ryzen 5 3550H mobile processor which is a quad-core 8-thread 2.1 GHz processor boosting to 3.7 GHz with Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. The front panel has a power button, two 3.0 USB ports, a headphone jack, and a Type-C USB port that supports video. Also on the front panel is an …

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Beelink Gemini T45 Pentium N4200 Mini PC Review

No sooner had I written ‘Beelink T45 Review with Windows and Linux, and Tweaking BIOS Power Limits’ than Beelink announce they wouldn’t in fact sell that configuration but an ‘updated’ version. And it is significantly different because this new version is now actively cooled and uses an Apollo Lake N4200 processor. It also still has the same name: the Beelink Gemini T45. I’ve now reviewed this new version and you may experience déjà vu on reading the following as in keeping with Beelink’s philosophy I’ve basically reused the same text as before and just updated where appropriate. Beelink have further extended their ‘Gemini’ range of mini PCs by adding the T45. This is an actively cooled mini PC that uses the slightly older Apollo Lake Intel Pentium N4200 CPU which is a quad-core 4-thread 1.10 GHz processor boosting to 2.50 GHz with Intel’s HD Graphics 505. The T45 is a ‘NUC’ style mini PC physically consisting of a 119 x …

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Introducing the Intel NUC 9 Compute Elements, Mini PC Kits, and 3rd-Party Ecosystem

Intel’s NUC mini PC range is familiar to anyone who has looked for a very small compact and functional PC. But they, and similarly sized mini PCs in general, have a notable limitation when compared to desktops and also many high-end laptops in that the graphics performance is somewhat restricted because it is typically provided by the processor’s integrated graphics. Whilst these integrated graphics are suitable for browsing, video playback, and the office style applications that the devices have been marketed towards, they are normally insufficient for gaming as only low framerates are obtainable. Intel initially tried to address this gaming shortfall through the introduction of the Intel Skull Canyon (NUC6i7KYK) NUC which came with a 6th-gen Skylake Core i7-6770HQ that included Iris Pro Graphics 580 and at the time with their 72 EUs (Executions Units) was Intel’s most powerful integrated GPU. Additionally, the Skull Canyon also featured a (USB-C) Thunderbolt 3 port which created the possibility of connecting an …

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Beelink BT4 Mini PC Review – Slow, Buggy, Fan-cooled, and Overheating

Beelink T4 Review

Intel’s low-cost chip shortage has been so bad that Beelink has had to demothball some Atom chips when creating their new mini PC the Beelink BT4. This is one of the cheapest new mini PCs recently launched and uses the somewhat now old Cherry Trail Intel Atom x5-Z8500 CPU which was launched at the start of 2015 and is a quad-core 4-thread 1.44 GHz processor boosting to 2.24 GHz with Intel’s HD Graphics. The BT4 is the same form factor as the more recent Beelink mini PCs being a half-thick ‘NUC’ style device physically consisting of a 120 x 120 x 22 mm (4.72 x 4.72 x 0.87 inches) plastic rectangular case. This is not a passive device as it contains a small fan that stays on after the device has been shut down. The front panel has only a blue ‘power’ LED and the rear panel includes the power button, power jack, VGA port, HDMI port, a gigabit Ethernet …

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Beelink T45 Review with Windows and Linux, and Tweaking BIOS Power Limits

beelink t45 temperature

[Update December 23, 2019: We’ve been informed by Beelink that the T45 has been updated to the 6W Celeron N4200 processor instead, and the system is now cooled with a fan. The model reviewed in this post is the fanless version with a 10W Intel J4250 processor, which was never sold] [Update January 30, 2020: We’ve now posted a review of the new model at Beelink Gemini T45 Pentium N4200 Mini PC Review] Beelink have further extended their ‘Gemini’ range of mini PCs by adding the T45. This is a passively cooled mini PC that is effectively a companion to the J45 as it again uses the slightly older Apollo Lake Intel Pentium J4205 CPU which is a quad-core 4-thread 1.50 GHz processor boosting to 2.60 GHz with Intel’s HD Graphics 505. Although the T45 is a ‘NUC’ style mini PC physically consisting of a 119 x 119 x 17.7 mm (4.69 x 4.69 x 0.70 inches) all-metal (and surprisingly …

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Ubuntu 18.04 on Beelink Gemini J45 Mini PC (Fix and Review)

When I recently reviewed the Beelink J45 (aka Beelink Gemini J), a mini PC that uses the slightly older Intel Apollo Lake Pentium J4205 processor, whilst Windows 10 Pro ran fine it was unsuitable for Ubuntu because after installation the system became unstable and problems were encountered when running anything that loaded the system. The main issue was that when connected via wired-ethernet performing a command like ‘sudo apt upgrade’ would cause the ethernet to drop after which only a reboot would restore the connection. At the time it, was unclear what the cause was however a solution to the issue was posted by ‘gambetta’ on the Beelink forum. Basically it consists of installing the r8168 module which is the Linux device driver released for RealTek RTL8168B/8111B, RTL8168C/8111C, RTL8168CP/8111CP, RTL8168D/8111D, RTL8168DP/8111DP and RTL8168E/8111E Gigabit Ethernet controllers with PCI-Express interface. To paraphrase the ‘README.Debian’ file, you use ‘r8168-dkms because the in-kernel r8169 does not support your NIC or is not working …

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A Look at Ubuntu on MINIX NEO G41V-4 and J50C-4 Mini PCs

MINIX Technology Limited recently released two new Gemini Lake mini PCs running Windows 10 Pro namely the MINIX NEO J50C-4 actively-cooled mini PC with an Intel Pentium Silver J5005 processor and the MINIX NEO G41V-4 fanless mini PC powered by an Intel Celeron N4100 processor. Whilst each mini PC comes with 64GB of eMMC with pre-installed Windows 10 Pro together with 4GB of RAM they also support the addition of an optional 2280 M.2 drive and the MINIX NEO J50C-4 allows optional memory upgrades. Prior to testing their performance under Ubuntu, I established a comparison baseline by updating Windows to version 1903 and then running my standard set of benchmarking tools first with the default configuration of each mini PC and then repeated having installed the official MINIX 2280 M.2 240GB drives for each device together with adding an extra 4GB RAM to the MINIX NEO J50C-4. The results can then compared them with other Intel mini PCs: Then for …

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