MINISFORUM X35G review – An Intel Core i3-1005G1 Mini PC tested with Windows & Ubuntu

MINISFORUM have recently launched their X35G mini PC on Indiegogo which differentiates itself from the many Gemini Lake mini PCs by using a 10th generation Intel “Ice Lake” Core mobile processor with Gen11 graphics. Available as a barebones device and in various configurations MINISFORUM sent a fully configured model for review. MINISFORUM X35G Hardware overview Also known as DeskMini X35G, the MINISFORUM X35G is a slightly larger mini PC physically consisting of a 136.5 mm x 121.5 mm x 40.5 mm (5.37 x 4.78 x 1.59 inches) rectangular metal case with a plastic base. It is an actively cooled mini PC that uses Intel’s second-generation 10 nm+ Core i3-1005G1 processor which is a dual-core 4-thread 1.2 GHz processor boosting to 3.4 GHz with Intel’s Gen11 UHD graphics. The front panel has a power button, a Thunderbolt 3/Type-C USB port that supports video, and two 3.1 USB ports. Also on the front panel on either side are two small pin-holes with […]

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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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ODYSSEY-X86J4105 SBC Review with Ubuntu 20.04 – Raspberry Pi & Arduino Headers Tested

We’ve already reviewed ODYSSEY-X86J4105 SBC with Windows 10. When combined with Re_Computer enclosure it’s a typical Intel Gemini Lake mini PC but with a twist: Arduino and Raspberry Pi header. The latter works fine in Windows, but at the time, the Raspberry Pi header does not. So Linux is our only option. I’ve now had time to install and test Ubuntu 20.04 on ODYSSEY-X86J4105 single board computer. I did not install Ubuntu on the internal eMMC flash where Windows 10 resides, but instead on a 128GB M.2 SATA SSD. I’ll first run some usual command to check system information, then run benchmarks, and check whether all features are working before focusing the review on the Arduino and Raspberry Pi headers. ODYSSEY-X86J4105 Ubuntu 20.04 System Info We can check some of the information from the system in the terminal: An Intel Celeron J4105 processor with 8GB RAM and the rootfs on a 127GB partition looks good to me. Features Testing Most […]

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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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Updating the BIOS (System Firmware) from the Device Manager in Windows 10

I recently started having problems playing YouTube videos in Firefox and Chrome in Ubuntu 18.04. The video would load, and I could see frames at any time, but it would just not play. I soon discovered that killing PulseAudio, and the video would play without audio. I also noticed I had Dummy Output in Sound settings. I tried all usual tricks to fix this, but still no luck. Then I discovered I had audio just after booting my computer, but after a while, there would be no audio at all. This seems to match the time by which the AMD GPU drives crashes (just warning), something that had happened ever since I installed Ubuntu on my Acer laptop. After more failed attempts, I decided to try to update the BIOS using Windows 10. A 10-minute task, right? I would just have to replace the hard drive with one pre-loaded with Windows 10 (I got one from warranty service a few […]

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Beelink J45 Mini PC Review – Windows 10 Works as Expected, but Linux is Unstable

Beelink J45 Windows 10 OK, Linux Fails

[Update December 14, 2019: We’ve now found out that Ubuntu 18.04 can work fine on Beelink J45, but the Realtek Ethernet driver needs to be manually installed] Beelink has added a new mini PC to their ‘Gemini’ range (X45 and X55) namely the Beelink J45 (aka Beelink Gemini J45). What is rather unusual about the naming of this mini PC is that it uses the slightly older Intel Apollo Lake 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. The J45 is another ‘NUC’ style mini PC and physically consists of a 115 x 102 x 43 mm (4.53 x 4.02 x 1.69 inches) box case with a front panel that includes the power button, a headphone jack and a couple of USB 3.0 ports and then on the rear, two more USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI (1.4)ports up to 4K @ 30 Hz, and a gigabit Ethernet port. […]

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Beelink X55 Review – Part 2, Take 2: New Drivers and BIOS

Beelink-X55-UEFI

When I reviewed the Beelink X55 earlier, I encountered poor graphics performance when testing the device with its ‘Out-Of-The-Box’ configuration. As a quick reminder the Beelink X55 is a NUC-style mini PC powered with an Intel Pentium Silver J5005 processor and comes with a 128GB mSATA SSD with pre-installed Windows 10 Home together with 8GB DDR4 RAM (soldered and is non-expandable) and space plus a connector for an SSD. In an attempt to address the poor graphics performance I reinstalled Windows using Microsoft’s ISO however I then found I had missing drivers: Having contacted Beelink through the support email enclosed with the device they replied with a link to a full driver pack. So having downloaded and unzipped the file I updated the first driver: followed by the second: resulting in additional entries to the Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework (DPTF). Having fixed the driver issue I then reran the 3DMark benchmark for testing the GPU: I then compared […]

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MINIX NEO J50C-4 Mini PC Review – Part 2: Windows 10 Pro

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Wireless Keyboard Mouse

Intel Gemini Lake processors and associated have been products  available for several months, and although I’ve published several Gemini Lake reviews, those were courtesy of Linuxium, which means MINIX NEO J50C-4 is my very first Gemini Lake mini PC. We’ve already looked at the hardware and accessories in MINIX NEO J50C-4 Pentium J5005 Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Windows Remote, M.2 SSD, and Teardown, and focused on MINIX NEO W2 remote control in a separate review post.  So in the second part of the review, I’ll focus on my experience with Windows 10 Pro, before likely publishing a third part about Ubuntu / Linux in a few weeks. Initial Setup, BIOS, and Booting MINIX NEO J50C-4 from the M.2 SSD The review will be a little different than usual since I’m on the road, and as a result I did not take all my accessories with me to travel light. I also had to find a room with […]

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