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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Intel NUC Kit NUC7PJYH Review – An Intel Gemini Lake Pentium Silver J5005 Barebone Mini PC

When Intel released their latest NUC Gemini Lake mini PCs they prioritized cost over performance. As a result the processor they chose for the ‘Intel NUC 7 Essential’ mini PC is somewhat underwhelming. Fortunately they released another model in the series, the rather misleadingly named ‘Intel NUC Kit NUC7PJYH’ which is is actually a ‘barebones’ mini PC just needing a stick or two of RAM and an SSD for storage. It contains an Intel Pentium Silver Processor J5005 SOC which is a quad core processor bursting up to 2.80 GHz together with a slightly more powerful Intel UHD Graphics 605 processor that is capable of 4K support at 60Hz. Visually it is no different to the Celeron NUC reviewed earlier in that it is physically small consisting of an approximately 4.5″ square case about 2″ tall with a distinctive front panel that includes the power button and a couple of USB ports with the rest of the ports including two …

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Intel NUC7CJYSAL “June Canyon” Gemini Lake NUC Mini PC Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu

The hardware specification for mini PCs has recently evolved past the traditional fixed amount of memory and storage. Now mini PCs are shipping with SODIMM slots allowing RAM expansion and a variety of M.2 or SSD combos providing flexible storage options. Recent mini PCs are also coming to market with desktop processors rather than mobile processors because there has been a gradual acceptance of the necessary inclusion of a small internal fan. In doing so not only is this addressing the key limiting factors for mini PCs but it is also redefines the very definition of a mini PC. Until recently Intel NUCs (Next Unit of Computing) were seen as small-form-factor personal computers primarily because they consisted of the traditional motherboard with a processor, included removable RAM and storage and were enclosed in a case with an external power supply. They were also sold as kits meaning they were essentially the ‘barebones’ ready to be build with separately purchased memory, …

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Intel Compute Cards Review – Windows 10 and Ubuntu 17.04 on CD1C64GK, CD1P64GK and CD1M3128MK

The Intel Compute Stick revolutionized the mini PC market through the introduction of x86 based processors making Windows available as an OS option. However, for Intel the biggest target market turned out to be business rather than consumer with digital signage being a key user. As a result Intel have responded with the introduction of the Intel Compute Card. So far they have released four versions of card: and they they differ from compute sticks by no longer being standalone mini PCs but dependent on a dock or host device. The card itself is relatively small with a footprint slightly larger than a standard credit card: and is distinguished by the back being printed with details about the card including the model: The lack of emphasis on the consumer market is also evident in the rather unobtrusive plain packaging: On the end that inserts into the dock or host device is a connector which is separated into two sections: a …

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