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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Ubuntu 17.10 May Corrupt the BIOS on Some Lenovo, Acer, Dell, and Other Laptops

Canonical has decided to temporarily remove the download link to Ubuntu 17.10 due leaving a notice reading: The download of Ubuntu 17.10 is currently discouraged due to an issue on certain Lenovo laptops. Once fixed this download will be enabled again. The issue that many user are reported being unable to save BIOS settings or boot with USB in several Lenovo Laptops with many topics about this issue on Lenovo Forums. The installed operating system still boots normally, so many affected people may not have even noticed. Based on the bug report it seems to be related to the enablement of intel-spi-* drivers (Intel Serial Flash drive) in the kernel (CONFIG_SPI_INTEL_SPI_PCI option), and this could also affect Ubuntu 16.04 with HWE kernels. The fix is to disable the driver in the kernel, and Canonical will soon release images. The downside of not using the driver are likely null or minimal, since according to the bug report “it’s unlikely anyone is …

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BBen MN10 TV Stick Review – Windows 10, Ubuntu 17.04, Benchmarks, and Kodi

The BBEN MN10 is the second Apollo Lake device to be released in the stick form-factor and on paper looks to have a lot to offer: It features an Apollo Lake N3350 SoC, an unusual 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and is cooled by a ‘mute’ fan. The devices comes in a plain box with a power adapter, and a leaflet style manual. It also included a three-pin UK power adapter, as this was advertised as the ‘BBen MN10 Mini PC  –  UK PLUG  BLACK’. Looking at the detail specifications: We can immediately see discrepancies as the device does not have a ‘RJ45 Port Speed: 1000M LAN’ port, and was not supplied with ‘1 x HDMI Cable’ nor ‘1 x Remote Control’. Powering on the device and the ‘mute’ fan is also a miss-representation as it starts immediately and is noticeably noisy. It also runs at full speed regardless of workload so the noise is a constant reminder that …

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ECDREAM A9 Apollo Lake HDMI “TV Stick” Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 17.04

The ECDREAM A9 is arguably the first Intel Apollo Lake ‘PC stick’ available for purchase. However, in reality it is surprisingly large, and when compared to earlier Intel Atom ‘sticks’ and mini PC ‘boxes’ it lies somewhere in between. Measuring 2.3 inches (58 mm) wide and 0.6 inches (16 mm) thick it feels almost double in size of the original Intel Compute Stick (1.5 in/38 mm by 0.5 in/12 mm) and like nearly half of a mini PC (Beelink’s AP34 is 4.7 in/119 mm by 0.8 / 20 mm). Given that you only get two USB ports, an micro SD card slot and the obligatory HDMI and power port, the large size would be better justified if an Ethernet port had also been included given other smaller ‘sticks’ have shown this is possible. However the reason for its size is due to the oversized fan and heatsink… ​ and that will be the deal-breaker for most. Because it is not …

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