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Posts Tagged ‘mini pc’

ACEPC AK1 Celeron J3455 Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Teardown, and First Impressions

October 17th, 2017 16 comments

Karl here. Today we are going to look at the ACEPC AK1 mini PC. Here are some of the specs pulled from ACEPC’s website. The feature that is most notable to me is the included 2.5” hard drive compartment.

Hardware

CPU:Intel Celeron J3455
GPU:Intel HD Graphics 500
RAM:4GB DDR3L
ROM:32GB eMMC
WiFi:Ac3165 Dual Band2.4G/5G
LAN: Ethernet RJ45 10/100/1000M
Bluetooth: BT V4.0

Interfaces

USB port:2xUSB 3.0;2xUSB 2.0;1xType C;support USB disk and USB HDD
Card reader: TF Card (up to 128GB)
HDMI Port: HDMI 1.4
Microphone audio: 3.5mm Microphone jack x1

Unboxing & Teardown

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Looks like an mSATA connector inside but not listed on spec? – Click to Enlarge

Some close-up photos to get a better look at the chips, and overall hardware design.

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First Boot – Storage / Task Manager

Storage after first boot:

Storage after update:

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Thermal Testing with Prime 95

Cooling seems adequate. Below is a picture of Prime 95 after 5 minutes. I am glad to see it staying at about 2 GHz considering the base frequency is 1.5 GHz. After stopping, it loses 30° Celsius immediately and after 30 seconds back to around 50° Celsius.

Goal

One of my goals for the second part of this review is to use it in the living room as a silent PC and mini server. I want to stream games from my new rig via Steam in Home Streaming and/or Nvidia GameStream. I want to also test it as a Plex server. Plex is testing out some hardware encoding on its beta software and I will be installing it on this box. I used Emby for a long time, but got to a point I had to reboot daily. Home automation server and Minecraft server should be a cakewalk. I have installed Steam and Moonlight chrome plugin, and tested them for a few minutes. Both work as expected but Steam is the clear winner at 25% CPU usage. It would be really great if I could both stream a game and live encode TV from my antenna. I think it won’t be a problem but need to test. My in-laws canceled pay TV a while back and they stream live TV from our antenna through the Plex app on Mi Box. They are even more rural than we are, and get no channels unless they erect an outside antenna.

First Impressions

This is subjective but I do like the way it looks. Has enough IOs. I wrote this article on it and other than typing on Logitech K400(ugh), it was uneventful. The expansion for a 2.5” hard drive is a great feature in my opinion. I just added a hard drive taken from a laptop. I have only tested out Ethernet at this point. I am in my lab and testing WiFi here is unfair to any device. If you would like to see any specific benchmark/test please let me know in the comments below.

I would like to thank Gearbest for sending ACEPC AK1 for review. It is currently on sale for $149.99 [Update: coupon USBLOG9 drop the price further to $147]. The device is also sold on Amazon US for $199.99, and it can be found under other brands like Unistorm, WooYi, Findarling, etc.. on Aliexpress.

Intel NUC Roadmap 2018 – 2019 – Gemini Lake, Coffee Lake, and Kaby Lake H

September 20th, 2017 13 comments

Intel’s new generation of Gemini Lake and Coffee Lake processors is expected to launch at the end of this year, beginning of next, and this morning I received Intel’s NUC roadmap that gives a good idea of what’s coming in 2018 and 2019.

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Intel plans a whole new generation of NUCs from “Hades Canyon VR” NUCxi7HVK model with a 100W Intel Core i7-xxxxK Kaby Lake-H processor to “June Canyon Celeron” NUC7CJYH model with a 10W Intel Celeron J4005 dual core “Gemini Lake” processor. All in all a total of 7 new NUCs should be launching in 2018.

Let’s have a closer look at the cheaper and lower power Gemini Lake models, starting with “June Canyon Celeron” NUC7CJYH specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron J4005 dual core GLK processor (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2x DDR4-2400 slots for up to 8GB RAM
  • Storage – M.2 SSD slot, SDXC slot
  • Display – 2x HDMI 2.0a ports supporting up to two independent displays
  • Audio – front stereo headset, rear stereo out / TOSLINK
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (TBC), 802.11ac 1×1 WiFi and Bluetooth 5

Intel “June Canyon Pentium” NUC7PJYH model has exactly the same specifications, except for the Intel Pentium J5005 quad core processor with 10W TDP. Both models are expected to launch in Q1 2018.

An interesting aspect of the more powerful NUCs based on Coffee Lake/Kaby Lake H processors is that they all come with one or two ThunderBolt 3 interfaces, and support Optane memory.

Rikomagic Introduces V3 TV Stick, MK39 TV Box, R3 Projector, and DS01 Digital Signage Player

September 19th, 2017 2 comments

Rikomagic will launch four new Android devices this month with RKM V3 TV stick powered by Rockchip RK3328 processor, RKM MK39 TV box / mini PC based on Rockchip RK3399, RKM R3 projector with an octa-core processor, and DS01 digital signage player.

RKM V3 TV Stick

RKM V3 specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.5 GHz with Mali-450MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB RAM
  • Storage – 8 GB eMMC flash + micro SD card up to 32GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR10 and HLG support
  • Video Codec – 4K VP9, H.265 and H.264. 1080p VC-1, MPEG-1/2/4, VP6/8
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Misc – IR receiver? (TBC)
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel jack

The stick runs Android 7.1 OS with Google Play store, Miracast, DLNA, etc… It ships with a USB male to female adapter, and a power supply.

RKM MK39 TV box

RKM MK39 mini PC specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores @ up to 2.0 GHz, 4x ARM Cortex A53 cores @ up to 1.5 GHz, and ARM Mali-T860MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 4GB DDR3
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz
  • Video Codecs – 4K H.265 & VP9 decoding
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB type C port (no details about supported features)
  • Misc – IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A

The device also runs Android 7.1, and ships with an HDMI cable, a simple IR remote control, and the power supply. [Update: RKM MK39 is sold for $137.90 + shipping on Aliexpress]

R3 Projector, and DS01 Digital Signage Player

We don’t have the full details about the last two devices to launch this month, but we do know RKM R3 will be an Android 6.0 smart Full HD projector powered by an Octa-core processor (maybe RK3368) coupled with 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, and delivering 220 lumen brightness, while DS01 will be a digital signage player powered by Rockchip RK3228 quad core Cortex A17 processor, and also sold with the board only.

[Update: Rikomagic R3 projector is sold for $450 shipped by DHL]

Eventually, all details about the four new models should be provided on Rikomagic products’ page, and sold to individuals via their Aliexpress store.

MeLE PCG35 Apo mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Teardown, and M.2 SSD / SATA HDD Installation

September 18th, 2017 12 comments

MeLE PCG35 Apo is a mini PC powered by Intel Pentium J3455, one of the most powerful Intel processors from Apollo Lake family, coupled with 4GB LPDDR3, 32GB eMMC flash and support for M.2 SSD and 2.5″ SATA HDD/SSD. The company sent me a sample for review, and I’ll start by taking photos of the device, accessories, and internal design, as well as showing how to install an M.2SSD and 2.5″ SATA drive, before publishing the second part of the review with Windows 10 at the end of next month.

MeLE PCG35 Apo Unboxing

The mini PC comes with the usual black package with gold fonts the company has used us to.

The side shows the main specifications of the fanless mini PC.

The mini PC, which comes with an aluminum heatsink shaped as number 6, ships with a 12V/2A power supply plus UK, AU, US, and EU plug adapter, a quick start guide, and a zip bag with 4 screws to install a 2.5″ SATA drive, as well as thermal pad for the M.2 SSD.

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The case is not fully made of metal with the top part made of plastic, and the bottom and rear panel made of metal. The front panel include power button and LED, one of the side features a full sized SD card slot, a USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 2.0 ports…

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… and the rear panel is equipped with a 3.5mm audio jack, two more USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI 2.0 and VGA outputs, the power jack, a USB type C port for data and power only (no video/audio), a security lock, and an external WiFi antenna.

MeLE PCG35 Apo Teardown

If you plan to install an hard drive and/or SSD you’ll need to open the case. Four screws are located on the bottom, and four screws in the rear panel. I loosened all eight screws, but it should be possible to install the drives by only removing the bottom cover.

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Note that the screws do not feel of good build quality, and I had to try with 4 different screw drivers/heads for fear of damaging them, as with the first screw driver I used I could see some metal going off of the first screws. You’ll need to find a screw head that fit perfectly to avoid any damage. Note that two screws are shorter than the other to make sure to check this when you open the box. The short ones are on the edges of the rear panel.

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The bottom metal cover also include another aluminum piece that, as we’ll see later, is used to cool the M.2 SSD. We can also find the SATA cables, and 80mm M.2 slot inside the case as expected.

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On the top of the main board we’ll get the RTC battery, and several chips including:

  • Parade PS175HDM DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0a video interface converter
  • ITE IT6513FN DisplayPort to VGA controller
  • Richtek RT5074A power management IC?
  • Realtek ALC269 audio coded for the headphone jack
  • M-TEK G24101SCGX Gigabit Ethernet transformer
  • Intel 3165D2W wireless module for 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Realtek RTS5170 card reader controller driver

Unsurprisingly, those are exactly the same chips used in MeLE PCG03 Apo.

If we looks on the side, we’ll see more about the design of the aluminum heatsink. It actually looks like a heat spreader, but since it’s attached to plastic part of the case, it does not spread heat to another metal part. Most people should not do that, but I loosened for more screws to take out the board, and have a better looks at the design of the aluminum part. There’s a fair amount of thermal paste on the “volcano” like part of the heatsink that makes contact with the Intel Pentium J3455 processor.

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We can also see an internal WiFi/Bluetooth antenna in the background. That part of the PCB also includes the chips for RAM, storage, ITE IT8528E embedded controller, and Realtek RTL8111(AN) Gigabit Ethernet transceiver.

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We have 32GB storage with Samsung KLM8G2JENB-B041 eMMC 5.1 flash with theoretical performance of up to 310MB/s read, 70MB/s write, and 13K/14K R/W IOPS, which differs from the Toshiba eMMC flash found in PCG03 Apo, and the best 32GB Samsung eMMC part available.

We also have two ELPIDA FAZ32A2MA RAM chips that should be 2GB each for a total of 4GB RAM, and there are two unpopulated footprints for two more, meaning there could be a 8GB RAM model on the way, or for OEM customers.

M.2 SSD and SATA HDD Installation in MeLE PCG35 Apo

The user manual does not explain at all how to install either M.2 SSD, nor SATA HDD, but it’s quite easy enough to figure out.

I used KingDian N480 M.2 SSD (80mm long), inserted it in the M.2 slot and kept it in place with the screw. You may also want to the the M.2 SSD thermal pad included in the package. Peel off the plastic sheet on the pad, and place it pad on the of the aluminum part attached to the bottom metal cover, before peeling off the second plastic sheet as shown in the photo below.

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If you plan to use a 2.5″ drive too, use the four extra screws in the package to attach it to the bottom metal cover making sure the drive is oriented such as the SATA connector is placed close to the SATA marking on the cover, and connect the SATA cables accordingly. Now we can put everything back together, and we should be good to go. So I plan to use the eMMC flash for Windows 10, the M.2 SSD for program, cache, and email database, and the SATA hard drive for other data.

About those screws…

When I first started the teardown, I mentioned the screws could be damaged easily, and I managed to damage one on the bottom plate, enough so I can not screw it or loosen it with a screwdriver anymore. I’ll have to use another tool to take it once I want to get back my SSD and hard drive.

I also had another problem with another screw in the rear panel that would not go straight. I tried to loose the other screw around, and try again, and later mix the screws but no luck…

Since the mini PC is designed to be open, it would have been good if the company has found an easier way to open the device to insert an SSD/HDD, or sturdier screws.

[Update from MeLE:

As for the screws on the rear panel and bottom, we have realized the seriousness that it may bring uncomfortable experience to customers who install and uninstall frequently. Therefore, we have urged our R&D team to implement new screws (more stronger and more feasible) from next batch of massive production in end of this month by sending official ECN (engineering change notice) to our factory within this week.
]

I’d like to thank MeLE for sending their latest fanless mini PC for review, and if you are interested in the device, you can purchase it for $179.99 including shipping on Aliexpress. They also have options for a VESA mount, and a MeLE F10 air mouse. Please note that the company will often put the device back to $199.99, just wait a few days if this is the case, and I’ve also been told promotional prices are always on during week-ends.

Intel Compute Card Dock DK132EPJ Specifications and User Manual Published

September 14th, 2017 4 comments

Intel unveiled the Compute Card at the very beginning of the this year, without that many details, except it would included a 7th Gen Intel Core, memory, storage and wireless connectivity, and connect compliant dock with a new standard connector featuring USB-C and extra I/Os. Later this year, we learned more details about some Apollo Lake and Kaby Lake Compute Cards including specifications and block diagram. However those cards won’t be of any use without docks, and while NexDock promised a laptop dock for the cards, I have not seen any other announcements, but we now have some info about Intel’s own Compute Card dock that looks like a mini PC as the company released technical specifications and user manuals for DK132EPJ dock, and three Compute Card SKUs.

 

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Intel Compute Card Dock DK132EPJ specifications:

  • CPU, Memory, Storage, Wireless – Via slot supporting certified Intel Compute Cards
  • Video Output – HDMI and mini DisplayPort
  • USB – 3x USB 3.0 ports
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (via Intel I211-AT); Built-in compute card: 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2
  • Misc – Lock indicator; eject button+indicator; power button; security lock
  • Power Supply – 19V via power barrel jack
  • Dimensions – 151.76 mm x 145 mm x 20.5 mm

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The enclosure also supports 75 x 75 and 100 x 100 VESA mount so it can be mounted on the back of compatible monitors or televisions. The dock comes with a 19 power adapter with plug adapter for various countries and a 2-meter power cord. The operating system is not pre-installed in the Compute Card, but Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Education, and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise are supported, and some Linux operating systems may be supported. The cards requires software support at least for authentication and the eject function.

Compute Card Dock Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The compute cards & dock should be available for purchase now, but they do not seem broadly available online, as I could just find the dock listed for $111.19 on Provantage (with the wrong product photo), and CD1C64GK Compute Card with Celeron N3350/4GB/64GB configuration for 641 AED (~$175 US) on “Gear Up Me” website with stock expected in 9 days. Alzashop has all four Compute Card SKUs with prices ranging from 143 to 527 Euros depending on model.

Via Ian Morrison in Mini PCs and TV Boxes G+ Community

PiPo X12 Mini PC is Equipped with a 10.8″ Touchscreen Display, an RS232 Port, Ships with a Digital Stylus Pen

September 11th, 2017 4 comments

PiPo has released several mini PCs with touchscreen displays with products like PiPo X8 or PiPo X9S, and now the company has launched PiPo X12 model based on an Intel Cherry Trail processor, with a larger 10.8″ display, an RS-232 port to connect a barcode reader for instance, and that ships with a digital stylus pen.

PiPo X12 specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz/1.92 GHz with Intel Gen8 HD graphics
  • System Memory – 4 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 64 GB flash, and micro SD slot
  • Display – 10.8″ capacitive touch IPS display with 1920×1280 resolution
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4a and VGA
  • Audio Output – HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack, built-in microphone and speaker.
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet ports, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with external antenna
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Misc – Power and volume buttons, and reset pinhole; gravity sensor
  • Battery – 10,000 mAh @ 3.7V
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions – 250.6 x 174.3 x 70.4 mm
  • Weight – 850 grams

PiPoi X12 ships with an activated version of Windows 10, a power adapter, and a digital stylus pen that can be used for hand-writing.


PiPo X12 is sold for $227.99 on Banggood, but we could also find the device on Aliexpress for about the same price, as well as a dual boot Windows 10 / Android 5.1 version (maybe) on GeekBuying. Note the latter only mentions Android 5.1 in the title, and does not specifically list the stylus, but shows a picture of it.

Via AndroidPC.es

MINIX NEO N42C-4 Apollo Lake Mini PC To Launch Soon with SO-DIMM and M.2 Slots

September 5th, 2017 7 comments

I’ve just completed MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro review, a Cherry Trail mini PC with Windows 10 Pro, but if you’d like something with a more recent and faster processor, the company will soon launch a MINIX NEO N42C-4 with an Apollo Lake processor, and upgradeable memory and storage.

MINIX NEO N42C-4 preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Pentium N4200 quad core “Apollo Lake” processor @ 1.10 / 2.50 GHz with 18 EU Intel HD Graphics 505 (6W TDP)
  • System Memory – 4GB DDR3L SO-DIMM module (upgradeable to 8GB via 2x SO-DIMM slots)
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC 5.1 flash, 1x 2280 M.2 SSD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K @ 30 Hz, mini DisplayPort up to 4K @ 60 Hz, USB type C up to 4K @ 60 Hz(video only, no audio); supports for up to 3 independent displays
  • Audio – Via HDMI, miniDP, 3.5mm audio combo jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB – 3x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB Type-C port
  • Misc – Power button
  • Power Supply  – 12V? power jack or USB type C

The mini PC is pre-loaded with an activated version of Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. While other recent MINIX Intel mini PCs are all fanless, N42C-4 relies on a cooling fan, and it’s the first model that upgradeable with SO-DIMM SDRAM slots, and an M.2 slot for SSD. The video below also shows the mini PC connected to a monitor over a USB type C cable providing both power (from display) and video output.

MINIX NEO N42C-4 will be available at the beginning of October for $269.90 / 269.90 Euros.

Via Netbook Italia

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro Mini PC Review – Part 2: Windows 10 Pro

September 5th, 2017 3 comments

MINIX launched NEO Z83-4 Cherry Trail mini PC last year, but the company has now launched NEO Z83-4 Pro, an updated version with a slightly faster Atom X5-Z8350 processor, Windows 10 Pro (instead of Home), and a a VESA mount kit. I’ve already checked the hardware in the first part of the review, so today I’ll report my experience with Windows 10 Pro.

Windows 10 Home vs Windows 10 Pro

My main computer runs Ubuntu 16.04, and I’m only using Windows 10 during reviews… But so far all other mini PCs I tried came with Windows 10 Home, and NEO Z83-4 Pro is my first Windows 10 Pro computer. So I had to educate myself, and Microsoft website has a comparison between the two versions of Windows 10. Windows 10 Pro supports all features of Windows 10 Home, plus the following:

  • Security
    • Windows Information Protection – Formerly Enterprise Data Protection (EDP), requires either Mobile Device Management (MDM) or System Center Configuration Manager to manage settings. Active Directory makes management easier, but is not required.
    • Bitlocker – Full disk encryption support. Requires TPM 1.2 or greater for TPM based key protection. More details here.
  • Business – Management and deployment
    • Group Policy
    • Enterprise State Roaming with Azure Active Directory – Separate subscription for Azure Active Directory Premium required
    • Windows Store for Business – Available in select markets. Functionality and apps may vary by market and device
    • Assigned Access
    • Dynamic Provisioning
    • Windows Update for Business
    • Shared PC configuration
    • Take a Test – app in Windows 10 to create the right environment for taking a test (education)
  • Windows Fundamentals
    • Domain Join
    • Azure Active Directory Domain Join, with single sign-on to cloud-hosted apps – Separate subscription for Azure Active Directory required
    • Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE) – For compatibility issues of web apps in Internet Explorer 11 (emulates IE 8).
    • Remote Desktop
    • Client Hyper-V

If you don’t understand some of the option, you most probably don’t need then. Bitlocker works more securely if a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip is present in the system, so the presence of that secure chip is something I’ll have to check out during the review. AFAIK, the original MINIX NEO Z83-4 does not include any TPM.

A few days ago, I wrote about BBen MN10 TV stick available with either Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro, and the former is offered for $21.39 extra, the later for $30.33, so the Pro version is only about $10 more expensive than the Home version on such entry level hardware. If you had to purchase Windows 10 Pro license by yourself, it would cost $199.99, or the same price as the complete MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro mini PC including the Win10 Pro license… That sounds crazy/unbelievable, but apparently that’s just the way Microsoft handles licenses, and one of the main reason MINIX decided to launch this new model.

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro Setup & System Information

I connected a USB 3.0 hard drive to the USB 3.0 port, USB mouse and keyboard, HDMI and Ethernet cables, and started up the device by pressing the power button right after connecting the 12V power adapter.

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The first boot was a little different than what I’m accustomed to, as I was doing something, I started to hear a female voice… asking to select the region… So Microsoft has now enabled Cortana voice assistant by default in the setup Wizard. If you don’t like it you can turn it off by pressing the Volume icon on the bottom right corner.

NEO Z83-4 Pro does not come with an built-in microphone, but you have one you can answer “Yes” to go the next step while Cortana is listening. I’ve shot a short video to show what the new Windows 10 (Pro) setup wizard feels like.

The whole process is slightly different. For example, I normally do not sign-in with a Microsoft account, and used to press skip in that section, but there’s no such Skip button in the new interface, and instead you can click on Offline account button in the bottom left.

You’ll also be asked about privacy settings for location, diagnostics, speech recognition, and so on, which I cannot remember in other mini PCs I tested with Windows 10. All options are enabled by default, so if you want better privacy you should set them to off.

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Once the setup is complete Windows 10 Pro looks just like Windows 10 Home, except you’ll be informed you are running the Pro version in the System window.

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That window confirms the information we already knew with Z83-4 Pro model powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor @ 1.44 GHz, with 4GB RAM, and Windows is activated..
The eMMC flash has a 28.2GB Windows drive (C:) with 16.5 GB free. The system could also detect the NTFS and exFAT partitions on my USB drive, as well as some Windows network locations.

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I’ve also taken a screenshot for the Device Manager to get more technical details, and we can also notice a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 is enabled, so that’s another feature in Z83-4 Pro that was absent from Z83-4 mini PC.

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I also started tpm.msc to get some more details about the TPM as shown above, and by default it is not enabled, but you can follow Microsoft TPM instructions to use it properly for better – hardware based – security.

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HWiNFO64 show further details about the system and processor.

I noticed the computer would turn off (not sleep) by itself after a few minutes when I ran benchmarks. I could fix that by going to Power & sleep settings and changing the 10 minutes sleep time to Never.

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MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro Benchmarks

Z83-4 Pro was strangely slightly slower than Z83-4 mini PC in PCMark 8 Home Accelerated 3.0 with 1,445 points against 1,543 points for the latter.

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If we look at the details, we can actually see Z83-4 Pro was faster in most tests, but is 50% slower in Advanced Photo Editing Accelerated, and significantly slower in Video Chat Encoding v2 Accelerated, so there might be a driver issue with OpenCL support since those accelerated tests are supposed to leverage the GPU. You’ll find the detailed results here.

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I’ve also run the newer PCMARK 10 benchmark to have a reference point for Cherry Trail platform, and in this test Z83-4 Pro got 896 points, which compares to 1,334 points on a faster Celeron N3350 Apollo Lake mini PC.

Passmark 9.0 failed in the 3D graphics section, so I ran Passmark 8.0 instead, where the device got 698.8 points, against 656.30 points in the original Z83-4 mini PC, a results closer to expectations.

NEO Z83-4 Pro archived 20,284 and 233 points on respectively 3DMark’s Ice Storm 1.2 and Fire Strike 1.1 3D benchmarks, which compares to 16,030 points and 187 points on the older version.

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The extra boost is likely due to the higher GPU frequency on x5-Z8350 SoC.

CrystalDiskMark 5.2.1 shows roughly the same eMMC flash performance as on MINIX NEO Z83-4 model. That’s rather average but normal for 32GB parts mandated by Microsoft for a discounted license.


What’s not so good however is the sequential write speed on the NTFS partition of my USB hard drive, as it can normally achieve 90 to 100 MB/s on most hardware.
The read performance is normal however. So I repeated the test, but got the same poor write speed. I retried a few days later, and after a disk scan, but write speed only went up to around 45 MB/s. So something looks wrong here.


For that reason, I also ran the benchmark on the exFAT partition, and write benchmark is fairly normal at close to 80 MB/s, so it’s not a USB issue, and looks like some issues with NTFS or caching.

Sadly, WiFi AC testing with iperf yielded under average performance.

  • Upload:

  • Download:

Throughput in Mbps

So overall the tests show everything is mostly working as expected, except OpenCL acceleration in PCMark 8, NTFS sequential write speed, and 802.11ac WiFi performance does not look that good compared to the competition, at least with my TP-Link router.

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Finally, I’ve compared MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro benchmark results (adjusted for easier comparison) to Atom x5-Z8300 / x5-Z8500 mini PCs including NEO Z83-4, Kangaroo Desktop, and Tronsmart Ara X5, and as one should expected, there aren’t that many differences between the devices. Z83-4 Pro is slightly faster than x5-Z8300 devices, but a bit slower than an x5-Z8500 mini PC.

Chart adjustments as follows: 3DMark Ice Storm divided by 20, 3DMark Fire Strike multiplied by 4, and storage results multiplied by 5.

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Usability and Stress Testing

I repeated the test I did for Z83-4 to see how the mini PC performs in a typical desktop use case, and check out some BIOS settings.

  • Multi-tasking – Using Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, and Gimp at the same time
  • Web Browsing
    • Loading multiple tab with CNX Software blog in Firefox
    • Playing 1080p & 4K YouTube Videos in Firefox
    • Playing Candy Crush Saga in Firefox (now smoother/faster since it’s not using Adobe Flash anymore)
  • Gaming with Asphalt 8: Airbone
  • MINIX UEFI Settings

The experience is so similar to MINIX NEO Z83-4, that I have not done another video, and if you want to get a feel about the system performance you can check out last year video.

One difference is that there’s a new MINIX option in the BIOS: USB charging that allows you to charge your phone or other device via the USB 3.0 ports even when the mini PC is turned off. That’s an addition to existing BIOS options to set earphone standard, (automatic) AC power on, Wake-on-LAN, and RTC wake up.

I used Aida64 Extreme’s system stability test for 2 hours to stress the computer in combination with HWiNFO64 to monitor CPU temperature and potential throttling, but the latter never happened, and temperature never exceeded 69°C, or a cool 34°C away from the junction temperature, with an ambient room temperature of around 30°C.

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So I’d except the mini PC to perform consistently even in hot climate / room with temperatures exceeding 35/40°C.

Finally some power consumption numbers with all USB devices connected:

  • Power off – 0.2 Watts
  • Sleep – 3.3 Watts
  • Idle – 4.2 Watts
  • Aida64 stress test – 9.4 Watts

Conclusion

If you’re one of the customers who purchased MINIX NEO Z83-4 mini PC and installed Windows 10 Pro, upgrading to NEO Z83-4 Pro for your next purchases is a no-brainer, since performance is similar – usually a bit better -, and you’ll save a nice amount of money on the Windows license. The device also includes enterprise features like a TPM 2.0 module, and ships with a VESA mount. So overall, I’m very pleased with the device, and the only issues I found are disappointing sequential write speed to external USB 3.0 storage with NTFS file system, OpenCL based tests in PCMark 8 are slower than usual for this type of hardware, and WiFi 802.11ac – as tested with iperf – is not quite as fast as on other 802.11ac platforms I’ve tested.

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro mini PC sells for $189.99 and up on various sites including AmazonGeekBuying, GearBest, Chinavasion, and others.