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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MINIX NEO W2 PC Remote Control Review in Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.04

MINIX NEO W2 Backlight Keyboard

MINIX NEO W2 is sold as a Windows 10 remote control with one side acting as an actual remote with shortcuts to useful Windows functions and programs, another side as a keyboard, as well as a motion sensors to use it as an air mouse. I received it with MINIX NEO J50C-4 Windows 10 Pro mini PC, so I tested it today both with Windows 10, and Ubuntu 18.04. Batteries and Backlight I’ve already looked at the package and remote hardware in the NEO post linked above, so let’s get to it by first installing two AAA battery on either side of the keyboard side. A cool feature you’ll immediately noticed is that both sides of the remote control are actually backlight, with Fn and CapsLock key also changing color to red when they are enabled. The backlight is automatically turn off after 4 seconds, but as you can see below the Caplocks and Fn keys status remains visible in …

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MINIX NEO U9-H TV Box Gets Android 7.1 Firmware

MINIX-NEO-U9-H-Android-7.1-Nougat

MINIX NEO U9-H is generally considered one of the best Android TV boxes if you are after an Android experience, as opposed to a pure Android TV experience. I found the firmware solid and performing on very capable hardware when I reviewed the device in 2017 although there were a few bugs here and there for the version of the firmware I tested. The device is still the main TV box model sold by MINIX, but so far, you had to run the older Android 6.0 OS. The good news is that you can now upgrade your box, if you wish to do so, to a more recent Android 7.1 operating system. There’s no specific changelog for the release, and you can find Android 7.1 for MINIX NEO U9-H on MEGA.An important caveat is that it’s not an OTA update, so you’d have to use USB Burning Tool – also included with the firmware – to flash the new version …

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MINIX NEO J50C-4 Pentium J5005 Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Windows Remote, M.2 SSD, and Teardown

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Review

MINIX has just announced a new Windows 10 Pro mini PC with MINIX NEO J50C-4 mini PC that just looks like their previous models like MINIX NEO N42C-4, except it comes with a Pentium Silver J5005 “Gemini Lake” processor. The company sent me a sample together with some accessories, and it will be interesting to see how it performs. But before I’ll go through the specifications, checking the devices and some extra accessories namely NEO W2 windows remote control, and an M.2 SSD pre-loaded with Windows 10 Pro. Finally, I’ll have a look at the internals in the first part of this review. MINIX NEO J50C-4 Specifications SoC – Intel Pentium Silver J5005 quad core “Gemini Lake” processor @ 1.50 / 2.80 GHz with 18 EU Intel UHD Graphics 605 (10W TDP) System Memory – 4GB DDR4 upgradable to 16GB via 2x SO-DIMM slots Storage – 32GB eMMC 5.1 flash, 1x 2280 M.2 SATA III SSD slot up to 512GB …

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A Quick Look at MINIX NEO C Plus USB-C Adapter, and Windows 10 M.2 SSD Card for N42C-4 Mini PC

MINIX NEO C Plus USB-C Adapter Android 7.1

A couple of weeks ago, MINIX announced their NEO C Plus USB type C adapter with 9 ports including two HDMI outputs. The company has now sent me samples of the adapter, as well as an M.2 SSD for MINIX NEO N42C-4 pre-loaded with Windows 10 Pro. I’ll first have a look at the accessories I received before testing MINIX NEO C Plus adapter with Android 7.1 running on NanoPC-T4 board. MINIX NEO C Plus and M.2 SSD Unboxing I received two USB-C multiport adapter with dual HDMI output which are identical, except for the color with one white version and a silver version, as well as a “128GB M.2 SSD for MINIX NEO N42C-4”. The USB-C adapter comes with a bilingual English-German user manual. We learn some interesting information and limitations from the device. First, the adapter is only certified to use with MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, and some of the limitations include: Total USB output is limited …

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MINIX NEO N42C-4 Pro Review – Part 3: Ubuntu / Linux

In the second part of MINIX NEO N42C-4 review (and on linuxium website), we looked at the device and the performance using Windows.  In this third part, we will look at how to install and the performance of using Linux (Ubuntu). The BIOS does not include an option to select Linux as a boot OS and a standard Ubuntu ISO written to a USB will not boot. So to install Ubuntu to the eMMC as dual-boot first it was necessary to respin a standard Ubuntu ISO using my ‘isorespin.sh’ script with the ‘–apollo’ option, and which after creating a LiveUSB using the ‘dd’ command was used to boot and install Ubuntu. First let’s remind ourselves of the hardware configuration by running some standard Linux commands: This shows the memory will be dual-channel once the second slot (bank:1) is populated and also confirms that the eMMC 5.1 (mmc0) is running the faster HS400 interface. Headphones shows up as ‘Line Out’ in …

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MINIX NEO N42C-4 Mini PC Review – Part 2: Windows 10 Pro

MINIX NEO N42C-4 is the first Apollo Lake mini PC from the company, which also happens to be their first one with a fan, using internal antennas for WiFi and Bluetooth, and offering user-upgradeable storage and memory thanks to M.2 and SO-DIMM slots. The device also features three video output via HDMI 2.0, mini DiplayPort, and USB Type C  ports supporting up to three independent display. I’ve received a sample and already checked the hardware, and showed how to install an M.2 SSD and SO-DIMM RAM to the device in the first part of the review entitled  MINIX NEO N42C-4 Triple Display Capable Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown, so I’ll report my experience with Windows 10 Pro in the second part of the review, and there should also be a third part specifically dealing with Linux support. MINIX NEO N42C-4 Setup, System Info, BIOS The device is basically an update to MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro mini …

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Intel Apollo Lake Windows 10 Benchmarks Before and After Meltdown & Spectre Security Update

So this week, there’s been a fair amount of news about Meltdown & Spectre exploits, which affects all major processor vendors one way or another, but especially Intel, and whose mitigations require operating systems and in some case microcode updates that decrease performance for some specific tasks. Microsoft has now pushed an update for Windows 10, and since I’m reviewing MINIX NEO N42C-4 mini PC powered by an Intel Pentium N4200 “Apollo Lake” processor, and just happened to run benchmarks before the update, so I decided to run some of the benchmarks again to see if there was any significant difference before and after the security update. First I had to verify I had indeed received the update in the “installed update history”, and Windows 10 Pro was updated on January 5th with KB4056892, which is what we want, so let’s go ahead. Benchmarks before Update PCMark 10 is one of my favorite benchmark since it relies on typical program …

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