Core i9 8950HK Mini PC Review – A Beast Of A PC Smaller Than A PSU

Core i9 8950HK Mini PC Review – A Beast Of A PC Smaller Than A PSU

If you caught my review of the Coffee Lake Core i7 8750H Aliexpress mini PC, this is very similar. Exactly the same design, cooler, PSU and build all except for the CPU. This has the quick Core i9-8950HK and being a K series CPU just like the desktops it’s unlocked and overclockable. Like the 8750H it has the 6 cores, even if it’s badged as a Core i9 it’s not a true Core i9 but still crazy fast for a mobile CPU. The onboard CPU cache is also up 3Mb to a total of 12Mb on this chipset. This mini PC cost me $533 including delivery on Aliexpress here.

The stock clocks are, turbo 4.8Ghz and a base clock of 2.9Ghz, this by itself is a nice bump up over the Core i7 8750H’s which is 4.1Ghz max turbo and a base of 2.2Ghz. The TDP is still 45W and the cooler (A desktop one) is the same. But where the fun starts is overclocking this little beast. With a little overvolt of 0.40 volts, I’ve been able to hit a crazy 5.2GHz something I cannot even do that on my desktop i7 8700K @ 5Ghz and as a result, I can post single thread Geekbench 4 scores faster than my desktop! And is about a 20% faster single core score and 15% multi over the Core i7 8750H model.

The best Cinebench R15 result, 1293 CB. Only about 100 points faster than an undervolted 8750H.

But multi-threaded load the CPU will only turbo to about 4.0GHz to 4.2Ghz depending on the load (Cinebench R15 for example which scores about 1300Cb max). Encoding 4k video which is the reason I bought this it can hold the cores much higher are 4.5Ghz. What’s limiting the CPU is current limiting throttling according to Intel XTU. This is either the bios settings, VRM’s or the 90W power supply at its peak.

Thermals and fan noise remain great, a desktop cooler on a laptop CPU works wonders and even at 5.Ghz+  it will not go over 80 degrees C. The fan when idle cannot be heard unless you put your ear to it. It’s surprisingly not only quite, but cool. When pushed underload you’ll hear the fans whirling noise, but it’s not offensive and you rarely hear it. If you want more details on this please see my first review on this model.

For more details please catch my video review below:

Core i9 8950HK Aliexpress mini PC review index:

01:15 – Bios
03:06 – Benchmarks
07:18 – Thermals / Power
08:09 – 4k video encoding
09:31 – 100% Linux support
09:53 – Recap/final words

The Core i9 8950HK version is approximately $140 USD more than the Core i7 8750H version. Unless you need the absolution best performance in a tiny package I recommend just getting the i7 8750H as it will fine for most peoples needs. If you want to encode and edit 4k videos, for example, faster then it’s an option.

And considering Intel lists the 8950HK as a $583 USD part, how are they selling it for as low as $533? And no it’s not an engineering sample chip.

And if you want to game one of these NVME to eGPU to stands will do the trick and it’s faster than Thunderbolt 3!

Video tech reviewer and tech blogger. I have a huge interest in the latest tech, tablets, laptops, mobiles, drones, and even e-scooters. Active in the tech community since 2008 days of the Omnia i900 Windows phone. Samsungi8910omnia.com, Samsunggalaxysforums.com founder from way back.

16 Comments

  1. Just got this now, the 8950HK version and the hwinfo says I got an engineering sample. CPU-Z also confirmed it that I got an ES with the ES showing on the CPU id. I don’t know it that matters a lot or I shouldn’t care. PC seems to be working fine. Any thoughts?

    • So that’s how they got them for cheaper. Funny but my one doesn’t say it’s an engineering sample. Bt I got them on release. Other than that how is it performing?

  2. Hi Chris. May I inquire as to what type of screwdriver you used to open the case?

    • Those hexagon looking ones are Torx screws. I think T5 or T4 a typical electronics shop will have jewelers set for it. Or online of course, ebay or Amazon.

  3. Hi, are there some mini pc’s like this whith gpu like mx 150? thanks.

  4. I have the I7 model of this mini pc and i very disappointed with it.It seems that the new six core intel
    cpus are truly powerfull so they need a well engineered motherboard to handle the power to work and
    this is clearly NOT the case.Just before installing the os my cpu was hitting all sorts of limits(both power and current) so i undervolted my cpu to save some power (i can only get -70 mv or windows crash because my unit has a engineering sample cpu verified with HWinfo) then i set the power limit to 70w
    and disable the current limit (this option is hidden on the bios but i unlocked it).Finally i can get my cpu
    running at 3.9Ghz in all six cores but it did not last for long.Next time i booted into windows something
    shorted in the motherboard and now my mini pc is a very expensive paper weigth.So if someone is thincking about disabling the current limit be VERY CAREFULL because the motherboard can’t handle it.

    • Thank you for the warning both of my unit the i7 and i9 is running fine for now. But if they do die I will be sure to post an update on this. Maybe I should take it easy on the power limits.

      CPU-Z doesn’t mention anything about ES CPU’s for mine.

  5. Hi Chris,

    Assume you couldn’t fine a way to stop the cpu limiting in bios?

    I also can’t find anything on that socket for the cpu. Can we put upgraded CPU coolers on the cpu? Do you know if that socket is compatible with any more mainstream sockets?

    CheerS
    Troy from Australia

  6. It may also be worth looking into the Xeon version, as it’s faster than the 8750H (2.7/4.4 vs 2.2/4.1 GHz, 12 vs 9 MB cache, 1.2 vs 1.1 GHz graphics) plus supports ECC RAM, and one of the vendors on ali express is currently offering the barebones for $445.40, which is only about $50 more than the 8750H version.

    According to PassMark, those higher specs on the Xeon translate to scores of 2523 vs 2359 (+7%) and 13874 vs 12477 (+11%) for single/multi-core compared to the 8750H.

  7. Thanks for post, Chris!

    1. I don’t see Core i9 8950HK at 533 USD currently (nearly 600 USD now)… Have you used any coupons or there was a special discount on this item?
    2. The specs are very nice, but I doubt on reliability of the motherboard and it’s voltage regulation module… Who is supplier of motherboard and what is temperature of VRM’s, especially when overclocking?

    With the help of your news bought Cube i35 last summer for only 385 USD. Very useful notes on deals – need more of them on your site!

    • In my I7 model there is not a thermal sensor in the VRM’s so you can’t know their temperature and the motherboard is a no name brand the only reference is some sort
      of model number (S200H Ver: A1.2)

    • Hi, it was on sale and no coupons used. But wait for 28.3 there is an Aliexpress sale up and coming with some good discounts.

  8. Chris, does the external GPU stand need its own power, or does it get its power from the mini pc?

    • I use a Dell 200W 8pin DU-2 power brick and it will work with 1660 TI, 1060 and under GPU’s but not the 1080 Ti and the over 200W TDP cards.

  9. Holly smokes how is that possible!!!!!! faster than my desktop but just how big is it @Chris?

    • Well the clock speeds helps of course, but under heavy loads on 6 cores my 8700k is of course faster.

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