Update: If you missed it on the Youtube channel, the review is now online. I got in the end, the super-powerful Core i9 9900 version with 5Ghz max and 4.3Ghz across all 8 cores. As you can imagine the cooling is the weak spot on this. The seller actually limits the current limit of the CPU to keep the temps well under control. In fact too much so, but as you’ll see in my review you can tweak it to get the max performance at the cost of some high temps on that CPU.
An interesting new release on Aliexpress I’ve spotted looking for the next best powerful Mini PC out of China to review. It’s a small custom PC and motherboard with an upgradeable socket 1151 CPU slot & GPU slot. Yes! The last mini PCs I reviewed that were well-received were the Core i7 8750H ones which while very good, quiet and powerful for the size suffered from two things: No dedicated GPU for video editing acceleration or decent gaming.
These labeled “Gaming Mini PCs” solve that issue. You can configure these desktop CPUs anything from an i3-9100F quad-core, six-core i5 9400F, i7-9700 & 8 core i9-9900. The GPU in this one is of those funny half-height cards finally put to good use. While it’s a dedicated proper GPU just using PCIe power only the Gigabyte GTX1650 OC isn’t exactly a killer gaming card. However, It will game fine at 1080p and aid video editing with its 896 Cuda cores 12nm 75W Turning chip. And you could upgrade it when the new-gen half high cards are released this year or if the AMD Ryzen 570 ever comes in a half card low profile format.
The bare bone CPUs you can choose from:
- 9th Gen Intel i3-9100F 4 Cores 4 Threads 3.60GHz up to 4.20GHz 6M Cache
- 9th Gen Intel i5-9400F 6 Cores 6 Threads 2.90GHz up to 4.10GHz 9M Cache
- 9th Gen Intel i7-9700 8 Cores 8 Threads 3.0GHz up to 4.70GHz 12M Cache Intel® UHD Graphics 630
- 9th Gen Intel i9-9900 8 Cores 16 Threads 3.1GHz up to 5.0GHz 16M Cache Intel® UHD Graphics 630
464 euros for the base Core i3 9100F isn’t worth it. But the i5 9400F (Lacking iGPU) isn’t bad at all I think for 521 euros. Yes, you could build the same spec for about 450 euros or use a better GPU. But in a larger case. Now, these are the bare-bone prices. So you need to supply RAM and a 2.5″ drive or NVMe SSD. And if you want some serious power in a small package the Intel Core i9 9900 with 8 cores, 16 threads, and 5Ghz max is an option for 851 euros!
Ports and expansion
All models have Displayport, DVI, HDMI 2.0 (Up to 3 monitors) and an NVMe slot. 2.5″ SSD/HDD support. There is a mini PCEi card slot for upgradable wifi. They ship with Intel 3165 A/C BT 5.0 cards. But just add an Intel Wireless 9260 for gigabit Wifi and BT 5. There are 4 USB 3.0 ports, 3 x USB 2.0 ports, gigabit LAN and powered by a 180W power supply.
So it looks like a possible unit to review? Good for a mini workhorse PC. Light gaming, Linux or Hackintosh etc where you don’t need a crazy high-end GPU. But many questions arise, how are the thermals under load? Can the cooling handle the 65W 8 cores Core i9 9900? I think even a 9900K could run in this but the thermals WILL be an issue if overclocking. Those CPUs need massive coolers or water cooling. And yes you could build this spec for cheaper yourself, but this is for those that want a smaller form factor and not into building pcs.
This PC has been on sale for a while but older versions with GT 1050 Ti’s or GTX 750 Ti’s. The GTX 1650 is much quicker than them.
*IF* I was to review one which spec would you be more interested in? https://t.co/VwxZ048rOe
— TechTablets #MWC20 🇳🇿 (@TechTabletscom) January 6, 2020