GMKTech K8 Nucbox Mini PC Revew – With Ryzen 8845HS Processor

My latest review is of the GMKtec K8 “NucBox” Mini PC, featuring a Ryzen 8845HS processor. Priced around $649—with potential discounts available on platforms like Amazon—this mini PC merges notable performance with a compact form factor. But it has some shortcomings in networking and USB 4.0 performance.

Upon unboxing, I found the K8 to lack the metal design of some of the other Mini PC’s we’ve looked at lately. However, the real appeal of this device lies beneath its modest exterior. Equipped with that Ryzen processor, 32 GB of DDR5 5600 RAM, upgradable to 64 GB, and a 1 TB NVMe SSD with room for expansion, the K8 provides great performance for its price point.

Connectivity options on the K8 are similar to other Mini PCs, with a mix of USB 4.0, USB 3, and USB 2 ports, alongside dual 2.5 Gb Ethernet ports and multiple video output choices. However, during my testing, I encountered issues in the performance disparities between the Ethernet ports and found the USB 4.0 port’s throughput to fall short of its advertised 40 Gb/s capability.

The K8 comes with an activated copy of Windows 11 Pro. Like many PC makers, GMKTec found a loophole in the Microsoft licensing process which means that you will only be allowed to create a local account when first booting up.

The K8 proved itself as a capable for video editing, handling a simple 4K 60fps project effectively without any hiccups or lag running DaVinci Resolve.

Gaming on the K8 was a pleasant surprise; titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 and No Man’s Sky ran well at 1080p, showcasing the integrated GPU’s capabilities. While we couldn’t hit consistent 60 FPS rates, most games are comfortably over 30. Emulation performance was equally impressive, with the Dolphin Emulator running demanding titles at full frame rates.

Benchmarking further validated the K8’s performance credentials, positioning it alongside more expensive systems from just a few years ago equipped with dedicated GPUs. The stress test results showed minimal thermal throttling under load, though fan noise became noticeable during intensive tasks.

The K8’s versatility extends to Linux compatibility, with my tests on Ubuntu showing excellent hardware support out of the box. This adaptability makes the K8 a suitable candidate for a range of applications including home labs.

While the K8 may not be the perfect fit for users with high throughput demands for external storage and networking, its performance, upgradability, and competitive pricing make it a decent option for a variety of users. As with any purchase in this category, prospective buyers should weigh the balance of performance, price, and potential compromises to determine if the K8 meets their specific needs and expectations.

Disclaimer: GMKTec provided the Mini PC to the channel free of charge. However they did not review or approve the review before it was uploaded nor was any additional compenstation received.

Fanless Mini PC Review: The Minix Z100-0db

My latest mini PC review takes a look at the Minix Z100-0db, a fanless Mini PC powered by an Intel N100 Alder Lake processor.

Minix’s new offering stands out for its silent operation, courtesy of its robust heat sink that radiates out to the top of the case. The PC feels like a solid block of metal weighing in at over 2 pounds or 900+grams.

It performs surprisingly well given its price point thanks to the N100 inside. Our review unit came with 16GB of DDR4 RAM on a single stick along with a 512GB NVME. RAM, storage, and the WiFi card can be upgraded. It comes equipped with an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 card.

Port selection on the Z100-0db is adequate, featuring a data only USB-C port along with two USB-A ports running at USB 3 Gen 2 speeds, another pair at USB 2.0 speeds, a microSD card reader, dual HDMI outputs for 4K 60hz displays, and a single 2.5 gigabit ethernet port. The ethernet port worked at the full 2.5 gig bandwidth but the WiFi was running about 300 megabits per second below what was expected on the downstream. Upstream Wifi speeds were fine.

Windows 11 Pro comes pre-installed, providing a clean, bloatware-free experience right out of the box. Given some security issues we’ve seen with other MiniPCs I ran a few full malware and virus scans and everything came up clean here.

The Mini PC handles web browsing and office tasks with ease, demonstrating the capability of the Intel N100 processor to manage day-to-day activities efficiently.

Gaming and emulation tests were also good. This isn’t a gaming powerhouse by any means, it handles older games and emulation remarkably well, running titles like Half-Life 2 and PlayStation 2 games smoothly. Its performance in benchmarks and stress tests further underscores its stability and efficiency under load with no thermal throttling detected.

The Z100-0db also excels in running Linux, with Ubuntu detecting all hardware out of the box and providing a seamless experience for users interested in a dual-boot setup or dedicated Linux machine.

I’ve been looking at Mini PCs for the better part of a decade now. It’s great to see not only performance increasing year over year but also how it’s still possible to get great performance out of a completely silent fanless PC.

See more mini PC reviews here!

Disclosure: The Z100 was provided to the channel free of charge by Minix. However they did not review or approve this video before it was uploaded, nor was any additional compensation received. All opinions are my own.

Recent Ace Magic / Ace Magician PCs Infected with Malware

A fellow tech creator Net Guy Reviews discovered that a few new mini PCs from Ace Magic were infected with malware that among other things can capture keystrokes from the user.

Having reviewed a few Ace Magic PCs in the past, I wanted to make sure the machines I still had in my possession were clean. Most of them were, although. I did find something concerning in a newer model that I haven’t yet reviewed.

Background on this situation and my findings are the subject of my latest video.

Following the Net Guy’s video, a cascade of reports and articles, including a detailed one from Tom’s Hardware, emerged, outlining the severity of the issue. The spyware, identified as Bladabindi and Redline, is particularly nefarious, capable of stealing passwords from browsers and wallets, logging keystrokes, and transmitting data to a command and control server.

I conducted scans using multiple tools including Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool, Hitman Pro from Sofos, and Microsoft Defender on the three Ace Magic PCs I had in my possession. My AM06Pro and Kamrui Gaming PC both tested clean.

However, the situation was different with a newer model, the AM20, which restricted my access to Windows Defender. One other issue I noted on multiple Ace Magic PCs is that although they have licensed and activated versions of Windows, they only have the user create a local account – it does attempt to connect to a Microsoft online account.

ACE Magic’s response to the crisis has been to assure that the issue has been resolved with their new stock and was limited mostly to the PCs tested by Net Guy Reviews and others.

For the tech-savvy, the solution might be straightforward: wipe the machine clean and install a fresh copy of Windows or a flavor of Linux. But for the average user, this spyware saga is a reminder of the risks inherit with purchasing cheap computers from relatively unknown overseas brands.

Lenovo Ideacentre Mini PC Review (2023 / 2024 version)

In my latest review, I explored the Lenovo Ideacentre Mini, a new offering in the realm of mini PCs. This compact yet powerful device is reminiscent of the Mac Mini but runs on Windows and offers a more budget-friendly price point. You can find it at Best Buy and directly at Lenovo (compensated affiliate links).

The Ideacentre Mini I reviewed came with an Intel i7-13700H processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of NVMe storage. Its design facilitates easy upgrades; the RAM is expandable, and there are two NVMe slots with one empty for additional storage. A noteworthy feature is the integrated power supply, eliminating the need for a separate power brick.

Physically, the Mini offers a versatile setup. It can stand vertically or lie horizontally, though it lacks a VESA mount. The front hosts a USB 3 port with a USB-A connector, a USB-C port (non-Thunderbolt), and a headphone/microphone jack. The rear panel is more generous, offering a Thunderbolt port (ideal for external GPUs), two USB 3 ports, a USB 2 port, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, and a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet jack. The Ideacentre can output to multiple 4K output 60 Hz displays.

In terms of performance, it excels at basic tasks and web browsing, thanks to its robust Intel processor. Video playback on platforms like Netflix and YouTube runs smoothly, although I noticed a few dropped frames in 4K 60fps content.

I also tested the Ideacentre Mini for video editing with DaVinci Resolve, doing some basic 4K 60fps edits without noticeable lag or stuttering. It will struggle with more advanced tasks like color grading and other more strenuous editing tasks unless paired with an external GPU.

Gaming performance is respectable for a mini PC and on par with what we’ve seen from other current-gen Intel-based PCs that lack a separate GPU. Running Red Dead Redemption 2 and Doom Eternal at 720p on low settings, the device managed playable frame rates. However, for more intensive gaming, a mini PC with an AMD Ryzen processor might be a better choice.

One notable downside is the fan noise. While idle, the device is quiet, but under load, the fan becomes noticeably louder. It’s not excessively disruptive but could be an issue for those preferring a silent work environment.

For those interested in running Linux, the Ideacentre Mini supports alternative operating systems. I tested it with the latest version of Ubuntu and found all major functions like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and audio working correctly. The dual NVMe slots also make it convenient for dual-boot setups with Windows and Linux.

The Lenovo Ideacentre Mini is a solid, affordable option in the mini PC market. It offers good performance, upgradeability, and support from a renowned brand like Lenovo. The only compromise is the fan noise under load, but otherwise, it stands as a competent and versatile choice for both professional and personal use.

MINISFORUM EliteMini UTM780 XTX Mini PC Review

I recently had the opportunity to delve into the MINISFORUM EliteMini UM780 XTX Mini PC, a high-performance Mini PC. You can see my full review here.

Priced at around $623, the EliteMini UM780 is equipped with an 8 core Ryzen 7840HS processor, 32 GB of DDR5 RAM (upgradeable to 64GB) along with a 1TB SSD. It has an empty NVME/PCIe 4.0 slot for additional storage or an included Oculink riser board.

Oculink allows for connecting external devices (like a GPU) directly to the PCI Express Bus. Some testing I’ve seen shows that the Oculink connection can provide better performance than a Thunderbolt GPU as there’s less overhead. This might be something we explore in the future.

The device’s rear ports include two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, DisplayPort & HDMI, dual 2.5 Gbit ethernet, and a space for the Oculink card’s port. The ethernet ports deliver impressive performance, but the Wi-Fi capabilities fall short, especially when compared to other Wi-Fi 6 devices.

The device’s USB 4 ports don’t quite deliver the expected performance, particularly when tested with external drives like the Thunderbolt Samsung X5 which is compatible with USB 4.0. The Samsung drive performed at full performance on the Beelink SER7 we looked at recently.

The front of the device features additional USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a USB 4 port, and audio jacks.

The EliteMini UM780 requires a separate 120-watt power supply and offers a TDP of 65 watts, which can be increased to 70 watts for enhanced processor performance.

Aesthetically, the Mini PC includes a customizable LED light on the top, adding a touch of personalization. It also comes with VESA mount and desktop stand options for versatile placement.

In terms of general performance, the EliteMini UM780 excels in basic business tasks and web browsing. It handles 4K video streaming and basic video editing efficiently. Gaming performance is also commendable, with games like Red Dead Redemption 2, Doom Eternal, and No Man’s Sky running smoothly at lower settings.

Benchmark tests place the Mini PC in line with other high-performing devices, and its cooling system effectively manages thermals without excessive noise. The device also offers a solid Linux experience, recognizing all essential hardware components.

In summary, the MINISFORUM EliteMini UM780 XTX Mini PC is a versatile and powerful device that excels in gaming and general performance. While it has areas for improvement, particularly in Wi-Fi and USB 4 port performance, its strengths in processing power, storage speed, and gaming capabilities make it a noteworthy option in the mini PC market.

But at this moment I do think the Beelink SER7 is the superior device.

Disclosure: Minisforum sent the computer to the channel free of charge however this is not a sponsored review nor they did not review or approve this content before it was uploaded. 

Beelink SER7 Review: The most powerful Mini PC I have ever tested

I’ve been reviewing mini PCs for almost a decade now, with the first being this fanless Brix PC I looked at way back in 2014. Over time they seem to get incrementally better with newer and more powerful SOCs making their way to market. However, the past year has been quite remarkable, especially with the influx of Ryzen-based mini PCs. Among these, the Beelink SER7 stands out as one of the most impressive I’ve encountered, both in terms of features and performance. You can see more in my latest review.

The Beelink SER7, priced around $600 (depending on configuration), is powered by a Ryzen 7840HS processor. This eight-core processor, built on the Zen 4 architecture, delivers amazing CPU and graphics performance in a very small package.

The unit I reviewed had 32GB of DDR5 RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD. It’s also upgradeable. By removing the bottom plate, you’ll find a second NVMe SSD slot. However, to get to the RAM and the other NVMe slot, you’ll need to dig a little deeper and remove a large heat sink. The system can support up to 64GB of RAM.

The front of the SER7 features a headphone/microphone jack and a USB Type-C data port. The back offers more connectivity options, including two USB 2.0 ports, a 2.5-gigabit ethernet port, a DisplayPort & HDMI output, and two USB4 ports that also support video output. These USB4 ports are compatible with Thunderbolt devices, allowing for connections to external GPUs or Thunderbolt hard drives. The ports can deliver 40 gigabits of data transfer each. The device can also be powered through these ports, with a maximum input of 100 watts.

In terms of performance, the SER7 is impressive. Web browsing feels almost instantaneous. I tested 4K 60fps video playback on YouTube, and while it dropped a few frames, it wasn’t significant. The browserbench.org speedometer benchmark test yielded a score of 333, which is consistent with other current-generation Ryzen and Intel processors.

For those interested in video editing, the SER7 handles it well. I loaded up DaVinci Resolve with a 4K 60fps project, and it rendered simple transitions in real-time without any lag. Gaming performance was also commendable. Games like Red Dead Redemption 2 ran smoothly at 1080p with frame rates often exceeding 50fps. Doom Eternal and Fortnite also performed well at low settings, delivering frame rates between 70-90fps at 1080p.

On the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark test, the SER7 scored 3258, which is comparable to a seventh-generation Intel processor-based mini PC with a GTX 1060 GPU. What’s notable is that the SER7 achieves this with a single chip that consumes far less power.

I also tested the SER7 with Linux, using the latest version of Ubuntu. While performance was snappy, there were issues with audio detection and Wi-Fi connectivity. However, ethernet worked without any problems.

In conclusion, the Beelink SER7 is a robust mini PC. Its construction is solid, and the performance is top-notch. The inclusion of USB4 with Thunderbolt support is a significant advantage. While there are some minor issues with Linux compatibility, if you’re a Windows user seeking a compact yet powerful machine, the SER7 is worth considering.

Disclosure: Beelink provided the Mini PC to the channel free of charge for this review however they did not review or approve my review before it was uploaded.

Kamrui Ryzen Mini PC Review

As the computer component market is becoming less and less constrained we’re starting to see A LOT of cheap but nicely performing Mini PCs flood the market. We looked at a couple of “Ace Magician PCs” over the last couple of weeks and my latest review is of another sub-brand of theirs called Kamrui. This particular model is geared for gaming.

The Kamrui Mini PC is priced around $500, which can vary based on promotions, coupon deals, etc. For this price, it’s impressively equipped with a Ryzen 7735HS processor, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and 512GB of NVMe storage. The device is user-friendly when it comes to upgrades. You can easily swap out the NVMe or upgrade the RAM to 64GB. Additionally, there’s a SATA storage area for adding a 2.5-inch notebook hard drive.

In terms of ports, it offers a good variety, including USB-C, USB 3, HDMI outputs, and more. However, the USB-C port isn’t full-speed USB 4, and while it supports video output, it doesn’t support an external GPU. The device also features 2.5 gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth.

Upon booting, I was pleased to find a clean, licensed copy of Windows 11 Pro. The Mini PC has RGB lighting on top, which currently can’t be turned off, but software adjustments are expected soon. There’s a performance rocker switch on the device, allowing users to adjust between performance, auto, and silent modes. This switch slightly adjusts fan noise and performance. While the fan isn’t overly loud, it does run almost constantly.

In terms of performance, web browsing is swift and responsive. However, I did notice minor frame drops when running 4K 60fps videos on YouTube. Video editing on DaVinci Resolve with a 4K 60 video project showed some stuttering, especially with cross dissolves. For live streaming, I tested vmix, which worked decently for 1080p projects but struggled with 4K.

Gaming is where this device truly shines. Games like Red Dead Redemption 2, No Man’s Sky, Doom Eternal, and Ace Combat 7 performed well at 1080p with low settings. Emulation, such as the PS2 game Outrun 2006, also ran smoothly. It performed well in my benchmarks but the 3DMark Stress Test indicated potential performance reduction during extended gaming sessions.

I also tested Linux on the device, using the latest version of Ubuntu. Everything, from audio to video, was recognized and performed well.

In conclusion, the Kamrui Ryzen 7735HS Mini Gaming PC offers good value for its price point, especially considering its RAM and processing power. However, potential buyers should be aware of its limitations, especially during extended gaming sessions. While the quality level I’ve seen from this company so far is good, long-term support for such no-name brand PCs can be a concern. Still, for those seeking a well-performing secondary or primary PC at a low price, this is a solid choice.

Disclosure: Kamrui provided the PC to the channel free of charge for this review.

AceMagician T8Plus Tiny Windows Mini PC Review

A few weeks ago we looked at a surprisingly decent little mini PC from AceMagician – a PC maker I hadn’t heard of before. In my latest video we take a look at another one called the T8Plus which is even smaller and powered by an Intel N95 processor.

The price point of the T8Plus is around $199, but with a coupon on Amazon, it can be brought down to $150. Inside, it houses an Intel N95 processor, a lower-end chip that is not as powerful as the Ryzen version we looked at a few weeks ago but still fast enough to be useful. It comes with 8GB of RAM, which is soldered on, and a 256GB NVMe that can be replaced. There’s a slightly more expensive version that has 16GB of RAM soldered on. Both versions boot to Windows 11 Pro which is licensed and pre-installed on the unit.

The T8Plus has three HDMI outputs capable of delivering 4K at 60 frames per second out of each independently. It also has three USB 3 ports, two gigabit ethernet ports (powered by Realtek chipsets), a headphone/microphone jack, and a Kensington lock slot. Unfortunately there are no USB-C ports.

Performance-wise, the T8Plus is surprisingly snappy. Basic tasks such as loading up Microsoft Word or browsing websites are handled with ease. It also performs well for media playback either locally or via streaming services. Because it has an Intel chip with Quicksync on board it should perform well as a Plex server.

For gaming, the T8Plus can handle older games like Half-Life 2 which we were able play at 30fps at a 4k resolution. However, it struggles with more modern games like No Man’s Sky, which could barely get 15 frames per second at 720p. Ryzen Mini PCs do much better and often deliver playable framerates with AAA titles.

But due to its video processing prowess the T8Plus exceled at game streaming, delivering a 4K 60 stream from the GeForce Now service.

The T8Plus also performs well with Linux, with Ubuntu 23.04 running smoothly on it. All the hardware was detected successfully, and the performance feels snappy, making it a great solution for those looking to experiment with Linux as a desktop.

The AceMagician T8Plus is a capable and inexpensive mini PC worth considering. It offers good performance for its price point, making it a suitable choice for basic tasks or even as a mini server. However, if you’re shopping around, it might be worth looking at some of the Ryzen mini PCs, which may offer significantly better performance for just a little more money.

AceMagician AM06Pro: A Mini PC with a Few Tricks Up Its Sleeve

In my latest video I took a closer look at the AceMagician AM06Pro, a mini PC that surprised me with its performance and features. This device, powered by a Ryzen 5800U processor, comes with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD, all for a price of around $329 with a coupon on Amazon.

The AM06Pro stands out with its ability to output to four 4K displays simultaneously, a feature not commonly found in mini PCs. It also sports dual Ethernet ports, one of which supports 2.5Gbps, providing ample connectivity options.

As expected given its hardware specifications it handled tasks like web browsing, word processing, and even light 4k video editing without any issues. Gaming performance was also satisfactory, with games like No Man’s Sky and Red Dead Redemption 2 running smoothly at lower settings.

Given the price point there are a few areas that aren’t perfect. The fan noise can get quite noticeable when the device is under heavy load although it doesn’t ramp up and down constantly like some others I’ve looked at. I’m also a little weary of the generic-looking NVMe SSD which may not offer the same reliability as more well-known brands.

On the software side, the device comes bundled with Windows 11 Pro, and it also runs Linux distributions like Ubuntu without any issues. However, as with any product from a lesser-known brand, potential buyers should be aware of the risks involved – especially when it comes to after-sale support.

In conclusion, the AceMagician AM06Pro is a capable mini PC that offers good value for its price. Its unique features and solid performance make it a good option for those in the market for a compact computing solution.

New Video : Beelink Mini S Mini PC Review

Today we’re taking a look at another Mini PC, the Beelink Mini S. This is an entry level Mini PC running with an Intel Jasper Lake processor. It’s not bad if you’re doing basic tasks like word processing, spreadsheets and email.

Where it falls short is in its memory configuration. Although it can be expanded to 16 gigabytes beyond its included 8GB, the Mini S only has a single channel of memory. This limits the performance of its processor for more intensive tasks.

In my testing I found that it had a hard time keeping up with 4k 60fps YouTube videos – something that other Jasper Lake processors with dual channel memory can handle with relative ease. It will also limit its performance for other tasks like casual gaming and game emulation.

That said if you’re looking to build out a bunch of thin clients for an enterprise the price here is pretty reasonable especially as it comes with Windows 11 Pro pre-installed. Ubuntu also boots up perfectly on these too.

The system supports two storage devices (one MSATA and a 2.5″ SATA drive) so there’s plenty of storage expandability.

The systems come with a VESA mount and have a very quiet system fan.