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MINIX NEO J50C-4 Mini PC Review

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Mini PC Review

Intel Gemini Lake processors and related have been merchandise  obtainable for a number of months, and though I’ve revealed a number of Gemini Lake critiques, these have been courtesy of Linuxium, which suggests MINIX NEO J50C-Four is my very first Gemini Lake mini PC.

We’ve already appeared on the hardware and equipment in MINIX NEO J50C-Four Pentium J5005 Mini PC Review – Half 1: Unboxing, Home windows Distant, M.2 SSD, and Teardown, and targeted on MINIX NEO W2 distant management in a separate assessment submit.  So within the second a part of the assessment, I’ll concentrate on my expertise with Home windows 10 Professional, earlier than possible publishing a 3rd half about Ubuntu / Linux in a number of weeks.

The assessment will probably be slightly totally different than normal since I’m on the street, and in consequence I didn’t take all my equipment with me to journey mild. I additionally needed to discover a room with a Full HD TV that comes with HDMI enter. I found there are some flat TVs that don’t include HDMI enter in any respect, and as anticipated, different mannequin are simply HD prepared so restricted to 1280×720 or 1388×768 natively.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Review Wireless Keyboard Mouse
Ultimately, I discovered the proper place, and related the naked minimal to the mini PC with a wi-fi keyboard / mouse combo, an HDMI cable and the facility provide. I needed to do some adjustment nevertheless.

Altrillin TV Overscan Dot by DotFirst the output can be cropped as a result of overscan, and in my LG TV I’d usually choose “Just Scan”, however for this Altrillin TV I needed to choose “Dot by Dot” within the settings as an alternative. Whereas the brand on the entrance reads “Altrillin”, the NBTC sticker – NBTC is Thailand’s FCC equal – exhibits the mannequin is Altron LTV-3203. Altron is a Thai TV producer, and the product web page doesn’t mentions a lot, however nonetheless confirms it’s a HD (1080p) TV.

Windows 10 Blurred Text on TVBlurred Textual content with Sharpness Set to 50 (out of 100)

I needed to look it up, because the textual content was actually blurry on the show, and I questioned if some upscale to 1080p was the rationale. After a number of trial-and-error makes an attempt I came upon I needed to set Sharpness to zero.

If the TV settings out of the best way, I can now be sure that as well Home windows 10 Professional from the SSD I put in within the first a part of the assessment.  This half is simply helpful should you bought the M.2 SSD for NEO J50C04 mini PC. If not you possibly can skip that half. The consumer guide explains to take action in 4 steps:

  1. Boot Home windows 10 from eMMC earlier than putting in the SSD to activate Home windows first
  2. Shutdown the PC, and set up the M.2 SSD pre-loaded with Home windows 10 Professional
  3. Go to the BIOS, and disable the eMMC
  4. Boot Home windows 10 from the SSD

And I’d undoubtedly advocate you comply with that method, however I had put in the SSD earlier than happening holidays, and I didn’t take a screwdriver with me, so I made a decision to go a barely totally different path.

I pressed “Esc” at boot time in an effort to enter the BIOS…

MINIX NEO J50C-4 BIOSClick on to Enlarge

…which by the best way appears full-featured as in earlier MINIX mini PCs.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 BIOS Advanced Settings
I determine to utterly disable SATA to ensure I activate Home windows 10 Professional from the SSD first. To take action, go to Chipset->South Cluster Configuration->SATA drives and eventually set Chipset SATA to Disabled.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Disable SATA
We will now reboot the pc, and undergo the Home windows 10 setup wizard.
MINIX-NEO-J50C-4-Windows-10-SetupEnsure you allow community connectivity since that is wanted for Home windows to activate itself. We will now go to the System Information to verify Home windows 10 is certainly activated.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Windows 10 Pro Activation-eMMCClick on to Enlarge

All good. I additionally took the event to run CrystakDiskMark on the eMMC flash, however extra on that a bit later. Time to get again within the BIOS, re-enable Chipset SATA, and disable the eMMC in Chipset->South Cluster Configuration, by setting SCC eMMC Suport to Disable.
MINIX NEO J50C-4 Disable eMMC flashThat’s the advice within the consumer guide, however in case you are positive you don’t need to boot Home windows 10 Professional from the eMMC flash, I don’t see why you may not wipe out the content material of the eMMC flash as a way to get some additional 32GB of knowledge storage.

Anyway, time to reboot the pc to start out Home windows 10 Professional from the SSD…MINIX UEFI ShellOops! I didn’t anticipate that… UEFI Shell… So one final journey into the BIOS to vary the boot sequence as follows:J50C-4 Fix SSD Boot BIOSHome windows Boot Supervisor first, then UEFI…

That did the trick, and we have to undergo a barely totally different Home windows 10  wizard for some causes.

WIndows 10 Pro SSD Setup

MINIX NEO J50C-Four System Information

As soon as accomplished, and we will certainly affirm Home windows 10 Professional continues to be activated even after booting from the SSD.

windows-10-pro-ssd-minix-neo-j50c-4Click on to Enlarge

Let’s additionally affirm the specs: Intel Pentium Silver J5005 CPU, 4GB RAM, and a 118GB partition with 106GB free area. Wonderful.

MINIX-NEO-J50C-4-Device-ManagerClick on to Enlarge

I additionally took a couple of screenshots of the System Supervisor for individuals wanting extra technical particulars concerning the system.

minix-neo-j50c-4-tpm-2.0Click on to Enlarge

Since TPM 2.zero is listed, I ran tpm.msc once more to verify the hardware safety gadget is certainly supported.

hwinfo64 pentium j5005HWiNFO64 is all the time helpful to take a look at detailed information concerning the processor. We will see Intel Pentium J5005 Gemini Lake processor has another options in comparison with Apollo Lake processor: SGX, Intel Software program Guard Extensions designed to guard chosen code and knowledge from disclosure or modification, and that lately made the information because of the new L1 Terminal fault safety flaws in Intel processors. One also needs to not the mini PC is fitted with a single RAM stick, therefore the only channel mode listed within the utility, nevertheless it does include two RAM sockets, so including RAM might additional enhance efficiency, and never solely due to the additional capability, but in addition as a result of the system would then use twin channel reminiscence entry.

I’ve run the standard Home windows benchmark on NEO J50C-Four mini PC, beginning with PCMark 10.

pcmark 10 Pentium J5005Click on to Enlarge

1,996 factors is roughly as one ought to anticipate, though Intel NUC Package NUC7PJYH – fitted with the identical Pentium J5005 processor – achieved 2,166 factors. However, it’s nonetheless considerably greater than the 1,568 factors achieved in final yr’s  MINIX NEO N42C-Four mini PC.

PassMark PerformanceTest 9.zero failed to modify the DirectX 10 check to fullscreen mode, identical to within the Intel NUC evaluate.Passmark-fails-DirectX-10-Full-ScreenAs an alternative the check was run in a tiny window, with the benchmark device penalizing the rating by 87% to compensate for the decrease decision. I solely had troubles with this particular check, and the remainder of the benchmark might full with out points.

MINIX-NEO-J50C-4-PerformanceTest-9.0 Outcomes: 1074.9 factors. That’s additionally a lot better than MINIX NEO N42-C, however keep in mind that Passmark PerformanceTest attribute a non-insignificant portion of the rating, to Disk Mark, and I ran the check on N42C-Four operating Home windows from the eMMC flash, whereas Home windows ran from a quicker SSD in J50C-Four. The Intel NUC acquired a fairly greater 1771.9 factors in the identical benchmark, however the SSD used had a Disk Mark twice as giant. The opposite sections of the benchmark had extra comparable scores, apart from 3D graphics that was a lot decrease on the MINIX system: 180.1 vs 716.7 factors. So I ran the check once more, ensuring I click on on OK as quickly because the DirectX 10 drawback happens.

passmark-9-3d-graphics-mark-j5005

Comparable – even worse – outcome. I’m not fairly positive why this might occur until there are some driver points, or perhaps some exams are extremely relying on reminiscence bandwidth (single channel vs twin channel).

UL 3DMark outcomes are additionally a bit decrease than within the Intel NUC, apart from Ice Storm.

3DMark-MINIX-NEO-J50C-4Click on to Enlarge

Outcomes vs Intel NUC: Hearth Strike: 457 vs 701; Sky Diver: 1914 vs 2529; Cloud Gate: 3358 vs 4591; Ice Storm: 36,416 vs 30,820.

These outcomes are nonetheless a lot better than 3DMark outcomes for MINIX NEO N42C-Four, which additionally got here with a single RAM stick, so after perhaps reminiscence bandwidth is absolutely necessary right here.

Full record of end result:

The eMMC storage utilized in J50C-Four nevertheless seems to be a bit slower than the one in N42-Four which might ship as much as 300 MB/s sequential learn velocity, however the all necessary random write/learn numbers are fairly higher.

crystaldiskmark emmc MINIX-NEO-J50C-4However the elective M.2 SSD nonetheless performs fairly higher beside providing the additional area for Home windows 10 and apps.

MINIX NEO J50C-4 CrystalDiskMark SSDI’ve not run CrystalDiskMark on my USB drive this time, however I might copy movies to a USB three.zero stick at round 100MB/s, so no issues right here.

I’d usually check networking at this stage, however all lodges are restricted to single band 802.11n WiFi.

wifi-802.11n-J50C-4Having stated that, I cannot issues to attach. Efficiency was a bit sluggish at time, however very doubtless unrelated to the mini PC’s Intel  Wi-fi-AC 3168 module.

The chart under compares outcomes for Apollo Lake, Gemini Lake, and Core-M units, in addition to an older Atom x5 Cherry Path mini PC. Some benchmarks have been divided and multiplied by a coefficient with a view to match on the identical chart, so don’t essential take a look at the uncooked numbers, however as an alternative the delta between every system. Critiques have been additionally made in several years, and older mannequin might not have knowledge for newer benchmarks.

Apollo-Lake-Gemini-Lake-Core-M-BenchmarksClick on to Enlarge

The Gemini Lake processor performs near the Core-m3 processor in 3D graphics, and that’s with disappointing outcomes probably because of using a single channel reminiscence configuration (TBD). The SSD performs fairly nicely when it comes to sequential learn/write velocity, and PCMark 10 exhibits a transparent leap between Apollo Lake techniques and MINIX Gemini Lake pc. Passmark is much less helpful since storage has such an impression on the general rating.

I browsed the online with a number of tabs, watched some YouTube movies, ran LibreOffice and Gimp, and play 1080 and 4K H.264 and H.265 movies in Kodi, and the system is sweet sufficient as a primary desktop machine. It was already my feeling with Apollo Lake machines, however with Gemini Lake it’s one other step when it comes to efficiency. I’m all the time stunned by how fluid movies are on x86 methods in comparison with most Arm based mostly TV packing containers, and this time was no totally different. Asphalt8 Airbone recreation performed considerably extra smoothy than on Apollo Lake mini PCs I reviewed earlier than, though the body fee continues to be not optimum IMHO.

Once I reviewed MINIX NEO N42C-Four mini PC I by no means managed to make the system throttle as a consequence of overheating, however the transfer from a 6W to a 10W processors with an analogous thermal design is beginning to present the restrict of the design, and thermal throttling happens even throughout regular utilization.NEO J50C-4 Thermal Throttling That’s in a room at about 25°C, however having that stated I didn’t expertise any user-noticeable slowdowns whereas utilizing the pc.

We will run AIDA64 efficiency stress check to additional analyze the conduct.

NEO J50C-4 Stress Test Overheating CPU ThrottlingClick on to Enlarge

After 30 minutes – as proven above – we will see the temperature is consistently at round 95 C or extra on all 4 cores, and there’s some CPU throttling, however the present frequency stays at 2.Four GHz on all cores just about more often than not. The utmost dip was of 12%, so doubtless unnoticeable from a consumer’s perspective. I might discover some brief dips to 2.three Ghz occasionally, however nothing extra.

Then I flip off the aircon, and went for dinner for a bit over one hour.

NEO-J50C-4-CPU-Throttling-High-Ambient-TemperatureClick on to Enlarge

Room temperature raised to round 30°C, and once I got here again I observed throttling was extra prevalent seeing the frequency drop to 1.7GHz on one or two cores on occasion. More often than not I might see 2.zero to 2.2 GHz on the cores. AIDA64 confirmed a 41%max throttling which might have definitely be observed by the top consumer.

So I turned  aircon on once more, and waited for one hour or so for the room temperature to drop to round 25°C, and verify the outcomes once more.

NEO-J50C-4-CPU-Throttling-25C-Ambient-TemperatureClick on to Enlarge

The throttling turned much less intense, and CPU frequency obtained again to a daily 2.4GHz with some brief drops to 2.2 or 2.zero GHz. So whereas CPU throttling does happen on MINIX NEO J50C-Four, it’s additionally depending on room temperature, and when the mini PC works at room temperature under 25ºC at the very least, it shouldn’t be noticeable in any respect, however when going near 30ºC extra extreme CPU throttling will begin to happen.

The fan runs at variable velocity. Beneath mild masses, it’s barely audible, however beneath heavier masses it’s clearly audible from one meter away. Nevertheless, I’ve to show off the air conditioner to listen to it, because the air movement (set to low velocity) sound covers utterly the noise from the fan. Whereas I’m speaking about noise, I ought to in all probability add that when beginning the mini PC the interior speaker make a reasonably loud beep, and I’ve not discovered a solution to disable this sound from the BIOS.

I anticipated Gemini Lake based mostly MINIX NEO J50C-Four mini PC to supply an identical expertise as Apollo Lake powered NEO N42C-Four mannequin, however with a bit extra efficiency, and that’s principally what the corporate delivered: A Home windows 10 Professional mini PC that able to primary desktop use like shopping, informal gaming, watching movies and so forth. The elective SSD pre-loaded with Home windows 10 Professional does assist with improved efficiency, and 128GB is far simpler to handle than 32GB storage when operating Home windows.

One main distinction is that whereas N42C-Four would by no means throttle beneath heavy load, my testing came upon that J504-C does to a restricted prolong when ambient temperature is round 25°C, and it turn into extra of an issue when room temperature rises round 30°C or above.

I additionally observed some benchmarks, particularly 3D graphics, yielded fairly decrease scores than an Intel NUC based mostly on the identical Intel Pentium Silver J5005 processor, and I think the rationale could also be using single channel reminiscence by default as an alternative of twin channel reminiscence as within the case of the NUC. This must be additional examined for affirmation, since MINIX NEO J50C-Four comes with two SO-DIMM sockets however just one is fitted with reminiscence.

In case you are within the mini PC, you’ll have to attend a number of extra weeks, as official launch is deliberate for early October with MINIX NEO J50C-Four  priced at $299.90, and the 128GB “Windows 10 Pro” SSD for $64.90 if bought individually. The bundle with the mini PC and the SSD can be provided for $354.80. These ought to ultimately turn out to be out there on MINIX official Amazon retailer, in addition to different distributors.