While some Chinese PC makers have been building computers featuring the latest Intel or AMD processors, a handful have been taking a different approach and using older chips as a way to balance price and performance.
The latest example? The MINIX NGC-5 is a compact desktop computer powered by 28-watt Intel Core i5-8259U Coffee Lake processor with Iris Plus 655 graphics. It’s available from AliExpress for $559.
At that price, you get a 6″ x 6″ x 1.7″ Windows 10 computer with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe SSD, both of which can be upgraded (the system supports up to 32GB of RAM.
Ports include HDMI 2.0a, DisplayPort 1.2, and USB-C, which means you can connect up to three external displays. There are also two Gigabit Ethernet ports, four USB 3.1 ports, a microSD card reader, 3.5mm audio jack, RS-232 COM port, and a nano SIM card slot (there’s an M.2 2242 slot that can be used for an optional cellular modem).
The computer also comes with a replaceable wireless card supporting WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 and there are two antennas that can be screwed into the back of the computer.
While the Intel Core i5-8259U processor was released in 2018, it’s still a pretty decent chip that offers CPU performance on par with a 2020 processor like the Core i5-1035G7 or current-gen budget processors like Intel’s Pentium Gold 7505. Its Iris Plus 655 GPU was also more powerful than most integrated graphics solutions available a few years ago, so while this is hardly a gaming PC, it should be adequate for light video or graphics work.
MINIX isn’t the first Chinese PC maker to tap this line of chips for use in a mini PC though. Beelink and GMK released their own compact computers with Intel’s Coffee Lake processors earlier this year.
Here are a few options currently available:
- GMK NucBox 2 w/Core i5-8279U/8GB/256GB for $460
- Beelink GTI w/Core Core i5-8259U/16GB/512GB for $509 (clip coupon)
- Beelink mini PC w/Core i5-8259U/16GB/512GB for $504 (clip coupon)
- Beelink mini PC w/Core i5-8279U/16GB/512GB for $523 (clip coupon)