Handheld gaming PC maker AYA is stepping into the mini PC space with a compact computer designed to look like a classic Mac. It’s in keeping with the company’s habit of offering retro-inspired designs for some versions of its handhelds.

First unveiled earlier this month, the AYA Neo Retro Mini PC AM01 is now available for pre-order for $150 and up through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. But I’m not sure why anyone would buy the entry-level model. If you’re interesting in the AM01, I’d consider picking up the higher-spec model that starts at $220… or waiting for the upcoming AM02 which is expected to have a much more powerful processor.

Here’s the thing, the entry-level AM01 is cute. But it has an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor, which a 2019-era 15-watt dual-core chip with first-gen AMD Zen CPU cores and Radeon Vega mobile graphics. If you’re looking for a cheap, low-power mini PC solution, you’d probably be better off going with something like an Intel Processor N100 chip, which is a 6-watt, quad-core processor based on Intel’s Alder Lake-N architecture.

But there’s also a higher-performance version of the AM02 that costs just a little more and features an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U processor, which is a 2021-era 15-watt processor with 8 Zen 2 CPU cores and Radeon Vega graphics. It delivers much more performance without driving up the price very much, making me wonder why AYA is even bothering with the Ryzen 3 3200U version.

That said, the starting price for the Ryzen 3 model includes 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, while the starting price for the Ryzen 7 5700U model is for a barebones configuration. Here’s an overview of the crowdfunding and expected retail pricing for the AM01:

ProcessorConfigPrice (Early Bird)Price (Crowdfunding)Price (retail)
Ryzen 3 3200U8GB/256GB$150$199$199
Ryzen 3 3200U16GB/512GB$220$239$259
Ryzen 5 5700UBarebones$220$239$259
Ryzen 5 5700U8GB/256GB$271$299$319
Ryzen 5 5700U16GB/512GB$301$329$359
Ryzen 5 5700U32GB/512GB$331$359$389
Ryzen 5 5700U32GB/1TB$382$419$459

All versions feature the same Mac-inspired design, which includes a 132 x 132 x 61mm beige chassis, a black square that looks like a screen (but which isn’t), and are available with optional accessories including a keyboard, mat, and game controller and all versions are expected to begin shipping in December.

Ports include:

  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C
  • 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
  • 1 x USB 2.0 Type-A
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • 1 x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio

Under the hood, the computer has an M.2 2280 slot for PCIe 3.0 storage and room for a 2.5 inch SATA 3 hard drive or SSD, as well as two SODIMM slots for DDR4 memory and an M.2 2230 wireless card.

Ryzen 5000U models support up to 64GB of total memory, WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, while Ryzen 3000U versions top out at 32GB, WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2.

Except for the barebones model, all versions of the AYA Neo Retro Mini PC AM01 ship with Windows 11 Home pre-installed.

Since AYA specializing in gaming PCs, it’s not surprising that many of the promotional pictures for these little computers show people using them as micro game consoles. But neither system is really much of a CPU or graphics powerhouse. They should both be able to handle emulation of really old game consoles from the 80s and 90s, but if you want to play modern AAA games these are not the mini PCs for you.

That said, the AYA Neo Retro Mini PC AM01 is cute, cheap, and the Ryzen 7 5700U processor is decent enough for basic computing and probably won’t really start to show its age for a few more years (for non-gaming tasks, anyway). And AYA does note that its little computer has an active cooling system that should be able to allow the chip to run at up to 35-watts.

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  1. I liked my Ayaneo 2 but I think this is a miss. It provides nothing innovative and just throws an old apple macintosh shell on top of a nuc style PC. Maybe have it powered by a USBC PD, an oculink port, build in a screen, at least have dual networking ports so it can be used as a router. Include a working floppy drive for emulation purposes for people who like to use real hardware.

    1. I agree with the suggestions. Having a status display instead of a non-functional rectangle, or an external slot for a floppy / CD / minidisc / something drive, or at least some additional ports would make this much more compelling. I seriously considered buying one but just wasn’t sure (I mean that literally, besides also having doubts about customer service / reliability) what advantage I’d be getting if I were to buy this and not a competitor’s.

      It looks very basic, which would be fine if not for the question surrounding the company’s reliability. It could be visually satisfying to some, which is probably the main selling point. But is this particularly affordably-priced, or is there a significant premium for the aesthetical “cool” factor or due to this being a crowdfunded niche product?

      1. In terms of support they’ve been great. The released an updated cooling design and speaker design for there handheld and sent it out free of charge to all backers. For a small company they’ve provided more support than a lot of big companies which is impressive. They have a dedicated Discord where they provide real updates and support. I feel like they are repurposing chips from past handheld designs and throwing them in shells.

        1. Well that’s good to hear regarding support. I still wish this product offered more to justify buying it but I feel less uneasy about going for a suitable handheld in the future, which will most likely be from this brand if not Lenovo.