When I reviewed the Intel Bean Canyon NUC small form factor desktop computer in 2018, I noted that its 28-watt Intel Core i5-8259U processor with Intel Iris Plus 655 graphics gave it an edge over most other similarly-sized mini PCs at the time.

A few years later, Intel has a few 15-watt processors that can give the chip a run for its money, but the Core i5-8259U chip based on Intel Coffee Lake architecture is still no slouch, and it’s better than the processors powering many of the mini desktops coming from Chinese PC makers, for example.

But now two of those Chinese PC makers have released compact desktop computers that use the same processor as Intel’s Bean Canyon NUC systems. The GMK NucBox2Beelink SEI, and Beelink GTI were introduced in January, 2021 and now they’re available for purchases, with starting prices that are similar or a little lower than what you’d pay for a Bean Canyon NUC.

Beelink SEI and GTI Series with Core i5-8259U

The latest PCs from Beelink will actually be available with several different processor options. There’s a version with a 10th-gen Intel Core i3-10110U Comet Lake dual-core processor, and another version with an older, but faster 8th-gen Core i5-8259U quad-core chip.

Beelink SEI i5-8259U
Beelink SEI i5-8259U

The SEI i5-8259U model is available for purchase from Amazon for $469 (or $439 when you click the on-page coupon), and comes with 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of PCIe NVMe solid state storage.

This little computer measures 4.9″ x 4.4″ x 1.6″ and features:

  • Intel Core i5-8259U
  • DDR4-2400 memory (up to 32GB via 2 x SODIMM slots)
  • M.2 2280 for PCIe NVMe SSD (up to 2TB)
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1 x USB-C
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
  • 1 x microSD card reader
  • WiFi 6
  • Windows 10 Pro

The computer features dual heat pipes and a “quiet large fan,” but does not appear to have room for a hard drive.

If you’re looking for something a little larger with a few extra features including support for dual storage cards, more USB ports, and a fingerprint sensor atop the case, there’s the Beelink GTI i5-8259U mini PC. It’s available from Amazon for $499 (or $455 when you click the on-page coupon), and comes with 8GB of RAM, 256Gb of storage, and Windows 10 Pro.

Beelink GTI i5-8259U
Beelink GTI i5-8259U

Features for this model include:

  • Intel Core i5-8259U
  • DDR4-2400 memory (up to 32GB via 2 x SODIMM slots)
  • 1 x M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe slot
  • 1 x M.2 2280 SATA 3 slot
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x USB Type-C
  • 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A
  • Stereo microphones
  • Fingerprint reader

The larger model also has two heat pipes and two fans for cooling.

GMK NucBox2

GMK is the company that released the NucBox mini PC with an Intel Celeron processor and a 2.4″ x 2.4″ x 1.7″ that I reviewed last summer.

The company’s new NucBox2 is a larger PC that has room for additional ports and more options for memory and storage. But it’s still small enough to easily pick up and hold in one hand.

GMK NucBox2

It’s available for pre-order for $499 (or $449 when you use the promo code Welcome50) and it should ship in mid-March. That price will get you a model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe NVMe solid state storage, but the 4.9″ x 4.3″ x 1.9″ computer supports up to 32GB of RAM and has a 2.5 inch drive bay that you can also use to add a hard drive or SSD.

Other features include:

  • 2 x HDMI 1.4 ports
  • 1 x USB 3.0 Gen 2 Type-C port
  • 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A ports
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • WiFi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.1

via @Beelinkofficial (1)(2)(3) and GMK 

This article was originally published January 19, 2021 and last updated March 10, 2021

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5 replies on “Beelink and GMK mini PCs with Intel Core i5-8259U and Iris Plus 655 now available”

  1. No mention of compatibility with Linux. Other Beelink products have Wifi adapters that are incompatible with Linux distros like Ubuntu. I had to return a previous Beelink product, because Beelink support said they did not support Linux on it.

      1. Thanks! That’s good news. But it could use a customized version of Manjaro that includes proprietary drivers for Wifi and AMD graphics. The hardware might not be supported by Open Source drivers from other Linux distros.

  2. I don’t understand how these Chinese mini PCs (not just these two brands and these three models in particular but many similar ones in general) are competitive compared to well established players such as the OG Intel NUC you linked to. They are not cheaper at all as far as I can see, they come with presumably less supported and compatible hardware in general, without a Thunderbolt port if you care about that (why wouldn’t you?), not to mention general support, driver, and warranty issues.

    1. Yeah, I can never find any reason to buy many of these i3/i5/i7 powered Mini PCs from China.

      Even if they do come out $100 cheaper than an Intel NUC, I’d still rather buy the NUC for many reasons

      The Wifi/BT adapter is a normal Intel brand with great driver support
      The power adapter is common enough to replace easily
      Linux support
      Support for specific models of RAM is sometimes a question with Mini PCs. Intel always wins in this regard.

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