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Last summer a couple of Chinese companies began selling M8S mini PC that packs three HDMI 2.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and three USB 3.0 Type-A ports into a computer that measures just 88 x 88 x 39mm (3.5″ x 3.5″ x 1.5″) and weighs just 248 grams (9 ounces).
At the time the system shipped with an Celeron N5105 processor, but now you can pick one up with a newer, higher-performance Intel Processor N100 chip. Morefine is selling the M8S for $197 and up through its AliExpress store, while Topton is selling the system for $186 and up.
The Intel Celeron N5105 processor is a 10-watt, 4-core, 4-thread chip released in 2021, while the Intel Processor N100 is a 6-watt, 4-core, 4-thread chip launched this year. Despite its lower base power consumption level, the new chip offers a significant boost in CPU performance and should offer similar gains in graphics.
That’s because the Celeron N5105 processor is based on Intel’s Jasper Lake architecture, while the N100 is an Alder Lake-N chip that’s using the same CPU cores as the Efficiency cores found in other 12th-gen Intel processors.
It’s still not a high-performance processor by any means, but it should make the new versions of this tiny PC at least a little zippier.
Starting prices are for configurations with 8GB of RAM but no storage or operating system. But it only costs a few dollars to upgrade to a model with a 128GB SSD and Windows 11 software. (which leads me to wonder if these little computers are shipping with an activated Windows license or if you’ll still need to buy one if you plan to actually use Windows on the systems).
You can also configure the systems with up to 12GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage. The storage is user-upgradeable, but the memory is not, since it’s soldered to the mainboard. But the product listings suggest that models with 16GB of RAM may be available in the future.
Each model features LPDDR5-4800 memory, an M.2 2242 slot for PCIe 3.0 solid state storage, and a wireless card with support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.
Other features include a 3.5mm audio jack, a USB-C port (for power input only), and an LED light strip along the bottom of the computer. The system can be powered by a 30W USB-PD power adapter. And the computer has a fan for active cooling as well as a copper heat sink.
I will note that it’s possible that the processor might not be the only thing that’s different in the new models with Alder Lake-N chips. At least one of the product listings says the new model has two HDMI 2.0 ports and one DisplayPort 1.4 port… but it also shows a picture of a mini PC that clearly has three HDMI ports.
Made in China. Need I say more?
Celeron is trash
I am curious: what are these things used for? Kiosks and industrial mostly? The 2 Ethernet ports make me believe that they are used for networking. But isn’t router hardware from Netgear, TP-Link etc. cheaper?
You can set up a bridge connection between the two ports and connect things like printers, VOIP phones, or TVs with too much of a computer inside them, or daisy chain a row of thin client workstations for a row of desks in one of those sweatshop-like “open” office floorplans.
I’ve just setup Nextcloud for my family with i5-6400, which is basically direct equivalent except what 7 years older and 65W. I barely use it’s potential. Now, with 2 ports and all, it could serve as home server for everything: DNS/DHCP, VPN, routing, file server, Torrent client, web server, streaming box, and… you’d still have enough power in it for a CS server 🙂 And running it 24/7 would barely be 1$ of electricity per month, silent, and can be even in a closed cabinet with that low power draw. I love my new box, but this mini-PC would be a wonderful replacement.
That’s just one idea though 🙂 yes, kiosk-PCs, digital signage, office PCs, you name it. Most people would be unable to use this PCs full potential, and that’s the beauty of it