The MINISFORUM B550 Pro is a compact desktop computer that measures 169 x 160 x 67mm (6.7″ x 6.3″ x 2.6″). But it packs a lot of power into that little chassis, with an AMD A4 socket and support for up to a 105 watt AMD Ryzen 7 5800X processor.
But the computer also has a modular design that allows you put the mini PC inside an external case to connect an external graphics card, and additional storage, among other things.
This works because the B550 Pro mini PC itself has a PCIe 3.0 x16 connector on the bottom of the computer. Place the system inside the external case and that connector attaches to the PCIe 3.0 interface in the case, allowing you to plug a graphics card.
The external case measures 320 x 170 x 160mm (12.6″ x 6.7″ x 6.3″) and has both a PCIe 3.0 x16 connector for a graphics card and a PCIe x4 connector that can be used to add an extra SSD to the computer.
MINISFORUM says there’s room in the case for graphics cards up to 300mm (11.8 inches) in length. And the company also equips the large case with a SilverStone SFX 650W power supply, so it shouldn’t have trouble driving power for the AMD processor and a discrete GPU..
The B550 Pro itself (without the case), is also fairly versatile, with:
- 2 x SODIMM slots for DDR4-3200 dual-channel memory
- 1 x PCIe 4.0 slot for SSD storage
- 1 x PCIe 3.0 slot for SSD storage
- 1 x 2.5 inch drive bay for a SATA 3 SSD or HDD
The system is actively cooled with a heat sink and fan that rests atop the processor and motherboard. And since the CPU is socketed, it should be user upgradeable.
- 1 x USB Type-C w/DisplayPort Alt Mode
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x 2.5 GbE Ethernet
- 6 x USB 3.2 Type-A
- 1 x USB 2.0 Type-A
- 1 x 3.5mm audio
- 1 x DC power input
One kind of weird thing about the system’s design is that all of the ports are on the same side. This makes sense when the computer is placed inside the external case, as it enables easy access to the power jack, USB ports, and video out ports.
But when used as a standalone computer without the external case, the B550 Pro is one of the only computers I’ve seen that has the power button, power input, and all other ports on the same side (I guess it’s up to you to decide if that side is the front or back).
MINISFORUM hasn’t announced the price or release date for the B550 Pro yet, and it’s not clear if the system will ship standard with the external case or if that’s an optional add-on.
This isn’t the first time MINISFORUM has introduced a mini PC with support for a socketed CPU and discrete graphics. The new B550 Pro is a follow-up to last year’s EliteMini B550.
But while the new model supports up to a 105 watt processor and fits inside a large enclosure, the original B550 topped out at 65-watt chips and had an unusual design that allowed you to plug in an external GPU and power supply that were exposed to the air. The new model should be a bit more discrete looking, and could possibly be a bit quieter and more dust-resistant.
Well, they’ve certainly cleaned things up a lot compared to the B550. I still expect it to cost more than using a microatx tower, but now it’s a bit more give and take.