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Chinese PC maker MINISFORUM’s line of compact desktop computers range from low-cost systems meant for basic home or office use to higher-spec models that could be used for gaming or content creation, among other things.

But the upcoming MINISFORUM Mars MC560 is something a little different. Like many of the company’s little computers, it packs the guts of a decent laptop into a small desktop computer. But this model is designed for video conferencing and has a built-in webcam, stereo speakers, and dual microphones. First unveiled in December, the MC560 is now available for pre-order for $399 and up and it’s expected to begin shipping in mid March, 2023.

The starting price is for a model with an AMD Ryzen 5 5625U processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD and represents an $80 pre-order discount.

You can also pre-order a model with 32GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for $458 (marked down from a retail price of $529), but it looks like the memory and storage are both user replaceable, so you could also probably by the cheaper model and perform your own upgrades if that’ll save you any money.

The computer measures 4.2″ x 2.7″ across and 6″ high. That makes it taller than many computers that fall in the mini PC category, but the extra height gives the system room for features like those integrated stereo speakers. It also helps lift the webcam a bit.

That webcam is a 2.5K webcam with HDR support and a 93.8 degree field of view. MINISFORUM’s press release also mentions “10° tilt change,” although the company doesn’t explain whether the camera itself can tilt or if this is accomplished by cropping the picture.

While MINISFORUM says the camera is better than what you’ll find on many laptops, it can only capture 2.5K video at up to 30 frames per second. So if you want 4K and/or 60fps or higher, then you might still be better off buying a different computer and plugging in a third-party webcam and speakers.

Still, there’s something kind of nifty about having everything built in.

MINISFORUM says the computer has two microphones with support for beam-forming technology that allows them to pick up audio from pretty much anything in front of the computer while applying noise reduction to emphasize speech.

The computer is powered by a 15-watt AMD Ryzen 5 5625U 6-core, 12-thread processor with Radeon RX Vega 7 graphics and MINISFORUM says the system can be used with up to two 4K displays.

There are two SODIMM slots with support for up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 memory, an M.2 slot with support for PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD storage, WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 support, and a set of ports on the back and sides including:

  • 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C (with DisplayPort, Power Delivery, and data support)
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio
  • 1 x 19V DC power input

This article was first published December 9, 2022 and most recently updated February 10, 2023. 

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11 replies on “MINISFORUM MC560 mini PC has a built-in 2.5K camera and speakers for web conferencing”

  1. We could be onto something here: a stakable modular unit. base is battery, next is the computer, next is speakers, next is projector and finally camera. each custoizable, so the camera module can come with 6 cameras at 60 deg which are then stitched. similarly, the projector can just be video ports and casting, the computer can have slots for cpus, ram, storage in caddies and finally the battery can be two of any capacity for hot swappability.

  2. A laptop with the same CPU, 256-512GB SSD and 8-16 GB RAM costs about 400-500 Euro right now. The MC560 looks like it’s a bare bone, since they just mention the M.2 slot and 2 SODIMM slots. So for it to be worth getting this over a midrange laptop, it has to cost less than 400 Euro including the price of at least 8 GB DDR4 RAM and a 256GB M.2 SDD.
    The laptops in this price range has a built-in 15″ screen so you don’t have to hook it up to a monitor. A crappy 720p Webcam, but that’s what most people use unless they buy a better external Webcam, so you’d not look better nor worse than everybody else. It has enough battery to last even a fairly long Zoom meeting so you won’t have to drag cables to plug it in.
    As I see it… if it costs around 199 Euro. It’s worth it. Otherwise you’d be better off with a midrange laptop and an external Webcam.

  3. If you stick it in front of your monitor, then it blocks some of the screen. If you put it behind your monitors, it blocks the webcam. Nice idea, but maybe it would have been good if you had an option to lay it on its side — but it looks like that would block some ports.

    1. I think it makes the most sense as a cheap video conferencing solution. Put it on a conference table and connect it to a projector or a monitor on the wall and you won’t have any of those problems. Whether it does a good enough job of keeping everyone at the table in frame and on mic remains to be seen.

      1. Only if it’s cheaper than a midrange laptop. Which has the same features plus battery, screen, memory and storage, though a worse Webcam.

      2. True — the smaller footprint makes it better than a laptop for that purpose, and easier to drop on a conference table and not worry about someone closing the lid and resetting the conference room software setup.

      3. It also depends on the quality of the camera and mics. As we all know, megapixels and number of mics doesn’t always reflect performance.

        Are they far-field? If not then it’s not good for a conference room. But if they are clear, it might still be good for someone who needs something easy to set up but a bit more versatile than a tablet.
        And, while a laptop might provide similar functionality (theoretically with worse camera and mics), sometimes people want to have something they can leave plugged in for desktop use and keep the laptop unplugged.

        I currently use my Legion 5 laptop for desktop use, but with 9 cables connected to it, it’s a serious pain to unplug everything when I want to move it and replug it all in when I bring it back.

        I am looking for a mini desktop pc (not this one, I want something more powerful and at least 2 USB-C ports). precisely because I want my laptop to be truly portable (ready to go anywhere without a long time unplugging and collecting the required cables) but have my home setup always ready for work.

      4. That might be easier to imagine if their marketing photos weren’t all infront of a monitor.

    2. I stuck my webcam on a mini tripod. It goes in front of the monitor during calls which allows me to look directly at the people I’m talking to.

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