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.

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 5600U 6-core, 12-thread processor with Radeon RX Vega 7 graphics and MINISFORUM says you can connect up to two 4K displays to the computer.

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

MINISFORUM hasn’t announced pricing or availability information yet.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.