Chinese mini PC maker MINISFORUM has released a dizzying array of compact computers in recent years, with most designed for use as productivity, gaming, or other general purpose home or office use.

But the new MINISFORUM MS-01 is the company’s first system that it’s calling a “Mini WorkStation” class computer. It’s got a slightly larger chassis, but a whole heck of a lot of extra features. The MS-01 is available now from MINISFORUM for $549 and up, making it considerably cheaper than mini workstations from Lenovo, HP, Zotac, and other companies.

The starting price for the MS-01 is for a barebones configuration, allowing you to bring your own memory and storage. But there are four pricing/configuration options available at launch:

  • Intel Core i9-12900H barebones for $549
  • Intel Core i9-13900H barebones for $679
  • Intel Core i9-12900H/32GB/1TB for $699
  • Intel Core i9-13900H/32GB/1TB for $829

The official spec sheet also suggests lower-priced models with Core i5-12450H chips could be on the way in the future.

Each version of the compact workstation measures 196 x 189 x 48mm (7.7″ x 7.4″ x 1.9″), making it small by desktop workstation standards, but larger than most of MINISFORUMs other computers. But the company makes good use of that extra space to give customers a lot of flexibility when it comes to networking, connectivity, and expansion features.

Ports include:

  • 2 x 10 GbE Ethernet
  • 2 x 2.5 GbE Ethernet
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • 2 x USB4 (40 Gbps with DisplayPort Alt mode)
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio

The computer also supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 and features a PCIe x16 slot that MINISFORUM says can be used for additional M.2, network, or USB capabilities… or for a PCIe 4.0 x8 half-height graphics card. The MS-01 supports up to an NVIDIA RTX A2000 discrete GPU.

The computer has a fan active cooling, and MINISFORUM says it offers enough cooling power to allow stable performance at up to 80 watts, which should be plenty for the built-in processor plus memory and storage. But I’d worry about a graphics card, so if you really want higher-performance graphics, you might be better off pairing this system with an external graphics dock that has its own cooling system.

While there’s no support for a spinning hard drive, the system supports up to three SSDs:

  • 1 x M.2 2280 (PCIe Gen 4 x4)
  • 1 x M.2 2280 (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
  • 1 x M.2 2280 (PCIe Gen 3 x2)

You could also use that PCIe Gen 4 port for an optional U.2 NVMe SSD.

There are also two SODIMM slots for up to 64GB of DDR5-5200 memory, but MINISFORUM notes that only non-ECC memory is supported, which seems like an odd choice for a workstation PC meant for professional use.

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  1. Not a Workstation at all.
    Don’t know what kind of workstations you have seen in you life but:
    No GPU
    No thunderbolt
    is not a Workstation. 🤷🏿‍♀️

    However this can be a nice little VM/LXC/docker/K8 testing unit

    1. USB4 is Thunderbolt 3 compatible. Even Dell sells mini-tower PC’s with 1 entry-level Quadro GPU and calls it a “workstation”. Everyone has a different take on what exactly a “workstation” is, so your requirements may exceed this unit. At least this one gives you something of a choice.

  2. I’m dying for something affordable with dual 10GbE, what a breath of fresh air, simply more than I’m looking to pay though

    Waiting extremely patiently..