Final Words & Conclusion
Final Words & Conclusion
The Minisform HM80 does what it promises to be; it's a powerful yet very tiny PC. Admittedly ... I am a little dazzled even, surprised by design, how Minisforum allows one to access the internal components, and the sheer fact that you get a lot of PC for such a small product. If you're not a gamer (which you still can do at a low level tbh), then this tiny box offers spectacular features and performance. 2.5 GigE ethernet, AX WIFI where we sit at 500 Mbit/sec and an 8-core processor tied to 16GB Dual channel DRAM paired with an NVMe SSD. Nice.
It's not all perfect, though; you need to realize that the 4800U basically is a laptop processor intended for ultraportables and, as such, is configured for low power states. So the single-threaded performance is a notch slower than what you get on a desktop. The number of cores available, however, will give loads of flexibility to your applications. Overall when working with and from the HM80, we did not feel that the experience was slower. Perhaps browser responsive time flew a notch slower, but that's it. The NVMe M2 SSD is a little so-so for today's standards, but reads are where it needs to be with 2500 MB/sec metrics; we noticed slower writes, but that is still above the 1 Gb/s marker. We like the fact that you can mount two extra SATA3 SSDs in there; this will bring loads of extra functionality to the unit.
Connectivity-wise, you have it all covered with USB 3.1 Gen 2 as well; of course, the added flexibility with both HDMI and Displayport is golden as well. So yeah, it just is an enjoyable product, but all these specs make this an expensive product, as it is priced at $759 (USD) at the time of writing. It would help if you placed it in the right mindset product stack-wise, though; this is not a desktop PC whatsoever. However, this is a compact PC that is super fast enough for your basic needs; browsing the web, working with Words/ Excell and Photoshop would work spotless on the unit.
The HM80 is among the fastest products available within its target product stack; it runs Windows 10 Pro completely fine and fast as it doesn't use many resources, the 16GB system memory really helps here. Also lovely, the option for additional storage; you can add two SATA3 SSDs. And the 256GB M2 NVMe SSD is already preinstalled with a registered version of Windows Pro for you. This unit has two sticks of SODIMM memory, and that means dual-channel DDR4. Combined with Windows 10 Pro, the overall experience is swift. The OS doesn't feel too slow whatsoever, and yeah, you are talking to the guy who runs a PC performance enthusiast website.
In retrospect, speed and performance wise you can compare it to a high-end laptop. The processor offers enough punch. The embedded GPU has a really properly good video processor that can accelerate high-definition content all by itself, 1080P and Ultra HD are not an issue. We need to talk acoustics as well; the product is silent. In use, this is an easy unit to share an office with—although actively cooled, its fan is quiet and unobtrusive, with no bearing whine or rattle in what noise it could make. Only when the 8-core processor is heavily in use you can hear a bit of soft airflow coming from the box; I'd classify the product as very silent.
As far as small mini-PCs go, this is as good as it gets. Minisforum uses the power that AMD has to offer based on the 8-core 4800U, its IO chipset interconnects, and the VEGA8 IGP. They added Intel-based 2.5 GigE ethernet and AX wifi. The inclusion of the 256GB M2 NVMe SSD is pretty splendid and certainly does help in the overall OS performance. Also lovely to see was that a licensed Windows 10 Pro is preinstalled; you merely need to finish the setup. And if you need more storage space, hey, you can install two 2.5 SATA3 devices of your liking, so it's upgradable also.
This box works out well for multimedia; all the decoding on and post-processing 1080P/2160P content did not make this unit consume more than roughly 10 Watt while doing that task flawlessly; it makes this a very energy-friendly product as well. That said, stressing all cores brought us the 60 Watts. Overall, for performance on the move or just a tiny PC for work in the living room, the HM80 definitely highly recommended. You can easily tuck it away behind your monitor over the VESA mount, and if you are on the road, connect it to your HDTV HDMI in the hotel, and you will have brought your fully enabled PC along with you. Albeit that might be thinking a little too far outside the box. As tested, the unit price is quite a bit, though, $759 for the 16GB DRAM / 256GB SSD version and $829 for the 32GB DRAM and 512 GB SSD version, which includes a pre-order June discount). Other than that, absolutely lovely and recommended. Compact and powerful with a bite.
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