Minisforum Venus NPB5 mini PC review
Power-Packed Mini PC withIntel Core i5-13500H (4p/8e)Processor
MINISFORUM has unveiled its latest model, the Venus series NPB5, designed to excel in efficient mid-range office applications. The NPB5 is powered by an Intel Core i5-13500H processor with 18M Cache, capable of reaching a peak clock speed of 4.70 GHz, making it well-suited for office tasks and moderate video editing.
One significant improvement over its predecessors is the enhanced memory support of the NPB5. Unlike previous DDR5-4800 frequency units, the NPB5 supports DDR5-5200 frequency, thereby boosting multitasking efficiency. It can accommodate a maximum storage capacity of 64 GB, featuring one M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 SSD slot and a 2.5-inch SATA HDD slot to meet essential storage requirements. The NPB5 boasts dual 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, enabling network aggregation for improved network performance. Additionally, it incorporates Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for seamless wireless connectivity, standard across current models. In terms of display connectivity, the NPB5 offers two HDMI (4K@60 Hz) and two USB4 (4K@60 Hz) ports, allowing the simultaneous connection of up to four external displays. This feature proves advantageous for users seeking a multi-screen setup to enhance productivity.
The design of the NPB5 prioritizes user convenience, featuring a top case that can be easily opened for a tool-free DIY experience. This appeals to users who prefer customization when acquiring a barebone system. Despite its compact size, the NPB5 is highly versatile and can fit on a desk, bookshelf, or in confined spaces, making it suitable for various settings, including homes, offices, or entertainment venues. Its efficiency and adaptability position the NPB5 as a dependable and compact mini PC solution.
Core i5-13500H processor
The Intel Core i5-13500H is a mid-range mobile CPU designed for laptops and belongs to the Raptor Lake-H series, based on the Alder Lake or Raptor Lake architecture. Announced in early 2023, it boasts 4 out of 6 performance cores (P-cores) utilizing the Golden Cove architecture and all 8 efficient cores (E-cores) using the Gracemont architecture. The P-cores support Hyper-Threading, resulting in a total of 16 supported threads when combined with the E-cores. Operating at clock rates ranging from 2.6 to 4.7 GHz for single core boost (with all core reaching up to 4.6 GHz) on the performance cluster, and 1.9 to 3.5 GHz on the efficient cluster. All cores can access up to 18 MB of L3 cache. The integrated memory controller supports various memory types, with speeds of up to DDR5-5200 (an improvement from DDR5-4800 of the i5-12500H). The Thread Director, a hardware feature, assists the operating system in determining which threads to use on the performance or efficient cores for optimal performance. For AI tasks, the CPU integrates GNA 3.0 and DL Boost via AVX2. Quick Sync version 8 in the CPU supports hardware-based decoding of various codecs, including MPEG-2, AVC, VC-1, JPEG, VP8, VP9, HEVC, and AV1. The CPU also supports PCIe 5.0 x8 for a GPU and two PCIe 4.0 x4 for SSDs. The CPU is rated at 45 W base power, with a PL2 (power level 2) of 95 W. However, most laptops will utilize a PL1 (power level 1) of around 60 Watts. The SoC is manufactured using Intel's further improved 10nm process, known as Intel 7.
The processor utilizes an integrated Iris Xe graphics adapter with 96 execution units (EUs), peaking at 1.4 GHz, identical to the Tiger Lake UP3 processors such as the i7-1165G7. The graphics adapter supports advanced features like AV1 video decoding and SUHD 4320p monitor output, and allows for simultaneous connection of up to four monitors. Gaming performance is primarily dictated by power limits and cooling solutions, with expectations providing sufficient frame rates at 1080p/Low settings in most games. At present, the NPB7 barebone model is priced at 549 euros. For the variant we evaluated, featuring 16GB DDR5 memory, a 512GB SSD, and Windows 11 Pro, there is an additional cost of 140 euros. Additionally, a more affordable option, the NPB5, equipped with a Core i5 CPU, has recently become available. Here are the pricing details for both models:
The specific configurations and their early bird as well as regular pricing, are as follows:
- Barebone: Early bird price - US$389, Regular price - US$479
- 16 + 512 GB: Early bird price - US$499, Regular price - US$619
- 32 + 512 GB: Early bird price - US$539, Regular price - US$669
- 32 GB + 1 TB: Early bird price - US$569, Regular price - US$709