This is my review for the NEO Z83-4 Pro, Intel Cherry Trail Fanless Mini PC. Windows 10 Pro (64-bit), [Intel X5-Z8350/4GB/32GB/DB Wi-Fi/Gbit Ethernet/Dual Out/4K]. by MINIX Technology Limited. An FBA item @ £179.90 as on 13/08/2017
The item was received in a cardboard book wrap, within was the items retail packaging. Most of this was able to be recycled.
So, what do we get from MINIX?
A fan-less mini PC, running Windows 10 pro (Licensed). The 12 Volt # Amp Power supply, an HDMI cable, a Wi-Fi Antenna, a VESA mount and the user manual.
About the product
This is a very affordable mini PC which is also highly versatile. It has the 64bit Version of Windows 10 Pro installed (Licensed). This version is ideally suited to those who require the extra features the Pro version affords. I find it great for using my NAS Drives and it comes with a great security system fully built in and a 30 Day trial of Microsoft Office.
The CPU (Central Processor Unit)
At the heart of this machine is an Intel Atom® x5-Z8350 Processor (formerly known as Cherry Trail). Released in the first quarter of 2016, it Lithography is 14 nm, has Multi-Threading, is Quad Core and has a base frequency of 1.44 rising to a burst of 1.92 GHz/s. It has an on board cache of 2Mb. This chip is capable of processing 12.8 GB/s of data to and from the memory.
The GPU (Graphical Processing Unit)
On board, our CPU has the Intel® HD Graphics 400 with 2GB’s VRAM built in, it’s the . It has a base frequency of 200 rising to a burst/max dynamic frequency of 500 MHz. This GPU can handle Multi-Threading, processing 12 operations at a time. Outputting HD video to 2 screens.
The RAM (Random Access Memory)
Under the hood, we have 4GB’s of DDR3L SDRAM running at 1600MHz. DDR3L RAM uses a lover voltage to the standard DDR3 RAM. This reduces heat and in theory should make it that little bit faster. Your standard DDR3 RAM runs on 1.5 volts where DDR3L runs on 1.35 volts. So the shift from the zero to the one state, should take less time as the voltage only needs to climb up to 1.35 as opposed to 1.5. This also helps the system to conserve energy.
Internal Storage (eMMC 5.0)
Within our mini PC we have 32GB of eMMC 5.0 storage (Embedded Multi-Media Card). This level 5.0 Flash Storage has now been elevated to a similar status as 2.5 inch SSD’s. Making this a very versatile product, with excellent response times for end users. eMMC uses an 8 bit parallel connected interface and operates in half-duplex mode (8 bits of connection can be used to send or receive data, but not simultaneously). The 5.0 version of the eMMC Flash can deliver a sequential read performance of 250 MB/s.
We have the latest wireless connectivity in the MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro. The Wi-Fi is 802.11ac Dual Band. 2.4 & 5GHz. With speeds of up to 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz & 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band. Of course this is dependant on many factors (Broadband Speed, Router, Environment etc…). The Bluetooth is version 4.2, which is ideal for this Low Energy device. 4.2 was Released on December 2, 2014, it Introduces features for the Internet of Things. Features added to 4.2 include Low Energy Secure Connection with Data Packet Length Extension. Link Layer Privacy with Extended Scanner Filter Policies and Internet Protocol Support Profile (IPSP) version 6 ready for Bluetooth Smart things to support the connected home.
The Operating System (Windows 10 Pro)
The Windows 10 Pro offers a multitude of extras aimed mainly at commerce and industry, but home users too will find a lot of the features useful. Such as Bitlocker, an encryption software that offers the option to encrypt the Windows boot drive and other fixed drives within the system, as well as USB keys and external drives. Network Drive (NAS) Access, i use this to access my music and video’s for my iTunes collection. I also use NAS for backup purposes.
We have two options here HDMI will give you 1080P High Definition and that’s fine for everyday use, but if you connecting to a Large Screen /Monitor try the Mini Display Port where you’ll get 4K @ 30Hz, now that’s impressive from such a small silent box. (Supports Mini Dp to Mini Dp or Mini Dp to D-Sub Conversion. Mini Dp to HDMI and Mini Dp to DVI is not supported).
Audio Input and output is done through the 3.5mm socket. Output can be heard from HDMI or the 3.5mm Socket (Depending on the input source, the HDMI will be capable of outputting a 5.1 surround sound signal). The 3.5mm on the other hand will be stereo.
There are 3 x USB 2.0 sockets which have a data transfer capability of 480 Mbit/s. The power handling capacity of each is 2.5 watts or 500 mA. The USB 3.0 socket offers a data handling capacity of 5 Gbit/s. It has a power handling capacity of 4.5 watts or 900 mA (This will power a 2.5 inch USB 3.0 Hard Drive). There is also an RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet Socket) for those who prefer a wired connection and a TF or Micro SD Card slot which can be used to enhance the 32Gb of in built flash storage. We also have a Kensington Locking Point for security.
Finally, a word on power usage. As an example lets look at a call centre running 30 Dell GX620 PC’s (Small form factor 275W). Throughout the day these PC’s will work an average of 9 hours. Each PC will consume 2475 Watts x 30 = 74,250 Watts (or 74.25Kw – 74.25 units of power @ say £0.16p). This is a total bill for PC energy only of £11.88 or £3029.40p a year – that’s just for the PC’s
The MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro uses around 10 Watts (without power drawing peripherals). So this comparison is based on the same conditions, 30 of these working for 9 hours a day. Each MINIX will use 90 Watts x 30 = 2700 Watts (or 2.7Kw – 2.7 units of power say @ £0.16p). This is a total bill for PC energy only of £0.43p or £110.16p a year – that’s just for the MINIX PC’s.
So using the MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro would save a company with 30 computers £2,919.24p EVERY YEAY – The cost of buying 30 of these would be £5,397.00p. So this cost would be recouped in 1.85 years and then you save almost £3000 a year on each site. That’s a lot of money.
I worked in a distribution warehouse when i was younger, this was as an inventory controller. This machine would be an ideal Thin Client to use within that type of environment. (For sales, order entry, stock control, dispatch and returns. It would have done us proud). The uses are endless, an EPOS, an info video controller, Signage controller, bookkeeping, all sorts of applications. I can’t praise it enough, it’s secure, smooth running, quick with all i ask of it. You won’t get it to play intense games or run video rendering software, but it’s not meant for that.
What it is designed for, it does effortlessly. I am truly delighted with it and so i give it 5*’s