- Company: MINIX
- Website: http://minix.com.hk/
- Price: £274.90 – via Amazon
The Minix NEO line of mini-PCs has seen some impressive upgrades over the past few years, however, its newest, and flagship model, the NEO J50C-4, Max is leading the company into a impressive looking future.
Featuring an Intel Pentium Silver, Gemini Lake J5005 processor running at a base of 1.5GHz with a burst frequency of 2.8GHz, Intel UHD 605 GPU, 8GB of DDR4 memory at 2400MHz and a 240GB M.2 SSD on which the company has pre-installed Windows 10 Pro edition, the J50C-4 Max certainly has a lot going for it.
The design of the J50C-4 Max hasn’t changed from its previous models. It measures 139 x 139 x 30mm, and features cooling vents on the two edges. Connectivity comes in the form of a HDMI 2.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, USB-C, a 3.5mm audio jack, gigabit Ethernet, three USB 3.0 ports, and a Kensington Lock. Inside, you’ll find 802.11ac dual-band Wifi and Bluetooth 4.1. It’s worth mentioning that alongside the HDMI port and the DisplayPort, you’re also able to connect a display via the USB-C port, offering you a possible three-display setup. Additionally, there’s a free DDR4 slot available, for a maximum of 16GB and the M.2 240GB SSD can be swapped out for a 512GB model if necessary.
The design is incredibly simple, but effective, and allows for more than adequate cooling even when the J50C-4 Max is pushed during benchmarks, work or play; our model never went above 30-degrees Celsius during use. Getting to the insides for upgrading is easy enough, simply pop off the four rubber feet at the base of the unit and unscrew the four screws attaching the base plate to the motherboard posts. From there you’ll have access to the memory and M.2 slots, and you can lift the entire motherboard out if needed.
In use the J50C-4 Max works like a charm. 4K video playback, from either a local, network, or online source plays without any issues. Work on the mini-PC is perfectly fine, thanks in part to the larger 240GB M.2 SSD, and you can even a spot of lower-end gaming. Although, the be fair, the Intel UHD 605 GPU was never made for gaming, so don’t expect high frame rates on the latest titles. But you are able to play the likes of Fortnite, Minecraft and some of the older games; but again, you may need to tweak the settings slightly to get the best mix of graphical performance and quality. On the whole, though, the J5005 CPU does an adequate job.
One of the more interesting elements of the NEO range, and one that we’ve always appreciated, is that the Windows 10 Pro license is built into the BIOS. What this means is that, should anything ever go drastically wrong with Windows 10, a simple re-installation of Windows 10 Pro will automatically pick up the correct license key. And remember, this is Windows 10 Pro, not the Home edition that’s usually sold pre-installed with many PCs.
The Minix J50C-4 Max is an excellent addition to the Mini-PC stable. It’s quiet, fast, performs superbly, is well designed and looks great, and is capable of tackling nearly any form of media you can throw at it. It makes for the perfect home media setup, small work and study PC, lightweight gaming machine, and is fantastic as a digital signage or library computer. And, for £274.90 (of which the Windows 10 Pro license costs nearly £100), it makes for great value for money.
MINIX NEO J50C-4 Max
Well designed, good construction. Quiet, simple to use, and effective.
+ Upgradeable 8GB memory and 240GB M.2 SSD
+ Fast, and perfect for media duties.
+ 4K video playback
+ Windows 10 Pro