MinisForum, a Shenzhen based manufacturer of compact computing platforms, has been steadily bringing both AMD and Intel-based systems into the market. While the mix has mostly involved platforms that are a couple of generations old (allowing for competitive customer pricing), the company releases products based on the latest processors occasionally. Recently, the company sent across details of two of their 2021 introductions - the EliteMini TL50, and the EliteMini HX90. The TL50 is based on an Intel Tiger Lake-U processor, while the HX90 is based on an AMD Cezanne Zen 3 notebook APU.

The HX90 is the more interesting of the lot - MinisForum has managed to source the top-end APU, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, for the system. The TL50, on the other hand, comes only with the Intel Core i5-1135G7. The TL50 also uses a highly-integrated motherboard with soldered LPDDR4 DRAM (12GB), but the M.2 NVMe SSD the only upgradable component. In fact, the company only offers one configuration with 12GB of soldered DRAM and a 512GB SSD pre-installed with Windows 10 Professional. The form-factor is slightly bigger than the mainstream UCFF NUCs with the 1.2L box including support for the installation of two 2.5" drives. The TL50 is available for shipping today and is priced at $649.

The HX90, on the other hand, uses a 45W TDP notebook processor, and hence comes with additional cooling requirements. The form factor is correspondingly larger, and the system has a 2.2L volume footprint. The key seller here is the Ryzen 9 5900HX APU which delivers gaming capabilities not found in other systems of similar size / cost. MinisForum is also promising a carbon fibre-infused chassis for a premium look. Unlike the TL50, the RAM is upgradable. Other differences are brought out in the table further down.

The barebones version of the HX90 is currently priced at $629, which apparently includes a $100 early-bird discount (the units aren't slated to ship until September).

MinisForum EliteMinis (Cezanne and Tiger Lake)
Model HX90 TL50
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Cezanne (Zen 3), 8C/16T
3.3 - 4.6 GHz
45W TDP (35W-54W cTDP)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
Tiger Lake-U, 4C/8T
2.4 - 4.2 GHz
28W TDP
GPU AMD Radeon Graphics 8CU @ 2.1 GHz (Integrated / On-Die) Intel® Iris Xe Graphics @ 1.3 GHz (Integrated / On-Die)
Memory 2x DDR4-3200 SODIMMs
1.2V, 64GB max.
LPDDR4 12GB (Soldered)
Motherboard 7.5" x 7" Custom 5.5" x 5.5" Custom
Storage 1x M.2 2280 (key M) PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe/AHCI SSD
2x SATA3 2.5" HDD / SSD
2x M.2 22x42/80 (key M) SATA3 or PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe/AHCI SSD
I/O Ports 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C (front)
4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (rear)
1x Thunderbolt 4 (front)
2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (front)
2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (rear)
2x USB 2.0 Type-A (rear)
Networking Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
(2x2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module)
1 × 2.5 GbE port
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
(2x2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module)
2 × GbE ports
Display Outputs 2x DP 1.4a
2x HDMI 2.0b
1x DP 1.4a (rear)
1x HDMI 2.0b (rear)
1x DP 1.4a (via Thunderbolt 4, front)
Audio 7.1 digital (over HDMI and DisplayPort)
L+R+mic (front)
L+R+mic (rear)
7.1 digital (over HDMI and DisplayPort)
L+R+mic (front)
Enclosure Carbon fibre-infused plastic / Kensington lock Plastic / Kensington lock
Power Supply 120W (19V @ 6.3A) Adapter 65W (19V @ 3.42A) USB Type-C (adapter included)
Dimensions 195mm x 190mm x 60mm / 2.22L 149.6mm x 149.6mm x 55.5mm / 1.2L
Miscellaneous Features VESA mounting plate VESA mounting plate
Pricing Barebones ($629 - $729)
16GB RAM + 256GB SSD ($799 - $899)
16GB RAM + 512GB SSD ($829 - $929)
32GB RAM + 512GB SSD ($909 - $1009)
12GB RAM + 512GB SSD ($649 - $699)

Both PCs look a bit weak in terms of I/O capabilities compared to other mini-PCs in the market - while the TL50 does include a Thunderbolt 4 port and dual gigabit LAN ports, the HX90 has only 1x 2.5G BASE-T port and the USB ports are all Gen 1 (5Gbps). The HX90 does support four simultaneous 4Kp60 display outputs, while the TL50 only supports three such displays. The target markets are slightly different, as the TL50 is meant for home / office scenarios, while the HX90 falls under the gaming mini-PC line. Having had hands-on experience with multiple MinisForum units in the past, my impression of the brand is generally favorable unlike the host of other no-name Shenzhen-based sellers typically found on Amazon. In general, I would recommend the barebones version of their systems when possible - similar to a lot of other system vendors, the pre-built configurations come with only one DRAM slot occupied, leaving significant performance potential untapped.

Source: MinisForum

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  • lemurbutton - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    AMD fanbois... Reply
  • Makaveli - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    Apple fanbois..... Reply
  • Samus - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    Windows fanbois.... Reply
  • YB1064 - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    The AMD solution is pretty solid despite the lack of TB4. Good to see better networking options. This barebones at $500 would be an absolute killer deal. Reply
  • meacupla - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    M1 mac mini really only has power efficiency going for it when compared to 5900HX.
    In the ultra portable form factor, where you encounter U series chips, sure, M1 is king.
    But in NUC like and desktop replacement laptop segment? No way M1 will beat those.

    Now, if you are speculating about M1X, M2 and M2X, we'll just have to wait and see.
    Reply
  • lemurbutton - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    M1 is faster in ST, MT, GPU, ML, has way lower power requirements, runs silent, and is $600-$650 on Amazon. Reply
  • nicamarvin - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    BS, M1 with its 4C/4T is not faster in MT apps than Zen 3, Whats next? M1 is faster than 5900X? Reply
  • lemurbutton - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    M1 is significantly faster than the 5900X in ST.

    M1 is faster than the 5800HX in MT according to Geekbench which is a better all around benchmarking tool than the heavily AMD-favored Cinebench. No one uses Cinema4D. Move on from the stupid benchmark.
    Reply
  • AdrianBc - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    You are wrong. Ryzen 9 5900X is significantly faster in ST Geekbench than Apple M1 (1800 ... 1850 for 5900X vs. 1700 ... 1750 for Apple M1).

    Also in all the other single-thread benchmarks for which there are public results for both 5900X and M1, 5900X is faster. In multithreaded benchmarks, of course 5900X is many times faster.

    The Apple M1 at 3.2 GHz has the single-thread speed of a Zen 3 at 4.5 ... 4.6 GHz.

    The mobile 5800HX has only 4.4 GHz, so here you are right, it should be slower than an Apple M1 in single-thread tasks. On the other hand, in multi-thread tasks 5800HX will be faster. A mobile Ryzen 9, with a 4.8 GHz frequency, will be faster in ST GB5 than M1.

    When discussing Geekbench results for non-Apple computers, you must take care to find the highest non-overclocked results, because the Geekbench database is polluted with thousands of excessively low results, usually from misconfigured Windows machines, where an antivirus or other junk applications interfere with the benchmark, and also with thousands of too high results from overclocked computers.

    The fans of M1 frequently ignore this and they usually compare good results from M1 to some random abnormally low result for another CPU. Correct results for Ryzen 9 5900X must be well over 1800, but in the database there also many incorrect results e.g. 1600 or other impossible values.
    Reply
  • lemurbutton - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    This guy.

    Dude.

    5900X ST Geekbench is 1672. MT is 14159. https://browser.geekbench.com/processor-benchmarks

    M1 ST Geekbench is 1711. MT is 7416. https://browser.geekbench.com/mac-benchmarks

    M1 is faster in ST. 5900x is less than 2x faster despite having 8 more high performance cores and using 5x+ more power.
    Reply

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