REVIEW: Beelink AP34 Pro a fanless mini PC with 6 GB of RAM and two HDMI

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Beelink AP34 Pro is a new fanless mini PC that today we present in our review, thanks to the collaboration of Beelink we can see in detail this new model with 6 GB of RAM, 64 GB of integrated eMMC storage and a internal expansion slot for an M.2 disk (2242). A device almost identical to the previous model Beelink AP34 but this time with two HDMI video outputs, a device that as we have seen has enough specifications to use it as a fanless mini PC for desktop applications, light play or as a multimedia center. Let’s see how it is defended in the following pages where we pass all kinds of tests.

SPECIFICATIONS

ModelBeelink AP34 Pro
CPUIntel Celeron N3450 @ 1.1 / 2.2 GHz
GPUIntel HD Graphics 500 Gen9-LP 12UE @ 200 MHz / 700 MHz
OSWindows 10 Home 64bit
ChipsetIntel Apollo Lake IMC
BIOSAMI BIOS
FormatminiPC
RAM6 GB LPDDR3 1600MHz (not upgradable)
Si, Intel Wireless AC 3165
EthernetSi, Realtek RTL8168G Gigabit
Bluetooth4.0
AudioIntel SST
Storage64GB eMMC
1x M.2 disk (2242)
Ports2x HDMI 1.4 / 4K@30fps
4x USB 3.0
Jack audio IN/OUT
Ethernet Gigabit
SD card reader
DC-IN
OthersBios reset
Status led
ContentManual
Long HDMI cable
Short HDMI cable
VESA support 100/200
DC adapter 12V 1.5A (18W)
Weight: 0.4 lb
Dimensions: 4.96 x 4.69 x 0.94 inches

CONTENT DESCRIPTION

Package content

This new Beelink AP34 Pro mini PC comes in a cardboard box with the same design as the Intel NUCs. Inside we find the central unit in an upper compartment accompanied by a manual in English, a 12V / 1.5A transformer, a VESA support, a long miniHDMI video connection cable and a short one in case we mount it using the VESA support.

Product Details

The Beelink AP34 Pro mini PC case is made of aluminum and plastic, the color has been changed to a pretty elegant black. In the upper area we find the logo of the brand and on one side we have an external Wifi antenna.

On the front we have a status LED that changes between red and blue depending on whether it is on or off.

In one of the sides we have a ventilation slots, SD card reader and its four USB 3.0 ports.

If we look at the back we find the power button, round power connector, two HDMI 1.4 connectors that allows video output 4K@30fps on two monitors at once, Gigabit Ethernet port, audio jack with microphone support and a BIOS reset.

In the lower area we have four rubber feet that raise the box a little and hide the screws to remove this cover, we also have some lines of perforations as air inlet from behind and two threaded inserts for VESA support.

Removing the lid we can see the plate where we find a large aluminum heatsink that covers the SoC, the 6 GB memory and the 64 GB eMMC storage. In the front we find the connector for the M.2 2242 disk, from the wifi module we see how two cables come out which indicates that in the antenna we have two integrated receivers. Interestingly, the internal battery is fixed in a place that bothers to mount the M.2 disk is usually on the other side of the motherboard.

CONNECTING THE DEVICE

Startup

We connect the power source to the Beelink AP34 Pro and press the power button, as indicated by the specifications we have Windows 10 Home 64bit properly activated, we check the list of devices and note that none of them runs out of drivers.

This model comes with the 1709 version so we will have to update it to the new 1803, something that is done automatically without problems, after updating we recommend to clean the previous version of Windows to win free disk space, use the windows clean tool as administrator.

  • Startup time: 21 seconds

User Experience

The model of mini PC Beelink AP34 Pro moves correctly Windows 10 Home system, thanks to its 6 GB of RAM we can load for example a good number of tabs in our browser, the eMMC memory has a sufficient speed to not notice slowdowns in the loading of apps. In general, a passive mini PC that works very well for desktop or multimedia use in a completely silent way with minimum power consumption.

BIOS

We can boot the system BIOS pressing the ESC key repeatedly while restarting the miniPC, the system BIOS is quite limited and we can only change the boot system. As we have seen in this model we do not have auto power on when connecting it to the electrical network.

Within the boot options we can select the LEGACY mode to boot old systems but we will have many problems with the USB 3.0 connectors, in this version we find a specific section for Wake On Lan.

Brand Support

From the Beelink website we have information about their products and a FORUM where there are different files to download, on our website you can ask questions about this product too.

Linux

We have tried to boot the latest version of Ubuntu from all its ports and we have not had any luck, it seems that some drivers compatible with its boot system are missing, we can always try Legacy mode. On the other hand LibreELEC seems to work correctly with this processor, it detects the Wifi and Ethernet adapter by default, we can reproduce all the contents at the same level as KODI on Windows.

Remote control

To remotely control the Beelink AP34 Pro we can install Intel Remote Keyboard Host on the the mini PC, and then we can use our mobile or tablet to control it installing the Android or iOS app. We can use tactile gestures, virtual mouse or remote keyboard, we just have to have both devices on the same Wi-Fi network.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Processor

The fanless mini PC Beelink AP34 Pro integrated the extended Intel Celeron N3450 Quad Core SoC with a maximum speed of 2.2 GHz that integrates an Intel HD Graphics 500 GPU with 12EU up to 650MHz. The normal working speed of the GPU is 200 Mhz although it can arrive punctually up to 800 MHz when more power is required.

RAM

In the tests performed we verified how the 6 GB of DDR3 memory works at 1600 MHz and achieves a pretty good speed compared to the Single Channel models, it seems that this memory really works in Dual Channel mode.

In the tests we observe the speed in Dual Channel and verify that it effectively works at 1600 MHz as indicated by the specifications, a consistent behavior with respect to the configuration.

Storage and ports

We checked the internal storage of 64GB eMMC that are integrated into the board, after installing all the windows patches and cleaning the unnecessary files we were left with about 38 GB of free space for us. Enough for office applications, browsing and support Windows updates. The USB 3.0 ports behave normally and we have the usual transfer speed.

The results of the 64 GB eMMC memory installed are correct, the system moves correctly and we do not notice that for the users we have critical slowdown problems.

As we can see in the following comparison it is interesting to add an M.2 disk drive and change the disk operating system to improve speed and increase the available space.

Internal eMMCRECADATA M.2

Temperature and noise level

We pass the classic thermal tests on the Beelink AP34 Pro and we verify that they have correct results for this hardware, the N series of Intel lowers the speeds of the processor quickly when it detects a high consumption and protects it thermally.

  • Average measurement temperature 25°C

In the extreme performance test with the CPU and the GPU at 100% and the system rises temperatures while it begins to limit the maximum speed of the processor, the system goes up to 56ºC as top but the speed of the processor remains in a maximum of 1.27 GHz, this is a protection measure.

We have checked in our test on DOTA 2 in a normal game session the CPU keeps jumping between frequencies at quite low levels and as it does not usually go over 1.6 GHz, the maximum temperature is about 63ºC during a long session.

The heatsink perfectly fulfills its function and we have a correct thermal dissipation, the top part of the miniPC gets quite hot but it is not worrisome since it just fulfills its function of thermal dissipation.

Power consumption

In the aspect of electrical consumption using the Beelink AP34 Pro we obtain quite controlled consumption values in the line of similar models, in normal use the systems remain very contained and we only reach a maximum of 10 W when we put the GPU to max work.

Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Bluetooth

For this review we made our performance tests on the miniPC Beelink AP34 Pro, we found has al Wifi AC adapter that also integrates the Bluetooth 4.0 adapter. With this wifi adapter we have a speed of 39 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band and 183 Mbps in the 5 GHz band, the range is quite good as well. The Gigabit Ethernet connector gives us results of 640 Mbps, correct figures. The Bluetooth system behaves correctly and we connect peripherals without problems.

We also ran tests on the network adapters for streaming using the iPerf measurement tool with which we have the maximum connection speed in each type of network. With this figure we have how far we can reach using the available connections, the final performance will depend on our internet provider, the contracted speed, the distance of our Wi-Fi network and other factors. The results are correct and we can use the adapters without problems to playback streaming content at the highest quality.

PERFORMANCE TEST

At hardware level the Beelink AP34 Pro we have the Intel Celeron N3450 Quad Core processor that moves between a speed of 1.1 and 2.2 GHz in turbo mode, in the graphical section we have integrated an Intel HD Graphics 500 Gen9 GPU- LP that has 12UE and has a working speed between 200 MHz and 700 MHz. A very extended processor that has an adequate performance for a light use as mini PC, we can surf the internet, play multimedia content, run office applications, design at a basic level and games if they do not have an excessive 3D load, the games of last generation are obviously discarded.

Benchmarks

PCMark

With this test we can see the performance of the device in an office environment and common desktop use.

3DMark

Graphic performance test where we can see the gross performance capabilities in this environment and compare the performance of GPU’s historically.

Geekbench

This benchmark in SoC offers a fairly reliable numbers of CPU’s working in a single core or multiple cores ate the same time, it also has a section of GPU computing that gives us an overall result of the processing capacity.

Cinebench

A brute force tests on both CPU and GPU, this benchmark always help us to see a very clear reference of power.

Games

As usual, we perform several performance tests in games on the Beelink AP34 Pro, it is correct for a product of this type, the 6 GB of RAM help to run better in games demanding RAM respect to 4 GB models. This SoC lowers quite the performance in big consumption scenarios and if we want to use it for this purpose we have to change the energy profile of Windows to “High performance”, even so we can not expect miracles. Interestingly, the popular game Fortnite does not start, it seems that it is not compatible with the Apollo Lake and the Gemini Lake, perhaps it will be fixed in a future update.

Test environment

  • GTA V, Low settings, 720p resolution
  • Overwatch, Low settings, 720p resolution
  • DOTA 2, Low settings, 1080p resolution
  • Fortnite, Low settings, 720p resolution
  • World of Tanks, Medium settings, 1080p resolution

As we see, with this hardware it is advisable to play simple titles such as those found on Android phones by downloading them from the Microsoft Store. Also indie 2D titles or have a basic load in 3D, emulators are also feasible but at most we are in some simple Wii titles.

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video format test

We test the video playback on the Beelink AP34 Pro mini PC and get good results. The integrated Intel HD Graphics Gen9-LP GPU offers an improvement in the hardware playback of the VP9 codec and HVEC support with 10bit of color compared to previous generations. In this model we have HDMI 1.4 video output with which we are limited to a maximum resolution of 4K@30fps. This miniPC as we have tested works very well with any video at 1080p resolution, we also have correct results with 4K files with good bitrate as we can see in the tests, we only have limitations in VP9 of high level. Although the system supports HVEC Main10 we have had problems with its playback with some frameskip, this family of processors does not have support for HDR although it can reproduce the files without problems.

Test results

H.264 formatResultado
BBB – H.264 8bit – Simple@L1 – 1080p@25fps – 7 MbpsCorrect
Samsung Oceanic Life – H.264  8bit – High@L5.1 – 1080p@30fps – 40 MbpsCorrect
Timelapse – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 4K@24fps – 43 MbpsCorrect
Anime – H.264 10bit – High 10@L5.1 – 1080p@24fps – 10 MbpsCorrect
H.265 format
Tears of steel – HVEC 8bit – Main@L6.2@Main – 1080p@24fps – 17 MbpsCorrect
Samsung UHD Dubai – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.2@Main – 4K@24fps – 51 MbpsCorrect
Jellyfish – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L6.1@High – 4K@30fps – 392 MbpsMinimal frameskip
Anime – HVEC 10bit –  Main 10@L4@Main – 1080p@24fps – 21 MbpsCorrect
HDR format
Life of Pi HDR10 –  HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.1@High – 4K@24fps – 45 MbpsCorrect
LG Demo – Dolby Vision – HVEC 12bit – Main 10@L5@Main – 4K@24fps – 30 MbpsCorrect
Planet Earth II – HDR HLG 10bit  – Main 10@L5@High – 4K@25fps – 31 MbpsCorrect
The world in HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 4K@60fps – 20 MbpsFrameskip

  • The MKV, Blu-ray ISO and BDRemux formats are only containers, inside we can have different codecs, resolutions, audio channels, chapters or subtitles. To play the Blu-ray format menus we need KODI or a compatible program.

Audio format test

Testing the Beelink AP34 Pro using a Yamaha RXV-577 AV receiver we check that the miniPC supports DD and DTS 7.1 pass through, is curious because the default hardware only supports stereo and does not have licenses for DD or DTS formats. We recommend, as always, to update all the drivers with Windows Update to the latest before connecting the device to our AV receiver.

Test results

Audio formatHDMISPDIF
Dolby Digital 5.1OK
Dolby Digital Plus 7.1Core
Dolby True HD 7.1OK
Dolby Atmos 7.1OK*
DTS 5.1OK
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1Core
DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1PCM
DTS-X 7.1Core*
  • PCM – Stereo downmix from DD or DTS
  • Core – Only the core of the format Dolby / DTS is played
  • * Our AV receiver does not support these native formats but we check that it does downmix fine

STREAMING

Youtube

We play streaming for test some content on the Beelink AP34 Pro in the usual channels like YouTube or other sources and we verified that we have no problems when playing videos. In YouTube we can play content with the VP9 codec quite correctly up to 4K with a 50% CPU usage, although if we look for better performance it is best to use another codec like h.264.

Streaming services with subscription

We check the most common streaming services playback various contents and we verified that all work properly, the power of this device is more than enough to see any kind of content with them. In Netflix we get to FullHD quality without complications, in the rest of services we get the maximum resolution possible.

ServiceVideo QualityAudio Quality
NetflixFullHD (1080p)5.1
HBOFullHD (1080p)Stereo
Amazon Prime VideoHD (720p)Stereo

 

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

Opinion

As we have seen in our analysis the new model Beelink AP34 Pro continues in the good line of the previous similar products of this brand in the sector, the addition of 6 GB of RAM and the double HDMI output gives us a better productivity for use desktop. A passive mini PC perfectly valid to navigate in a comfortable way on the internet, something very important today for many users, with that amount of RAM we can also load relatively heavy images in an editor or in a project with several design files.

At a general level, as we can see in the data of our review, the Beelink AP34 Pro offers us the correct performance to use it as desktop PC with Windows 10 intended for browsing, office programs or light games. In the section of multimedia playback or streaming we also have a good platform since we can play high bitrate contents 1080p or 4K and we also have DD or DTS 7.1 sound. A model that has an M.2 slot to expand it with internal disk, in general a good compact computer for those who want to have a quiet desktop.

WHERE TO BUY

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