MINIX NEO J50C-4 is a new mini PC of which today we present its review, a product that follows the line of MINIX models, with a design that completely reminds us its predecessor MINIX NEO N42C-4. A product that this time comes with a more powerful processor and has the same active ventilation system than the previous model. Inside your box we can mount a disk in M.2 format and also two DDR4 SODIMM RAM modules, although by default it is sold with a 4GB module and the Windows 10 Pro system installed. We will see this model combined with the new MINIX NEO W2 remote that is custom designed for this product and can also be used with any PC.
MINIX NEO J50C-4 DETAILS
|Model||MINIX NEO J50C-4|
|Basic Specs||Processor: Intel Pentium Silver J5005 Quad Core / GPU Intel HD Graphics 600 / 10W TPD / 14nm
System: Windows 10 Pro 64bit
Memory: 4GB DDR4 / 2x SODIMM DDR4 16GB max.
Storage: 32GB eMMC 5.1 built-in / M.2 2280 SATA 3
Network: Wifi aC + BT 4.0 / Gigabit Ethernet
Ports: USB 3.1 Type-C (video) / 3x USB 3.0 / HDMI 2.0 / miniDP / Jack audio in-out + SPDIF
Extra: VESA Support / SPDIF Adapter
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The mini PC MINIX NEO J50C-4 has a plastic box, in the upper part we have the MINIX logo in relief, the set is solid. On the front we have a status LED, on a side we have the ventilation, blocking and reset button for the BIOS. On one side we have the power button and three USB 3.0 ports, in the rear area we have the rest of connectors and if we look at the lower area we find four rubber feet to prevent slipping.
- Materials: Plastic.
- Interfaces: 1x USB Type-C (data + video only) + HDMI 2.0 + miniDP all supports 4K@60fps / 3x USB 3.0 / Ethernet Gigabit / Jack in-out + SPDIF / M.2 2280 / Kensington lock / Reset BIOS
- Accessories: VESA mount / DC adapter 12V 3A 5mm / HDMI cable / English manual
If we remove the bottom cover with four screws we can see the base plate, on the outer side we have the pre-mounted Wifi adapter, the M.2 2280 slot with SATA3 interface and two DDR4 SODIMM memory slots up to 16GB that can work in Dual Channel. On the back of the motherboard we have the fan, bios battery, jumpers to connect a COM or debug port and others to flash the MCU firmware. Along with the mini PC we have a VESA stand as standard that fits perfectly with the computer case.
MINIX NEO W2 DETAILS
|Model||MINIX NEO W2|
|Basic Specs||System: Windows and Linux compatible
Connectivity: 2.4Ghz USB adapter
Controls: two sides, multimedia and keyboard / backlit
Sensors: Flymouse with 6-axis gyroscope
Others: Requires 2 AAA batteries
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The MINIX NEO W2 miniPC is control flymouse double-sided backlit, on the front we find multimedia controls where we have multimedia shortcuts, crosshead, browser buttons, multitasking, in addition to window controls such as close and minimize although some apps may not be compatibles with this specific command. In the keyboard part we have a complete distribution with function keys and status LED, on this same side we have the compartment of the two AAA batteries that house the 2.4GHz USB adapter.
- Flymouse mode: Automatic when putting the multimedia face.
- Re-Pairing: Remove batteries and reinsert them, press Fn + P, the LEDs will flash and connect the USB adapter.
- Re-Calibration: Press Fn + Y, the LEDs will flash, leave the control on a flat surface.
When we press any key the remote activates the backlight system, after a few seconds the light turns off automatically, a suitable system to use in the dark. The range of the USB adapter is about 10 meters if we do not have annoying elements in between. The system is designed specifically for Windows 10 but it is compatible with Linux minus on the specific shortcut keys as is logical, on the front the IR emitter has no use.
- Sensitivity: Key feeling correct within the sector.
- Flymouse: Good accuracy thanks to a new sensor and no appreciable loss of calibration.
System and user experience
We started the MINIX NEO J50C-4 by pressing the power button on the box, as indicated by the specifications we have Windows 10 Pro 64bit properly activated, we check the list of devices and note that all have their drivers installed correctly. The user environment moves smoothly and we can run the basic applications without problems, with the 4GB of RAM installed by default we have enough for tasks such as browsing, office or multimedia.
- OS Version installed: Windows 10 Pro (1803)
- Software pre-installed: Does not have any kind of pre-installed software
- Tutorials mini PC: Control the mini PC with your Smartphone Android or iOS
Support, BIOS and other OS
The MINIX brand has its own website with a contact email where we can go if we have any problems with the product. We can access the BIOS by pressing ESC, it has a classic AMI BIOS with many special options, a product that allows us to configure important points for industrial use or in the digital signage sector.
- BIOS: Apple mode or classic Nokia / Samsung for the audio jack. TPM security mode.
- Power controller: Auto Power-ON, WOL, suspended mode S3 and programming on with RTC.
- Other OS: LibreELEC for PC compatible / Ubuntu compatible
Storage, RAM and Ports
We perform speed tests in the installed eMMC 5.1 storage by default in addition to the MINIX M.2 SSD 2280 disk, also of the 4GB of RAM that comes by default and with 8GB of RAM, we also check the speed and functionality of its ports.
- USB ports: We have USB Type-C 3.1 with video output but not audio and we also have three other USB 3.0.
- Video outputs: HDMI 2.0 + miniDP + USB Type-C with resolutions support up to 4K@60fps without HDR.
We have a chance to test disk MINIX M.2 SSD 2280 for this mini PC that has Windows 10 Pro pre-installed to avoid having to install it manually, something useful for any system administrator. As we can see the speeds are quite good and this will affect the overall performance of daily use.
- MINIX M.2 128 GB will be on sale at Amazon.com for $64.90 or bought together with the MINIX NEO J50C-4 for $54.90
We have installed a module of 4GB of DDR4 SODIMM RAM that works at 2400MHz in Single Channel mode but we have also tested 8GB of RAM working on Dual Channel where we have some better figures although it does not directly affect the overall performance.
Electric consumption, temperature and noise
Checking the consumption on the MINIX NEO J50C-4 we can see performance of the Intel Celeron J5005 processor with 10W TPD it has low figures as usual in these models and we maintain a contained level even in the maximum performance scenarios.
We perform our thermal tests on the passive mini PC MINIX NEO J50C-4, as we can see the ventilation system behaves quite well and we do not have high temperatures. This model has an internal blower that regulates speed on demand at low speeds is inaudible and maximum is audible but not annoying.
- Measuring temperature: 25ºC
- Noise: Min. 2400 rpm – 0 db. / Max. 4500 rpm 32 db
In our review we make several types of tests to check the performance in each use scenario, with this data we can make an idea of the overall real performance that the system will have during its working life.
- Continuous extreme performance: 67ºC Max. / CPU 1.97 GHz / No thermal throlling but limited CPU
- Performance in games: LOL 61ºC / CPU 1.6 GHz average
- External temperature: 40ºC on a side
Wifi, Ethernet and Bluetooth
Inside the mini PC MINIX NEO J50C-4 has installed a Wi-Fi 3168 AC Dual Band wireless adapter with which we connect to an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid-range device. We perform tests on the use of streaming using the iPerf measurement tool to see the maximum performance of each network adapter.
- Wifi speed results: Correct speeds for this network adapters.
- Scope Wifi: At a distance of 5 meters with a wall we have a signal of 42 dBm, a very poor result.
- Bluetooth: Works correctly and connects without problems.
- We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.
The MINIX NEO J50C-4 mini PC integrates an Intel Pentium Silver J5005 processor with four cores and four threads that moves between 1.5 and 2.8 GHz and an Intel HD Graphics 605 GPU up to 800 MHz with 18 EU. This chip has a maximum consumption of 10 W TPD. We can see correct results within this hardware but it seems that in the graphical section we have values somewhat lower than those we have seen in similar hardware, it is not critical. As we can see, the system defends itself correctly, beating the previous MINIX NEO N42C-4 and we can use it in its desktop use at an adequate level without problems.
Performing our benchmark test in games on the MINIX NEO J50C-4 we can see the results, the values are classic in line with this type of product of this type, the Intel HD Graphics GPU 605 is perfectly valid for simple games such as we can find in Android phones by downloading them from the Microsoft Store. Also indie titles in 2D or current games with light 3D load like LOL or CS:GO at 720p, the emulators are also feasible but at the most we stayed in some simple Game Cube titles.
- GTA V / Overwath / Fortnite, low settings, 720p resolution and no VSync.
- LOL / CS:GO, ow settings, 1080p resolution and no VSync.
*On models with powerful discrete GPU settings in medium and 1080p resolution
With the MINIX NEO J50C-4 we have performed a performance test with the game League of legends (LOL) which is quite light and we can play at 58fps, DOTA 2 is more demanding and we usually have 10fps less, in the following video you can have an idea how it would works in this mini PC. We also do a special test with CS:GO and we see that we stay at 19fps in 1080p, only if we lower the resolution to 720p we can play minimally at 29fps but it is not recommended.
VIDEO AND AUDIO TESTS
Video playback test
We test the vide playback in the MINIX NEO J50C-4 mini PC with the integrated IIntel HD Graphics 605 we use the VPU with hardware support for the HVEC codec and for VP9, in this processor we have support for 10bit color video and also HDR although we can reproduce it in basic color quality since Gemini Lake does not have HDR native support by default.
- Devices: 2x HDMI 2.0 up to 4K@60fps without HDR
- Configuration tutorial: Playback 4K videos with HEVC and VP9 seamlessly on Android and Windows
- If we are interested we can use KODI with add-ons or we can test the LibreELEC operating system for PC
|BBB – H.264 8bit – Simple@L1 – 1080p@25fps – 7 Mbps||Correct|
|Samsung Oceanic Life – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 1080p@30fps – 40 Mbps||Correct|
|Timelapse – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 4K@24fps – 43 Mbps||Correct|
|Anime – H.264 10bit – High 10@L5.1 – 1080p@24fps – 10 Mbps||Correct|
|Tears of steel – HVEC 8bit – Main@L6.2@Main – 1080p@24fps – 17 Mbps||Correct|
|Samsung UHD Dubai – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.2@Main – 4K@24fps – 51 Mbps||Correct|
|Jellyfish – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L6.1@High – 4K@30fps – 392 Mbps||Low Frameskip|
|Anime – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L4@Main – 1080p@24fps – 21 Mbps||Correct|
|Life of Pi HDR10 – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.1@High – 4K@24fps – 45 Mbps||Correct|
|LG Demo – Dolby Vision – HVEC 12bit – Main 10@L5@Main – 4K@24fps – 30 Mbps||Correct|
|Planet Earth II – HDR HLG 10bit – Main 10@L5@High – 4K@25fps – 31 Mbps||Low Frameskip|
|The world in HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 4K@60fps – 20 Mbps||Frameskip|
|Peru 8K HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 8K@60fps – 20 Mbps||Frameskip|
Audio playback test
Testing the MINIX NEO J50C-4 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.
- Devices: HDMI with Intel HD audio up to 7.1 / Audio jack with Realtek up to stereo / No integrated microphone
- Configuration tutorial: Basic concepts and configuration for multichannel audio on Windows and Android
Audio test results
|Formats||DD 5.1||DD+ 7.1||DD True 7.1||DD Atms 7.1||DTS 5.1||DTS MA 5.1||DTS HR 7.1||DTS X 7.1|
- PCM – Stereo only doing downmix from DD or DTS
- Core – Only the core of the format is played back with what we passed to the Dolby / DTS base system
* Our AV receiver does not support these native formats but we verify that it is played back to 7.1
We perform performance tests on the MINIX NEO J50C-4 mini PC in the most popular streaming services such as Youtube, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video and others with their native apps or using the most compatible browser. You can consult our guides where we explain in detail all the best known streaming services, how to configure them and what requirements are necessary to see content in HD or 4K quality.
- Performance: This GPU has no hardware acceleration for VP9 4K codec on Youtube, we can use this add-on for Chrome to force h.264
|Streaming service||Video Quality||Audio Quality|
|Amazon Prime Video||HD (720p)||Stereo|
After analyzing the MINIX NEO J50C-4 mini PC we can see how this brand continues with the line of its latest model N42C-4 offering us a very similar product in performance. A computer intended for domestic use or commercial uses such as digital signage thanks to triple video output, we also have several remote power-on modes and system recovery options with automatic power-on. We must say that this model has VESA support and Kensington lock that allows us to use it in public spaces or in industrial environments in a comfortable way.
In the new MINIX NEO J50C-4 we can mount an M.2 disk that allows us to increase the internal storage and the system speed, in this case we have been able to test it with the MINIX NEO M.2 SSD 128GB disk that comes as standard with Windows 10 Pro already pre-installed to facilitate disk change. It must be said that we can also expand the RAM up to 16GB thanks to its two SODIMM DDR4 slots. In general, an interesting mini PC for those who look for the functions it offers.
Along with this new mini PC we are accompanied by the MINIX NEO W2 remote control which is a perfect complement for domestic use since we can control it remotely, with this Flymouse with integrated keyboard we now have backlit system for the keys. We have all kinds of shortcuts to control Windows 10 and we can also use your pointer system comfortably because it has a fairly good precision thanks to a new sensor, a suitable remote to simplify the use of Windows 10 from a distance.
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