MINIX NEO Z83-4U is a new mini PC of which today we present its review, a model of the MINIX brand that offers us this time a version of its MINIX NEO Z83-4 Plus. This time we are going to see how this hardware is defended by moving the Ubuntu system, an alternative very requested to this brand by its users. As we already know, these products have a very good acceptance for industrial use and for digital signage for their remote or programmed ignition functions, as well as a very comfortable VESA support. Let’s see how it is defended in the next review.
The MINIX NEO Z83-4U fanless mini PC has the classic design of the brand that consists of a plastic box with the mark in relief on the top. On the front we have a status LED, on one side we have the power button, microSD card reader and USB ports. In the back we have the other connectors where highlights the HDMI 1.4 and the Mini DisplayPort connector (requires active port) that allows us to connect two monitors at once.
- Materials: Plastic.
- Interfaces: 3x USB 2.0 / 1x USB 3.0 / HDMI 1.4 / mini DisplayPort 1.2 / microSD / Jack audio in-out
- Accessories: DC 12V 3A adapter / HDMI cable / VESA support / Manual
In the lower area we find four tiny rubber feet to avoid slipping and we do not have ventilation slots since we are facing a totally passive model. This mini PC has the option of hanging it in a VESA support that comes standard, an ideal option to make a quick change at any time.
System and user experience
We turn on the MINIX NEO Z83-4U by pressing the side button of the box, as indicated by the specifications we have Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS that will maintain its long-term support, check the list of devices and note that all have their drivers installed correctly. The system moves correctly, if we are going to use it with a lot of navigation tabs it is where we will notice that it slows down as is logical, for office suites, multimedia and light applications it is adequate. If this OS does not convince us we can install Windows 10 since the hardware is 100% compatible.
- OS Version installed: Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS.
- Other OS: LibreELEC compatible / Windows 10 compatible
- Software pre-installed: None.
- Tutorials mini PC: Control the mini PC with your Smartphone / Install Windows 10 / Migrate Windows to SSD
Support, BIOS and other OS
The MINIX brand has its own website with a contact email. We can access the BIOS by pressing ESC, it has a classic AMI BIOS which highlights the MINIX options section, it allows us to configure the internal clock, we recommend not to touch the BIOS because we can leave the system hanging.
Storage, RAM and Ports
We passed eMMC 5.1 storage speed tests installed by default, we also tested the 4GB of RAM that comes standard in Dual Channel configuration, we also check the speed and functionality of its ports.
- USB ports: One USB 3.0 and tree USB 2.0.
We check the speed of the integrated eMMc memory and it gives us some quite good performance figures within that category, we do not have the option of expansion with another type of internal storage.
We have installed a module of 4 GB of RAM LPDDR3 in Dual Channel format, the analysis programs indicate that it works at 1600MHz and the results reflect a consistent result.
Electric consumption, temperature and noise
Checking the consumption on the MINIX NEO Z83-4U we can see performance of the Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor with 2W TDP it has low figures as usual in these models and we can see that we remain at a contained level even in the highest performance scenarios.
We pass our thermal on the MINIX NEO Z83-4U Mini PC, as we have verified the fanless cooling system behaves efficiently and we have no appreciable loss of performance.
- Measuring temperature: 25ºC
- Noise: Fanless 0db.
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: 59ºC Max. / CPU 1.6 GHz / NO thermal throlling.
- Overclock: Available but we do not recommend touching the BIOS.
- External temperature: 30ºC on a side
Wifi, Ethernet and Bluetooth
Inside the mini PC MINIX NEO Z83-4U has installed a wireless adapter Wifi AC Dual Band with Bluetooth and one Ethernet Gigabit port 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 38 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 mini PC MINIX NEO Z83-4U has as processor of the Intel Atom x5-Z8350 an update of the previous x5-Z8300 that only improves the turbo speed taking it up to 1.94 GHz and corrects some small faults in the playback of video with your GPU Intel HD Graphics 400. The performance is good within what this hardware can give, the results are similar to other products with the same processor but we get more performance in long sessions because it does not stall when properly cooled. Thanks to its 4GB of RAM we can navigate by opening several tabs without much trouble, a good system to use as a 1080p video player, simple games and office suites.
VIDEO AND AUDIO TESTS
Video playback test
In the video playback aspect the MINIX NEO Z83-4U mini PC with the integrated IIntel HD Graphics 400 we use the VPU with hardware partial support for the HEVC codec and for basic VP9, in this processor we have support for 10bit color video by software and also HDR although we can reproduce it in basic color quality since does not have HDR with native support. This mini PC is perfectly valid as a multimedia system to using KODI, for us is the best player for this OS. If we want better performance in the multimedia section we recommend installing Windows 10.
- Devices: Double monitor with HDMI 1.4a 4K@30fps + mini DP 1.2 4K@60fps.
- Image settings: Image quality settings available from Intel control panel.
- Tutorials: Playback 4K videos with HEVC and VP9 seamlessly / Install KODI with add-ons / LibreELEC operating system for PC
|H.264 / VC-1||Result|
|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|
|MKV – VC-1 – Advance@L3 – 1080p@24fps – 17 Mbps||Correct|
|H.265 / VP9 SDR|
|Tears of steel – HEVC 8bit – Main@L6.2@Main – 1080p@24fps – 17 Mbps||Correct|
|Samsung UHD Dubai – HEVC 10bit – Main 10@L5.2@Main – 4K@24fps – 51 Mbps||Frameskip|
|Anime – HEVC 10bit – Main 10@L4@Main – 1080p@24fps – 21 Mbps||Correct|
|Eye of the Storm – VP9 – 4K@24fps – 14 Mbps||Frameskip|
|H.265 / VP9 HDR|
|Life of Pi HDR10 – HEVC 10bit – Main 10@L5.1@High – 4K@24fps – 45 Mbps||Frameskip|
|LG Demo – Dolby Vision – HEVC 12bit – Main 10@L5@Main – 4K@24fps – 30 Mbps||Correct|
|Planet Earth II – HDR HLG 10bit – Main 10@L5@High – 4K@25fps – 31 Mbps||Little 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|
|Jellyfish – HEVC 10bit – Main 10@L6.1@High – 4K@30fps – Test up to 400 Mbps||50 Mbps = 6,5 MB/s|
- * The maximum bitrate depends on the internal storage, usb port, Ethernet adapter or wifi used, we have used the fastest available, see Hardware tests section of this same review to have more information and have consider the limitations of SAMBA Networks.
Audio playback test
Testing the MINIX NEO Z83-4U using a Yamaha RXV-577 AV receiver we check that the miniPC supports DD and DTS 5.1 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
|Format||DD / DTS 5.1||DD+ / DTS MA||DD True / DTS HR||DD Atmos / DTS X|
|HDMI||OK / OK||Core||Core||Core*|
- 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 Z83-4U 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. If we want better performance in the multimedia section we recommend installing Windows 10 or adding the formed addon to h264 in our browser.
- Performance: No hardware acceleration for VP9 4K codec on Youtube.
- Tutorial: Add-on for Chrome to force h.264 if we have problems with VP9.
|Streaming service||Video / Audio||Result||Manual|
|Youtube||FullHD (1080p) / Stereo||OK||–|
|Netflix||HD (720p) / Stereo||OK||Netflix for PC|
|HBO||FullHD (1080p) / Stereo||OK||–|
|Amazon Prime Video||HD (720p) / Stereo||OK||Amazon Prime video for PC|
After analyzing the miniPC MINIX NEO Z83-4U we can say that we are facing a very solid performance product. A passive model with good thermal performance which guarantees long-term stability and many options for programmed or assisted power-on. With the inclusion of Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS as an operating system we can easily fit into industrial networks or development areas, we must bear in mind that this mini PC also allows us to install Windows 10 without compatibility problems. The addition of VESA support allows us to easily hang it from any monitor.
As reflected in the data of our analysis the MINIX NEO Z83-4U is a compact miniPC that thanks to its 4GB of RAM allows us to have a correct performance in Ubuntu, so we can use office programs, play multimedia content or surf the Internet efficiently. We are facing a new version of a MINIX classic destined this time to a niche of specific users that require Ubuntu and a versatile machine for all kinds of uses.
The model MINIX NEO Z83-4U as we see an interesting fanless mini PC in several professional sectors, a compact and robust computer that allows to use it 24/7. As an alternative you can compare this product with our recommended models.