MINIX Neo N42C-4 Mini-PC Review: A Palm-Sized Quad-Core With Windows 10 Pro

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MINIX Neo N42C-4 Benchmark And Application Performance

It may technically be a quad-core PC, but the MINIX Neo N42C-4 isn’t meant for high-performance computing applications. This machine is designed for media consumption and basic computing needs and is outfitted with the kind of hardware you’d normally find in tablet-type mobile form factors. As such, we’re not going to run an extensive array of benchmarks, but rather test the MINIX Neo N42C-4 in a few of the scenarios it was meant for. With that said, we do have a few numbers to share just to give you some baseline performance comparisons...

minix san cpu
Processor Arithmetic
 
minix san mem
Memory Bandwidth
 
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Processor Multi-Media
minix san disk
File System

In the four SiSoft SANDRA modules we ran (Processor Arithmetic, Multi-Media, Memory, File System), the MINIX Neo N42C-4 performed in-line with expectations. The Apollo Lake-based Pentium processor powering the device performed about on par with some other Atom-derived products. In the Multi-Media benchmark, performance was similar to some low-power Celerons and other Atom-class processors. Memory bandwidth from the single-channel of DDR3 RAM peaked at just over 8GB/s, which is fairly low. And the internal 32GB eMMC 5.0 drive offered up some decent numbers, averaging around 235MB/s, but peaking just shy of 309MB/s (reads), which isn't bad for inexpensive eMMC storage.

suns
We also ran SunSpider to get an idea as to how the MINIX Neo N42C-4 performs while browsing / executing JavaScript, using the Microsoft Edge browser built-into Windows 10, and recorded a score just over 241.8ms. That puts the MINIX Neo N42C-4 well ahead of the last Atom-based Intel Compute Stick and all of the other MINIX mini PCs we've tested, but well behind more powerful desktop computing platforms.

geekbench

GeekBench isn't a particularly flattering benchmark for Intel architectures, but again we see the MINIX Neo N42C-4 handily outpacing the 2016 Compute Stick and other MINIX Mini PCs.

lame

We also ran some quick numbers in a simple audio-encoding tool to show you how the MINIX Neo N42C-4's Pentium N4200 fares in comparison to some other x86-based low-power processors. In this test, the MINIX Neo N42C-4 outpaces the Compute Stick once again and actually catches some of the early Core i3 processors.

pcmark10
We don't have a ton of PCMark 10 data to share, but wanted to show you how the Neo N42C-4 fared. As you can see, it offers roughly half of the performance of a Core i5 mobile part overall.

The benchmarks may not paint the rosiest picture, but in the types of scenarios the MINIX Neo N42C-4 is designed for, it does its job well. We also played back a myriad of HD video clips — streaming from the web, from an on-premises network attached storage device (NAS), and local to the device — as well as accessing other systems remotely. We even streamed games using Steam's in-home streaming capabilities from a high-end gaming PC.

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Ant Man 2 Trailer, YouTube, 1080P - Scaled To Full Screen

Streaming SD and HD videos from YouTube worked very well. The image above is from a 1080P version of the Ant Man 2 trailer, scaled to full screen and connected to the MINIX Neo N42C-4 via mini-DP. It played lag-free using only the built-in WiFi to connect to the web. Regardless of the resolution, this clip played back smoothly, and as you can see in the image, CPU utilization remained relatively low throughout.

In addition to streaming from the web, we also played an assortment of UHD, 1080p MKV, MP4, and AVI files, grabbed from a NAS attached to the local network or copied to the MINIX Neo Z83-4 itself. All of them played back perfectly.

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The Avengers Infinity War Trailer @ 4K (Wired Network Connection)


thor nas 4k
Thor Ragnarok @ 4K Playing From NAS (Wired Network Connection)

All of the content we threw at the MINIX Neo N42C-4 worked fine, in a variety of players, including Windows Media Player, Windows 10's Video app, and Kodi, using either the wired or wireless network connection. The low-power SoC and Wi-Fi network connection were heavily taxed with 4K streams though, so, if 4K is your goal with this device, be sure to play it back locally or over a wired connection for the best experience. And also be sure there's nothing else going on in the background.
Tags:  SFF, HTPC, mini-PC, Minix, n42c-4

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