MINIX NGC-1 Intel Braswell-Based Silent, SFF Mini PC Review

MINIX NGC-1 Intro And Specifications

One of the many benefits of Intel’s strong focus on power efficiency in recent years is that relatively high performance processors are now able to fit into tiny form factors. Case in point, the recently released Intel Compute Stick for 2016. That little gizmo has a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a handful of ports in a package that’s not much bigger than a thumb drive.

Although we dug the latest Compute Stick, it’s not without some drawbacks. 2GB of RAM is essentially the bare minimum needed to run Windows 10 semi-smoothly, and the device’s diminutive enclosure means the CPU inside must be actively cooled. There’s just not enough space in there for a passive heatsink large enough to adequately cool the quad-core Atom CPU inside. It would be nice to have more than 32GB of integrated storage too. You could always step up to something like a Zotac Z-BOX or Intel NUC, but once you outfit one of those systems with memory, storage, and an operating system, things can get a little pricey.

So, along comes MINIX. MINIX has been producing ultra-small form factor systems and accessories for a few years now, featuring ARM and Intel-based technology. The latest device to come from the company, the NGC-1 we will be showing you here, is one of MINIX’s more powerful devices – relatively speaking – which packs an Intel’s Braswell-based Celeron processor. Braswell is the follow-up to Intel’s BayTrail SoC, that’s manufactured on Intel’s tri-gate 14nm process. Like BayTrail, Braswell is a low-power architecture, designed for entry level 2-in-1 devices, laptops, and small form factor system.

Along with the Braswell-based Celeron N3150 inside the system, the MINIX NGC-1 also features 4GB of RAM, a 128GB M.2 SSD, and a 64-bit edition of Windows 10. The device's form factor, while still small, also affords more connectors and IO than something as small as the Compute Stick. We’ll dig in deeper on the pages ahead. For now, check out the specs and bundle...
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Specifications & Features
Processor Quad-Core Intel Celeron N3150
GPU Intel HD Graphics
Memory 4GB DDR3-L
Internal Storage 128GB M.2 SSD
Wireless Connectivity 802.11ac Dual Band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz), BlueTooth 4.2
Operating System Windows 10 (64-bit), Ubuntu OS
Video Output Mini-DP, HDMI 1.4 (up to 4K @ 30Hz)
Audio Output Via HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm stereo jack, optical SPDIF
Peripheral Interfaces RJ-45 Gbt Ethernet, USB 3.0 x 3, headphone / mic jack, Kensington Lock
Power DC 12V, 3A Adapter Included (CE, CC Certified)

minix ngc 1 bundle
Before we look at the MINIX NGC-1, here’s a glimpse of what’s included with the system. Along with the machine itself, MINIX bundles a small power-brick and associated (and removable) power cord, some basic documentation, and a full-sized HDMI cable. There are no input devices, separate software installers or media included, but that’s par for the course with a system of this type. What you do get are the bare essentials needed to connect the system to a display and to power it up. Windows 10 is pre-installed and ready to go right out of the box.

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