The MINIX NGC-1 is a very small device. It’s roughly 5” square and about 1” high, though its corners are rounded which make it appear a bit smaller. With the exception of the accommodations for its various ports, the NGC-1 also features a completely sealed, all-metal enclosure that has a high-quality feel. The enclosure has a dark-grey, gun metal type finish, with MINIX laser etched into the top.
Because the quad-core Celeron N3150 and other components inside the NGC-1 are passively cooled, there is no need for vents or other perforations in the system’s chassis. As long as there is some air-space around the system itself (the top cover gets warm to the touch), that’s all it needs to run reliably without overheating.
As we mentioned, there’s a quad-core Braswell-based CPU in this little system. The Celeron N3150 CPU has a base clock of 1.6GHz and turbo clock of 2.08GHz, 2 MB of L2 cache, and a TDP of 6W. Graphics comes by way of an integrated Intel HD Graphics engine with 12EUs, and base / burst frequencies of 320MHz / 640MHz, respectively. There’s also a single-channel of 4GB of DDR3L-1600 memory in the NGC-1, along with a 128GB M.2 solid state drive.
In terms of connectivity, there’s quite a bit happening. On the front of the device, there are three full-sized USB 3.0 ports, adjacent to the power button. The right side is home to a headphone jack, mini-DisplayPort connector, an HDMI port, an S/PDIF optical output, an RJ-45 gigabit LAN jack (powered by Realtek), and the power connector. On the rear you’ll find the antenna mounts for the built in Wi-Fi (Intel AC 3165) and a lock port. On the left there is a tiny, sole, LED indicator that lights up blue when the system is powered on and active, and turns green when the machine is asleep.
Overall, the MINIX NGC-1’s design language is modern and attractive, and mostly understated. Even the bottom of the device is relatively clean, save for a quartet of rubber feet and some logos silk screened in the center. The only things that are really in your face are the relatively large, external Wi-Fi antennas. On one hand, these external antennas help ensure optimal wireless performance, but they also detract from the look of the system in our opinion. While we’re talking wireless, we should also mention the system has support for Bluetooth as well, already built in.
The MINIX NGC-1 also includes a 64-bit edition of Windows 10 Home, pre-installed. Our sample here came with the latest build ready to go right out of the box. Setting the machine up was as simple as connecting power, input devices, and a monitor, then turning it on, entering some basic user information for Windows login purposes, and then letting the OS run a few updates. There’s no bloatware or other included software to speak of – the system is as clean as a whistle when you first power it up.