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

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MINIX NGC-1 Mini PC Performance

It may technically be a quad-core PC, but the MINIX NGC-1 isn’t meant for high-performance computing applications. It’s designed for media consumption and basic computing needs and is outfitted with the kind of hardware you’d normally find in tablet-type form factors. As such, we’re not going to run an extensive array of benchmarks, but rather test the MINIX NGC-1 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 reference points.

san CPU
Processor Arithmetic
 
san mem
Memory Bandwidth
 
san mm
Processor Multi-Media
san disk
File System

In the four SiSoft SANDRA modules we ran (Processor Arithmetic, Multi-Media, Memory, File System), the MINIX NGC-1 performed in-line with expectations. The Braswell-based Celeron processor powering the device performed about on par with similar Atom-derived products. In the Multi-Media benchmark, performance was similar to Celerons and some older Atom-class processors. Memory bandwidth from the single-channel of DDR3 RAM peaked at just under 6GB/s, which is fairly low. And the internal M.2 128GB SSD offered up some decent numbers, averaging around 142MB/s, but peaking just shy of 200MB/s.

suns
We also ran SunSpider to get an idea as to how the MINIX NGC-1 performs while browsing / executing JavaScript, using the Microsoft Edge browser built-into Windows 10, and got a score just over 395ms. That puts the MINIX NGC-1 well ahead of the latest Compute Stick and in-line with some of Samsung's recent high-end smartphones.

geek bench

GeekBench isn't a particularly flattering benchmark for Intel architectures, but again we see the MINIX NGC-1 handily outpacing the Compute Stick, although it does trail an array of ARM and Intel based smartphones and tablets.

lame

We also ran some quick numbers in a simple audio-encoding tool to show you where the MINIX NGC-1's Celeron N3150 falls in comparison to some other x86-based low-power processors. In this test, the MINIX NGC-1 outpaces the Compute Stick once again and almost catches the AMD A4 APU.

In the types of scenarios the MINIX NGC-1 is designed for, however, it does its job quite well. We also played back a myriad of videos — streaming from the web, from a local network, and local to the device — and accessed other systems remotely. We even streamed games using Steam's in-home streaming capabilities.

captain america cpu ut
Captain America: Civil War Trailer, YouTube, 1080P - Scaled To 4K

Streaming SD and HD videos from YouTube worked very well. The image above is from a FullHD version of the Captain America: Civil War trailer, set to 1080p, but scaled to full screen on a 4K display connected to the NGC-1 via HDMI. 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.

suicide squad
Suicide Squad Trailer, 4K (2160P), Full Screen

This shot is from the Suicide Squad trailer, streaming from YouTube at 4K (2160P), while the MINIX NGC-1 is connected to a 4K display. Unlike the Compute Stick, which struggled to keep this media playing smoothly while anything else was happening on the system, the MINIX NGC-1 handle it with no problem. The combination of the NGC-1's slightly faster SoC (overall), additional memory, and faster storage allow it to handle something more taxing -- like full-screen 4K video -- somewhat better.

In addition to streaming from the web, we also played an assortment of 1080p MKV, MP4, and AVI files, grabbed from a NAS attached to the local network or copied to the MINIX NGC-1. All of them played perfectly. The MINIX NGC-1 would be a good candidate for a silent, low-power HTPC.

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