Geekom IT8 mini pc review

0

Think of it as a NUC with a different name. We regularly see ultra-small desktops or mini PCs from Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC) range. The NUCs are typically sold as bare-bones kits, to which you add memory and storage before using the tiny system behind an office monitor, in a customer kiosk, or as a media streamer in your home theater. The Geekom IT8 Mini PC (starting at $439.99; $549.99 depending on configuration) is a little different: It’s a complete system with RAM and a preinstalled SSD for a tiny desktop that’s a snap to set up and use. Even with an outdated CPU (one of Intel’s 8th Gen CPUs rather than the current 12th Gen), it’s a surprisingly capable example, with a useful array of ports, support for multiple monitors, and even a bit of room to expand. Add an affordable price and quiet operation, and the IT8 is a good alternative to an Intel NUC for light work, display signage, and other mini PC applications.


The Design: It’s a NUC-alike

Geekom offers four configurations of the IT8 Mini PC, all built around an Intel Core i5-8259U mobile processor. This quad-core “Coffee Lake” chip is four years old and runs at 2.3 GHz (3.8 GHz Turbo) with integrated Intel Iris Plus 655 graphics. The four IT8 versions have different combinations of 8GB or 16GB of storage and a 256GB or 512GB SSD; We tested the top-of-the-line model with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB drive priced at $549.99 with Windows 11 Pro. (You expected Windows Vista?)

Geekom IT8 Mini PC Overhead

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The Geekom is fairly similar in size, shape, and looks to the Intel NUC 11 Pro Kit we reviewed last year, with the same 4.6 x 4.4-inch footprint but slightly larger (1.8-inch vs .45 inches). Like the NUC, it includes a VESA mount for attaching the system to a wall, the back of your monitor, or the underside of your desk. The mount expands your placement options, but the IT8 Mini is so small you shouldn’t have trouble finding a spot for it on your desk or home theater shelf.

For its size, the IT8 Mini has a generous number of ports on the front, back and one side. On the front you’ll find a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, a data-only USB Type-C port, and a headphone jack, as well as the power button.

Geekom IT8 mini pc front connectors

(Photo: Molly Flores)

A data and display USB-C port and two more USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports are found on the back, along with a Gigabit Ethernet port, the power connector, and both HDMI 2.0 and Mini DisplayPort video outputs . According to Geekom, the IT8 Mini supports up to four displays; I’ve tried a dual monitor setup with no problems.

Rear connectors for Geekom IT8 mini pc

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Storage can be tight on a mini PC, so I was pleased to see a full-size SD card slot on the Geekom’s left side. There is a Kensington lock slot on the right side to prevent someone from plugging in the pocket-sized PC. The side panels are vented to allow air to flow through the system.

Geekom IT8 Mini PC SD slot

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The IT8 Mini also supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2, which get the job done, but both fall short of the current Wi-Fi 6 and 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 standards.


room to grow

Now that we’ve seen the outside of the IT8 Mini, let’s take a look inside the case. The four rubber feet on the bottom double as screws to hold the panel in place. Solve them and you’ll get easy access to memory and storage expansion.

Geekom IT8 mini pc below

(Photo: Molly Flores)

More specifically, there are two SO-DIMM memory slots. Even our 16GB test configuration has one slot free if you want to double the RAM allocation to 32GB. As for storage, our system’s 512GB solid-state drive occupied the single M.2 slot, but there’s also a SATA connection for adding a second storage device.

Interior of the Geekom IT8 Mini PC

(Photo: Matthew Elliott)

Geekom routed the SATA cable to the underside of the bottom panel and added a bracket to hold a 2.5″ SATA drive there. It’s impressive that in such a small PC you can still add memory and storage without having to replace what’s already installed.

Geekom IT8 Mini PC Drive Bay

(Photo: Matthew Elliott)

As you can imagine, we haven’t tested a PC with an 8th Gen Intel CPU in quite some time, with the 12th Gen “Alder Lake” and 11th Gen “Tiger Lake” chips being the most popular these days, though some budget systems still feature 10th gen “Comet Lake” parts. Unsurprisingly, you’ll see in the performance benchmarks below that the Geekom lags behind a similarly configured Intel NUC Pro with an 11th Gen Core i5 processor, although in fairness it costs less than the NUC (if you factor in the cost of the consider adding memory). and an SSD to finish the latter) and delivered competitive results.

For many mini PC scenarios, acoustics are more important than raw processing speed: a system that needs a loud fan to stay cool isn’t a welcome guest in my TV room or on my desk next to me. The IT8 Mini isn’t a fanless design, so it’s not silent, but its fan’s whirr isn’t constant. It was audible during intense graphics tasks like our Adobe Photoshop benchmark and gaming simulations, but at other times, including when streaming HD video, the Geekom operated quietly.

The record should show that while the IT8 Mini isn’t a bare-bones kit, lacking RAM and a storage drive, it does lack the keyboard and mouse that come with many desktops. You must provide your own.


Review of the Geekom IT8 Mini PC

As mini PCs go, the Geekom IT8 is a mid-range device that falls between cheap, underperforming models like the ECS Liva Z3, which is primarily designed for streaming or basic web browsing, and much larger, more expensive powerhouses like the NZXT H1 Mini Plus fits. The already mentioned Intel NUC 11 Pro Kit and the Asus ExpertCenter D500 join in this mid-range. You can see their core components in the table below:

Despite being from very different generations, the Core i5s in Geekom and Intel are both quad-core mobile CPUs, while Asus and NZXT desktop processors feature a six-core Core i5 and an eight-core Core i7, respectively. At the lower end, the ECS Liva Z3 has a budget quad-core Pentium Silver CPU without hyper-threading. Both the ExpertCenter and the H1 Mini Plus are small form factor desktops, but much larger than the ECS, Intel and Geekom machines.

productivity tests

UL’s PCMark 10 core benchmark simulates a variety of real-world productivity and content creation workflows to measure overall performance for office-related tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and video conferencing. We also run PCMark 10’s Full System Drive test to assess the load time and throughput of a PC’s memory.

Three benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads to assess a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 uses the company’s Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we’ll use the open-source HandBrake 1.4 video transcoder to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (lower times are better).

Our final productivity test is PugetBench for Photoshop from Puget Systems(Opens in a new window), which uses the Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe’s famous image editor to evaluate the performance of a PC for content creation and multimedia applications. It’s an automated extension that performs a variety of common and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks, ranging from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image to applying masks, gradient fills, and filters.

The Geekom IT8 Mini was behind the other two Core i5 systems, the Intel NUC 11 Pro Kit and the Asus ExpertCenter D500, in PCMark 10, but it wasn’t too far behind, beating the 4,000-point hurdle, which is good productivity for everyday apps like Microsoft displays Office. It was predictable to lag behind all but the ECS in our processor benchmarks, but performed surprisingly well in Photoshop, finishing second only to the mighty Core i7 NZXT.

graphics tests

We test Windows PC graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark, Night Raid (more modest, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).

We also run two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which emphasizes both low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase tests rendered off-screen to accommodate different screen resolutions, practice graphics, and compute shaders using the OpenGL programming interface and hardware tessellation, respectively. The more frames per second (fps), the better.

The Geekom IT8 Mini is as far from a full-tower gaming PC as you can get, but its integrated Intel graphics are enough to run Windows 11 smoothly and stream HD videos. The results of the NZXT H1 Mini Plus with its GeForce RTX 3060 GPU show the colossal gap in graphics performance between a game-worthy system and a kiosk or streamer like the Geekom.


An affordable, turnkey NUC alternative

If you were intrigued by Intel’s NUC compacts but want to avoid the hassle or expense of sourcing and installing your own RAM and solid state drive (and Windows too), the Geekom IT8 mini PC is a good alternative worth considering . It’s pretty much out of the box and costs less than a comparable Intel NUC considering the additional investment of buying 16GB of storage and a 512GB SSD.

Our only real gripe with the Geekom is an antique Core i5 CPU. It’s capable of a smooth Windows 11 experience and streaming HD video, but we still wish the system had a more modern processor. If you can wait, the company tells us that updated models are on the way, although it hasn’t shared any details or pricing, so this IT8 Mini might still be a smart value.

advantages

  • Full system with RAM and storage

  • Quiet operation

  • Multi-monitor support

  • Lots of connections and even some space for internal expansions

See more

Disadvantages

  • Outdated CPU

  • Peripherals not included

The final result

A turnkey mini PC, the Geekom IT8 is no mere bone, but a fully assembled, lightweight Windows 11 system in a tiny package at a great price.

Lab Report to get the latest reviews and top product advice delivered right to your inbox.","first_published_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:30.000000Z","published_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:30.000000Z","last_published_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:08.000000Z","created_at":null,"updated_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:30.000000Z"})" x-show="showEmailSignUp()" class="rounded bg-gray-lightest text-center md:px-32 md:py-8 p-4 mt-8 container-xs">
Do you like what you read?

Sign up for laboratory report to get the latest reviews and top product advice straight to your inbox.

This newsletter may contain advertisements, offers or affiliate links. By subscribing to a newsletter, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time.

Share.

Comments are closed.