Date Joined: 12/23/03
Pros: - Ryzen 7 5700U, 8 core, 16 threads
-512gb NVME SSD
Cons: -Single band (antenna) Wifi-5 (802.11AC) and BT 4.1
-The webcam is very low resolution by 2021 standards (480p)
-Doesn't charge via USB-C port in 2021
Overall Review: A laptop with similar main specs (Ryzen 7 5700U, 512gb NVME SSD, and 16gb RAM) usually cost $100-200 more depending on the brand. I was curious how they could reach this price point with that excellent mix of specs. As listed in my cons for this laptop, the cuts were made in the WiFi card, the webcam, and lack of USB-C charging.
The WiFi card is only 802.11AC or Wifi-5 and BT 4.1. Seeing as the WiFi standard is already moving on to Wifi-6e, that's already 1.5 generations behind and Bluetooth is on v5.2 now. I cracked the case open to check out the internals and was additionally disappointed to learn the WiFi chip is single band only (1x antenna) which was not mentioned in the specs. There's physically no port on the WiFi chip to add a second antenna so you'd need to buy a new chip as well as a second antenna if you wanted to upgrade.
The webcam as noted is only VGA 640x480 resolution. It.... works, but the image quality reminds me of webcams from like 20 years ago. 720p at least would have been nice. You'd be better off having a zoom conference on your smartphone's front facing camera quite honestly.
Lastly, the lack of USB-C charging is a little irritating considering the laptop does have a USB-C port. Thankfully the power brick is pretty small (it's only a 45w unit), but still it's one extra proprietary thing you'll have to lug around. Imagine needing only one USB-C charger that could charge your phone, laptop, and tablet? When USB-C will soon be capable of handling 240w with its newest revision, the lack of USB-C charging is a huge omission for a laptop released in 2021.
Battery capacity is a little low comparatively, however that's unavoidable given the thin size and light weight of the laptop so I'm indifferent on that part.
Negatives aside, the 5700U processor is fantastic. It's very powerful compared to a lot of the Intel mobile chips. Admittedly it's only Zen 2 architecture, but you're not really missing out on much from a general productivity standpoint. The NVME SSD and 16GB of ram complement the processor very well. The system is very responsive and applications open quickly. The fingerprint reader is also very fast and seems to be reliable. Overall a great laptop, I'd just plan on getting an external webcam if you need to have web conferences often and hopefully you're okay with lugging around an extra power brick. The WiFi card can be replaced/upgraded to a newer standard (Intel AX210 works with AMD processors) via the m.2 slot, just plan on having to buy an additional antenna with the new WiFi card and finding a place to install said antenna.
Pros: Got this machine when it was on sale for $210 about a month ago and am very glad I did! The Atom D525 is fast enough to make this thing feel like a full sized computer (albeit only for web browsing and other simple tasks). The combo of XBMC and the 2nd gen ION will play virtually anything you throw at it. Plays BluRay 1080p AVC without breaking a sweat and even though I'm not a fan of internet streaming video, YouTube Flash 1080p AVC plays fine. Audio over HDMI does work on my HDTV but unfortunately I don't have a receiver so I can't speak for its bitstreaming capabilities if it does have any. Comes with a media center remote as well which is nice as it works in XBMC (wireless keyboard and mouse work well too). The buttons take some getting used to (as the remote wasn't intended for XBMC) but I believe are configurable in XBMC through some xml editing. A lot of the other similar atom based htpc's don't come with a remote at all which is what prompted me to go with this model.
Cons: None really. Maybe having to buy RAM and an HD if you don't have any lying around? But if it did include those things then that would defeat the purpose of the Mini-TOP being called a Barebones system anyway :)
Overall Review: Running Windows 7 paired with 4GB (2x2gb) RAM and an old 80gig 2.5" sata HD I had laying around. Streaming HD videos over a Gigabit network setup from my 4TB unRAID server which was built around the same time. Works beautifully!
Pros: Great Ram. Runs at 1600mhz as advertised. Haven't had any problems with it so far and they've been running since April. Paired with an i7 930 @3.8ghz and ASUS p6x58d.
Cons: None really.
Overall Review: Never got the rebate from OCZ and have heard of other buyers not receiving rebates from OCZ either. Mine has been "in process" for over 4 months now! Might buy again but I'd rather not deal with a another rebate, at least not from OCZ.
Pros: Let's see... FAST, 4 cores, 8 threads, already ridiculous amounts of performance at stock speeds, even greater potential with a little overclocking. About the same price as the 920 it replaces but you get 133Mhz more. Did I mention FAST?
Cons: If there are any I don't know about them, but even if I did I probably wouldn't care. It's just that good.
Overall Review: Built a new system with this chip at the heart.
Intel i7 930
OCZ 6GB 1600Mhz DDR3
Thermaltake 850w PSU (got this plus the CPU and Mobo as a combo deal here on the egg)
Cooler Master 690 Case
Seagate 320gb HDs x2 (waiting for SSD prices to come down a little)
Samsung F3 1TB (for storage and cuz it's fast)
*old EVGA 8800GTS 640mb (waiting for refresh of current ATI and NVIDIA cards)
System this build is replacing was an almost 5yr old AMD Athlon X2 3800+ @2.4Ghz and 2gb ram build. Not the fastest by today's standards but it got the job done. I do a lot of video encoding so the i7 is perfect for my needs. Hyper threading really helps here. As a test I encoded a BluRay of mine on the old Athlon build which took 18.5 hours. The i7 did it in 3.5 hours at stock speeds. Have since OC'd the i7 to 3.8Ghz (24hrs prime95 stable) with minimal voltage increase. Trying for 4Ghz but the amount of voltages it needs doesn't seem worth it to me.
Pros: Let's see...quad core, 8 threads, and FAST. Replaces the older 920 which in itself was no slouch. 133mhz faster for essentially the same price. Great overclocking potential. I've heard stories of people reaching 4.2ghz+ on air. Basically a power user's dream.
Cons: If there is one I don't know about it and probably wouldn't care if I did.
Overall Review: Built a new system last week with this chip at its heart.
Intel i7 930
OCZ 6gb 1600mhz DDR3
Noctua NH-U12P SE
Thermaltake 850w PSU
Cooler Master 690 Case
Seagate 320gb x2 (tentative until SSD prices come down)
Samsung F3 1TB (for storage and being fast)
"old" EVGA 8800GTS 640mb (waiting until refresh of ATI and Nvidia lineups)
Coming from an almost 5 year old Athlon X2 3800+ @ 2.4Ghz. The i7 930 is literally about 6x faster at stock speeds. As a comparison I encoded a BluRay movie I had. On the old Athlon system it took about 18.5 hours. On the i7 it only took a little over 3 hours at stock speeds. Was able to get the i7 to 3.8ghz, 181x21, (24hrs prime95 stable) with only a minimal voltage increase. Shooting for 4ghz but not sure if the amount of voltage needed is worth it. Regardless, this chip was totally worth the price. Do yourself a favor and buy one!
Pros: One of the best hard drive's I've ever owned. FAST. I'm getting about 120+MB/s read speeds. Wish the 500GB version was a little cheaper so I could pick one up to use for my OS installation. Was lucky enough to get this drive and the thermaltake blacX hard drive dock in a combo deal for about $76 a while back. Might be picking another one of these up if it's ever on sale again, but honestly it's worth the full price.
Cons: None that I can think of, unless you don't like super fast hard drives.
Pros: Great drive. Cool, quiet, and it works.
Overall Review: A little background info...Almost every major hard drive manufacturer has a "GREEN" series hard drive. Main features of these Green drives are low power, low rpm, low heat (i.e. more environmentally friendly than regular drives). Samsung has this model's moniker of EcoGreen (*should have been the first hint), WD has the Green, and I don't remember what the other Mfgs call theirs. So basically if you bought this drive expecting a speed demon you were mistaken. Get a Samsung F3, WD Black, or if you have the money, an SSD.