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    Mini-PC review: The Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U-powered Minisforum UM250

    Enlarge / This tiny PC’s Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U is a pair generations outdated—however it’s cheap, and it nonetheless packs a critical punch.

    Jim Salter

    Minisforum’s UM250 is a really small type issue PC with the facility and the ports to tackle a whole lot of duties. And attributable to its alternative of an older CPU, it is fairly low cost, too.

    A few months in the past, we reviewed Minisforum’s Comet Lake i5-powered U850. The UM250 we’re as we speak is lower largely from the identical material—it is bought 16GiB RAM, flagship Intel Wi-Fi 6, a 256GB SSD, two wired Ethernet ports, and a pretty VESA-mountable case that is simple to work on (and in).

    The greatest real-world distinction between the 2 fashions is worth: $430 for the fully loaded, AMD-powered UM250 versus $700 for the Intel-powered U850.

    Overview

    Minisforum UM250 product image

    Minisforum UM250

    (Ars Technica could earn compensation for gross sales from hyperlinks on this put up by means of affiliate applications.)

    Like most of Minisforum’s fashions, the UM250 is an unassuming little silver-and-black brick full of ports—together with 4 USB type-A ports and sufficient video out to drive three shows through USB-C, DisplayPort, and full-size HDMI.

    The UM250 we examined is “totally loaded” with 16GiB of socketed dual-channel RAM, a 256GB Kingston M.2 SSD, and a replica of Windows 10 Professional. If you are trying to provide your individual RAM, SSD, and OS there’s additionally a bare-bones model on Minisforum’s store at $320.

    The purpose the UM250 is so comparatively cheap (not rather more than half the price of the Intel-powered U850) is the Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U powering it. The UM250’s 2500U is nearly two years older than the Comet Lake i5 within the U850, however it goes neck-and-neck with the newer, costlier Intel half in most benchmarks. Heck, the Ryzen even wins in some areas.

    Minisforum additionally shaved off some value by solely offering a single SATA port versus the U850’s two, and by utilizing a slower M.2 SATA mannequin of the Kingston SSD. The UM250 additionally presents twin RTL8111 Gigabit Ethernet versus the U850’s RTL8111 Gigabit + Intel 2.5Gbps Ethernet. We suspect many of the of us available in the market for this type of mini-PC will not thoughts these sacrifices, particularly when contemplating they arrive at practically $300 off the retail value.

    Moving previous uncooked specs, the UM250 is nice to share an workplace with. Even in Time Spy and Cinebench R20 multi-threaded testing, its cooling fan stays fairly quiet. If you are near it in a lifeless silent setting, you can hear it—however even then, it is a regular clear whoosh with none bearing whine. This mini-PC is gradual to alter RPMs somewhat than quickly spinning up and down repeatedly.

    Inside the UM250

    Specs at a look: UM250
    CPU Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U
    OS Windows 10 Pro (pre-installed) / Linux supported
    RAM 16GiB DDR4 (2x 8GiB SODIMM)
    GPU Vega 6 (built-in)
    Wi-Fi M.2 Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6, dual-band + BlueTooth 5.1
    SSD Kingston M.2 256GB SATA SSD
    Connectivity
    • one SATA port
    • one full-size HDMI 2.0
    • one full-size DisplayPort
    • one USB-C (full featured)
    • DC barrel jack
    • 4 USB3.1 Type-A
    • two 1Gbps Ethernet (Realtek 8111H)
    • one 3.5 mm audio
    • built-in mic
    Price as examined $430 at Amazon / $470 at Minisforum

    Much just like the U850, the UM250 is extraordinarily simple to get into and work on/in. The prime plate could be eliminated by gently pushing two corners and letting it come out (just like some kitchen cupboard doorways). Once contained in the UM250, you are offered with a socketed NVMe SSD on the left, an unpopulated SATA energy+information connector within the middle, and two socketed DDR DIMMs on the correct.

    Unlike the costlier U850, the UM250 solely presents a single SATA connector—and no sunken drive bays within the chassis itself. Instead, you may bolt a 2.5″ SATA HDD or SSD to the underside of the highest plate. This is purposeful however a bit irritating, because it means your SATA cable is connected to the plate you have to take away to get into the field.

    But once more, contemplating the huge worth disparity between the U850 and UM250, we’re not complaining. We’re simply completely happy there is a SATA connector and mounting bracket in any respect, provided that the first drive is NVMe.

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