Thanks to continued improvements in mobile chips’ computing horsepower as well as power efficiency, scenarios that require large traditional desktop PCs have shrunk considerably. Most people only need a small form factor PC to deal with all their computing tasks nowadays. While cheap Celeron-based models may struggle with heavier and more graphics-intensive duties, and high-end ones could cost you quite a fortune, there are a healthy number of mid-range offerings worth looking at, and the GEEKOM Mini IT8 is one of them.
- Compact design and great build quality.
- Plenty of ports and the ability to drive 4 screens.
- Decent CPU and GPU performance.
- Licensed Windows 11 Pro operating system.
- Easy access to the internals.
- Relatively old processor.
- No WiFi6.
For those who have never heard of GEEKOM, it is a Taiwanese PC company founded in 2003 and has products ranging from PC accessories to complete PC systems. GEEKOM hasn’t entered the mini PC market until earlier this year, but their first model, the Mini IT8, which comes with a beefy i5-8259U processor, licensed Windows 11 operating system, and a very attractive price tag, is catching a lot of eyeballs recently.
Main specs of the GEEKOM Mini IT8
- Processor: Intel Core i5-8259U
- CPU: 4 cores, 8 threads, 2.3-3.8GHz
- GPU: Iris Plus 655 Graphics
- Process technique: 14nm
- OS: Windows 11 Pro
- RAM: 8/16GB DDR4 2400MHz (expandable to 32GB)
- Storage: 1*M.2 NVMe/SATA SSD, 256/512GB (expandable to 1TB);
- 1*2.5’’ SATA HDD/SSD (expandable to 2TB)
- Network: WiFi5 + BT 4.2 / Ethernet Gigabit
- Ports: 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 / 2x USB-C / 1x HDMI 2.0b / 1x Mini DisplayPort / 3.5mm audio jack / 1* SD card slot
- Accessories: 19V-4.74A DC adapter/ 1x HDMI Cable (1m) / User Manual / VESA Mount / Carrying pouch
The GEEKOM Mini IT8 is powered by an Intel Core i5-8259U processor (2.3-3.8GHz), which is built on a 14nm process, has 4 CPU cores, 8 processing threads, and integrated Iris Plus 655 Graphics. This processor was released way back in 2018, so it won’t be able to compete with the latest high-end chips found in mainstream laptops and desktop PCs, but it should be more than capable of any mainstream computing duties you care to throw at it. My unit comes with 16GB memory, as well as 512GB NVMe SSD, but you can also get the 8GB/256GB variant for less money.
First, I ran Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R20 test, which is fully threaded to make use of all available processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU rather than the GPU to render a complex image. The result is a proprietary score indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. The Mini IT8 scored 373 in CPU single-core, and 1613 in multi-core. Somehow the Mini IT8 managed to surpass the NUC8i7BEH, which rocks a higher-end Core i7-8559U chip.
Each Geekbench 5 CPU workload models a real-world task or application, ensuring meaningful results. These tests are complex, avoiding simple problems with straightforward memory-access patterns, and pushing the limits of the tested system. The GEEKOM Mini IT8 did quite well in the CPU tests, beating the NUC8I7BEH again in multi-core performance. It also snatched 8651 in OpenCL, indicating that the integrated graphics here can do a lot more than just office work.
PCMark 10 simulates different real-world productivity and content-creation workflows. we use it to assess overall system performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheeting, web browsing, and video conferencing. The Mini IT8 notched 4186 in the standard PCMark 10 test, not that far behind the i5-1135G7 powered Beelink GTI11.
My review unit features a Kingston m.2 2280 NVMe SSD. At nearly 2.5GB/s for reading data off the drive, it is still more than ideal for booting Windows and all your favorite apps.
If you are going to get a GEEKOM Mini IT8, be sure to ask the seller for the full configuration of your unit, as you will need dual-channel memory to get the best performance out of the mini PC. However, some units only ship with 1 memory stick inside. The 16GB/512GB variant I have received comes with one Kingston 16GB DDR4 memory stick, so I added another Crucial 16GB DDR4 memory stick to set up a dual channel. In the AIDA64 cache & memory benchmark, the read, write and copy speeds of the memory will almost double after dual-channel setup, and the performance of the integrated GPU will benefit from it, as well.
The GEEKOM Mini IT8 was quite efficient in all kinds of daily computing duties, including office workflows, web-browsing, and multi-media. There were no hiccups or delays when loading 10+ image-heavy webpages in Chrome, playing an 8K video and running a few big apps side by side.
Lightweight creativity tasks were also not an issue for this mini PC, as it was fast and perfectly responsive while running apps such as Photoshop and Lightroom. Even editing videos, which should be challenging for most SFF PCs, is a can-do on the Mini IT8. When I was adding filters to multiple 1080P clips at the same time, the machine did not seem like it’s struggling, although it did take more time to finish each task than the Ryzen9-5900HX powered Beelink GTR5. With that said, you would not want to use this mini PC editing videos in 4K, as that requires even more processing power from the system.
The Intel Iris Plus 655 Graphics GPU in the Core i5-8259U is not as fast as the Iris Xe Graphics found in the 11th and 12th generation Intel Core processors, but it is still a much better integrated GPU than the Intel UHD Graphics found in Celeron and Pentium processors, and scores of 3DMark test told the story. The Mini IT8 was returned 7428 in Sky Diver, 1957 in Fire Strike, and 743 in Time Spy.
League of Legend was fairly smooth in 1080P and medium settings. There were no noticeable frameskip or stutters even in the most intense battle scenes. GamePP recorded an average of 98fps, pretty decent for a midrange mini PC.
Genshin Impact was playable in 1080P and medium settings, but at only 30fps on average, it’s not all that enjoyable. After turning the resolution down to 720P, GamePP recorded an average of 49fps, and the smoothness improved significantly.
Spell Break was a very similar story. At 1080P and medium settings, we got an average of 41fps, which wasn’t too bad, but there were noticeable frame drops and delays in some of the more complex scenes. Turning the resolution down to 720p, the frame rate could stay above 55fps all the time.
As the results indicated, even though the Mini IT8 isn’t built for gaming, it can run some most modern games in moderate settings. And if you are a fan of simpler, more casual games like Angry Birds, Plant VS Zombies, or any games installed from the Microsoft Store, then you should not be worried about the smoothness at all.
If gaming isn’t one of the Mini IT8’s strengths, media playback certainly is! According to DXVA Checker, the Iris Plus 655 GPU inside the machine can decode most video formats of up to 4K or 8K. If you have a collection of high-res movies and shows, you are in for a treat! I tested dozens of 4K and 8K clips on the Mini IT8, and all of them played smoothly. Also, because the mini PC always utilized hardware decoding, the CPU usage was low and the cooling fan stayed fairly quiet during video playback.
Streaming super high-res videos online was not a problem for the Mini IT8, either. Playing an [email protected] YouTube video in the Chrome browser, the utilization of the CPU and GPU were 40% and 81% respectively, and the playback was extremely smooth.
Power consumption, temperature, and noise
Power consumption on the GEEKOM Mini IT8 is at 15watts idle and 70watts on max load. Not the most energy-conservative we’ve seen, but still more environment-friendly than most large desktop computers. Internal CPU temperatures ranged from 35℃ idle and 78℃ under max load which caused the cooling fan to spin up.
The Mini IT8 stayed quiet when dealing with light-weight tasks, I could watch the “Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard” court drama all day long without hearing any noise from the machine. However, the cooling fan will make audible noise when the system is under a heavy workload. Fortunately, it was neither too loud nor too annoying. If you had the Mini IT8 mounted under your desk or behind a monitor in an office cubicle, it would be highly unlikely for you to get distracted by the fan noise.
The 8GB/256GB variant of the GEEKOM Mini IT8 is priced at $379.89 on Amazon, but right now GEEKOM is offering all buyers a $20 coupon, after which you can get a unit for only $359.89, making it one of the most affordable choices among mini PCs with similar specs. In comparison, Beelink sells the SEI8 for $379, and the price of the Minisforum U820 starts from $499.9.
There’s a lot to like about the GEEKOM Mini IT8. It’s conveniently-sized, and could easily fit into even the most tightly-packed desktops. It’s also highly versatile, with a range of different ports, mounting options, and configurations available to suit almost every conceivable business need. If you are looking for a small desktop PC that is more than capable of your everyday basics, yet still affordable enough so as not to break your bank, the GEEKOM Mini IT8 is too good of an option to be overlooked.
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