GEEKOM Mini IT8 Mini Desktop PC Review – With Intel Core i5-8279U, 16GB DDR4, 512GB NVMe for £410

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GEEKOM Mini IT8 Mini Desktop PC Review

Summary

The GEEKOM Mini IT8 is a well-made and excellent mini PC with a good balance of price and performance.

Overall
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  • Overall - 90%
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Pros

  • Intel Core i5 8279U has plenty of power for most tasks and is good for a Plex server
  • Runs almost silently
  • Very low power draw

Cons

  • Alternative options may be slightly cheaper
  • 2x Ethernet ports would be useful, allowing you to turn this into a router

Mini PCs have grown in popularity in recent years. The Intel NUC may be the best-known option on the market, but it has spawned many alternative options.

These small PCs are an excellent option as they have a wide variety of uses that a full-sized desktop is not suitable for. With exponentially increasing electricity costs, they are a perfect solution for a work-from-home PC. They consume less space and often have VESA mounts for a discrete installation. They are also particularly popular for home theatre, providing superior processing power to streaming devices such as the Nvidia Shield.

The GEEKOM Mini IT8 Mini PC is a popular, affordable option. The Intel Core  i5-8279U falls within the mobile segment and is three years old now, but it still has plenty of grunt, and you save quite a bit of money compared to the newer 11th Gen Intel chips you find in some other mini PCs. It has more than enough processing power for all day-to-day office work, light gaming and any sort of media transcoding you need.

Preview Product Rating Price
GEEKOM Mini PC, Mini IT8 Mini Desktop PC Intel Core... GEEKOM Mini PC, Mini IT8 Mini Desktop PC Intel Core... 431 Reviews £459.89

Specification

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 8279U
  • GPU: Integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • Memory: Dual Channel DDR4 SODIMM with 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe PCIe 3.0
    • 2.5″ inch slot for expansion
  • Connectivity:
    • WiFi 5
    • Bluetooth 4.2
    • 1x Gigabit Ethernet
  • OS: Windows 11 Pro pre-installed
  • Form Factor: 117 x 112 x 45.6 mm
  • Display Support – up to 4 displays
  • Fan – Built-in quiet fan
  • Consumer Infrared (CIR)

Disassembly & Upgradeability

It is easy to open up the bottom of the Mini IT8 using the four screws. You will need to be careful with the base plate as it has a ribbon cable attachment which is connected to the 2.5″ SATA port allowing you to mount an SSD or 2.5″ HDD.

My model is 16GB with 512GB of storage. I have noticed other reviews state that the Mini IT8 uses a single 16GB stick, but mine had both slots filled with 2x8GB. 16GB of RAM should be plenty for this, but if you want 32GB, you will be forced to buy 2x16GB (or 2x32GB works too, but pointless).

The included RAM runs at 2666MHz.

The NVMe drive is labelled Lexar NM6A1.

Sadly the WiFi module is not upgradable as this appears to be integrated directly into the motherboard.

To access deeper into the PC, it looks like you need to unscrew two screws that are on the main motherboard

Build / Ports

The port options are superb, much better than you'd get on a laptop, which you might consider as an alternative to this.

On the rear, you have the HDMI port, a display PORT then, 2xUSB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports and a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port.

It is stated that this will support four monitors. I assume that's two using daisy-chained DP monitors, then the HDMI and USB-C.

For power, this uses a DC port and power brick. I would have loved it if this was powered by power delivery USB-C, similar to most laptops nowadays. I don't think any competing mini PC has this feature, so I can't be too critical.

Benchmarks / Performance

As long as you are not planning to play any graphically intensive games, then the benchmarks indicate this should be able to handle most things. I was impressed with the storage speeds; I was expecting something a bit slower on an affordable device.

Windows 11 Pro

This comes pre-installed with Windows 11 Pro, so it is ready to use when you arrive. It is just a standard fresh install, and there is no bloatware that you will find on branded laptops.

Apps I Used

My initial testing was setting this up as a temporary low-powered workstation. I used the EcoFlow RIVER 2 for power and the Arzopa G1 15.6″ 144Hz portable gaming monitor, the Vissles LP85 optical-mechanical keyboard, and some budget wireless keyboards. Technically it is not much different than working off a laptop, but it has inspired me to possibly ditch my big desktop PC for my day-to-day work and use this.

It is capable of light gaming, but I wouldn't really recommend it.

Zwift

I am a keen indoor cyclist using Zwift as my main app, but occasionally Wahoo SYSTM. I normally run everything on my laptop, and it doesn't take much to run either training app. You can dial up the graphics settings on Zwift, for more powerful computers, but I don't find I need it.

This is a perfect Zwift machine. Thanks to all the ports, I can have a proper keyboard, mouse and ANT dongle. My monitor is wall-mounted, and if I keep the Mini IT8 for this application, I will likely wall-mount that, too, keeping it away from water spillages and my sweat.

Kodi / Plex Client & Plex Server

One of the main applications for this little PC will be as a home theatre PC. The Kodi Forums haven't updated the Kodi Box guide for a while now, but an Intel x86-64 system has always been regarded as one of the best options to go for due to compatibility with all the various audio and video codecs as well as different types of HDR.

Kodi Matrix 19.0 has full 4K HDR support.

I don't plan to use it for this scenario, but it could make a good Plex Server. The Intel i5-8259U is a competent processor for transcoding thanks to Quick Sync and should be able to transcode multiple 1080P streams at once. There is obviously limited drive support, so you'd be reliant on external drives or using a network drive from a NAS.

It is worth noting that there is Consumer Infrared (CIR) on the front panel, which should allow you to program a remote to control any media apps you run. I personally use a mini wireless keyboard and touchpad that you can pick up cheaply on Amazon.

Fan Noise and Power Draw

I had some concerns that there is a built-in fan with this mini-PC. I can't bare fan noise and was considering using this for an HTPC where I want unwanted noise as low as possible. Thankfully, the fans don't spin up much. You get an initial whoosh when the PC boots up, but during light load, it sounds silent when sat near it with little ambient noise.

Power draw under light load was around 25W

Price and Alternative Options

Preview Product Rating Price
GEEKOM Mini PC, Mini IT8 Mini Desktop PC Intel Core... GEEKOM Mini PC, Mini IT8 Mini Desktop PC Intel Core... 431 Reviews £459.89

The GEEKOM Mini IT8 I received was the 16GB/512GB model, and this is on Amazon for £460 with a £50 off voucher available.

It is also available directly from GEEKOM for £429. When buying direct, you can save a bit of money by getting one of the lower spec options, the 8GB/256GB model is £389.

If you want something with a bit more oomph and a newer processor, there is the GEEKOM Mini IT11 which is available on Amazon for £550 after you apply the voucher.

Preview Product Rating Price
GEEKOM Mini PC, Mini IT11, Intel Core i7-1195G7 (4 Cores 8... GEEKOM Mini PC, Mini IT11, Intel Core i7-1195G7 (4 Cores 8... No ratings yet £679.99

There are plenty of competing mini PCs, and a lot of these use the i5-8279U. They all cost roughly the same depending on sales. GEEKOM appear to have some of the best reviews on Amazon, so I'd be inclined to stick with them even if they are £10-20 more expensive.

The one option that stood out for me is the MINISFORUM Mini PC which is a little cheaper but also has dual ethernet ports, one being 2.5GbE. This could be an appealing option for a powerful router running pfSense/OPNsense.

Alternatively, there is the Beelink Ryzen Mini PC SER3 which uses the AMD Ryzen 7 3750H. Looking at benchmarks online, the i5-8279U appears to be fractionally better while having a lower TDP.

Overall

I love the GEEKOM Mini IT8. The Intel i5-8279U provides enough performance to make this a good option across a wide range of scenarios.

While I liked devices such as the Apcsilmic DOT 1 Mini PC and Azulle Byte4, their lower processing power limited the mainstream appeal this has.

With rising electricity costs, I am genuinely considering using this for my day-to-day work rather than my main PC with its Ryzen 7 5800X and RTX3080.

I am also tempted to use this as a dedicated HTPC or perhaps as a dedicated machine for Zwift indoor cycling. My options are endless.

Prices on Amazon may not be quite as keen as other brands, but it's normally only £20 or so difference and is dependent on sales. The GEEKOM Mini IT8 is one of the best-reviewed options on Amazon, I know that doesn't always mean a lot, but from my experience, I would say these are accurate. Therefore, I'd be inclined to get this over anything that's slightly cheaper.

Last update on 2023-01-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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