Minisforum DMAF5 mini PC is pretty eye-catching, despite a rather simple mini PC. That’s because it uses a very capable AMD Ryzen 5 3550H APU to power up the whole unit. The company that seems to be based in Pinghu, Guangdong, China is raising funds to manufacture these via IndieGoGo. There were rendered images of the unit, but nothing really ‘real world’ until these photos surfaced.
Why do companies not make AMD Ryzen based mini PCs?
Commander Riker: Tough little ship!
Commander Worf: *disgusted* Little?
-From Star Trek: First Contact
AMD isn’t really into mini PCs for some reason, while Intel NUCs are dominating this sector of pre-built PCs. While AMD has APU lineups which should be more than enough to give mid-to-high-end NUCs a run for their money, nobody does it. That’s one take away from the Minisforum DMAF5- it did the obvious.
There are times one of two manufacturers have an AMD Ryzen based mini PCs. ASUS has one for business purposes. And ZOTAC has a couple of these barebones. Despite its ability to provide good performance for a small footprint, nobody else has an extensive lineup. True, Intel has its own NUC (Next Unit of Computing) with companies like ECS with LIVA and Gigabyte with BRIX having plenty of units, one of them was reviewed here. Dr Ian Cutress who runs a very humble Youtube channel humbly yet plentiful tell us the good reasons why.
Despite Intel’s work on NUCs with a very organized process and widespread with it, AMD can work with many companies to have a mini PC with existing components, bringing on more portfolio under its belt (properly). So one has to ask, can the Minisforum DMAF5 mini PC grab that empty space and can it tempt others to follow suit?
The choice of APU
According to the company, these should be priced around US$ 399 and start its availability by mid-July. Minisforum also said that its future variants will use the Ryzen 4000 series APUs that soon going to be released. This Ryzen 5 3550H is clocked at 2.1/ 3.7 GHz. This APU can power up to three 4K monitors at 60Hz with its VEGA 8 graphics. The manufacturer hopes to price this variant for around the US $399 by mid-July, with an option to have Ryzen 4000 series APU after it releases.
From the outside, the only way for anyone to know this is an AMD mini PC is just the labels. That’s rather expected since it is not supported to look blingy. But this would be good mid-end PC with som gaming capability with older games. Maybe even better with the newer Ryzen APUs.
The specs so far…
The Ryzen 5 3550H is clocked at 2.1/ 3.7 GHz base/ turbo clock speed. The eight Vaga 8 cores can drive three 4K monitors up to 60 Hz. It has a single M.2 and single SATA port and two SO-DIMM DDR4 slots supporting up to 32GB 2400MHz memory modules. Typical of what you’ll see in larger-than-NUC Intel mini PCs, it has 4 USB 3.1, dual gigabit ethernet and a Type-C port. Despite how it appears, it is a passively cooled unit with exhaust vents on the underbelly. As a norm of these units, these VESA mountable.
Intel NUC’s future offering
Intel has lots of plans for its Intel NUC series as it has purple built CPUs for this unit. Based on its leaked slides, Tiger Lake-U should be coming out before 2020 ends. There are prototypes showing it paired with a GTX 1660 Ti. I am also assuming this is the reason it created some tension between Intel and AMD providing support for its surprisingly remarkable chip that we would normally see in a parallel universe. Who knows!! But it is about AMD has something on mini PCs.