Geekom Mini IT8 PC Review: Portable And Versatile

2022-10-28 02:36:00 By : Mr. Jack Zhang

When you think about buying a computer, you probably think about getting a big box that can sit on or next to your desk. But (aside from laptops) there is a class of computers that don't follow that model. The mini-PC is a great way to buy a new computer, but not take up a ton of room on your desk. In some cases (no pun intended) you don't have to take up any space at all. The Geekom mini IT8 PC is one of those cases. It's a fully functional computer, with a ton of I/O ports, that's about the size of two paperback novels.

Maybe you're thinking, "but surely something so small must be underpowered and not upgradable" and you are incorrect on both counts. Pound for pound, this computer stands up to most moderately powered PCs out there, full-sized tower or no. Plus, Geekom designed its mini-PC with upgrades in mind as both the SSD and RAM are easily accessible and upgradable. I've been using the Geekom Mini IT8 PC provided by Geekom for around two weeks, and this is my full review. Little Desk Fan

Geekom Mini IT8 PC Review: Portable And Versatile

Inside the Geekom mini IT8 PC is an 8th generation Intel core-i5 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of storage (as reviewed). All of those specifications are pretty adequate for a PC today. The PC is capable of driving four external monitors. We will talk more about the available ports on the PC in a moment, but this PC has one HDMI out and one mini DisplayPort. You would need some kind of docking station or other hardware to push four monitors, but I got it to work well with two.

In addition to those ports, the mini-PC also comes with one USB-A port and one USB-C port on the front along with a headphone jack. On the back, in addition to the aforementioned HDMI and Mini DisplayPort, you also get two USB-A ports, an additional USB-C port, and an RJ45 Ethernet connector. Finally, on the side, you get a full-sized SD card reader. All the USB ports are USB 3.2 Gen 2, and the USB-C port on the back is also a DisplayPort. Add in built-in Dual-Band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and there's little you won't be able to connect to this PC.

One of the best parts about this mini-PC is the fact that it is so easily expandable. Four screws are all that stand in between you and upgrades. When you remove the four Phillip's head screws on the bottom, you get access to the memory slots and the SSD. In addition to the 16 GB of RAM already installed, there is a second empty memory slot. The SSD is mounted right there as well, so you can swap it up to 1 TB, or you can add a 2.5-inch SATA secondary drive up to 2 TB. The processor is pretty buried, so you wouldn't be able to change that out, but memory and hard drive are fair game.

Additionally, if you don't want the box to take up room on your desk, the Geekom Mini IT8 PC also ships with a VESA mount which allows you to mount the PC to the back of your monitor. Essentially, this turns your monitor into an all-in-one PC. In addition to the VESA plate, you just need to screw in two mounting bolts and you can hang the PC out of sight. The PC doesn't sit flat with the VESA mounting bolts in, so you'll need to decide if you want to mount the PC and deal with the bolts as necessary.

The Geekom Mini IT8 PC ships with Windows 11 Pro. It's nice that it comes with the latest version of Windows available. There's also not a ton of bloatware that you can often find on Windows machines. Missing was the typical antivirus software and other brand-specific apps that manufacturers typically pile on. That was a nice change of pace. Unless you consider Microsoft's software because this computer ships with every app Microsoft ever made as far as I can tell.

Microsoft Office, two video editors, a camera app (for a computer without a camera), Cortana (RIP), Solitaire Collection, and more. If Microsoft developed it, it's on this PC. That's not unusual, but it is ... a lot.

Beyond that, it's your typical Windows 11 Pro machine. Of course, there's enough memory and power to run other apps — I installed Adobe apps that I use for work including Audition and Photoshop, Slack, and desktop apps for OneDrive and Google Drive. In fact, that 512 GB of onboard storage was a blessing to someone whose entire workflow exists in the cloud. Local file sync, FTW!

On the performance end, I had no trouble doing my normal everyday job duties on this computer. I mostly work in a browser, so right off the bat, there's not going to be a huge draw of resources. But during my time I worked with Photoshop and Audition on the Geekom PC and I didn't notice any major lag or stutters. I typically work with dozens and dozens of browser tabs and a few web apps running like YouTube music and Facebook Messenger.

To back it up with numbers I ran Geekbench's CPU and Compute benchmarks. The CPU test returned scores of 945/3,722 for Single and Multi-core processing and the compute test came back with 7,748. All those numbers mean that if you're planning on doing some work on this device, and that work does not involve video editing, or super-heavy adobe applications (or gaming) then this PC will be just fine for what you need it to do.

As for cooling, there are cooling vents on either side of the mini PC along with one in the back. It's all fan-cooled and the fan is located beneath the motherboard. Airflow is great and the fan itself is not very loud, so overall it's quite a good experience.

The main thing lacking in this mini-PC is audio. There are no built-in speakers, but there is a headphone jack, so if you want to hear what you're doing, you'll need headphones or (in my case) Bluetooth speakers. That's not surprising in a PC where space is at a premium and if I'm being totally honest, even if Geekom had thrown in some tiny, tinny little speaker, I probably would have dinged that too, so overall, Geekom made the right choice here.

The computer is powered by a typical brick-on-a-string power converter with a barrel plug. It's not particularly large, which lends to be portability aspect of the computer which I like. Speaking of portability, the mini-PC also comes with a carrying bag. I get it; this computer is super light and portable, sure. But I'm not sure I know what sort of person will be carrying this computer around in a faux velvet bag.

That's the part about mini-PCs that I personally never understood. Yes, they're portable, but only if you're going somewhere with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard ready to go. That's definitely not a part of my workflow, but I can imagine there are some occupations where this is a valuable add-on. Plus, the fact that Geekom packs that much power into a box and then basically dares you to toss it into your bag just commands respect.

As I moved into my review, I kept asking the question, "so, who is this computer for?" I realized as I started to wrap up my review that I was asking the wrong question. The question is, "who is this not for?" and those answers are easy. This computer is not meant for gamers, video editors, graphic artists, or anyone who needs an excessive amount of power at their fingertips. Who does that leave then?

It's great for grandma to put into her office and surf the web. It's great for your college student in a dorm room where space is definitely at a premium. It's awesome to use as a media center for your home TV — not only can it handle any streaming service, but you can store a few hundred gigs of video files on there too. The VESA mount of the back allows you to save even more space, with the minor inconvenience of having to reach around to the back of the monitor to power it on. Really, it's great for anyone who wants a computer.

Geekom Mini IT8 PC Review: Portable And Versatile

Small Oscillating Desk Fan The Geekom is available on Amazon and as reviewed it runs at about $500. That's very not bad for a basic PC that will accomplish just about anything and fits in any number of situations. So, this machine is a computer for everyone, or a reliable desktop "family computer" if you will. The only difference between this machine and the computer I was using when I was a kid is that in 2022, it's about one-eighth the size of what it used to be.