The NUC market is about to get a new competitor as Minisforum is making the necessary preparations to bring a new mini-PC to the fight. The DeskMini DMAF5 will be the company's first AMD Ryzen-powered device to venture into the mini-PC market.
The dimensions of the DeskMini DMAF5 are unknown at this point, but Minisforum's marketing material shows the mini-PC sitting comfortably on the palm of your hand. The case, which appears to be made of aluminium, features a matte silver and black theme and has air vents all over its body. The top panel employs a pop-up mechanism that allows you to get right into the system's internals without the help of a screwdriver. The case also comes with a VESA mount to attach itself behind your display.
The DeskMini DMAF5 employs AMD's mobile Ryzen 5 3550H (codename Picasso) APU. Although the quad-core, eight-thread chip is a pretty solid performer, we would have love to see one of AMD's more powerful 7nm Ryzen 4000-series (opens in new tab) (codename Renoir) APUs in the DeskMini DMAF5. In regards to clock speeds, the Ryzen 5 3550H is a Zen+ part that runs with a 2.1 GHz base clock and 3.7 GHz boost clock.
Minisforum keeps the Ryzen 5 3550H's operating temperature under control with a cooling system that's that suitable for a processor with a TDP (thermal design power) that exceeds 45W. For reference, the Ryzen 5 3550H is a 35W part. The manufacturer doesn't explain the system in detail, but it appears to dissipate heat with a thick copper heat pipe and a high-speed cooling fan. Minisforum claims that the fan's noise level is under 30 dB, and the cooling system can keep the processor from throttling during long durations of usage.
The motherboard comes with two SO-DIMM DDR4 slots to hold up to 32GB of DDR4-2400 memory and one M.2 2280 slot for SATA SSDs. There is enough room in the case to accommodate one normal 2.5-inch hard drive or SSD too. For internet connectivity, the DeskMini DMAF5 gives you the option of two Gigabit Ethernet ports or an Intel Wi-Fi AX200 and Bluetooth 5.0 combo. As for USB ports, the mini-PC has nothing less than four USB 3.1 Type-A ports.
The DeskMini DMAF5 provides three distinct outputs for displays. You get a HDMI 2.0 port, a DisplayPort 1.2 output and a USB 3.1 Type-C port, all three of which can handle 4K resolutions up to 60 Hz. The Ryzen 5 3550H arrives with three eight Vega Compute Units (CUs) clocked at 1,200 MHz so it's more than capable of addressing heavy graphical workloads. You can allocate up to 2GB of your system's memory to the APU.
Minisforum hasn't disclosed the pricing of the DeskMini DMAF5. The company expects to launch the Indiegogo campaign soon though. If you sign up for the newsletter (opens in new tab), you receive a 25% discount of the retail price once the DeskMini DMAF5 launches.
Zen+ is still powerful enough for a small office, but I prefer something that sips power so there is no heat. Staying below 25W tdp is better while 15W is ideal for passive cooling.
3550H has a default of 35W TDP but it can be configured between 12 - 35W. However, it would be a waste to run 35W CPU at 12W since 3550U is better suited for that.
However, I do agree Zen2 is a much better choice since its 7nm. IT will be faster than Zen+ at its TDP limit. When its running just 1 core under light loads, it will likely consume less power too.
The usual rules apply: does the CPU/s exceed market requirements (cost, enhanced or extra functionality) significantly enough to yield a competitive advantage ?
If yes, market effectively and monitor buyer uptake (for both the end manufacturer and AMD).
That other old saying applies here, as always...you shouldn't place all your cards on the table at once. Keep that Zen2 option alive, no need to push out that product if things are progressing well with the current iteration. Rinse & repeat for Zen3/4 etc. Remember, Intel did this for waaay too long before Zen2 hit (no competition also allowed them to hit you hard in the pocket).
I've seen arguments that AMD should hold back the launch of Zen 3 to make more money from Zen 2 first. That's a bad idea! Given that Intel doesn't run into any additional hick-ups AMD must (probably) release Zen 4 late next year (as close to Alder Lake as possible) to stay competitive. So at best 18 months from now Zen 3 is "outdated" and most of the profits from that architecture has to come within these next 18 months. Holding off with the release (of a finished product) until later is thus just stupid!
Low voltage CPU are overpriced for the desktop market for nothing.
I inquired them about a unit for review and they gave me a great deal.
My personal message is if you don't use Realtek NIC's in this thing. It will sell like hotcakes.
For a net app box you wouldn't need that much horsepower. Protectli starts with Intel Celeron® J1800 or J3060 Dual Core Processor, @2.4 GHz. Their top end product is a mobile i5 and that is for medium to large office use.
Where you need to real horsepower is for VPN's and SPI/DPI inspection and sometimes QOS. 15W 3550U passively cooled would be a wonderfully powerful solution for most home users. It will still be more powerful than any consumer mass produced router.