Chinese manufacturer Hystou has decided to attempt a revival of sorts for Intel's Hades Canyon platform with a mini PC twist. The brainchild of one of the most surprising (and short-lived) collaborations between tech companies in recent years, the Kaby Lake-G APU inside Hystou's F9 packs Intel's 8th Gen Core technology alongside AMD's Radeon Vega M graphics. There's even a headphone-toting skull design on top of the case for that extra step into Hades Canyon's uncanny valley - with blue LED lighting to boot.
The Hystou F9 manifests in a 9 x 5.8 x 2-inch rectangular package. Built out of an aluminum alloy casing with plastic inserts, the Hystou F9 offers an interesting array of I/O connections: 2x HDMI ports, 2x Mini DisplayPorts, 2x Gigabit Ethernet connections, 4x USB 3.0 Type-A ports, 4x USB 2.0 Type-A, a single USB 3.1 Type-C port, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. Internal storage expansion options include 2x M.2 2280 for NVMe drives (PCIe 3.0) and 1x 2.5 inch SATA drive (either SSD or mechanical).
The Hystou F9 is available with four Kaby Lake-G CPU options. The chips are all quad-core parts running at different TDP and clockspeeds - the table below summarizes the available options. All of them feature a 4-core, 8-thread design; the differences lie in TDp, clockspeed, and the performance of the integrated AMD graphics subsystem. Vega GH packs in 24 CUs (offering performance similar to that of Nvidia's GTX 1060), while the Vega GL option cuts the CU amount to 20.
|Intel Core i5-8305G||2.8 GHz - 3.8 GHz||Radeon Vega M GL||65 W|
|Intel Core i7-8705G||3.1 GHz - 4.1 GHz||Radeon Vega M GL||65 W|
|Intel Core i7-8709G||3.1 GHz - 4.1 GHz||Radeon Vega M GH||100 W|
|Intel Core i7-8809G||3.1 GHz - 4.2 GHz||Radeon Vega M GH||100 W|
The Hystou F9 thus gives users some options - whether in pure CPU or GPU performance. In fact, Hystou is giving users access to silicon that Intel never made available through their Hades Canyon initiative. The Intel Core i7-8705G and Intel Core i7-8709G were never real options from Intel. The lower-tier hardware option thus brings the price down to $420 via Aliexpress. The Chinese e-tail giant only carries the Intel Core i5-8305G and i7-8705G options, though the other two configurations are only available through Hystou's website.
The Mini PC can be acquired as a barebones package. This would allow you (or require you) to drop-in DDR4 RAM, storage, and an operating system, though options are available packing up to 64 GB of RAM (dual-stick) and a 512 GB SSD.
However, support for Kaby Lake-G has been spotty at best, with Windows 10 - first abandoned by Intel, and finally by AMD, which cut off support for Kaby Lake-G from its mainstream driver releases in June 2020. Fortunately, a recent graphics driver update provided by AMD has brought Windows 11 support to Kaby Lake-G, expanding its lifetime in what is likely to be one last hurrah. Considering the historic platform and driver difficulties for Hades Canyon, choosing the Hystou F9 over a more modern option doesn't sound like the best option, unless you just like the idea of owning a piece of silicon designed by both AMD and Intel.