Minisforum has introduced its new EliteMini CR50 ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) desktop based on AMD's somewhat controversial 4700S desktop platform. The system is aimed at demanding productivity and business applications that can take advantage of eight AMD's Zen 2-class cores yet do not need loads of memory or a decent GPU.
The Minisforum EliteMini CR50 packs AMD's 4700S system-on-chip with eight Zen 2-class cores operating at up to 4.0 GHz in boost mode (4MB of L2 cache and 8MB of L3 cache is included). This setup is paired with soldered-down 16GB GDDR6 memory, a Radeon RX 550 discrete graphics card (Lexa GPU, 640 stream processors, 4th Gen GCN architecture, 14LPP) and a 256GB or 512GB SSD with a SATA interface.
To keep the system cool, Minisforum uses three blower-type cooling fans: one for the SoC, another for the graphics card, and the third one for components located on the backside of the motherboard (e.g., GDDR6 memory). While this combination is capable of cooling down the EliteMini CR50, one can only guess how quiet (or loud) the PC is.
For some reason, Minisforum decided not to equip its EliteMini CR50 UCFF PC with a Wi-Fi module. Yet, the system has a decent wired connectivity department that includes a GbE port, eight USB Type-A connectors (four USB 2.0, two USB 3.2 Gen 1, two USB 3.2 Gen 2), two display outputs (HDMI, DVI-D), and audio jacks.
The system measures 205 mm × 192 mm × 86mm and is slightly bigger than Apple's Mac Mini and looks similar to other Minisforum UCFF PCs. Meanwhile, unlike most Windows-based UCFF PCs, the EliteMini CR50 is not upgradeable, uses an outdated graphics card that will not drive two modern displays with resolutions higher than 1080p, and lacks Wi-Fi. Furthermore, unlike Mac Mini, it lacks Thunderbolt 3/4 connectivity for high-performance storage or peripherals.
Minisforum will offer its EliteMini CR50 for $679 without an SSD, $729 with a 256GB SSD, and $759 with a 512GB SSD.
When AMD introduced its AMD 4700S desktop platform based on Sony's PS5 Oberon SoC with defective GPU earlier this year, it did not clearly position it for entry-level or small form-factor PCs. On the one hand, a byproduct of PS5 SoC production should not be too expensive as typically it would have been thrown into the trash. But, on the other hand, since PC makers cannot get enough chips and processors, this is not a buyer's market, as witnessed by the EliteMini CR50's price.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.