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Seven Small (But Powerful) Mini-PCs, Reviewed

Power Usage Benchmarks

Let's start with a power and temperature reading at idle, which should give us some idea of how these systems behave most of the time.

Every mini-PC except for ASRock's registers idle power consumption between 8.4 and 13.2 W. The VisionX is penalized for its add-on GPU, which pushes power use to 27 W at idle.

When we kick off a video playback workload, the VisionX continues pulling the most power as we measure 45 W. The other PCs sip between 12 and 17 W, which is barely above their idle consumption results.

Next, we tax each CPU with Sandra's Cryptography benchmark and record a wider range of results. ASRock's VisionX continues to use between 40 and 50 W, while the competition start around 20 and peak around 35 W. Turbo Boost and available thermal headroom most definitely play a role in how much these chips are allowed to ramp up.

A gaming workload shows us that ASRock's Radeon GPU requires a lot more power than Intel's built-in graphics engines. Of course, you do get all of that extra performance. And compared to most gaming desktops, a 95 W ceiling is still pretty reasonable. The other compact platforms hover between 25 and 40 W, albeit at sub-standard frame rates.