Review : Know More About Minisforum S41 HDMI Thin Client PC

A tired kind issue that’s on its last legs however will the S41 put it aside?

21:9 Hero

OUR VERDICT

The Minisforum S41 HDMI PC represents wonderful worth for cash with loads of connectivity choices and a surprisingly aggressive function set. Shame in regards to the kind issue however that’s one other dialog.

FOR

  • Surprisingly good worth for cash
  • DisplayPort permits for second display screen to be linked
  • Can be utilized with out connecting to the HDMI port
  • Loads of connectors
  • Type-C power connector is a boon

AGAINST

  • Want a HDMI adaptor for comfy utilization
  • Poor storage efficiency
  • 64GB onboard storage is barely enough

Banggod sells the Minisforum S41  for $145.99 on the time of writing. Note that, whereas this worth contains supply, it’s unique of any taxes that could be levied by the related authorities or the courier firms on behalf of the seller.

A number of years in the past, a brand new kind issue gave the impression to be rising that was, again then, what may very well be interpreted as Intel’s reply to the risk posed by Android TV packing containers and the likes of the Amazon Firestick, launched in 2014. We reviewed the unique Intel Compute stick and the Asus Vivostick in 2015; in 2020, we’re reviewing the Minisforum S41, a newcomer to our labs, one which has embraced this ill-fated kind issue, for higher or for worse.

Design

Design

Minisforum caught to the template and delivered a product that appears rather a lot like Intel’s Compute Stick. There’s the HDMI protuberance (port) which we’d actively discourage to plug into any suitable gadgets (TV, displays and many others) due to the potential physical stress precipitated on the host port.

There’s additionally that rectangular plastic body that’s lined with holes that permit air to flow into via to chill the electronics that energy the S41. The mini laptop makes use of a lively warmth sink fan to maintain temperatures inside acceptable limits when in use and is portable sufficient to be shoved in your shirt’s pocket.

Side Ports

Aside from the HDMI connector, Minisforum’s latest product gives a miniDP, a Sort-C connector (which is energy solely), two Sort-A USB ports, one microSD port and a Kensington lock. There’s no audio jack or Ethernet port; each of which is perhaps obtained by in search of a suitable docking station.

USB-C Port

A note on the ability connector; it’s a 15W mannequin and it’s a lot smaller than most laptop computer energy provide items. The one subject is that the cable size is a tad too brief. The Type-C energy connector means which you can put in a current smartphone adaptor in case of emergency or perhaps a suitable battery charger.

{Hardware}

SPEC SHEET

Listed here are the total specs of the Minisforum S41:

CPU: Intel Celeron N4120
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB DDR4
Storage: 64GB eMMC (Ncard sld64g)
Ports: 2x USB3.0, 1x USB-C, 1x HDMI 2.0, mini Display Port, MicroSD card reader, Kensington Lock
Connectivity: Intel Wi-fi-AC 3165, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Weight: 300g
Dimension: 133 × 46 × 14mm (LxWxH)

The S41 is the primary product that we’ve got come throughout that makes use of the 14nm Intel Celeron N4120 processor; it’s a quad-core, 4-thread mannequin with 4MB cache and a base frequency of 1.1GHz. Its TDP of 6W propels it amongst the ranks of the perfect balanced entry-level Intel processors on the market. The video subsystem is dealt with by an Intel UHD Graphics 600 which permits it to energy two 4K displays. The remainder of the specification contains 4GB DDR4 reminiscence, 64GB eMMC storage (Ncard sld64g) and 802.11ac courtesy of Intel.

A shocking inclusion is Windows 10 Pro (reasonably than house) which hints on the enterprise viewers the S41 targets. There’s additionally a mini-DP to full DP cable and a HDMI one as effectively.

Performance and in use

BENCHMARKS

That is how the Minisforum S41 carried out in our collection of benchmark assessments:

Passmark: 1084.1
Passmark CPU: 2723.8
CPU-Z: 206 (single-thread); 823 (multi-thread)
Cinebench CPU: 541
CrystalDiskMark: 253 MBps (read); 143 MBps (write)
Novabench: 659
Atto: 250 MBps (read, 256mb); 138 MBps (write, 256mb)
Sisoft Sandra (KPT): 0.44
Windows Experience Index: 4.4

The S41 is straightforward to arrange and use; we didn’t encounter any teething points. Typically talking, compute efficiency was on par with our expectations; higher than the ever-present N4100 that was all the fad in 2019 and starting of the year with good video efficiency.

The storage subsystem although was abysmal by fashionable requirements. At 253MBps and 143MBps in read/write speeds respectively (as measured by Crystal Disk Mark), it’s roughly half and 1 / 4 of the pace of a SATA-based SSD drive. There is no such thing as a actual justification for utilizing eMMC that’s not of the sooner kind (v5.1) apart from to cut back the invoice of fabric. Then there’s the truth that Windows 10 occupies fairly an enormous chunk of the cupboard space; of the 64GB on paper, you’re left with about 35GB.

One shock is that you should utilize the system without plugging it into the HDMI port of a show. As a substitute, you should utilize the DisplayPort port with a suitable adaptor. The S41 will get very heat when in use, be certain that the air vents don’t get blocked as it would trigger the system to close down; it isn’t as noisy as we’d count on.

The competition

The Minisforum S41, we should always keep in mind, is way smaller than your common laptop and is prone to value much less as effectively. It can enchantment to these on the lookout for one thing which is discreet, nice for say, digital signageinteractive kiosks or point-of-sale techniques.

The AK3V ($146 at Banggood) seems extra like a standard mini PC with an enclosure that’s in regards to the measurement of half a dozen CD packing containers stacked excessive. The Celeron J3455 CPU that powers it’s barely much less highly effective than the N4120 but it surely has 50% extra system reminiscence and it simply outflanks the S41 with regards to connectivity choices.

A more direct comparability maybe is the AK5 ($123 at Aliexpress); it sports activities the identical processor because the AK3V however with 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC storage. Just like the mannequin above, it options loads of IO ports, way over the S41.

Final verdict

Let’s begin with the positives and there’s fairly a number of. First the value; we have been flabbergasted to see how low these may be had for. The S41 may be had for a similar outlay as a “regular” Windows 10 mini PC; in different phrases, a HDMI stick not carries any vital premium in comparison with current options. At underneath $150 on the time of writing, it’s truly rattling good.

As for the negatives, there was by no means going to be a shock. We have been by no means actually satisfied by the HDMI stick as a viable kind issue for well-documented causes and we stick with our rationale. We’d reasonably see Minisforum shave a number of {Dollars} off the value of the S41 by placing the {hardware} right into a extra conventional mini PC chassis and even one thing just like the Chuwi Larkbox.

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