MinisForum Launches NAB6 mini-PC With Dual 2.5G Ethernet Portsby Zhiye Liu on March 27, 2023 5:00 PM EST
- Posted in
- Alder Lake
MinisForum is a well-known manufacturer from Shenzhen, China, specializing in compact systems. The company recently added the NAB6 to its diverse portfolio of mini-PCs powered by Intel processors. The NAB6, which leverages Intel's Core i7-12650H (Alder Lake) processor, offers not one but two high-speed 2.5G Ethernet ports. The feature is common on higher-end motherboards but rarely on a mini-PC.
The NAB6 is a compact system that will leave a small footprint on even the most miniature desks. It arrives with a minimalistic but slick exterior. MinisForum doesn't list the dimensions or the materials used in the device's fabrication on the product page. Instead, the manufacturer highlights the device's focus on maintenance and upgradability. Getting inside the NAB6 is easy and fast. A single press on the top plate is sufficient to pop it off for upgrading or switching out memory or SSDs. The NAB6 has an adequate cooling solution that consists of two copper heat pipes that transfer the heat from the processor to the compact heatsink, where a small cooling fan dissipates the heat through two air outlets. As modest as the cooler may look, it suffices to keep the 45 W Intel 12th Generation Alder Lake-H processor cool.
Only one processor option is available to consumers on the NAB6: the last-generation Core i7-12650H. The 10-core hybrid mobile chip wields six P-cores, four E-cores, and 24 MB of L3 cache. The Core i7-12650H has a 4.7 GHz boost clock but operates within 45 W PBP and 115 W MTP limits. Consumers can pair the 10nm chip with up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 memory, as there are two SO-DIMM memory slots inside the NAB6. The mini-PC has a single M.2 slot that adheres to the PCIe 4.0 interface. It supports M.2 drives with a length of 80 mm and up to 2 TB of storage. If buyers purchase the NAB6 with an SSD from MinisForum, the company includes an active heatsink with the drive. Alternatively, consumers can use the heatsink included with their SSDs or one of the numerous third-party heatsinks on the market. The NAB6's design has a specially placed vent where the SSD is located to allow M.2 SSD heatsinks with active cooling to expel the heat outside the device freely. The NAB6 also provides spacing for a standard 2.5-inch SATA SSD or hard drive for secondary storage.
|MinisForum NAB6 Specifications|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-12650H|
|GPU||UHD Graphics (64 EUs, 1.4 GHz)|
|Memory||2 x DDR4 SO-DIMM slots (Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200)|
|Storage||M.2||PCIe 4.0 M.2 2280 (Up to 2TB)|
|DFF||1 x 2.5" SSD/HDD|
|Ethernet||2 x 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet with RJ45|
|Display Outputs||2 x HDMI 2.1|
|Audio||2 x 3.5 mm combo jack|
|USB||1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C
1 x USB 3.2 Type-C (DisplayPort)
1 x USB 3.2 Type-C (Alt DP, Data Transfer)
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
|OS||Barebones Model (No OS)
Windows 11 Home pre-installed
16 GB + 512 GB SSD: $559
32 GB + 512 SSD: $609
32 GB + 1 TB SSD: $659
One of the NAB6's strong suits is the presence of two 2.5G Ethernet ports, making the mini-PC a terrific asset in home and enterprise environments with a high-bandwidth Internet connection. Unfortunately, MinisForum didn't specify the model of the two 2.5G Ethernet controllers. There's a small compromise, though. The NAB6 doesn't have wireless connectivity by default, so consumers must spend extra to get that wireless connection. Instead, the motherboard has reserved a regular M.2 2230 slot for a WiFi module.
MinisForum didn't cheap out on connectivity on the NAB6. The device's front panel conveniently provides one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port and two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports. If that's not enough, the rear panel houses two more USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and two USB 3.2 Type-C ports (one's DP only, and the other supports Alt DP and data transfer). There are also two standard HDMI 2.1 ports. As a result, the NAB6 is an excellent option for heavy multitaskers since the mini-PC can handle up to four simultaneous displays at 4K with a 60 Hz refresh rate.
The barebone NAB6 system sells for $459. The 16 GB memory and 512 GB SSD configuration retails for $559, whereas the 32 GB variant with the same SSD costs $609. The highest-specced variant, which sports 32 GB of memory and a 1 TB SSD, carries a $659 price tag. MinisForum is presently running a limited-time discount on its website for the NAB6, where consumers can save up to 22% if they put in their orders now. Unfortunately, the vendor didn't specify the period for the promotion. Buyers will also have to factor in the shipping cost. MinisForum has a store on Amazon, so there's free shipping for Amazon Prime members. However, the company hasn't listed the NAB6 on Amazon yet. MinisForum plans to ship NAB6 orders in mid-April.
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Samus - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - linkThe real question is how well it can handle 115w TDP? Reply
abufrejoval - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - linkI agree completely, but I'd say the situation is nowhere near as bad as say a Pentium 4 would be at that same TDP, because a scalar logic thread which would have pushed a P4 into throttling, might not even turn on the fan on this one, even at 4.7GHz.
One of my NUCs is a NUC11PHKi7CAA, a Tiger Lake i7-1165G7 + a mobile RTX 2060 for a combined TDP of 150 Watts.
Its wider, dual fan, but also as thin as a slim NUC, and even a Prime95+Furmark load is doing quite well in terms of performance and noise.
This looks like it has enough headroom for a CPU class fan and these have been able to handle 115 Watts easily, certainly at peak.
But apart from synthetic worloads it's become rather more difficult to actually load such a system to full TDP, you really need to keep all those floating point vector units loaded for maximum heat, nothing integer/logic-only will get it to sweat (say a compile farm) even with all threads loaded.
Unless they mess up with fan, fan control, thermal paste/pads, it could be pretty good.
What I find rather funny is that chips that were targeted at the really high-end gamer notebooks, 35 and 45 Watt parts, are now finding their way into this surplus recyling market.
While the dies might be relatively universal, the binning and packaging must happen soon after fabbing, so Intel can't simply put dies into 15/35/45 products on demand.
And then the lower bins of high-end SoCs is the first stuff to become unsellable at near original prices... but a potentialy very good bargain for an informed buyer.
Like that enthusiast NUC, which was a very hard sell originally. But currently these sell at below €700 after taxes and that's very good value. Reply
PeachNCream - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - linkPentium 4 CPUs lacked what we might consider throttling. SpeedStep and the AMD version PowerNow! were relatively new technologies, having only landed a generation prior and the P4 didn't burst clockspeed beyond its rated maximum until hitting thermal or power limitations like CPUs of more recent times. Reply
meacupla - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - linkAnandtech didn't post all of the pictures for this PC, but the heatsink does look pretty beefy for a mini-PC. Reply
ABR - Monday, April 10, 2023 - link4 x USB-A, what are people still needing all of these for? Only 3 USB-C, of which two might be used up for displays. Reply