Mini-PC review: The Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U-powered Minisforum UM250

Enlarge / This tiny PC’s Ryzen 5 Professional 2500U is a pair generations outdated—but it surely’s cheap, and it nonetheless packs a critical punch.

Jim Salter

Minisforum’s UM250 is a really small type issue PC with the ability and the ports to tackle a whole lot of duties. And as a consequence of its alternative of an older CPU, it is fairly low cost, too.

A few months in the past, we reviewed Minisforum’s Comet Lake i5-powered U850. The UM250 we’re taking a look at immediately is lower largely from the identical material—it is bought 16GiB RAM, flagship Intel Wi-Fi 6, a 256GB SSD, two wired Ethernet ports, and a gorgeous VESA-mountable case that is simple to work on (and in).

The most important real-world distinction between the 2 fashions is worth: $430 for the fully loaded, AMD-powered UM250 versus $700 for the Intel-powered U850.


Minisforum UM250 product image

Minisforum UM250

(Ars Technica might earn compensation for gross sales from hyperlinks on this put up by means of affiliate programs.)

Like most of Minisforum’s fashions, the UM250 is an unassuming little silver-and-black brick full of ports—together with 4 USB type-A ports and sufficient video out to drive three shows through USB-C, DisplayPort, and full-size HDMI.

The UM250 we examined is “absolutely loaded” with 16GiB of socketed dual-channel RAM, a 256GB Kingston M.2 SSD, and a duplicate of Home windows 10 Skilled. Should you’re trying to provide your individual RAM, SSD, and OS there’s additionally a bare-bones model on Minisforum’s store at $320.

The explanation the UM250 is so comparatively cheap (not far more than half the price of the Intel-powered U850) is the Ryzen 5 Professional 2500U powering it. The UM250’s 2500U is nearly two years older than the Comet Lake i5 within the U850, but it surely goes neck-and-neck with the newer, dearer Intel half in most benchmarks. Heck, the Ryzen even wins in some areas.

Minisforum additionally shaved off some price by solely offering a single SATA port versus the U850’s two, and through the use of a slower M.2 SATA mannequin of the Kingston SSD. The UM250 additionally gives twin RTL8111 Gigabit Ethernet versus the U850’s RTL8111 Gigabit + Intel 2.5Gbps Ethernet. We suspect a lot of the of us out there for this form of mini-PC will not thoughts these sacrifices, particularly when contemplating they arrive at almost $300 off the retail price.

Shifting previous uncooked specs, the UM250 is nice to share an workplace with. Even in Time Spy and Cinebench R20 multi-threaded testing, its cooling fan stays moderately quiet. Should you’re near it in a useless silent surroundings, you’ll hear it—however even then, it is a regular clear whoosh with none bearing whine. This mini-PC is gradual to vary RPMs fairly than quickly spinning up and down repeatedly.

Contained in the UM250

Specs at a look: UM250
CPU Ryzen 5 Professional 2500U
OS Home windows 10 Professional (pre-installed) / Linux supported
GPU Vega 6 (built-in)
Wi-Fi M.2 Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6, dual-band + BlueTooth 5.1
SSD Kingston M.2 256GB SATA SSD
  • one SATA port
  • one full-size HDMI 2.0
  • one full-size DisplayPort
  • one USB-C (full featured)
  • DC barrel jack
  • 4 USB3.1 Kind-A
  • two 1Gbps Ethernet (Realtek 8111H)
  • one 3.5 mm audio
  • built-in mic
Value as examined $430 at Amazon / $470 at Minisforum

Very like the U850, the UM250 is extraordinarily simple to get into and work on/in. The highest plate might be eliminated by gently pushing two corners and letting it come out (just like some kitchen cupboard doorways). As soon as contained in the UM250, you are offered with a socketed NVMe SSD on the left, an unpopulated SATA energy+information connector within the middle, and two socketed DDR DIMMs on the best.

In contrast to the dearer U850, the UM250 solely gives a single SATA connector—and no sunken drive bays within the chassis itself. As a substitute, you’ll be able to bolt a 2.5″ SATA HDD or SSD to the underside of the highest plate. That is purposeful however a bit irritating, because it means your SATA cable is connected to the plate you could take away to get into the field.

However once more, contemplating the huge worth disparity between the U850 and UM250, we’re not complaining. We’re simply pleased there is a SATA connector and mounting bracket in any respect, on condition that the first drive is NVMe.

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