Beelink Beelink MINI S12 & MINI S12 Pro Mini PCs Review
The Intel Alder Lake-N series are low-cost, low-power processors designed for entry-level PCs. Compared with the already capable Jasper Lake series Celeron and Pentium processors, the overall performance of the Alder Lake-N series chips has been greatly improved. I recently received two new Mini PCs from Beelink for review test: MINI S12 and MINI S12 Pro, which are equipped with brand new Intel N95 and N100 processors respectively. During the three-week trial period, they performed well in various computing The performance in the task brought me a lot of surprises.
The packages of Beelink MINI S12 and MINI S12 Pro are all white, and the Pro version also has the word Pro in the text above the front.
The accessories of the Beelink Mini PC have always been abundant. Both PCs come standard with a 36W power adapter, 2 HDMI cables (one long and one short), 1 VESA bracket, 1 pack of screws and 1 instruction manual.
In fact, it is not easy to distinguish the standard version and Pro version of MINI S12 from the appearance. These two mini-computers both use ABS plastic chassis, and the body size is also 115 mm x 102 mm x 39 mm (volume 0.45L). The dark blue color scheme looks familiar. The top panel of the mini PC is laser-engraved with a special texture that resists scratches and fingerprints. In addition, when you look at the mini computer from different angles, the light reflected by the top pattern will bring a special gradient color, which is quite chic.
The only physical difference between the two computers is in the lower right corner of the top panel. The lettering of the regular version of MINI S is silver, while the lettering of the Pro version is blue.
The interfaces of the two Mini PCs are also identical, including: 4 USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports, 1 3.5mm audio jack that supports microphones, 1 Gigabit Ethernet port, 2 HDMI 2.0 and 1 DC- in power adapter interface. Neither model has a Type-C port, which is a bit disappointing.
Both PCs include a SO-DIMM DDR4 memory slot, an M.2 2280 PCIe x1 NVMe solid-state drive interface, and a 2.5-inch SATA III hard drive interface and installation space. Both Mini PCs are pre-installed with wireless network cards. The regular version MINI S12 supports WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2, while the Pro version supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.
The memory stick is the brand of Crucial, which is a high configuration for this kind of entry-level Mini PC. The NVMe hard disk is the Maxio (Maxio Technology) brand. Although it is not an international manufacturer, the quality is also excellent.
The workmanship of the machine conforms to the standard of ZEROCH, the internal wiring is quite regular, and there are no ugly mold lines on the shell.
MINI S12 and MINI S12 Pro are respectively equipped with N95 and N100 processors belonging to the Intel Alder Lake-N series, and the standard TDP is 15W and 6W respectively. In a moment, the two chips were re-tuned to increase their TDP to 20W. Both processors include 4 CPU cores, 4 processing threads, and 12th-generation Intel UHD graphics. Although positioned as low-power chips, the performance of the N95 and N100 has actually surpassed the entry-level Core processors a few years ago.
In the Geekbench 5 test, the single-core and multi-core scores of the MINI S12 and MINI S12 Pro are much higher than those of the NUC 11 Atlas Canyon, which uses the Pentium N6005 processor. Among them, the multi-core performance score of MINI S12 Pro is nearly 45% higher than that of SEi8 using i3-8109U.
In PCMark 10, which tests comprehensive office and productivity performance, MINI S12 scored 2967 points, while MINI S12 Pro exceeded 3000 points, stepping into the ranks of PCs with medium performance.
In the hardware performance test of Master Lu, which is commonly used in China, the scores of both PCs exceeded 350,000. Among them, the regular version exceeds 35% of the computers on the entire network, while the Pro version exceeds 37% of the computers on the entire network. For an entry-level Mini PC, it is already quite a remarkable achievement.
The standard M.2 2280 solid-state drive is upgraded from the M.2 SATA SSD on the previous generation of MINI S and EQ series small mainframes to M.2 PCIe 3.0*1 NVMe SSD. Although there is only one PCIe channel, the read and write speed is still 60%-70% higher than that of SATA SSD.
Today's low-power Mini PCs are no longer the kind of tasteless products that will freeze even if you open a few more web pages in the browser. The measured MINI S12 and MINI S12 Pro both have strong multitasking capabilities. I opened more than 20 web pages in the Edge browser, and opened several large software at the same time, and there was no sign of any lag.
I can even use these two PCs to cut 4K video, most of the time it is very smooth, although sometimes the rendering time will be a bit long, but there is no real lag or delay. When encoding, you can turn on Intel Quick Sync hardware acceleration to improve efficiency, and the GPU occupancy rate can reach more than 95%.
However, due to the limited performance of the processor itself, it took more than 30 minutes for both computers to produce a 10-minute 4K video, which is more than 4 times longer than the SEi12 Pro with Core i5-1240P.
The twelfth-generation UHD core display integrated by Alder Lake-N has also improved significantly in terms of image. MINI S12 and MINI S12 Pro both scored over 300 points in 3DMark Time Spy and over 900 points in Fire Strike. The Pro version scored slightly higher in both tests.
With the improved GPU performance, there are more games that can be played, though you will still need to turn down the resolution and settings to ensure a smooth flow when running most games.
Under the setting of 1080P and medium picture quality, MINI S12 and MINI S12 Pro are relatively smooth when running League of Legends, with an average frame rate of 54 frames and 58 frames respectively, although the frame rate will be more obvious in large battle scenes Decline, but overall no lag. After adjusting the quality to "low", the average frame rate increased to 63 frames and 69 frames respectively.
The PC version of "Genshin Impact" is usually not suitable for entry-level computers, but it can be played on these two Mini PCs. With the resolution set to 1080P and the quality set to very low, the regular version of the MINI S12 averaged 24 frames per second, while the Pro version averaged 28 frames per second. The average frame rate of these two mini-computers at 720P is more than 45 frames, but if your monitor is larger than 24 inches, choose the lowest quality of 720P+, and the edges of characters and objects in the screen will have obvious jagged edges.
Although the chicken game "PUBG Mobile" can also run on two computers. However, under the settings of 1080P and the lowest picture quality, the average is only 13 frames and 16 frames respectively, and there are occasional freezes and delays in the process. When the resolution is switched to 720P, the fluency will be significantly improved, but more than 20 frames are still not enough for this type of game.
Compared with the SoC of the Jasper Lake series, the 12th-generation UHD core display integrated in the new version of Alder Lake has added support for the AV1 video format, so that there is no lag at all when watching 8K/60fps locally and online. And because it is hard decoding, the resource usage rate will not be very high.
The MINI S12 draws just 8.2 W at idle and 22.5 W at maximum load, making it one of the greenest mini PCs I've tested in recent years. The MINI S12 Pro consumes less power at idle, but slightly higher at maximum load. Both consoles are extremely quiet when running, and even multitasking and gaming noises are mild.
In addition, the running stability of the two small computers is also very good, and the scores of the 3DMark Time Spy stress test exceeded 99.5%.
A small computer with low power consumption that can be used as a main machine
The performance of low-power Mini PCs has improved so much in recent years that they are perfect replacements for desktops in many homes and offices. Beelink MINI S12 and MINI S12 Pro are only aimed at global markets and will not be released in China, so their prices have no reference value. In addition to the N100/Core i3-N305 chip, they will also bring dual 2.5G network ports, multi-function Type-C, and faster DDR5 memory, which can be said to be the highest low-power PC in history. My hope is that the price can also surprise us.