Beelink EQ12 Pro Review - World's First Mini PC with Core i3-N305 Processor
As the most powerful chip in the Intel Alder Lake-N low-power family, the Core i3-N305 has attracted much attention since its release. It may be because the current cost of chips is relatively high, so only a few computers on the market have chosen this solution. Beelink EQ12 Pro is the world's first Mini PC equipped with Core i3-N305 processor, and it is also the most configured low-power host currently on the market. It has 16GB DDR5 memory, dual 2.5G Ethernet ports, WiFi 6, and dual fan cooling system , and supports dual hard drives and three-screen output.
Beelink EQ12 Pro uses the same mold as Beelink EQ12, with a body size of 124*113*39mm (0.5L) and a weight of 330g. The top surface is polished by laser engraving process, which can prevent fingerprints and scratches, and it will also show different patterns under different viewing angles.
The machine I got this time has a navy blue color scheme, and the brand also provides pearl white, millennium gray and advanced gray color options.
Although EQ12 Pro is positioned at the low-end, it is not stingy at all in terms of interfaces, including 3 USB3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 1 multi-function Type-C, 2 2.5G Ethernet ports, and 2 HDMI2.0 ports , a 3.5mm audio interface, and a DC power adapter interface.
Both the Type-C interface and the HDMI interface support a maximum of 4K60Hz video output, so EQ12 Pro can achieve three-screen different displays, which is very suitable for use scenarios such as stock trading, office work, and productivity tasks. Dual 2.5G network ports also further enrich its gameplay, and the functions of router, firewall, and virtual machine can be realized through software.
However, the groove design of the current Type-C interface has obvious defects, which makes many C-port peripherals unable to be fully inserted. For this reason, I also contacted the after-sales service of the brand. They said they knew about this problem and promised to reissue a new shell for free within one month.
The EQ12 Pro uses the same dual-fan design as the new generation of high-end Mini PCs, and there is also a fin plate at the SSD to increase the passive cooling area.
The memory stick specification is 16GB DDR5, and the brand is Crucial. Although Intel officially shows that the i3-N305 supports a maximum of 16GB of memory, the measured EQ12 Pro can recognize a 32GB memory stick. There are 2 hard disk interfaces, one is M.2 2280 SSD interface, compatible with PCIe3.0*1 and SATA III, and the other is SATA III interface, which supports 2.5-inch, 7mm-thick HDD or SSD.
The standard wireless network card is Intel AX101, which supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. The maximum theoretical bandwidth of the wireless network is 600Mbps, which is enough for ordinary families. However, for commercial users who want to use EQ12 Pro as a wireless gateway in a local area network above Gigabit, it is not powerful enough.
The workmanship of EQ12 Pro is still good, the shell is smooth without burrs, the internal components are arranged reasonably, and the wiring is relatively regular. I just hope that Beelink can solve the problem of Type-C interface earlier.
Although the Intel Core i3-N305 belongs to the Alder Lake-N low-power series, it has 8 CPU cores, and the maximum turbo frequency can reach 3.8GHz, so the performance release is much stronger than the N100 and N200. The integrated graphics card is a 12th-generation Intel UHD with 32 execution units, and the maximum dynamic frequency is 1.25GHz, which is also much stronger than the core display of N100/N200.
Master Lu’s comprehensive hardware performance score of EQ12 Pro is 525,457, surpassing more than half of the devices on the entire network.
The test principle of Maxon Cinebench R23 is to complete the rendering of a complex 3D image through the CPU alone without the intervention of the GPU. The CPU single-core score of i3-N305 is 1038, and the multi-core score is 4658. Among them, the multi-core score exceeds the Core i5-1135G7 (3769) with a cTDP of 15W, and the difference is only 7% compared with the 1135G7 (4904) with a cTDP of 28W.
In Geekbench 5.4.1, the EQ12 Pro's CPU single-core, CPU multi-core, and OpenCL scores were 1115, 4844, and 6291, respectively. Compared with the Intel NUC 8 Pro (i5-8259U) and the Beelink SEi8 (i3-8109U), the CPU multi-core performance is 19% and 153% higher respectively.
The test principle of PCMark10 is to simulate various tasks in modern office scenes, and obtain the complete performance score of the computer through a series of complex frame rate addition calculations. Usually, a score of 4000 is considered the threshold of a high-performance Mini PC, and the score of the EQ12 Pro is 3868, which is only one step away from this threshold.
In the chess benchmark test, the number of steps per second of EQ12 is 15625, and the relative performance multiple is 32.55 times.
Because the Core i3-N305 processor is only equipped with 9 PCIe channels in total, and the USB interface, Ethernet port and wireless network card have already occupied 8 of them, so the standard SSD of EQ12 Pro is PCIe3.0 x1 specification, not PCIe x4, commonly found on high-end Mini-PCs. The sequential read and write speed of the standard SSD is about 860MB/s, which is much faster than the SATA III SSD.
Compared with low-power Mini PCs equipped with N100, N200 or Jasper Lake series processors, EQ12 Pro is naturally much more efficient when browsing the web, doing office work, and handling productivity tasks. Open dozens of web pages in the browser, and then Opening multiple Office documents at the same time does not feel the slightest lag.
Even if you edit 4K video with the PC-side Clipper Professional Edition, it is very smooth.
The 12th-generation UHD core display supports hard decoding of AV1 video format. When playing 8K60fps video on a web page, not only can it not drop a single frame, but the occupancy rate of system resources is also very low.
Although the maximum dynamic frequency of the UHD core display integrated in the i3-N305 is as high as 1.25GHz, the performance is still far behind Iris Xe Graphics eligible, so EQ12 Pro is basically insulated from AAA games. 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike scores are 602 and 1751 respectively. However, we were able to run some less demanding mainstream games at lower resolutions and special effects settings.
"League of Legends", 1080P+ medium special effects, an average of 89fps, and the whole game process is kept above 60fps, the experience is not bad.
"Genshin Impact", only the lowest image quality can run smoothly at 1080P resolution, with an average of 47fps. There is no stuttering during the game, and the experience is not bad.
"CS:GO", 1080P+ low special effects, average 51fps, but the frame rate fluctuates greatly during the game, and there will be more obvious stuttering and delay in some complex scenes.
"PUBG Mobile: Stimulating Battlefield" averages 26fps at 1080P resolution and the lowest special effects settings, which is barely playable, but some scenes will experience severe frame drops.
In general, EQ12 Pro is only suitable for running ordinary games and small games that do not require high graphics cards.
Heat dissipation: low noise, high stability
Beelink's dual-fan patented design is of great help to the heat dissipation of EQ12 Pro, and the score in the 3DMark stress test reached 99.5%.
In the AIDA64 system stability test for 1 hour, the CPU did not report frequency reduction, and the highest core temperature did not exceed 85°C. And what's even more commendable is that the noise of the computer is really low during high-load operation, which will not make people feel uncomfortable.
Standby Power Consumption
When the EQ12 Pro is in standby and running as a router, the power consumption is about 10W, which is not the lowest among the zero-moment Mini PCs. When the CPU is fully loaded, the maximum power consumption value read by the recorder has reached 40.5W, which has exceeded the rated power of the standard adapter. However, the power consumption value of 40W will only last for about 10 seconds, and then it will decrease and remain stable at 30W. around the level.
The current price of EQ12 Pro on the e-commerce platform is $349.00, including 16GB memory, 500GB SSD and genuine Windows 11 operating system. Whether it is used as the main office computer, HTPC, or network equipment, it is a very cost-effective choice. It is hoped that the design of the Type-C interface will be changed in the next batch of products in a moment, so that consumers can get a better experience.