For some reason, I like miniature desktops. From the Apple Mac mini to the Intel NUC series, I’ve always admired the amount of power in a small form factor. To be honest, it’s nice to have a miniature computer next to a big screen and admire your friends and family with your sympathy.
When the new computer mini-forum caught my attention, I realized I had to give it back. It’s called EliteMini H31G and it’s a little bigger than the traditional Intel NUC, but that’s okay because it contains something special: discrete NVIDIA graphics in collaboration with Intel Core 9 processors. In other words: This little monster can handle games and video editing.
What’s his GPU? Of course, it’s not the best because we have to deal with size and cooling constraints, but the graphics are still quite respectable – the NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti with 4GB DDR5. This GPU is located at the top of the computer and the entire computer is cooled by two small fans. The air intake grille is located at the top and is even equipped with a magnetic dust filter, so you can easily remove and clean it. It extracts heat from the back – you can feel the warm air when you put your hand in it.
The one I tested is equipped with a 3 GHz Intel Core i5-9500F, which has 6 cores and can increase the frequency to 4.4 GHz. It has an 8GB memory card (which unfortunately means only one channel) and a 256GB Kingston NVMe SSD. It also offers Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 thanks to the Intel AX200 card.
Most importantly, the RAM, Wi-Fi and memory can be easily upgraded – you can access the interior by removing four screws (see video below). In addition to replacing the 2280 NVMe SSD, a 2.5-inch HDD/SSD and/or SATA 2242 M.2 SSD can be added. Inside there is a plastic mounting bracket and a combined power/data cable for the 2.5 drive. It would be great to add a repository or a dual-boot Linux.
Wait a minute, can this work on Linux? Yeah, pretty brilliant, actually. In addition to Windows 10, I also installed Fedora on a 2.5-inch SATA SSD that I added, and it worked well. However, given NVIDIA’s graphics, I would probably recommend POP! Since Wi-Fi is Intel technology, it works on Linux without a headache.
The red on/off switch and the 3.5 mm audio jack of the headset are located on the front of the computer. Surprisingly, there are no USB ports on the front. The right side is blank, while the left side is equipped with a Micro SD card reader and three special 3.5 mm audio jacks – line in, microphone and headphone output. Yeah, next to the 3.5-millimeter vestibule… weird, right?
All USB ports are located on the rear panel – four of them are USB 3.0 A type. Unfortunately there is no USB C port on this computer. It is very disappointing to have a computer in 2020, but it is. The rear panel also includes a power connector, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort and Gigabit Ethernet. Everything is well prepared.
How did the Elite Mini H31G Miniforum haunt me? It’s actually pretty cool. The games and the video editing were both entertaining. It’s good in mid-range games like Rocket League and Doom (2016), but don’t expect maximum settings from 1050 Ti. The Davinci resolution has been brilliantly edited and exported to me. At full load, the fans never became unpleasantly noisy, but they were clearly audible.
Viewing multimedia, including 4K60 content, was no problem – there is no stuttering or delay. My only problem is that a video signal was turned on and off. At first I thought there was a problem with the EliteMini H31G itself, but after a long process of troubleshooting it turned out that there was only one HDMI cable in the box. By replacing it with another, shorter cable, this problem is solved.
Can I still recommend the EliteMini H31G Minisforum? Absolutely. The technology that puts all this into such a small package is very impressive, and it works seamlessly with Windows 10 and Linux desktop distributions. Looks like a high-end car… I like her very much. Remember, there is no USB-C – this could be a deal breaker for some of you.
I recommend 16 GB RAM for 2x 8 GB in two-channel mode. And while I’m sure the 8-core i7-9700F is great, the 6-core i5-9500F is pretty powerful, so I recommend choosing the latter to save money. It’s a very impressive chip.
If you want to customize and buy your own product, you can do so here. If you buy one, please let me know what specifications you have selected in the comments below.