The new Hystou P03B miniPC is a classic from the manufacturer. Compact case 20.3 cm wide by 18 cm deep by 4.5 cm thick. Entirely made of metal and equipped with fins to increase its exchange surface with the ambient air. This chassis allows, being in contact with the processor, to dissipate the 15 watts it generates.
The chosen chip is, as usual, not a fresh one, it is a Core i5-7260U released in early 2017 and which therefore has two years of commercialization today. Not really a tragedy, actually, considering the destination of this type of machine, but one could obviously have expected a more powerful chip. However, if the Hystou P03B is equipped with such a processor, it is above all to reduce its cost. Launched at $300, this i5 core must now be traded at a much lower price on the current market. This explains the price of this machine despite the rest of its equipment.
The Core i5-7260U is a Kaby Lake generation dual core and quadruple Thread, it is engraved in 14 nanometers and rotates from 2.2 to 3.4 Ghz. It offers 4 MB of cache memory and a 15 watt TDP that Hystou’s machines are good at passively handling. Its graphics circuit is an Iris Plus 640 that will offer correct performance in video playback as well as in 2D but also 3D capabilities. We will not be able to access the latest games and mainstream titles will have to stay in 720P at best, but this still gives the possibility to launch a title from time to time. This is not the objective of this processor that is still found in the NUC7i5BNKs currently on the market naked at 350€.
It is rather a device with two specific vocations: Multimedia on the one hand with great video playback capabilities. The embedded graphics chip is capable of decoding UltraHD formats without any problems. The presence of an optical audio output in addition to an HDMI will also offer the possibility to control an Audio Video amplifier in a comfortable way. The fact that the machine is devoid of ventilation also offers a certain comfort in the middle of a living room.
But to use the Hystou PB03 only for this multimedia use would be a pity. From a performance point of view, on-board equipment opens the way to many other uses. With 16 GB of RAM in this version, 256 GB of storage on a SSD, the machine can be used for many other things: Office automation of course but also image editing or video editing. The management of many professional applications and even 3D or other creation. The SSD storage is mounted in mSATA and can be upgraded. The RAM consists of 2 SoDimm strips of 8 GB of DDR4 and can be upgraded to 32 GB of DDR4. An additional M.2 slot and a 2.5″ SATA III support will allow you to add all the necessary storage space in addition.
The connector is complete with on the front part, from left to right, a start button, LEDs activity indicators, two USB 3.0 sockets, two others in USB 2.0, an SDXC card reader, optical output, two 3.5 mm jacks for headphone output and microphone input.
On the rear side are two more USB port pairs, two Gigabit Ethernet network jacks to drive two networks, a DisplayPort output, an HDMI output and the power jack jack for the external box supplied. Removable external antennas are present on the side of the machine to drive a Wifi module on M.2 card. it seems to be a card equipped with a Broadcom BCM94313HMGB module and therefore quite old since limited to Wifi4 and Bluetooth 3.0. It will be possible to make it evolve easily. I wonder to what extent this MiniPC can’t manage several virtual machines or drive itself like a mini server.
The price charged for the top-of-the-range version is just under €385, it is possible to choose more affordable versions by sacrificing RAM or basic storage. 340€ for an 8GB / 256GB version, 313€ for an 8/128GB version, 295€ for a 4/128GB version. The Hystou PB03 naked model, without memory or storage, is sold for 250€. A solution that can be interesting if you have components to recycle. None of these versions seem to benefit from a Windows 10 license.