The Hong Kong Minisforum launched the Elitemini B550. The company announced the product on Twitter today, prepared a teaser video and posted a presale product page with configurator – including US pricing. Minisforum sees two strong selling points for its AMD Ryzen-like NUC. First, it uses pluggable AM4 processors, and second, buyers get an external GPU dock to use the best graphics cards. However, there are several other attractions and drawbacks.
The Minisforum Elitemini B550 is a small, easily portable PC compared to the Mac Mini and Intel NUC (and several others). It measures 20.859 x 24.088 x 12.813 cm (about 8.3 x 9.4 x 5 inches) according to the product pages. Still, the dimensions quoted in the product video are a bit smaller, a significant sizing error.
The Elitemini’s design isn’t very attractive, but it looks functional, with plenty of air vents and ports (all on the back). A good way to hide it is via its VESA mounting base, with the screws provided.
The flexibility offered allows you to forgive the style somewhat. You can buy this machine with your choice of AMD Ryzen 7 5700G or Ryzen 7 4700G (to save $100), both 8C/16T APUs of different generations. However, you won’t be stuck with your choice, as it’s an on-socket AM4 processor. You can change it later. For this reason, it is a bit of a shame that the “Barebone” option without RAM or SSD does not have a cheaper version without a processor.
Inside the case, you’ll have access to two SODIMM slots for up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, and there are two M.2 2280 SATA/NVMe SSD slots. If you’re using a next-gen processor, you can use NVMe PCIe 4.0. The other user-upgradeable component is a single 2.5-inch SATA SSD/HDD. A Wi-Fi and Bluetooth card is already integrated, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Ports on the rear of the Elitemini B550 include; RJ45 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet Port × 1, USB3.2 Port × 4 (Gen2), USB-C Port × 1 (Gen2), HDMI (4K@60Hz) × 2, DisplayPort(4K@60Hz) × 1, Headphone Jack 3.5mm (Green), LINE OUT × 2, Clear CMOS × 1, 3.5mm MIC Jack × 1. So it is a triple display without adding an external GPU. The power button is also on the back.
Included in your Minisforum Elitemini B550 purchase is a somewhat minimal GPU docking station. It does not include the GPU you have decided to install. Depending on your choice of graphics card, it can extend considerably beyond the dimensions of the host machine. If you don’t like this idea, choose a 24cm or smaller GPU.
If you choose to use the external GPU docking station, you will not be able to mount VESA on the Minisforum Elitemini B550. In the attached GPU images, the desktop case is on its side, with the GPU extension effectively on its underside where its feet and mounting holes are.
The external GPU will not be powered by the 19V power supply supplied with the Elitemini 500. It requires an external ATX or SFF power supply (not included). Having a power supply on the desk/table next to this system adds more unwanted clutter to your setup. One advantage of adding the desktop power supply is that it should be able to support more powerful processors, but remember that the cooling system is only suitable up to 65W.
On the surface, it looks like a great alternative and highly portable mini-system (it even comes with a carrying case); However, fully utilizing its USPs adds a lot of bulk, clutter, and clutter to your desk. Maybe an SFF PSU could somehow be bolted to the build to make things cleaner. On the other hand, if you want a small system with a desktop graphics card, it might be better to get/build a Mini ITX system, then everything will be neatly enclosed in a sleek and proper chassis.
Minisforum has presale pricing for its Elitemini B550, starting at $499 for the AMD Ryzen 7 4700G model. Add $100 for the new Ryzen 7 5700G and about $100 more for 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD. Other configurations are available. Minisforum indicates that the systems will be delivered from mid-May.