As technology continues to advance, the idea of how certain products should continue to change. Nintendo Switch offers the perfect blend of home and mobile gaming, Microsoft’s Surface reimagined the tablet as a fully functional computer, with countless other products doing the same thing. One of the more interesting ideas is mini PCs. Not only are they a fraction of the size of a traditional tower, but they also have less filler, allowing for a better balance in form and function. Among the various computers on the market is GEEKOM’s Mini IT8. It hopes to offer impressive function at an even more impressive size, but can it live up to those expectations or does it fall short?
Right off the bat, GEEKOM makes a lovely statement with their fun packaging. The small blue box keeps things rather simple, telling owners what it is, and uses a couple of simple images to convey important details. One side shows the back of Mini IT8, another the front, a third just shows the Intel Core i5 8th generation logo and Intel Iris Plus graphics, with the logo on the remaining side. On the bottom is a small list of specs and some regulation information.
Elegant Box that Hides a Number of Accessories
To open, simply lift the top part to reveal Mini IT8 held firmly in place with foam. Under this is a fake bottom that holds all the accessories. These include the power cable, set of screws, velvet (or something similar) storage bag, HDMI cable, and a mounting bracket that can be used to mount it to a VESA compliant device, such as a monitor. There is also a handy manual that keeps things incredibly simple. The top explains what all the ports are in an extremely straightforward way, with a brief diagram showing how to fully take it apart, a mounting guide, and safety information. This is all on a folded sheet of paper and incredibly easy for someone of any skill level to fully understand.
Even at first glance Mini IT8 looks well-constructed with an intelligent design. While the top and bottom are metal, the sides are a mix of plastic and metal. This choice helps reduce the overall weight, which comes in at about 2.2 lbs, without sacrificing function. Each port is clearly labeled in a way that someone of any knowledge level can figure it out. The same is true for anyone who might want to take it apart.
Simply Remove the Bottom to Swap Parts
All you need to do is remove four screws on the bottom in the middle of the four feet. Not only are they easy to find, I easily removed them with your every day #2 x 4” screwdriver. One nice design choice is the bottom can be removed without fully removing the screws. There is a mechanism that allows them to be separated, but not detached from the bottom. After using a little force it opens with a small ribbon cable connecting the two. In the event you’re not fully prepared, the inside is clearly labeled and incredibly easy to swap or enhance. Upon finishing, simply drop the bottom in place, screw everything back in and you’re done.
Easily Fits in a Number of Situations
While Mini IT8 is not the smallest mini PC on the market, coming in 117 x 112 x 45.6 mm, it doesn’t stop it from being perfect in a wide number of situations. For example, it can easily fit under my iMac, even if I put it on the middle part. The same is true for the opening under my HP monitor. In the event you want to use it with a projector, it also fits perfectly in the opening of XGIMI’s X-Desktop Stand Pro or just on top of even their Halo+ projector. Not only does this free up a lot of space on my desk or allow me to easily implement it with a wide array of other products, it’s surprisingly portable.
How Compact a Full Computer Set Up Looks on the Go
I have a number of bags for one reason or another and wanted to see how portable it was compared to a traditional laptop. While it obviously isn’t as easy, and I’m sorry my lighting isn’t amazing for this specific use case, I was able to easily get it, an INNOCN portable monitor, HyperX’s Pulsefire Dart, a Magic Keyboard, and all the wires in my briefcase and OMEN Transceptor 17 Duffel Bag. With the latter, I actually thought to include a second monitor, something I could also include with my briefcase, so it’s pretty compact. And if you’re going somewhere with a monitor and other accessories, it could easily fit in a Patagonia Black Hole Waist Pack 5L or, to be honest, a fanny pack.
While I personally prefer real-world performance to benchmarks, I did a few runs with UserBenchmark and PassMark to give anyone interested an idea of performance. The best I was able to get with UserBenchmark was a 78 percent for desktop performance, with the drive and memory performing well and solid processor performance. As for PassMark, I was able to get a 3060.3 on my best, with the results posted below. Unfortunately, I could only upload one version, which was a slightly lower-performing run. Here the drive did extremely well, with okay processor performance. Both runs did not bode well for gaming, not that it’s particularly surprising given the graphics card is an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655.
Just running performance tests on my own, it boots relatively quickly. After 20 or so cycles I’d say it gets to the lock screen in about 17 seconds. I never really had an issue booting applications, even more, demanding ones like Lightroom (8 seconds), Photoshop (10 seconds), or Word (2 seconds). While I was able to edit some older photos without too much of a hassle, just momentary dips here and there, there was some lagging behind when pushing settings too far at once.
Where I was most excited to try Mini IT8 was with OBS. Some long-standing readers might’ve noticed I’ve done fewer video guides over the past two or three years, which is due to HD60 S+ not working as well with my Mac. Unfortunately, none of my Windows devices work well in my current setup, but something like Mini IT8 works perfectly in my setup. Those interested can directly see the results with my Sifu guides (Mac) and Back 4 Blood: Tunnels of Terror (Mini IT8). But, if not, the performance was noticeable better. Not only did I get much higher resolution, colors were more accurate. The only thing that kind of stood out was some artifacting. This only happened in more active scenes and to my knowledge did not appear in any captured videos.
Since I also do my video editing on a Mac, I downloaded HitFilm Express to do some tests with the aforementioned Back 4 Blood: Tunnels of Terror videos. After booting it up in about 9 seconds, it took another 7 seconds to create a new project under the default settings (1080p 30fps). I didn’t really encounter too many slowdowns when doing it for normal tasks like it loaded up a 10-minute video (1GB) in the blink of an eye, nor did it slow down cropping or applying slight tweaks. Where it eventually ran into issues was playing back the video in the program itself. It took about three minutes before they started to develop, but eventually, it was dropping frames and long-term would occasionally stop for a moment before starting back up. I had similar problems running two videos at once, which dropped frames almost instantly. I also tried combining two videos for a total of 11 minutes and exporting, which took 15 minutes and 40 seconds. Naturally, this is well within expectations and honestly better performance than I was expecting.
In terms of general tasks, Mini IT8 did extremely well. With Edge, I was able to open and maintain 30 Infinite Start tabs at once with Discord and a few other applications open. Doing this in quick succession resulted in the fan turning on, but it went away after a minute or two. I also used it the past couple of weeks to do my social media job and never once ran into an issue downloading, opening or posting anything.
Gaming is going to depend on what exactly you’re trying to do. Less demanding games will perform quite well. Dead Cells, Minecraft, Enter the Gungeon, along with plenty of older games will work no problem. For newer games, it is below the minimum for things like Halo Infinite, but these will work via Cloud gaming.
I pay for 1 Gbps and according to speed tests I was getting about 500 Mbps via wifi. This was enough where I could boot up the Xbox app or Stadia, use Immerse Gaming | Hive to enhance the audio, have Discord running, and still play modern games surprisingly well. Like I did a raid on Destiny 2 without any performance issues, along with a variety of other games with similar results. This paired really well with my XGIMI projector for gaming on a big screen or just having other options besides my main room.
Little things like this are what make Mini IT8 so amazing. For example, the full-size SD card reader on the side is perfect for at-home or on-the-go use. I could easily pair it with an OLED monitor and see how my pictures came out, something that would’ve been really useful at a previous E3 or just move videos over. I have a Samsung Evo Select and got up to 52 MB/s speeds transferring over videos. But there are also options if you’re doing more demanding things.
Unlike a lot of these devices, there is a USB-A, USB-C, and headphone jack connection on the front. I have a newer HP x770w USB drive that I got specifically for moving videos and when connected to the front USB-A I got speeds up to 600 MB/s (higher than what HP suggests it could do). It was actually so fast when I was moving over the videos for my Back 4 Blood: Tunnels of Terror drive it finished the transfer before the pop up even appeared.
Another good use is using Mini IT8 to play music. The front USB-C might not be rated for a monitor, but does work with something like HELM Audios’s Bolt Dac/Amp, which paired with their DB12 AAAMP makes for a powerful and extremely portable audio solution perfect for something like Audeze’s LCD-1.
An Idea of What Some Different Set-Ups Look Like
These little things make Mini IT8 perfect for supplementing an existing system or a wide variety of tasks beyond general use. The ability to use multiple monitors is another highlight. While I, unfortunately, lack the ability to test the four 4K monitors GEEKOM boasts it can support, I was able to get two INNOCN monitors working with relative ease. It required a little setup with Windows 11, just clicking Windows + P so it output to both, which after worked flawlessly. This allowed me to use an OLED monitor if I wanted to check color accuracy or get full touchscreen functionality (via USB-C). These combos are also quite a bit cheaper than buying an all-in-one laptop, with far more uses.
One thing to keep in mind is that the fan will have some presence. I kept Mini IT8 at mostly chest level and could hear it booting a more taxing program like OBS (even without video feed). Basic tasks like light internet browsing and Discord was almost completely silent. I imagine in other places it will help eliminate the sound entirely, not that it’s too bad to begin with. Like I have a Dyson air multiplier in the same room and couldn’t hear the fan over that unless I was stress testing the device. When playing a game with headphones, it wasn’t loud enough to penetrate. Just something to keep in mind if that is something that bothers you.
GEEKOM Mini IT8 Review Verdict
Like everything, GEEKOM Mini IT8 comes down to what you’re looking for. It simply isn’t going to beat a dedicated gaming computer or something along those lines but performs extremely well for the price. What helps Mini IT8 stand out is the size and thought that went into it. I don’t need to worry about how placement as much or docking stations and can leave it connected under my Mac. It boots in seconds can record gameplay, talk via Discord, and transfer videos in the blink of an eye. When I need to connect something to it quickly, I have a handy full-size SD card slot, along with two USB ports. It’s fast, functional, and serves a lot of purposes. Especially when it integrates shockingly well with so many other products for great function, be it mounting behind a monitor or just sitting on my projector stand. I was more than pleased with the performance and think it’s a wonderful alternative to a laptop or home computer if it meets your use case.
[Editor’s Note: GEEKOM Mini IT8 was given to us for review purposes. All programs were tested with the latest version as of Apr. 17, 2022, and a fully updated Windows 11 Pro. This review is also based on the 16GB, 512GB model, with other models, potentially having different performance metrics.]