MINIX NEO G41V-4 Review
MINIX NEO G41V-4
The MINIX NEO G41V-4 is a silent operating, Intel powered, Mini PC marketed towards commercial and industrial segments, fully compatible with your favorite Linux distribution.
Contents of the retail box has everything you need to get started. One MINIX NEO G41V-4 Mini PC, a VESA mount, HDMI cable, S/PDIF port adapter, multi-language user guide and multi-region 12V (3A) power adapter.
The unit form factor is pretty much identical to other MINIX NEO models with a slight height increase measuring 5.4"W x 5.4"L x 1.3"H. A matte black finish and signature MINIX logo embossed on top of the unit for aesthetics is also present.
This however is where the similarities end. We're seeing a lot of changes on this particular model. Different materials were used on the housing with an upper portion constructed of formed plastic and entire bottom half made of metal.
Unique to the G41V-4 is also a new breathable chassis. This passive cooling design directs exhaust heat outwards through the top ventilation holes and 360-degree chimney vent around the outer edge. If you look closely, the tiny vent holes are shaped like the X in MINIX, no pun intended but pretty cool for visual appeal.
Front side of the unit is ordinary with only a single LED Power indicator that illuminates blue while powered on or green for stand-by.
Layout on the back I/O panel has Gigabit LAN port (RJ-45), DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0 port, VGA port, and a 12V DC input.
Up to three independent displays can be connected simultaneously via DisplayPort supporting up to 4K @ 60Hz, HDMI port supporting up to 4K @ 60Hz and VGA port supporting 1080p.
Left side minimal with only a Kensington Security Slot and more ventilation holes for airflow & heat dissipation.
Right side of the unit is rather busy, here we can find a power button, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, an audio jack that can also be used as optical S/PDIF audio out via included adapter and also a MicroSD card slot.
Taking a look at the underside we have rubber feet to provide stability on flat surfaces. A hard reset button is bottom facing too, making access slightly more difficult if utilizing the included VESA mount. This is an important consideration from a physical security perspective as the device is marketed towards commercial and industrial applications.
This particular model doesn't require any disassembly of the housing to access the SSD slot, simply remove the external slot cover. I warn you now though, the two screws holding the cover in place strip easily so don't use much force. My guess this is why MINIX includes an extra set of screws.
Hardware upgrades on the MINIX NEO G41V-4 are limited to the addition of a single SSD so there shouldn't be any other reason for opening up the unit unless you need to access the clear CMOS button.
The G41V-4 comes with 4GB of Samsung DDR4-2400 RAM soldered onto the printed circuit board (PCB) and cannot be swapped or upgraded. Onboard is also an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168 (802.11ac dual band) Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 adapter, along with a 2280 M.2 SSD slot (STAT 6.0Gbps) supporting SSD's up to 512GB in capacity.
On the other side of the PCB you will find a large heatsink for passive heat exchange of the Intel Celeron N4100 Processor (Gemini Lake generation). The N4100 is a 64-Bit processor with base frequency of 1.10 GHz, burst of 2.40 GHz, supporting 4 core, 4 thread, a 4M Cache, Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 6W and Scenario Design Power (SDP) of 4.8W.
During my evaluation, the power consumption was recorded at: Off 0.8W, Idle 4.1W, Basic use 7.4W, Maximum 14.2W.
Integrated into the N4100 processor is Intel UHD Graphics 600, operating at a frequency of 200 MHz, which can be boosted up to 700 MHz.
The MINIX NEO G41V-4 has 64GB of embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) flash storage. More specifically, SanDisk SDINBDA4-64G which according to the product briefing, quoted to deliver 260MB/s Sequential Write performance with no actual mention of Read performance.
That being said, you'll achieve better performance, along with maximizing storage capacity by installing the Linux Operating System on an M.2 SSD.
MINIX sells their own 240GB M.2 SSD for the G41V-4 retailing online for $44 USD, or purchase a preferred brand of your choice.
From the inside we get a better look at the mesh filter that has been incorporated into the chassis to prevent dust build-up. Since there are no fans for cooling, build-up should be minimal and you can run a vacuum across the exterior ventilation holes for cleaning.
Included is a Asian Power Devices (Model WA-36A12R) 12V 3A power adapter featuring North America, EU and UK interchangeable plugs.
- Processor: Intel Celeron N4100 (64-bit)
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
- Memory: Samsung DDR4-2400
- Storage: Built-in 64GB eMMC 5.1, 1 X 2280 M.2 slot
- Wireless: 802.11 ac Dual-Band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
- Video Output: HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60Hz), DisplayPort (4K @ 60Hz), VGA (1080p)
- Audio Output: HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, Optical S/PDIF
- Audio Input: 3.5 mm audio jack
- Peripheral: RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet, USB3.0 port x 2, USB 2.0 port x 2, Micro SD card reader
- Power: DC 12V, 3A adapter
Though marketed as a Windows 10 Pro Mini PC, the MINIX NEO G41V-4 hardware profile is supported by Linux. You may install a Linux distribution of your choosing by simply overwriting the 64GB eMMC internal storage or by adding an 2280 M.2 SSD.
Ubuntu 19.10 Desktop running Linux Kernel 5.3 was successfully installed on the SSD and all hardware features such as WiFi, Bluetooth, Sound and Graphics were verified to be fully functional.
Performance testing was done under Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) with a 5.3 Kernel using Geekbench 5.1.0 Pro for Linux x86 (64-bit). Geekbench 5 scores are calibrated against a baseline score of 1,000 (which is the score of a Dell Precision 3430 with a Core i3-8100 processor). Higher scores are better, with double the score indicating double the performance.
Geekbench 5 uses a number of different tests, or workloads, to measure CPU performance. The workloads are divided into three subsections: Crypto, Integer and Floating Point. A complete description of the individual Geekbench 5 CPU workloads can be found on the Geekbench website.
Below are benchmark results for the MINIX NEO G41V-4. If you're interest in doing further comparisons use Geekbench Browser ID 1030896.
ConclusionThe Good - Pros
- Linux Compatible
- Unique design is visually appealing
- Expandable storage to 512GB capacity
- Up to three displays can be connected
- Very low power consumption
- Zero noise when running
- Solid construction
- Integrated dust filter
The Bad - Cons
- Not possible to increase the internal memory
The Ugly - Issues
- M.2 slot cover screws stripped on first removal
The Verdict - Opinion
Powered by an Intel Celeron N4100 processor with integrated Intel UHD Graphics 600, the MINIX NEO G41V-4 hardware profile is fully supported by Linux.
The G41V-4 makes for an impressive Linux Desktop PC or home WireGuard VPN Server, however, we also reviewed the MINIX NEO J50C-4, which offers broader usage, better performance and allows for upgrades. I'd recommend spending the extra $25 to purchase the J50C-4.