LENOVO IdeaCentre Mini 5i Review

this is lenovo idea center mini definitely mini 5i so this is a mini pc sort of like a nook or like a mac mini in a way this lenovo’s created new liner products here i call them the rug tops notice it has a textile finish the idea is it’s supposed to look nice in your home and yes you can actually rip the top off i think it would be fun if they actually offered different kind of textile finishes and stuff that you could put on here do that lenovo go ahead but anyway it is upgradable this is step one to getting inside if you want to upgrade the internals and it’s for those of you who say are working from home or schooling from home or anybody who needs a small pc that doesn’t take up a lot of space and also isn’t a lot expensive for example lenovo has to think center products from the think line or business computers that are more expensive intel makes knocks and we review quite a few of those and we’ll review some more that are generally speaking considerably more expensive but this one kind of hits that sweet spot of it doesn’t hurt too too much starting just under 500 or the higher end mile that we have here for 629 dollars look at it now so the appeal of the idea center other than relatively speaking the lower price is the fact that it’s fairly upgradable and it has a fairly powerful processor a lot of these mini pcs and nox have the laptop low-end equivalent cpus inside lower power so this one actually has desktop cpus core i3 and core i5 we’ll talk about the differences between those two and also it’s for those who already you want to use a bigger monitor a lot of people especially if they’re doing work from home in school from home are tired of looking at little laptop displays maybe you don’t want to spend the money for a big all-in-one or you already have a monitor available and most of us have extra keyboards and mice sitting around so there becomes an interesting proposition these days who has the time to learn but there are things that you really want 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get 25 off of full membership now back to our video so inside you have your choice of that core i5 or core i3 processor we have the core i5 so here’s the rub where one might not be particularly faster than the other one the core i3 is a full 65 watt desktop processor but it’s only four cores the core i5 that we have is a 35 watt desktop processor meant for thin all in ones or little mini pcs like this but you do get six chords there i have a feeling that probably those two variations there between the power requirements and the number of cores mean you’re going to see maybe more similar performance than you might guess between the two of them it is a socketed processor i’ll show you the internals so in theory you could upgrade yourself also interestingly the core i3 comes with a higher wattage power supply than does the core i5 again because it’s a higher wattage cpu inside interesting so you can get it with either 8 or 12 gigs of ddr4 ram it is slotted ram 2 slots so you can upgrade it yourself it’s pretty weird with a number like 12 you might think that some of it was soldered on board that memory but it’s not so yeah anyway obviously two slots you can upgrade that if you want 16 gigs maybe even 32 you should be able to do that with this we have one m.2 ssd slot it’s not the fastest in ours and by the way the base model is 128 gig boot ssd the more expensive core i5 model has a 256 gig boot ssd but it’s a decent pcie ssd inside again upgradable one slot only and we have a hard drive a one terabyte 5400 rpm hard drive for both configurations so that’s your mass storage for all of your files and all that sort of thing it’s a fairly conventional architecture in terms of performance and heat and noise well heat’s not this is not a laptop you’re not going to care about it that much it doesn’t get that hot to the touch it’s a fairly decent sized enclosure obviously in terms of noise you’ll hear the fan but it doesn’t get roaring loud even when i push it harder and was running benchmarks it’s nothing that’s obtrusive if you’re doing zoom calls or something like that people aren’t going to say what are you doing boiling water or something like that not loud at all in terms of what it can do because it’s a kind of a mid-range computer it’s fine for home and office work if you’re looking to replace your office computer but be at home while you’re doing your office work your zoom calls doing two things at once streaming your zoom call while maybe even streaming some youtube and the other window you know that sort of thing it can handle that it can do a bit more too if you want to do some photo editing that’s absolutely fine this is not meant for you budding professionals in adobe premiere video editing or for professional photographers you probably want something even more performant for that if you’re doing it day in day out eight hours a day that sort of thing but it’s competent enough for most people’s everyday uses and i hooked it up to a 4k monitor running at 4k resolution didn’t phase it at all it has intel uhd 630 graphics this is a desktop processor we don’t see that intel iris xc graphics that we’ve seen on mobile platforms and again it’s not a gaming pc but it’s competent for daily tasks and that’s actually suitable enough for hobbyist and home photoshop use ports on this are plentiful five usb a 3.2 ports including one front facing there’s a usbc 3.2 front facing port no thunderbolt 3 here though however headphone jacks on the front and on the rear you have full size hdmi full slides display port and you’ve got ethernet onboard and also you have intel wireless wi-fi 6 on board with bluetooth 5.1 so good connectivity uh no speaker built in so obviously you’re going to want to plug in some speakers or some headphones or something like that but good connectivity all right to get inside there are two levels of disassembly almost literally levels and the first one is the easier less complicated one just rip off the rug top right here to get to this compartment which houses the two ram slots and the m.2 ssd slot so three screws that’s all it is and this plate comes off okay so we’ve unscrewed our three screws and then this plate well it just lifts right up here are two ram slots here is the m.2 ssd slot obviously they have a half height drive here but there’s room for a full height drive and there you can see where there would have been a slot for a second ssd but they have not actually installed the connector for that so that’s your basics and we’ll go on to the advanced next which involves only four more screws in each four corner there are phillips head screws just unscrew those and we can get to the other side of things so after we’ve unscrewed those four screws we just separate over here you might want to use a guitar pick or something to make it easier there’s a couple of clips it’s not too hard turn it upside down by the way you see what the ventilation is like under here and there’s our cover comes right off so here’s the rest of the internals obviously this is the hard drive bay here’s the fan and underneath here is the socket is cpu they’ve done a nice job here so you have a quick release right here so you can take that hard drive out be careful the cable that connects it mind you though so you can see that stuff’s conveniently done and if you want to remove the fan and heat sink cover assembly then you just push in these two levers over here and lift up and i would suggest unplugging the fan connector because it kind of hinges forward and latches into the grill area in the back so there’s the whole fan ventilation assembly and this is the processor and you can see it’s your typical desktop styles socketed processor so if you wish to upgrade and replace it in the future you could do that since the core i3 is a 65 watt you should be able to go up to a 65 watt core i5 i don’t know about a core i7 though because the power supply might not be sufficient you do get again a 135 watt charger with the core i3 but only a 90 watt charger or really power adapter for the core i5 so you might need something a little more beefy if you were going to try to upgrade this particularly far along and by the way your wi-fi card is socketed as you would hope so you could upgrade that in the future if you wish to do so so that’s the lenovo idea center mini 5i again it’s sort of like you know the windows version of a mac mini no and one chip inside but hey anyway it’s perfectly competent and capable it’s kind of nice looking i do wish they would offer alternative textile tops for the future a lot of supports and good mid-range performance for those who need an everyday kind of pc whether it’s for homework school work or as a kind of media center that we can just tuck in there near your tv without being too obtrusive

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Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i