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Evaluation for DreamQuest pro N5105

Time:2022-11-20 Views:769

This is a long review, partly because I have noticed there is very little independent reviews on this particular version of the device on the broader internet. The device is small and very sleek, as can be seen from the description, its shape is a smaller than a large smartphone (such as the Note 10, or iPhone pro) and about as thick as a Tape Cassette case. Although the outer case is plastic, rather than metal (there is a steel frame inside) the “plastic seems to be made of a material that can dissipate heat well, far better than it looks on paper, though probably not as good as metal, however, the plastic does allow the internal antennae to work well.

CPU:
The 4 core Celeron N5105 is not going to win any performance crowns, but it’s definitely more than ample for running Office, Chrome, Firefox and the usual medley of non-demanding apps, and even some less demanding games. It doesn’t feel sluggish in normal use. It’s definitely more powerful and yet more efficient overall than the J4125 usually found on these mini PCS. It handles 1080p videos extremely well. 4k can vary depending on the source, and I find most 30fps SDR streams play fine, but when you hit 60fps and HDR, some sources such as YouTube struggle, whilst many of my 4k HDR demo files in H265 seems to be fine.
Internal eMMC Storage:
Its internal eMMC is no way near as fast as an NVMe drive, and benchmarks slower than a SATA 3 SSD (more closer to a SATA2 interface I would suspect), but it is very power efficient, and in practise, with most applications its snappy enough. You CAN fit an NVMe drive into it (though bear in mind its PCIe 3, and only 2 channel, so no point putting in a super-fast super power hungry and super expensive PCIe 4 inside), and bear in mind that it will slightly increase the power usage.
Memory
It’s has 8GB Single Channel 2900 Mhz LPDDR4, soldered in and not upgradable. Not a lot, and may not benchmark highly but more than enough for its use case.
OS:
It comes with a very clean full version of Windows 11 Professional (not home), that does not have any bloatware installed just plain Windows, and surprisingly comes with a sensible OOBE experience with a lot of “default” windows phone home stuff disabled, including the requirement for a Microsoft account! It certainly does seem quite clean, with no “value added store apps”, I have checked for malware as well as any unusual network connections). I did blank and reinstall Windows as I wanted a clean H22 install, and found the “default” Microsoft experience as slightly worse in terms of the requirement for a Microsoft account, and additional MS store apps added like Microsoft Solitaire! The BIOS correctly contained the OEM license for Windows 11 Professional, and therefore the installer did not ask for the product key.
I have installed Linux MINT in a dual boot config with GRUB and it worked fine. It doesn’t default to Secure Boot (though can be enabled if desired)

BIOS:
Biggest Surprise, it’s a fully featured Bios with almost everything but the Kitchen sink in terms of settings and configuration. You could tweak this a lot, though the CPU does not offer much overclocking capabilities, and the hardware does have some protection to avoid some settings. Be very careful, as I don’t see any way of clearing the CMOS easily if a wrong setting locks up the POST.

Cooling:
This is passively cooled. As such it does get quite warm and under load can get very warm, though not too hot to touch. Under normal use (streaming, web, office). I have not seen any Thermal throttling from the CPU (using HWInfo). Under continuous sustained and heavy load the CPU package can reach 73+, which is still below the CPU thermal throttling, but the hardware may induce some power Throttling at this point as I see the CPU switch from boost 10W to 8W a little quicker (about 20 seconds) under sustained load than some other computers with the same CPU, regardless of thermals. However, I have not observed any runaway heat. I have tried placing a large finned aluminium heatsink and fan on top of the unit, and that did drop the temps significantly under heavy continuous load, but I don’t think it’s necessary for normal use cases. Also note it is possible to play around with PL1/PL2 and boost times in the BIOS, which you might want to try at your own risk as long as you have adequate cooling.

Conclusion:
A surprisingly good, reliable Mini Computer that is quiet and sleek, with Windows 11 Professional and no bloatware! Not the most powerful and not the most featured, but great for many people who need a PC for web/office/streaming, to hide out of sight.