Needing a new computer recently, I got a Sumvision Cyclone Mini PC. So what's it been like working with this tiny, tiny thing?
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much, I was looking for something to tide me over until I could get a custom laptop built. It's a tiny, tiny thing, though from the reviews, I knew it had promise. I plugged it in, hooked it up to my HDMI and VGA monitors, stuck the keyboard/mouse dongle into one of the USB ports and powered it up.
A full blown Windows 10 PC, with 3 USB ports, Bluetooth, WiFi, A wired Ethernet connection and it can support 1080p HDMI and VGA monitors at the same time? Amazing. But I did think I should take it easy. Did I say it's a tiny, tiny thing?
As it was fanless, I installed a temperature sensor monitor. This sits in my system tray at the bottom right of the Windows 10 taskbar and tells me how hot the processor cores are. Core 1 and 2, and core 3 and 4 are linked so will always show the same values. In normal operation, the processors run around 60-70 degrees. Push them hard with intense graphics and you'll be up into the 80s.
Strangely enough, the time the processors are pushed the hardest, and heat the most, is when you've got a screensaver running! I found this a little weird, but it does make sense as the graphic chips are working at 100%. Now I've set my screensaver to just be a blank screen, I can leave the machine running all night and just switch the monitors off, confident that nothing is going to overheat whilst I'm away from my desk.
The only downside to the Sumvision Cyclone Mini PC is that it only has 2Gb of RAM so it isn't going to be the fastest computer around, even with 4 cores. I find that having Outlook and Chrome running (with a good few tabs open) and I'm happy with the performance. Open a graphics package to do some image editing and it'll chug a little, but it still works.
My performance monitor shows between 80 and 85% memory usage a lot of the time And it very rarely throws a message about closing programs to free up memory. Still I have a lot of things I need to run simultaneously so I ended up getting a second Sumvision Cyclone Mini PC to split my workload.
This new version is labeled 'Mini PC 2' and has an improved processor and runs 64-bit Windows 10 (as opposed to 32-bit on the original version). I needed to clean reinstall the Operating System as it had some issues when it came out of the box.
I'm also having no luck getting the SD card slot and a USB hard drive working on the 64-bit version right now though I've put both machines into a common Workgroup and mapped drives to the SD card and a USB hard drive attached to the 32-bit original version.
On the 64-bit v2, I'm now running a couple of monitoring apps, Tweetdeck and using it for image editing and the 32-bit v1 Mini PC is my main work machine for web browsing and mail.
So after living with both version 1 (32-bit Windows 10) and version 2 (64-bit Windows 10, better processor) I have to award them 4.5 stars out of 5. I take that 1/2 star off because of the hardware issues I had with the Mini PC 2 and the fact I had to clean install the operating system to get it to behave.
If I had one gripe, it would be that it needs more memory. The v2 64-bit Windows version really should have come with 4Gb of RAM and although the better processor and the slightly different way of allocating memory does improve speed ever so slightly, I think that having both of them working together, side by side is great for me.
Would I recommend the Sumvision Cyclone Mini PC? Yes, wholeheartedly I would. I'm a power user and will push a PC to its limits with everything I need it to do, which is why I hit its limitations and needed to get a second one to split the workload.
For a 'normal' user who wants a quiet PC for the bedroom or to stick under the TV, access Netflix and iPlayer with a little web browsing and email on a big screen, then it's a great machine, but do be careful of it getting hot. As they are fanless, you need to give them ventilation and not cover them with books or stick them in a drawer to hide them away.
Thankfully the Sumvision Cyclone Mini PC is LNK URL="http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/field-keywords=Sumvision+Cyclone+Mini+PC" Title="available on Amazon.co.uk"} and is priced around £130 new. Various companies are advertising them but do check if you're getting a v1 (32-bit Windows 10) or v2 (64-bit Windows 10) as the 64-bit one may need a clean install to get it to play nicely.
If anything I've mentioned here resonates with you, do call me on 0333 335 0420 and let's see how I can help.