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Mini PCs like the Geekom Mini IT11 are all about maximizing space on your desk, while still delivering the performance of mainstream tower PCs. The Mini IT11 delivers efficiency and solid performance, thanks to an expandable 16GB of RAM, 11th Gen Intel processor, 512GB SSD storage, and the latest of Intel graphics.
We recently reviewed the Geekom Mini IT8, and now we’re deep into its higher-performance brother, the Mini IT11. In Geekom’s naming sequence, the 11 in this product name is to indicate that the machine is using Intel 11th-generation silicon.
Again, the Mini IT11 is different from its siblings, in that it isn’t one of the very cheap NUCs we’ve seen from China and Taiwan, being much more like the official Intel products in terms of features and build quality.
For their latest Mini PC, Geekom uses a hybrid metal and plastic construction, but the tiny enclosure can be i3, i5, or, as in the case of our review hardware, it uses an i7 mobile processor. Even with the top specification, fan noise is barely audible, and it’s blazing with external ports.
For most home users, the Mini IT11 might be a little expensive, but if you have the money, it’s a perfect choice; for businesses, the Mini IT11 is pretty much affordable, and the flexibility of its design guarantees reliable and powerful performance.
Geekom Mini IT11 Specs
- CPU: Intel i5-1135G7, i5-1155G7, i7-1165G7, i7-1195G7
- GPU: Iris Xe
- RAM: 16GB, expandable up to 64GB SODIMM
- Storage: 512GB, expandable up to 2TB NVMe, up to 2TB 2.5-inch SATA
- Ports: 3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 2 x USB-C Gen 4, 1 x HDMI, 1 x mini DisplayPort, 1 x GbE, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack, 1 x SD
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
- Size: 4.6 x 4.4 x 1.8 inches (117 x 112 x 45.6 mm)
- Weight: 20 ounces (565g)
The Mini IT11 remarkably like the Mini IT8 from Geekom demonstrates that the company has mastered the NUC concept fully, especially in design and the choice of hardware that goes into this Mini PC. The IT11 uses an internal metal structure covered with reinforced plastic panels in a business-friendly metal grey theme.
There’s active cooling with a vent on the rear, which draws air through the sides that have fine metal grills covering them. The port layout will work for both a monitor-mounted machine or it can be sat on a desk, with the majority of permanently occupied ports on the rear.
These include a power connector to a 90W laptop PSU, a gigabit Ethernet port, a Mini DP port, HDMI, a Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 2, and a 20Mbit USB 4.0 port. The USB 4.0 port is a bit of an oddity, since surely what’s the point of USB 4.0 if it can’t offer 40Mbit? But we appreciate that it’s fairly quicker than the 20Mbit Gen 2 port, so we can’t complain loudly.
The USB 4.0 20 Mbit is repeated on the front alongside a 3.5mm audio jack and a power button. On the sides, you only have a Kensington security slot on the right and an SD Card reader on the right.
Manu NUCs I’ve reviewed use the Intel N5095 or N5105 four-core processors, but they still offer enough performance for general office tasks and a little power beyond that level. The Geekom Mini IT11 uses an Intel Core i7-11390H mobile processor with an integrated Intel Iris Xe GPU, significantly expanding the scope of what it can be used for.
For such a small machine, this silicon is impressively quick, and it’s a noticeable step from what Mini PCs used to be. In addition to the processing power, the other hardware highlight is the Iris Xe GPU, a notable improvement over the underwhelming Intel UHD Graphics that laptop users have endured for many years.
From our tests, the Iris Xe has proven to offer twice the performance of the AMD Radeon integrated GPU ab about quadruple that of the dated Intel UHD silicon. While this chip doesn’t reach the gaming threshold for a NUC, it is still as about as good as graphics currently get. Sure, Intel has Iris Plus and Pro versions that offer even better performance, and these have evolved into the ARC series of discrete GPUs designed for future mobile platforms.
That said, for a NUC system, the performance of the Mini IT11 is generally great and well beyond Intel N5095/N5105 designs, like the Geekom Mini Air and the Beelink U59. It even delivers better performance than most Ryzen 5 5600U powered machines such as the Bosgame U56 in some tasks. The impressive performance is due to having eight-thread processing, but the Iris Xe GPU is also a significant factor.
The only drawback here is the Intel 660p SSD, a drive that has a middling read-and-write performance with the majority of NVMe drives. The real concern is the quoted speed for the 512GB 660p (1800MB/s) for both reading and writing, but as used in this machine, it only manages half the quoted writing speed.
Overall, the 11th Gen mobile CPU combined with the Iris Xe GPU is a major step from the lesser NUC platforms, and the user experience is greatly improved. While you’ll not run tasks that require high-speed storage or discrete GPUs (like Blender, for instance), the Geekom Mini IT11 can handle the rest of the task with aplomb. And being able to mount this Mini PC or carry it to a presentation makes it an even better value.
Mini PCs are majorly about cost savings, but an investment in a design like the Mini IT11 Mini PC should be worthwhile because it’s very adaptable for a NUC that can easily be configured to be a firewall, a media hub, or some other function when it will no longer be needed as a desktop system.
For all its worth, the Geekom Mini IT11 is one of the few NUC designs that easily compares with the Intel reference designs, and is not just a cheap knock-off. If flexibility is important to you, the Mini IT11 can handle a wide range of use with a simple upgrade. It’s ideal for those businesses that need the most out of their hardware, and it even boasts more power than a low-specification desktop or cheaper NUC. It comes highly recommended.
Geekom Mini IT11
The Geekom Mini IT11 is one of the few NUC designs that easily compares with the Intel reference designs, and is not just a cheap knock-off, making it ideal for business and office use.
- Powerful Core i7 performance
- Expandable RAM and Storage
- Highly portable and flexible
- Slow NVMe drive
- Underwhelming gaming performance