A few months ago we looked at the CHUWI RZBOX. At that time, it had the AMD Ryzen 9 4900H and set itself apart for reasonably good build quality, decent specs, and a lower price than what we see in the Project TinyMiniMicro 1L PC segment. After that review, the CHUWI folks reached out to us saying that there would be an update, and they sent us the new AMD Ryzen 7 5800H version to take a look at. Despite moving from a Ryzen 9 to a Ryzen 7, and a lack of overall innovation, this is actually an upgrade and the new pricing is very strong. Let us get to it.
STH Mini PC Background: CHUWI RZBOX 5800H Edition
We have a video for this one that you can see here:
As always, we suggest opening this in its own YouTube window, tab, or app for the best viewing experience.
The RZBOX is interesting because it offers a H-series processor commonly found in higher-end notebooks. In this case, we got an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H 8 core/ 16 thread CPU, 16GB of memory, a 512GB NVMe SSD, and even WiFi. CHUWI sent the unit, but it sells for $599 on the company’s website and as the time of writing this and editing the video it was $565 on Amazon. That is roughly $185 less than we spent for the previous version and is thanks to the lower-cost CPU.
Since we reviewed a very similar unit about a quarter ago, we took most of the photos and B-roll for the video at a park in Oregon just to make things look a bit different. This is largely the same unit, it is just the updated model that started shipping in the past few weeks.
In our review, we are going to take a look at the hardware, and then get into the performance and our thoughts on this system.
CHUWI RZBOX Hardware Overview
Much of the unit is going to be the same as the previous generation and the chassis and ports are no exception. The unit itself is about a 7.25″ square footprint and around 2.5″ high. That makes it roughly the footprint of a Project TinyMiniMicro 1L PC but about twice the height. We still think of this chassis as roughly being the size of two 1L Project TinyMiniMicro nodes stacked atop one another.
On the front, we get two USB ports, a Type-A and a Type-C port, along with a headset and microphone jack. We wish that these were USB 3 ports, but we have been using them primarily for wireless mouse/ keyboard dongles. A high-speed USB 3 port would have made the unit significantly more functional as a desktop to plug in a hub or other items. We tried, and the port had challenges with different CFexpress Type A and Type B adapters common in higher-end cameras today. The new card standards are very fast, but they require high-speed USB ports.
There is also a power button and that is the only port or button you will see labeled. There are, however, two giant AMD Ryzen/ Radeon stickers. This one says AMD Ryzen 7 5000 series, not the Ryzen 9 4000 series we saw previously.
On the rear of the unit, we see the same layout again.
We get a 19V power input, a DisplayPort, a HDMI port, and a VGA port for display. That is actually quite amazing diversity for display outputs. One can drive two 4K displays via HDMI and DP, but the VGA is limited to 1920×1080 from what we saw.
There are two USB 3 and two USB 2 Type-A ports on the rear of the unit. Again we get two Realtek 1GbE NICs. To be blunt, we really would have liked if these were upgraded to 2.5GbE NICs, even if they were still Realtek. Other vendors have told us that the price change is usually <$1 per NIC so even if it added $5 to the overall MSRP, it feels like that would be worth it to upgrade the NICs.
From some of the photos, a user may believe that this is a fanless industrial-style PC with all of the chassis ridges. That appears to not be the case if one looks at the vent on the rear I/O panel there are vents. There are also vents on the top of the chassis:
In one of these vents, there is clearly a fan underneath to cool the CPU. CHUWI advertises the metal construction. The top and bottom are metal, but there is also a lot of plastic on the four sides. Still, this box is overall quite rigid and feels different from the ultra-low-cost plastic machines we have seen. Many of those were so cheap we never even published reviews of.
Getting into the unit is interesting. It takes the removal of eight Philips head screws in order to access underneath the chassis.
As a fun aside, taking these last three photos in a park 3 months after the original version, I took the exact same photograph angles of the machine.
Next, we are going to get to the internal hardware overview and the BIOS.