Today we are kicking off an offshoot of our popular Project TinyMiniMicro series. Given the challenges with the global supply chain and long lead times for Project TinyMiniMicro nodes, many have asked us about other mini PCs. With that, we have our CHUWI RZBOX review to kick of the STH Mini PC series. As the first one in this series, we have the AMD Ryzen 9 4900H powered RZBOX that has some interesting features not found on Project TinyMiniMicro nodes. Let us get to our review.
STH Mini PC Background: CHUWI RZBOX
The CHUWI RZBOX we had a number of users suggest we take a look at during Project TinyMiniMicro reviews over the past few quarters. Accompanying this review we have a video that you can find 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 9 4900H 8 core/ 16 thread CPU, 16GB of memory, a 512GB NVMe SSD, and even WiFi for $750.
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
From the photos, many will ask whether the CHUWI RZBOX is small or large. 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. Those are not exact measurements and, as a fun note, CHUWI does not have the exact measurements in its specifications. There is a note that the unit is “7*7inch 2L Size” in one of the images on the store page, but those measurements are rounding down to the nearest inch. The easy way to think of these again is of 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. 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.
On the rear of the unit, we get a 19V power input, a DisplayPort, a HDMI port, and a VGA port for display.
There are two USB 3 and two USB 2 Type-A ports on the rear of the unit. One of the fun parts is that the two Realtek 1GbE NICs are listed with “2x SSD expandable interface” in one of the marketing images. These are not for the two SSDs, and instead for networking, but we will get to the SSDs later.
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 an all metal construction. The top and bottom are metal, but there is also a lot of plastic on the sides.
Getting into the unit is interesting. It takes the removal of eight screws in order to access underneath the chassis.
Next, we are going to get to the internal hardware overview and the BIOS.
Do these guys do DASH? I have to admit that my impression of Realtek’s DASH implementation(on some AMD-based thinkpads; T14 gen1s) was…rough…; but given that Realtek is both the typical vendor for minimum-viable-NIC and what seems to be the de-facto standard for DASH on AMD client platforms it seems worth knowing if this device is Realtek-as-in-it-was-cheapest or whether they sprang for the DASH supported SKU.
Great to see some reviews of those mini pcs. Especially with the TMM devices as reference. Would love to see some of the minisforum pcs looked at.
I see them as a different segment. Though there are some that might brige the gap a little. Like the asrock 4×4, gigbayte and asus units.
The asrock units would be especially interesting for you to look at as they are still aimed at business use cases . Also asrock’s track record of the recent past seems to usually offer the most recent cpu-series.
I’d like to second fuzzyfuzzyfungus’s question about DASH.
Honest question, regarding Chuwi showing “sold out”, do you prefer
1) they tell you “sold out” when they aren’t able to fulfill orders, or
2) your recent experience with HP, where they accept your cash, give you an estimated shipping date that they aren’t able to meet, then keep pushing the date?
Pretty sure DASH requires Ryzen Pro, so I doubt it has it.
I’ve tried DASH and it seems a lot less mature than AMT does.
I don’t see a connector on the back for mounting external antennas, so presumably the antennas are internal? Which begs the question: can this do 6GHz? If not, then the Wi-Fi 6E support on the card seems moot…maybe they’re building a 2.4/5GHz machine (per the specs) and simply managed to get a good deal on the AX210?
All of this and no HDMI specs? 4k60 support is the most important spec for mini PCs like this as they’re likely to be used in HTPC setups. I don’t care about 95% of the specs listed in this review, the most important one is left out.
@Philippe, 4K@60Hz is visible in the Amazon listing. I went to Chuwi’s site to look it up for you, and even there clicking on MiniPC -> RZBox takes you to the Amazon listing.
Aren’t like all AMD Ryzen and Intel Core systems from 2020 and newer 4K@60Hz?
@Elijah Smith, you would be surprised how many new laptops and SFF PCs have older HDMI 1.4 and lack DP via USB-C. I guess enough customers are clueless that manufacturers figure they can save a few bucks since what the customer doesn’t know won’t hurt them. Try finding an affordable AMD system with USB-C video out and HDMI 2.0 or better. It’s basically $699+ from HP and Asus. Lenovo and others are a serious mixed bag.