Minisforum UM690 Review An AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX Mini PC

9

Minisforum UM690 Performance

Under longer-term workloads, the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX is very fast. It is very competitive on the CPU side with the Intel Core i7-12700. We used our normal linux benchmark suite for this which also let us run Ubuntu on the system to validate that works.

AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark
AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark

We are just going to show the benchmarks here, for some relative performance figures.

AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX 7zip Compression Benchmark
AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX 7zip Compression Benchmark

Here are the OpenSSL Sign figures:

AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX OpenSSL Sign Benchmark
AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX OpenSSL Sign Benchmark

And the Verify results:

AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX OpenSSL Verify Benchmark
AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX OpenSSL Verify Benchmark

Overall, this is a fast processor.

Geekbench Windows 11 Performance

We also wanted to know how this unit performed compared to the Beelink GTR6. This unit was generally a single-digit percentage faster. On our longer run-time tests above it was within our normal 1.5% test variance. We also ran Geekbench 6 with the two units and the Minisforum UM690 was slightly faster.

Beelink GTR6 And Minisforum UM690 Geekbench 6 Results
Beelink GTR6 And Minisforum UM690 Geekbench 6 Results

Here is the link to the comparison.

We also ran Geekbench 5 which is generally a better multi-core benchmark than Geekbench 6:

Beelink GTR6 And Minisforum UM690 Geekbench 5 Results
Beelink GTR6 And Minisforum UM690 Geekbench 5 Results

Here is the link to that comparison.

Something that may seem a bit off is that our multi-threaded workloads are <2% off with a slight advantage to the Minisforums, but the Geekbench runs are 7-11% off. Geekbench runs are very fast and heat soak does not take hold as much due to the quick nature of each component. When we tried our longer League of Legends test, it was apparent what was going on.

League of Legends Gaming Performance

We tried League of Legends with a system both in the horizontal and vertical positions. On the 4K side, we were lucky to maintain over 30-40fps, but saw constant dips into the 20fps range. It was not playable. On the 1080p side, we were over 60fps and often over 80fps so that was very acceptable. We have this in the video at around 09:27:

At first, we were perplexed as to why this was notably slower than the Beelink on the gaming side. What we found was really interesting. The DDR5 memory was overheating and that was causing us to drop performance. We are not just running the game, but also using OBS to do the screen capture. Perhaps it was the combination, but in either case, the Beelink was better for us. Minisforum makes a lot of fuss about its cooling, but it does not have a cooler on the SSD/ DDR5 SODIMM side of the chassis like the Beelink does. That seems to be the difference here.

Kingston 512GB PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD Performance

We mentioned earlier that the SSD results were not great. This did not seem to be the case of thermal throttling, but here is a CrystalDiskMark result:

Minisforum UM690 CrystalDiskMark
Minisforum UM690 CrystalDiskMark

That is faster than many retail M.2 PCIe Gen3 drives, but this is probably closer to a fast PCIe Gen3 drive than a top-end PCIe Gen4 drive in terms of performance.

Next, let us get to the power consumption and noise.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Beelink GTR6 is a winner here for me due to the better heat dissipation? I’m guessing here. Heat in these units will be the biggest killer. Will have to read that review again.

  2. You watch the YouTuber reviews where Minisforum sends units early that say everything is great. Then STH does it’s review and they show performance issues. They’ve got odd SSD rubber bands. There’s clearly not enough cooling in the drive and ram area. Thanks STH for being honest with these.

  3. Cooling is a problem once again…

    At least they should have made parts of the bottom out of mesh material.

  4. Fairly common to see cheap low-profile ssd heatsinks that are affixed with two rubber bands, albeit not in pre-built systems like this one

  5. Well, I had a nice write up on this and the session time for the comment session blew it away before I could click on “Post”. Guess I will try to start over.

  6. I have been testing the UM690 for a couple of months since it went on presale.

    I acquired the barebones version then installed the following:

    WD Black SN770 NVMe SSD
    64Gb Crucial DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM

    If you order the barebones and want to install Windows 11 from scratch, you will need the latest release ISO from MSFT or it can’t recognize the SSD.

    Windows runs fine and don’t forget to fetch the latest AMD Adrenelin driver set and install it or you may see some unknown devices. The AMD RZ driver is not included in the Windows ISO or in the AMD Adrenalin driver set, You have to go fetch it from another vendor unfortunately,.

    Linux right now is a mixed bag.

    Most of the install ISO’s can’t enumerate the USB chipsets and the install gets lost as it can’t find the stick. Using a pre-built Linux image on your SSD will work just fine.

    Linux versions that seem to work include Debian, Ubuntu. Arch wasn’t working at last build, but Clear Linux was. RHEL, CentOS, Rocky and Alma weren’t working when I last tested due to the Radeon 680M problem.

    Proxmox errors out on the install due to a lack of Radeon 680M support. You have to edit the Grub file based on a suggestion on the Proxmox website before the install completes.

    VMWare ESXi 7.03u w/Fling Pack runs just fine except no I-225v support. You will have to use a USB to GbE adapter to get networking.

    There appears to be a random bug in the Ryzen 9 6900HX cpu that was uncovered in Asus and Lenovo laptops and it appears here as well. The Freedesktop team have narrowed it down to a voltage issue on Core 0. Either the revision of the fab is the issue or the VRM can’t handle the sag of going into LP mode and the Core 0 drops off and hangs the unit. A suggestion to raise the LP state by .1V seems to resolve it.

    I also tested DDR5-5600 SODIMM from Team Group and while Windows didn’t seem to have issues some of the Linux builds did hang post boot. Especially when an app was pushing it, this may be a heat issue, not clear just yet.

    Some YouTubers were using the BIOS to up the wattage and push the RAM to 6000. This is not recommended by Minis Forum. Windows runs OK, but Linux hangs. Again unknown if this was heat related or just timings. (Radeon Manager reports this 6900HX will support up to 6400)

    As for the USB4 port, yes it runs Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C 3.x docks and peripherals. I tested both a HP TB3 dock and a HP USB-C dock and they both worked fine in Windows and Linux.

    However, the Thunderbolt behavior is not quite the same as what you would see on a current Intel NUC with a TB3 port.

    The USB4 port is supported by a AMD USB4 controller that has access to 16x of PCIe Gen 4 lanes. This port is not a traditional USB port we all know, it is really a protocol switch that sets up virtual USB or Thunderbolt hubs depending on what is connected to it.

    Thunderbolt tools for Linux won’t work even though the kernel module loads to get device support. USBView won’t see the controller, but it does see all of the physical and virtual hubs that the switch sets up when you plug a device in. So if you boot with a TB3 dock installed in the port, you will see your TB interfaces appear in the OS. Same with USB. If your TB dock has a USB bridge chip in it, you will see those USB hubs appear in your device manager.

    Others have tested the USB4 eGPU abilities with Windows using a TB3 dock and a Radeon GPU. It works. I have not done the same with a eGPU and Linux. Remember that the bridge chip in all of these TB3-eGPU docks only utilize 4 PCIe lanes. Until more capable bridge chips come along, I suspect some high end GPU’s just wont work, but testing is needed.

  7. @spuwho, wow that’s an informative article – no wonder you needed more than one STH five minute page reset interval.

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