December 1, 2023

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Minisforum Mercury EM680 review – a very strange mini-computer

Minisforum Mercury EM680 review – a very strange mini-computer

Mini Forum Mercury EM680

Minisforum Mercury EM680 is a very small computer that is still very big in many areas. The Ryzen 6000 processor with eight cores performs very well and the EM680 has many strong connections for the form factor. While you can’t escape soldered memory, Minisforum has made the SSD replaceable and the extra cost of upgrading the RAM to 32GB can be considered reasonable. Bottom line, the Mercury EM680 is an impressive piece of engineering, yet it’s not very expensive.

While Intel just announced that it will stop manufacturing its own NUCs, the mini PC as a product category is very much alive. Minisforum is one such company that creates innovative computers on a regular basis. The Mercury EM680 that I’m reviewing here is particularly notable for its extremely compact size. The box measures only 8x8cm, which is much smaller than the traditional NUC (11.5×11.5cm).

The effect of this on PC volume, 0.28 vs. 0.48 L, is greater than the length and width would suggest. In such a small case, you might expect a super-efficient and slow processor, a bit like an Atom, but nothing could be further from the truth; The Chinese manufacturer has included a complete Ryzen 7 CPU with eight cores.

If it has to be as small as possible, upgradeability is often secondary to the bill. That’s why it’s impressive that this mini PC still has a replaceable M.2 SSD. Although this is a relatively short 30mm version, and the same form factor as the Steam Deck and ROG Ally, great upgrade options will undoubtedly become available for this format in the future.

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On the other hand, the manufacturer did not find a place for the SO-DIMM slots. However, there is already 16GB of RAM in the Mercury EM680 as standard, and for the relatively affordable extra price of €40, you can bump it up to 32GB. That’s something different than 460 euros, we say. The version we tested, with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, will cost you €469 at the time of writing.

Mini Forum Mercury EM680
Healer AMD Ryzen 7 6800U (8C/16T, 4.7GHz Boost)
GPU AMD Radeon 680M @ 2.2GHz (Integrated)
The memory is there 16 GB Lpddr5-6400 (on board)
Storage is available Kingston OM3PGP4512Q-A0 PCIe 4.0 512 GB
storage slots 1 slot M.2 2230 (PCIe 4.0)
OS Windows 11 Pro operating system
Dimensions 8 x 8 x 4.3 cm
front links USB4, 3.5mm jack
side links USB-A 10Gb/s, microSD card reader and Kensington lock
Backlinks HDMI 2.1, 2x USB-A 10Gb/s, USB4.0
Wifi Wi-Fi 6E (Killer AX1675w) + Bluetooth 5.3
price 16GB RAM + 512GB SSD: 469 euros
32GB RAM + 512GB SSD: 509 euros
32GB RAM + 1TB SSD: 549 euros