Geekom Mini IT8 review: Great value in this mini PC
Geekom Mini IT8: Specifications
Starting price: $439
CPU: Intel i5-8259U
RAM: 8 GB, 16 GB
Storage: 256 GB, 512 GB
GPUs: Intel Iris Plus 655
Ports: 3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 2 x USB-C, 1 x HDMI, 1 x mini DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet, SD, 3.5mm headphone jack, Kensington
Expansion: Dual-channel DDR4 SODIMM up to 32 GB, M.2 up to 1 TB, 2.5 inch up to 2 TB
Cut: 4.6 x 4.4 x 1.8 inches (117 x 112 x 45.6mm)
Mass: 2.2 pounds (1 kg)
Geekom may be new to the mini PC market, but it’s come out the door swinging with the Mini IT8. Small form factor PCs – including single board computers – have quickly become one of my favorite product categories for their seemingly limitless use cases. Whether you want a space-saving desktop computer or an energy-efficient server, mini PCs have quickly taken hold. And the Mini IT8 is one of my new favorites.
Although this little guy has an older 8th Gen Intel Coffee Lake processor, it still packs more than enough power for day-to-day tasks. From web browsing to word processing, the Mini IT8 is right up there with what most people need. The Geekom Mini IT8 is also VESA compatible, which means you can stick it to the back of your monitor for a clean desktop.
And while getting Windows 11 Pro pre-installed is awesome, my mind immediately goes to turning this mini PC into a virtualization host for my burgeoning homelab. (I even started using this machine for some of my self-hosting needs.) You can install Linux or whatever you want on the Mini IT8.
In this Geekom Mini IT8 review, I’ll tell you what this small form factor computer can do and why it’s a great choice over other mini PCs.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Price and availability
The Mini IT8 is available in a few configurations, starting with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for $439. Upgrade to 512GB of storage and you’ll pay $479, while 16GB/256GB costs $519 and the top-end 16GB/512GB model costs $549.
You can enter the configuration that suits your needs directly from Geekom. You might even be able to enter a promotion depending on when you stop by the site.
You’ve probably already made a comparison to Intel’s NUC products like the $629 Intel NUC10i5FNH. (It’s equipped with an i5-10210U, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SATA SSD.)
While these machines have moved to newer processors, the one with the same i5-8259U as the Mini IT8 is harder to find these days. But this particular NUC cost $840 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. So already, the Mini IT8 is very good value for money even with its old chip.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Design
Sometimes boring is fine or even welcome, and that’s exactly how I would describe the Mini IT8. It will definitely not catch the eyes. It looks a bit like a NUC with a flat, rectangular design, black casing and little else. That’s fine, since you probably want the Mini IT8 to sit somewhere and blend into the background. Just be prepared to wipe it down when you place it in its forever home, as the glossy plastic casing holds fingerprints and smudges with alarming tenacity.
Three of the four sides contain vents for cooling, which I like to see. You can disassemble the Mini IT8 if you want to upgrade more of the internal parts.
Be careful when doing this, however. The Geekom Mini IT8 is a well built system, difficult to take apart – on more than one occasion I thought I was about to break some of the plastic because I needed to apply so much force to separate the parts.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Ports and expandability
Speaking of expandability, the Mini IT8 does not disappoint. You can insert up to 32GB of DDR4 SODIMM RAM (laptop), insert a new NVMe drive (up to 1TB), and add a 2.5-inch SATA drive (up to 2TB) at the bottom. This means you can stack the Mini IT8 with plenty of RAM and storage, eventually creating a small network attached storage (NAS) server to create your own personal cloud.
The Mini IT8’s ports are mostly on the rear, where you get two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, an RJ-45 gigabit Ethernet connector, a USB-C port, a mini DisplayPort and an HDMI connection, plus the barrel power supply 19V connector. The front includes the power button and a 3.5mm headphone/mic combo, along with two more USB ports. (One is a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, the other is USB-C.) On the left is a full-size SD card slot, and the right side houses a Kensington lock.
All those high-speed ports mean you can have super-fast peripherals and storage media, plus three monitors in the individual ports – the rear USB-C port doubles as a DisplayPort output. Geekom says you can actually use four 4K monitors, although that means you’ll have to split one of the ports.
The gigabit LAN port provides sufficient wired internet speeds, but the Mini IT8 also features dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless communications.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Performance
With an Intel i5-8259U chipset, the Mini IT8 won’t win any performance awards. The 8th Gen Coffee Lake processors still perform well to this day, but Intel has moved to the newer 11th Gen chips in its most recent products in its NUC lineup. Geekom uses a U-chip aimed at laptops where energy efficiency is essential.
However, the Mini IT8 comes with Kingston 3200 MHz RAM, which is superb. While the models come preinstalled with single-channel memory (you’ll see much better performance with dual-channel), the Mini IT8 performs surprisingly well in benchmarks. Just find out how it fared in our tests.
|Mini-IT8||Optiplex 7090 Ultra|
|Geekbench 5 (single-core / multi-core)||929 / 3458||1467 / 4708|
|25GB file copy transfer rate (MBps)||195.5||800.5|
|Civilization VI FPS (1080p/4K)||12 / 5||18 / 9|
A gaming machine, the Mini IT8 is not, as you can see from the Civilization VI benchmark. The mini PC is suitable for everyday office tasks, but it struggles with more intensive applications. The closest machine we had for comparison uses a three-generation newer i5 processor, so the performance delta, as seen in Geekbench, is unsurprising.
What surprised me was the relatively slow file transfer rate in our 25GB file copy test. review – so I was expecting to see much higher speeds. The Handbrake transcoding test also took a while, but I attribute that to the 8th Gen Mobile U processor in this mini PC.
For the price, however, the Mini IT8 performs well enough. I think adding a second stick of RAM might improve things a bit, but for what you’re getting here, I expected worse.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Software
The Mini IT8 comes with Windows 11 Pro pre-installed, which is great to see on a PC at this price. The install itself comes bundled with an unfortunate amount of bloatware, including TikTok, Prime Video, Facebook, and Instagram. You can remove them if you want, but I really don’t like Microsoft bundling this garbage in their software. (They’re even present on the ISO you get directly from the company.) I’m not really blaming Geekom here, but it would have been nice not to see that stuff on the Mini IT8.
Otherwise, you will find what you need to get started on the Geekom Mini IT8. Choose your favorite web browser, install your favorite programs (maybe uninstall others) and run to the races. This machine handles Windows 11 very well considering its older chipset.
You can also install Linux if you wish. Simply press F7 on your keyboard when the machine boots to enter the BIOS to change the boot order to select your live USB drive. As I said earlier, this machine would make a great low-cost, energy-efficient server, perhaps running Proxmox or Ubuntu Server. You can even turn it into a super-powered router with pfSense.
In fact, I started playing with other operating systems after testing Windows. I ran Proxmox on the Mini IT8 and set up virtual machines to meet some of my home needs, like Home Assistant, a central Docker location, my network ad blocker, etc.
The beauty of the Mini IT8 is that you can do almost anything on it, except for gaming. If you’re sticking with Windows, great. But if you want to choose a Linux desktop distro, the world is yours. And if you’re looking to get started in the homelab, the Mini IT8 can handle a lot of those starter use cases too.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Verdict
For a starting price of $439, the Mini IT8 is a great little desktop computer. It’s unassuming, you can mount it on the back of your monitor and it’s upgradable. It’s hard to find a better option for the money, especially when the alternative is to spend a lot more money on an expensive minicomputer for performance gains you might not even notice.
The Geekom Mini IT8 would make a great family PC or low cost server. With its NVMe drive and 3200 MHz RAM, it punches well above its weight.