The current availability of processors is complicated, the market is very tight and many manufacturers are unable to produce the machines they want. The solution to a backlog of orders for the most recent chips? Go and dip into the older solutions. We have already seen this effect with the appearance of MiniPCs with eighth generation processors some time ago. Now it’s the turn of the fifth generation chips, released 6 years ago, with this BMax MaxMini B5.
The use of these chips can be a good idea if the processor is at the level of performance desired for a classic use today. This is the case with this Core i5 Broadwell, but I’m not sure that this is the best choice. Because there are other alternatives on the market, because the price of this BMax MaxMini B5 is not cheap and because in the end, we will pay a more expensive bill than expected.
To accompany the processor, there is 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage on a SATA M.2 2280 SSD. The device offers a rather complete and strangely classic connectivity. The presence of a USB Type-C is, for example, very modern compared to the embedded processor. Especially since it will carry a video signal.
This will allow with the HDMI 1.4 and Mini DisplayPort circuits on board to drive 3 displays. There are also four USB Type-2A ports, two USB 3.0 on the front and two USB 2.0 on the back. An audio combo jack and Gigabit Ethernet complete the picture. The machine will offer network access in Wifi5 and Bluetooth 4.2.
The Core i5-5250U that powers this BMax MaxMini B5 is a dual-core, quad-threaded processor clocked at 1.6 to 2.7 GHz with 3 MB of cache memory. It develops a TDP of 15 watts well adapted to this type of machine and embeds an Intel HD 6000 graphic circuit clocked from 300 to 950 MHz. A chip that knows how to take into account OpenGL 4.3, DirectX12 and QuickSync functions in video…
From a performance point of view, however, the solution is quite far from the more modern processors. The chip is still very old and is almost at the level of a Celeron N4100 Gemini Lake in terms of performance… With a lot of features missing, such as the management of H.265, which is not taken into account by the Intel HD 6000, and a lot of formats that the chip will be able to read but not encode.
Problem for this chip of another age? It still consumes 15 watts against the 6 watts of a modern Celeron in Gemini Lake or Gemini Lake Refresh. Not only does this require active ventilation – as opposed to a fanless system with a 6 watt TDP – but it also consumes more than twice as much power for equivalent performance. While using eighth-generation chips often seems to me to be a good idea, going too far in the Intel catalog is not necessarily a viable solution in my opinion.