Minisforum Mercury EM780 review

Ultra-compact computing, the EM780 excels in performance, versatility, and design.

Minisforum Mercury EM780
(Image: © Alastair Jennings)

TechRadar Verdict

The powerful AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840U and AMD Radeon™ 780M graphics in the Minisforum Mercury EM780 mini PC are impressive, but it's the ultra-small form factor, at just 1 1/4 the size of a standard mini PC, that truly captures attention. Despite being one of the smallest, if not the smallest, mini PCs on the market, it remarkably handles creative, office, and gaming tasks better than many of its larger competitors. However, its size and power come with a higher price tag and limited upgrade options. But for those prioritizing a compact and potent device, the EM780 emerges as a perfect choice.

Pros

  • +

    High-speed performance

  • +

    Compact design

  • +

    Versatile connectivity

Cons

  • -

    Premium price

  • -

    Limited upgradeability

  • -

    Requires external storage for expansion

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Minisforum Mercury EM780: 30-second review

Specs

CPU: AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840U
Graphics:
AMD Radeon™ 780M
RAM:
16GB/32GB LPDDR5
Storage:
1TB M.2 PCIe4.0 SSD
Rear Ports:
HDMI, USB4, 2x USB3.2 Type-A Ports
Front Ports:
USB4, 3.5mm audio jack
Side Ports: USB3.2 Type-A Ports, USB4
Connectivity:
Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Audio:
3.5mm audio jack
Camera: N/A
Size:
80 x 80 x 44mm
OS installed:
Windows 11 Pro
Accessories:
65W GaN Type-C power adapter

The Minisforum Mercury EM780 stands out for its incredibly compact size, challenging the norms of the best mini PCs by being 1/4 the size of standard ones and astonishingly 1/120th smaller than a typical desktop PC. Its diminutive stature is the immediate highlight, with its robust AMD Ryzen 7 7840U and AMD Radeon™ 780M Graphics initially taking a secondary role. Once in operation, this diminutive powerhouse excels in handling demanding creative applications like the best video editing software and photo editing tools, breezing through processing tasks. It also performs well with office software and can manage most games when graphic settings are adjusted.

The device further impresses with its array of external ports and connectivity features, including Wi-Fi 6E and numerous USB4 and MicroSD ports, offering ample expansion possibilities despite the smaller onboard SSD storage. This makes it highly versatile for connecting external drives and accessories.

Although priced at the higher end, its exceptional performance and ultra-compact design make it a worthwhile investment for those seeking to maximize space without sacrificing power.

Minisforum Mercury EM780: Price & availability

Minisforum Mercury EM780

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The EM780 is available for purchase directly from Minisforum's website. Its pricing mirrors its premium status within the mini PC market, targeting users who prioritize exceptional performance within a compact form factor.

  • Score: 4/5

Minisforum Mercury EM780: Design & build

Minisforum Mercury EM780

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The Minisforum Mercury EM780 showcases an ultra-compact design, taking up merely a quarter litre in volume, offering substantial space savings compared to standard Mini PCs and desktop machines. This diminutive size and full power makes it especially appealing for those with limited workspace or for users seeking a more transportable alternative to the best business computers or best business laptops. For us, we found the EM780's portability is unparalleled, fitting into a backpack's side pocket along with a USB Type-C power cable, HDMI lead, keyboard, and mouse with ease.

Cooling is a critical aspect for any Mini PC, particularly with the EM780's powerful AMD Ryzen 7 7840U and AMD Radeon 780M Graphics. It employs the COLD WAVE 2.0 cooling system to effectively dissipate heat from key components such as the CPU, memory, and SSD, enhancing cooling performance while maintaining low noise levels.

For storage, it utilizes a high-speed M.2 2230 PCIe4.0 SSD. Despite being smaller than the standard 2280, it delivers comparable performance, offering ultra-fast transfer speeds ideal for professional creative work, gaming, and general computing tasks.

The EM780's power solution features a 65W GaN Type-C power adapter, contributing to the system's minimalistic design. This adapter allows for the use of any 65W PD USB to power the device. GaN technology also reduces heat generation and enhances energy efficiency at maximum power delivery, compared to traditional power adapters.

  • Design: 5/5

Minisforum Mercury EM780: Features

Minisforum Mercury EM780

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The standout feature of the Minisforum Mercury EM780 is undoubtedly its size. Among Mini PCs, few can match the "mininess" of the EM780, with its 1/4L volume equating to roughly 1/4 the size of most standard mini PCs and a mere 1/120th the volume of a traditional desktop. This ultra-small form factor makes it an ideal choice for those with limited space who wish to maintain machine performance. It features an 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor capable of handling demanding applications from DaVinci Resolve to Tekken 8. The inclusion of LPDDR5-6400MHz memory and a high-speed M.2 2230 PCIe4.0 SSD ensures quick boot times and bolsters overall performance.

Despite its compact size, the EM780 incorporates an innovative COLD WAVE 2.0 cooling system, which maintains optimal temperatures for the CPU, memory, and SSD even under heavy loads, ensuring consistent performance without excessive fan noise. Connectivity is robust, with an array of USB ports and WiFi 6 support.

An interesting addition is the docking station, which connects to one of the USB4 ports, providing a high-speed, stable RJ45 network connection. This feature is particularly beneficial for creatives working with large files and gamers seeking stable connections.

For display options, the machine includes a standard HDMI port for wide compatibility alongside two USB4 ports that support display connections, allowing for up to three displays to be connected simultaneously.

Overall, the EM780's small size, combined with its powerful performance and comprehensive connectivity options, places it at the core of its feature set, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a compact yet highly capable machine.

  • Features: 4/5

Minisforum Mercury EM780: Performance

Minisforum Mercury EM780

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
Benchmarks

Crystal Disk Read: 4504.62MB/s
Crystal Disk Write: 4632.32MB/s
GeekBench CPU Single: 2015
GeekBench CPU Multi: 9787
GeekBench Compute: 24393
PC Mark: 6106
CineBench CPU Multi: 12836
CineBench CPU Single: 1279
Fire Strike Overall: 6791
Fire Strike Graphics: 7315
Fire Strike Physics: 20220
Fire Strike Combined: 2682
Time Spy Overall: 2779
Time Spy Graphics: 2502
Time Spy CPU: 7480
Wild Life: 14513 Windows Experience: 8.2

As we delve into the performance aspect, there's initial scepticism about whether a machine of this size can truly accommodate its CPU and GPU. However, any doubts quickly dissipate once the setup process is complete and the machine springs to life with remarkable speed.

Navigating through the options and settings, the computer feels fast and responsive. Applications like Photoshop, Resolve, and any office application open swiftly and operate smoothly.

The 1TB internal storage shows its limitations when editing 4K video, but connecting a Samsung T5 Evo 8TB through the USB4 ports as a working drive proves to be an effective solution.

If you're looking for the best video editing PC or an even more portable substitute for any of the best video editing laptops, it performs well, but there are some trade-offs here. In our own tests, editing 4K videos up to approximately 15 minutes in length is manageable with relatively good render times. Beyond that, the process becomes slower, necessitating the use of proxy media. 

Gaming performance is impressive, with titles like Red Dead Redemption II and Cyberpunk playing well. Tekken 8 also performs surprisingly well, with a game benchmark of 190, although some graphics settings need to be adjusted for smooth gameplay. While there are some screen glitches, the gameplay remains consistent and stable.

The EM780's Crystal Disk Mark scores, with read speeds of 4504.62MB/s and write speeds of 4632.32MB/s, demonstrate its proficiency in handling data-intensive tasks. These speeds are especially beneficial for software like Adobe Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve, where fast access to and storage of large video files can enhance workflow speed.

GeekBench scores of 2015 for single-core and 9787 for multi-core show the machine's versatility across creative, office, and gaming applications, allowing users to switch between tasks like complex Photoshop edits and managing large Excel datasets seamlessly.

CineBench results, with a single-core score of 1279 and a multi-core score of 12836, underline the EM780's rendering power, making it ideal for 3D modelling and animation and as a companion machine for 3D printing and laser engraving.

Graphics benchmarks with Fire Strike and Time Spy scores of 6791 and 2779, respectively, highlight the EM780's robust gaming and creative application capabilities. This graphical performance level ensures enjoyable gaming experiences with some graphic adjustments and efficient GPU-accelerated tasks in video editing and design software.

A PC Mark score of 6106 further indicates the EM780's capability to handle a wide array of office tasks, whether it's managing large databases, performing complex calculations, or multitasking between various applications such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

  • Performance: 5/5

Should you buy the Minisforum Mercury EM780?

Yes, if you need a compact, powerful PC for a wide range of tasks. No, if you're on a tight budget or require extensive internal upgradeability.

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ValueExceptional performance meets compact design4
DesignSleek, durable, and space-efficient5
FeaturesLoaded with high-end features for versatility4
PerformanceTop-tier benchmarks and real-world use5

Minisforum Mercury EM780

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Buy it if...

You want to save space
For those with limited desk space but in need of a powerful computer, the EM780 offers a perfect solution without compromising on capabilities.

You need a creative powerhouse
If your work involves video editing, graphic design, or other creative tasks, this is one of the <a href="https://www.techradar.com/news/best-pc-for-photo-editing" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"" target="_blank">best photo editing PCs in the mini form-factor, with the muscle to keep up.


Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget
There are cheaper options available if you're willing to sacrifice some performance or size.


You want to upgrade
If you prefer a system with room for extensive upgrades, the compact nature of this PC might be limiting.



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