Minisforum Venus UN1265 Mini PC review

Affordable Mini PC powerhouse

Minisforum Venus UN1265 Mini PC
(Image: © Mark Pickavance)

TechRadar Verdict

12th-gen mobile parts make speedy NUCs, and the Minisforum UN1265 has plenty of processor performance. However, making mini systems this powerful at the asking price results in a few corners being cut, and this enclosure isn’t great.


  • +

    Intel Core i7-12650H

  • +

    Iris Xe graphics

  • +

    Great value


  • -

    Plastic construction

  • -

    Difficult to upgrade

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Minisforum UN1265: 30-second review

Minisforum UN1265 Specs

Here is the Minisforum UN1265 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: Intel Core i7-12650H (10 cores, 16 threads)
Graphics: Iris Xe (96 EU)
RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM (Expandable to 32GB)
Storage: 512 GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD, 2.5-inch SATA bay free
Ports: 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 2x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 1x universal audio jack, 2x 2.5GbE RJ45 Ethernet port
Connectivity: Intel Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth v5.2, Gigabit LAN port
Audio: 1x DMIC, no speakers
Camera: None
Size: 128 x 126 x 56 mm (W x D x H)
OS installed: Licensed Windows 11 Pro (on those with storage included).
Accessories: Adapter 19V/4.73A 

series UN1265 adds yet another to these ranks.

Using a standard NUC enclosure, this machine is built around the Intel Core i7-12650H Processor, a mobile platform with 10 Cores and 16 Threads. It sports the better Intel Intel integrated GPU, the Iris Xe, and can come with plenty of DDR4 memory to make the most of that feature.

Inside the enclosure are two DDR5 SODIMM slots that can take up to 64GB of memory, a PCIe Gen 4 M.2 2280 slot for main storage and a position for a 2.5-inch SATA HDD or SSD.

It can come as barebones, i.e. without memory or storage. Or with a series of SKUs that offer differing amounts of RAM and SSD capacity.

Whatever SKU you choose, this is an inexpensive Mini PC system that aims to provide an excellent value-for-money deal for those who are on a tight budget.

The apparent weakness is the primarily plastic construction that might not handle much abuse. But if it is mounted onto a screen, it should be out of harm's way most of the time.

Compared to other Mini PCs, this one isn’t easy to upgrade, and it's meant for those customers who buy a computer for a specific task and not to enhance it later.

That said, the basic specifications are good, and this is a powerful small system for those needing small office systems with more power than most laptops possess.

Minisforum UN1265: Price and availability

Minisforum Venus UN1265 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • How much does it cost? $309/£309/€349
  • When is it out? It is starting to be available now
  • Where can you get it? Direct from Minisforum

Unlike many mini PC system makers, Minisforum sells its products directly through its website, alongside Amazon and other online retailers.

In the UK, the barebone version (without RAM or storage) costs only £309, and the SKU reviewed here with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage is £379. The top tier comes with 32GB of RAM and 1TB storage for £435.

Pricing in the USA is $309 for barebones, $369 as reviewed and $419 for the top model.

European pricing starts at €349, but it doesn’t look like this product will ship to European customers until mid-September.

Considering this machine uses one of the better 12th-generation mobile processors, the price is very competitive.

  • Value: 4 / 5

Minisforum UN1265: Design

Minisforum Venus UN1265 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Plastic enclosure
  • Generic design
  • No obvious way inside

The design of the UN1265 is very much like other Minisform machines in that it uses a simple box construction where air is pulled through side vents and ejected above the I/O ports on the rear.

The external construction is entirely plastic, and the silver appearance is one you will either like or not. On the plus side, it doesn’t show dust as obviously as black, but it also doesn’t create the impression that it is made of metal.

The front has a reset hole alongside the power button, a 3.5mm audio jack and two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports. On the rear are two USB 2.0 ports, with a single 2.5GbE LAN port, DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0 and a single USB 3.2 Type-C that supports Alt DP, DATA and PD.

That USB-C inlet is ideal for connecting the UN1265 to a USB hub or a third monitor, but Thunderbolt or USB 4.0 would have been better.

We should mention that on our review hardware, the LAN port was only 1GbE, but Minisforum informed us that on the shipping machines, it is 2.5GbE LAN as per the specifications.                                                                    

Minisforum Venus UN1265 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

One slight disappointment was that we weren’t able to get inside the UN1265 to see what possibilities that might reveal. For some reason, possibly language-based, we couldn’t get Minisforum to explain how to remove the underside, even if we could see the socketed memory modules beneath it.

There appears to be a slot on the front right that might take a thin metal object that should release the underside. But, after several attempts that bordered on damaging the review system, we decided not to pursue this potentially disastrous course of action.

As the specification mentions a 2.5-inch SATA expansion, we’re confident that the internals will give full access to add that storage, and upgrade the memory and probably the NVMe drive, once the trick to getting inside is made public.

Our support person at Minisforum didn’t seem to understand why we would want to get inside, never providing these details to us.                                                                                                                                                                   

  • Design: 3 / 5

Minisforum UN1265: Features

  • Powerful CPU
  • Iris Xe
  • No Thunderbolt

The critical feature of the UN1265 is its processor since Intel made significant improvements in its mobile line when it moved to the 12th generation line.

With ten cores and sixteen threads, the Intel Core i7-12650H is a powerful platform that can easily outperform many desktop processors. As with all Intel modern designs, the CPU is split into performance and efficiency cores with six hyperthreading performance cores and four efficiency chiplets.

As this machine isn’t battery-powered, the efficiency cores aren’t critical, but their inclusion reduces power consumption and prevents the system from thermal throttling.

Unlike some cheaper 11th-gen parts, it also has the Iris Xe GPU integrated, and that makes a big improvement over the UHD Graphics GPU that Intel used previously.

The other advantage that the Core i7-12650H and its chipset bring to this system is more PCIe lanes (28 in total), and PCIe 4.0. This technology is reflected in the high number of ports and the USB 3.2 ones that are Gen2 (10Mbit/s), but also that the M.2 NVMe slot is also PCIe 4.0, allowing for much greater bandwidth and speeds.

The only caveat to this platform is that the 13th generation parts that came afterwards, like the Core i7-1360P used in the now defunct Intel NUC 13 Pro, also came with Thunderbolt technology, a feature that isn’t on this system.

In our testing, we connected a Caldigit TS4 Thunderbolt/USB dock to the UN1265, which worked in USB mode. However, it wouldn’t power the machine over that connection, unfortunately.

For those intending to mount this hardware to the back of a monitor, it might be worth investing in a USB dock to make the USB ports more easily accessible.

Minisforum Venus UN1265 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Features: 4 / 5

Minisforum UN1265: Performance

  • Poor multi-threading
  • Iris Xe graphics
  • PCIe 4.0 NVMe

Here's how the Minisforum Venus UN1265 scored in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Wild Life:9978; Fire Strike: 3821; Time Spy: 1358;
Cinebench R23 CPU pts: 1684 (single-core); 5944 (multi-core)
GeekBench 5: 1591 (single-core); 4680 (multi-core), 13167 (OpenCL)
CrystalDiskMark: Sequential Read: 4813 MB/s; Sequential Write: 3550 MB/s
PCMark 10 (Office Test): 5097
Windows Experience Index: 8.2

As a generalisation, these benchmarks are good. Especially comparing it to 11th-gen parts that have the UHD Graphics GPU, this system is often 50% or more faster.

However, the Core i7-12650H is a slightly odd chip for multi-threaded tests, as it doesn’t nearly approach the core multiplier it should with this many threads.

For example, the single thread performance on CineBench23 is great, with the only processors we’ve seen that are faster being 13th-generation parts like the Core i7-1360P.

But the ratio between that score and using all ten cores is only 3.53. If we forget the efficiency cores and that the performance cores can hyperthread, it should still be between 5 and 6, logically.

Compared to the 11th Gen Core i9-11900H, a part that doesn’t have the P and E core model, that CPU has a ratio of 6.07, but it has eight cores. We’re unsure how Intel messed up the multi-thread performance of this chip, but it might have to do with the power limits of 45W spread over all these cores.

Whatever the reason, in some multi-thread tasks that include GeekBench, this chip performs more like it’s a quad-core CPU than one with ten cores.

Because this design uses DDR4 memory rather than DDR5 like many of the 13th-generation chips, it doesn’t make the most of the GPU, but the Iris Xe performs well enough for light graphical duty and the odd game.

The read speed of the NVMe drive shows that it is indeed a Gen4 part, although much faster ones that this model are available for those who can work out how to get inside and switch the chip for a speedier option.

Despite the lacklustre multi-threading, the UN1265 is a sold system that provides an acceptable user experience.

Minisforum Venus UN1265 Mini PC

(Image credit: Minisforum)
  • Performance: 3.5 / 5

While more use of metal in its construction and easier access to the insides would have elevated the UN1265 in our minds, neither of these negatives undermine the UN1265 from being an excellent entry-level system for office use.

The chosen CPU and GPU are well balanced, delivering a consistent user experience whatever you decide to use this PC for.

For those with spare DDR4 SODIMMs and NVMe drives, the UN1265 is a low-cost means to get a reasonably powerful system with enough ports to make it useful in many contexts. And it doesn’t cost much more to come pre-installed with those things and Windows 11.

Minisforum UN1265: Report card

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ValueCore-7 CPU and lots of ports for a modest price.4 / 5
DesignAll plastic construction isn’t wonderful, and it isn’t easy to get inside to upgrade.3 / 5
Features2.5GbE LAN, USB 3.2 Gen2 and dual monitors make this a useful machine.4 / 5
PerformanceThe number of cores doesn’t deliver great multi-threaded performance, but the machine runs well despite this.3.5 / 5
TotalCheap and relatively cheerful4 / 5

Should you buy a Minisforum UN1265?

Minisforum Venus UN1265 Mini PC

(Image credit: Minisforum)

Buy it if...

Your budget is small

At a little over $300 for the barebones version, the UN1265 might be a bargain. There are cheaper NUC designs, but they often come with kneecapped processors and only USB 3.2 Gen1 ports. The specification of this one is better than its asking price would suggest.

You need flexibility

If all computers were built for a specific purpose that never changed, it would be easy to specify them. However, in the real world, things change, and computers get repurposed.

The UN1265 has enough ports and options to offer plenty of flexibility should you want to switch it to being a firewall or media playback system.

Don't buy it if...

You specifically need graphics power

NUC systems, in general, don’t offer great GPU performance. They don’t have discrete graphics cards or the power and thermals to handle them. The Iris Xe in this machine is fine for watching videos and surfing, but it's not for gaming or CAD.

You need Thunderbolt performance

While this machine has an excellent number of USB ports, it doesn’t come with Thunderbolt and the fastest any external storage can transfer is 1000MB/s. There isn’t any way to add this technology, and USB docking stations aren’t at the same level as their Thunderbolt counterparts.

Also consider


Beelink SER6 Pro 7735HS

The current darling of the NUC community, the SER6 Pro also uses the latest AMD Ryzen 7000 mobile technology and delivers equally impressive performance.

It comes with Crucial branded memory but an OEM NVMe drive. Getting access to the memory and storage is a little more convoluted in this machine, but this isn’t anything that most users will be doing daily.

Check out our Beelink SER6 Pro 7735HS review


Minisforum Venus NPB7
The NPB7 is the flagship of the Venus series and features the incredible Intel Core i7-13700H (14 cores, 20 threads) mobile CPU and up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM. It can be bought barebones with only the processor installed, RAM and M.2 NVMe storage to be provided by the customer. If you want a high-quality NUC with bags of performance and Thunderbolt baked in, the NPB7 is worth the investment.

Check out our Minisforum Venus NPB7 review


Apple Mac Mini (2023)

Recently revamped, the Mini now comes with either the M2 or M2 Pro chip, and it experienced a small price reduction from the M1 2020 model.

However, this machine can’t be upgraded, so you need to buy the model that you will ever need from the outset. For the M2 Pro version with only 16GB of RAM and 512GB of RAM, it will cost you $1,299. Or, twice the price of the AS 5 and more, and with other options, one can approach $5000 of spend. Not for the economically challenged.

 Check out our Apple Mac Mini (2023) review

Mark Pickavance

Mark is an expert on 3D printers, drones and phones. He also covers storage, including SSDs, NAS drives and portable hard drives. He started writing in 1986 and has contributed to MicroMart, PC Format, 3D World, among others.