What is it? The love child of a mini PC and a NAS device, the R3 from Chinese vendor T-Bao, packs a capable CPU with plenty of RAM, a big SSD and a slew of features that make it a true bargain at less than $400 for the top-end model from Geekbuying, one of the many up-and-coming rivals to Aliexpress. Use the code NNNTECH0628 to cut the price to $355. The price includes free shipping worldwide but do expect to pay extra courier fees. If you’re a new user, you could save more money by paying with Paypal and using the various available coupon vouchers.
T-Bao R3 Mini PC NAS : $355 at Geekbuying
Save $44 You will not find a better value PC anywhere on the web. With 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD and a 6-core CPU, this is indeed a wolf in sheep’s clothes when it comes to sheer performance. Its ability to double as a twin-HDD network attached storage device is a welcome bonus.
What makes it so special? A good deal is more than the sum of its parts and this is definitely the case for the T-Bao R3. At its heart is an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U, which is a 6-core CPU that is more than capable of dealing with mainstream tasks. Add in the integrated Radeon Graphics 7 and you’ve got yourself a powerful combo.
But that’s not all, there’s 32GB RAM (in dual channel for enhanced performance) and a 1TB PCIe Gen 3 NVMe SSD, which definitely far more than you’d expect for the price, indeed, this is the cheapest PC with such a RAM/Storage combination I’ve encountered recently.
The good news doesn’t stop there; this little PC can drive up to three 4K monitors (via a Type-C connector, a DisplayPort one and a HDMI one), handle up to two 2.5GbE connections (courtesy of an Intel i226V controller) and Wi-Fi 6.
There’s also four other USB ports and an audio jack. Quite a feat to have crammed all this in a PC that measures JUST 16.2 x 16.2 x 19.8cm. It could even be a workstation PC.
What else should I know? Just remember that there’s no hard disk drives bundled with this product so to reach the headline capacity of 44TB, you will need to grab two 22TB NAS HDDs, with the Seagate IronWolf Pro being the cheapest at $409.99. You can significantly increase the storage capacity by adding two 4TB NVMe SSD as well, pushing the overall capacity of the box to a whopping 52TB in all.
Any cons? Our review mentions “limited gaming capability, moderate graphics performance and average build quality”. I am not too enthused by the presence of USB 2.0 ports and the lack of a microSD card slot. I am less concerned by the PCIe Gen 3 SSD, a Gen 4 model would have been preferable.
What have we/others said about it? We have reviewed the R3 end of August 2023 and gave it a solid 3.5/5 stars, stating that “The T-Bao MiniPC + NAS R3 combines sleek design and AMD Ryzen 5 5500U power, offering a versatile multimedia hub with simple NAS functionality. Ideal for light tasks, less for demanding gaming.”
What about after sales? As if often the case for electronics shipped from mainland China, you have limited options should there be an issue. While it is commendable that the warranty starts when the buyer receives the item, you will have to send back the product at your own expense should there be an issue, a deal breaker for many. Check out Geekbuying’s return policy before committing yourself.
Anything else? One word about the design of the R3. To paraphrase our reviewer, it “impresses with a design that seamlessly blends functionality and aesthetics. Its small footprint makes it an unobtrusive addition to any workspace.”
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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.