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GEEKOM IT8 Mini workstation PC review

Small and mighty but with an old processor, is this a mini workstation to remember or forget?

Geekom IT8 Review Hero
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The GEEKOM IT8 surprised us by delivering a deftly engineered NUC-like mini PC that will shine as a micro workstation. Businesses will appreciate the presence of Windows 11 Pro and the plethora of ports although the lack of Wi-Fi 6 and solid after sales support network may cause some to stay away from this bargain.

Pros

  • +

    Comes with Windows 11 Pro

  • +

    Very affordable

  • +

    Good performance

  • +

    VESA mount

  • +

    Can drive up to four monitors

  • +

    Card reader

Cons

  • -

    Brand reliability remains to be seen

  • -

    Limited after sales support

  • -

    No Wi-Fi 6

Two minute review

It’s the first time that we’ve been introduced to GEEKOM, an up-and-coming brand that’s looking to make a splash with two products: the weirdly-named Bookfun laptop, a $1,999 mobile workstation (opens in new tab) with a Core i7-11800H, Windows 11 Pro and an RTX3070 and the more anonymous IT8 mini PC (opens in new tab), which is the subject of this review.  

GEEKOM did a great job to produce a tiny workstation PC (opens in new tab) that delivers great value for money in a very small form factor; it comes with Windows 11 Pro out of the box with plenty of ports and can drive a quartet of monitors. It performs reasonably well for what it costs and while there are a couple of issues, they are minor ones. That said, delivering business-grade after sales like some of its much bigger rivals is something that GEEKOM will not be able to match.

Base of Device

(Image credit: Future)

Design

The IT8 looks like one of the many Intel NUC mini PCs that have appeared over the past decade. At 117 x 112 x 48mm, it is almost the size of the NUC 11 Performance Mini PC, so much so that you’d be mistaken from afar (ed: makes us wonder if they share some common DNA).

Side View

(Image credit: Future)

GEEKOM’s mini PC surprises by its heft; it feels and looks heavy (it weighs nearly 600g). The top is made of glossy plastic so prone to greasy fingerprints and hairline marks. The rest of the body is solid metal with two grills on the side to help with air flow (and cooling the 28W CPU inside).

Rear Ports

(Image credit: Future)

Despite its very compact appearance, the IT8 packs nearly a dozen ports and connectors: three USB 3.2 Gen2 Type A ports, two USB Type-C connectors, one Gigabit Ethernet port, one headphone jack, an SD card slot, a HDMI connector and a mini DP one. The power connector is a barrel-type model and is powered by a 90W (19v,4.74A) brick type power supply unit. 

Pricing and availability

The GEEKOM IT8 PC (opens in new tab) that we reviewed sells for $499 directly with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. The cheapest stock keeping unit has half the memory and half the storage capacity and a price tag of only $399. In comparison, Dell has a desktop PC (the Inspiron 3891) powered by an Core i5-10400 processor for the same price but with half the memory and storage capacity. Plus it is far, far bigger when it comes to size. On the other hand, the TRIGKEY Speed S (opens in new tab) is a more serious rival selling for $430 at Banggood with Windows 10 Pro rather than Windows 11 Pro.

Front Ports

(Image credit: Future)

Hardware

Spec Sheet

Here are the full specs of the GEEKOM IT8 configuration sent to TechRadar Pro for review:

CPU: Intel Core i5-8259U

Graphics: Iris Plus 655

RAM: 16GB DDR4

Storage: 512GB SSD (Kingston OM8PDP3512B-A01)

Ports: 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 2 x USB Type-C, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, SD card reader, audio jack

Connectivity: Intel AC-7265, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 4.2

Weight: 565g

Size:  117 x 112 x 48mm  (H x W x D)

Powering the IT8 is the Intel Core i5-8259U, a popular mid-range processor that made its way into a number of products from, shall we say, challenger brands. The Teclast TBolt 20 Pro (opens in new tab) (a business laptop (opens in new tab)), the GMK NucBox 2 (opens in new tab) and the Minisforum U850 (opens in new tab), all had this 4-year old processor at their heart. There’s a few good reasons why this is such a popular model. It has a powerful graphics processor, the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, which is a step above anything you’d usually find in this price range. Add in four cores (with eight threads in all), a rather high processor base speed and a 3.8GHz turbo frequency and you have all the ingredients of a very good CPU platform.

The processor is teamed up with a 512GB SSD (Kingston OM8PDP3512B-A01), an entry level PCIe Gen3 NVMe solid state drive as well as 16GB DDR4 memory in dual-channel configuration which should give an extra oomph to the device. Connectivity is handled by an Intel Wireless AC-7265 card which supports Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi 5 only, which is somewhat of a disappointment.

Performance and in use

Benchmarks

Here’s how the GEEKOM IT8 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Passmark: 3291

Passmark CPU: 6918

CPU-Z: 426 (single-thread); 2155 (multi-thread)

Geekbench: 940 (single-core); 3668 (multi-core); 7787 (compute)

CrystalDiskMark: 2537MBps (read); 1216MBps (write)

Cinebench: 942 (single CPU); 3964 (multi CPU)

Novabench: 1575

Atto: 2910MBps (read, 256mb); 2770MBps (write, 256mb)

Windows Experience Index: 8.1

The GEEKOM IT8 comes with Windows 11 Pro (opens in new tab), which in itself is a bit of a surprise given the SRP that the latest version of Windows Pro carries. Other than the VESA mount, the mini PC also has a spare 2.5-inch SATA bay that can accommodate compatible SSD and HDD. As expected, there’s no bloatware that could hamper performance at startup.

When it came to tests, the IT8 held its own against newer competitors like the Core i5-10210U with Geekbench scores that place it just behind the latter. As a workstation or a business PC, its performance will be more than adequate thanks to its better-than-average storage subsystem speeds (it reached 2.7GBps/2.9GBps in ATTO benchmark). Its fan didn’t run too loud even under load and it wasn’t too hot to the touch as well.

SD Card Reader

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the GEEKOM IT8?

Buy it if:

You want Windows 11 Pro on a budget. If the latest iteration of Microsoft’s business OS is what you care about, you can’t go wrong with the 8GB/256GB version. It is an absolute bargain at this price.

You want to drive more than three monitors on a budget. The IT8 can power a staggering four displays, all of them in 4K - in theory. We didn’t try that though but for businesses looking for a single computer to power multiple digital displays, this could be a real boon.

Don’t buy it if:

You expect business-grade after sales support. The Achilles’ heel of anyone that’s not Lenovo, Dell or HP when it comes to business devices is after sales. Being able to offer 24x7 next business day replacement for a small premium is not something that GEEKOM (or for that matter, all challenger brands) can offer.

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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.