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 with a Core i7-11800H, Windows 11 Pro and an RTX3070 and the more anonymous IT8 mini PC, which is the subject of this review.
GEEKOM did a great job to produce a tiny workstation PC 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.
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).
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).
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 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 is a more serious rival selling for $430 at Banggood with Windows 10 Pro rather than Windows 11 Pro.
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
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 (a business laptop), the GMK NucBox 2 and the Minisforum U850, 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
Here’s how the GEEKOM IT8 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
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)
Atto: 2910MBps (read, 256mb); 2770MBps (write, 256mb)
Windows Experience Index: 8.1
The GEEKOM IT8 comes with Windows 11 Pro, 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.
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.
We've also highlighted the best mini PC