Starting price: $439
CPU: Intel i5-8259U
RAM: 8GB, 16GB
Storage: 256GB, 512GB
GPU: Intel Iris Plus 655
Ports: 3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 2 x USB-C, 1 x HDMI, 1 x mini DisplayPort, gigabit Ethernet, SD, 3.5mm headphone jack, Kensington
Expansion: Dual channel DDR4 SODIMM up to 32GB, M.2 up to 1TB, 2.5-inch up to 2TB
Size: 4.6 x 4.4 x 1.8 inches (117 x 112 x 45.6 mm)
Weight: 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
Geekom may be new to the mini PC market, but it sure came out of the gate swinging with the Mini IT8. Small form factor PCs — including single board computers — have quickly become one of my favorite product categories for their seemingly limitless use cases. Whether you want a small footprint desktop or a power-efficient server, mini PCs have quickly come into their own. And the Mini IT8 is one of my new favorites.
While this little guy features an older 8th gen Intel Coffee Lake CPU, it still has more than enough power for day-to-day tasks. From web browsing to word processing, the Mini IT8 is quite up to what most people need. The Geekom Mini IT8 is also VESA-mountable, meaning that you can slap it on the back of your monitor for a clean desk.
And while getting Windows 11 Pro pre-installed is awesome, my mind immediately goes to turning this mini PC into a virtualization host for my burgeoning homelab. (I even started using this machine for some of my self-hosting needs.) You can install Linux or whatever you want on the Mini IT8.
In this Geekom Mini IT8 review, I’ll walk you through just what this small form factor computer can do and why it’s a great choice when compared to other mini PCs.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Price and availability
The Mini IT8 comes in a few configurations, starting with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for $439. Bump to 512GB of storage, and you’ll pay $479, while 16GB/256GB runs $519 and the top-end 16GB/512GB model costs $549.
You can grab whichever config suits your needs directly from Geekom (opens in new tab). You might even be able to join in on a promotion depending on when you stop by the site.
You’ve probably already drawn a comparison to Intel’s NUC products such as the $629 Intel NUC10i5FNH (opens in new tab). (This comes equipped with an i5-10210U, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SATA SSD.)
While those machines have moved onto newer processors, the one with the same i5-8259U as the Mini IT8 is harder to find nowadays. But that particular NUC ran for $840 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. So already, the Mini IT8 is a great value even with its older chip.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Design
Sometimes boring is fine or even welcome, and that’s exactly how I’d describe the Mini IT8. It certainly won’t draw any eyes. It looks quite a bit like a NUC with a flat, rectangular design, black casing and little else. This is fine, since you probably want the Mini IT8 to sit somewhere and fade into the background. Just be ready to wipe it down when you do place it in its forever home because the glossy plastic case holds onto fingerprints and smudges with alarming tenacity.
Three of the four sides contain vents for cooling, which I like to see. You can take the Mini IT8 apart if you want to upgrade several of the internal parts.
Be cautious when you do, though. The Geekom Mini IT8 is a well-built system, proving difficult to disassemble — on more than one occasion I thought I was about to snap some of the plastic since I needed to apply so much force to separate the pieces.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Ports and upgradeability
Speaking of upgradeability, the Mini IT8 does not disappoint. You can slot in up to 32GB of SODIMM (laptop) DDR4 RAM, put in a new NVMe drive (up to 1TB), and add a 2.5-inch SATA drive (up to 2TB) along the bottom. This means you could stack the Mini IT8 with a heaping amount of RAM and storage, possibly making a little network attached storage (NAS) server to create your own personal cloud.
The Mini IT8’s ports lay mostly on the back, where you get two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet connector, a USB-C port, a mini DisplayPort, and an HDMI connection, plus the 19V barrel power connector. The front features the power button and a 3.5mm headphone/mic combo, as well as two more USB ports. (One’s a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, the other is USB-C.) On the left is a full size SD card slot and the right side houses a Kensington lock.
All of these high speed ports mean you can have ultra fast peripherals and storage media, plus three monitors in the individual ports — the rear USB-C port also serves a DisplayPort output. Geekom says you can actually use four 4K monitors, though that means you’ll need to split one of the ports.
The gigabit LAN port provides ample hardwired internet speeds, but the Mini IT8 also sports dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless communications.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Performance
With an Intel i5-8259U chipset, the Mini IT8 isn’t going to win any performance awards. The 8th gen Coffee Lake processors are still fine to this day, but Intel has moved onto newer 11th gen chips in its more recent products from its NUC line. Geekom is using a U chip that’s meant for laptops where power efficiency is key.
However, the Mini IT8 comes with Kingston 3200MHz RAM, which is superb. While the models come preinstalled with single-channel memory (you’ll see much better performance with dual-channel), the Mini IT8 gets through benchmarks surprisingly well. Just check out how it fared in our testing.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Mini IT8||Optiplex 7090 Ultra|
|Geekbench 5 (single-core / multicore)||929 / 3458||1467 / 4708|
|25GB file copy transfer rate (MBps)||195.5||800.5|
|Civilization VI FPS (1080p / 4K)||12 / 5||18 / 9|
A gaming machine the Mini IT8 is not, as you can see from the Civilization VI benchmark. The mini PC is fine for day-to-day office tasks, but it struggles with more intensive applications. The closest machine we had for a comparison uses an i5 processor that’s three generations newer, so the performance delta, such as in Geekbench, is not surprising.
What surprised me is the relatively slow file transfer rate in our 25GB file copy test. The Mini IT8 comes equipped with a Kingston NVMe drive — 512GB in the case of our review unit — so I expected to see much higher speeds. The Handbrake transcoding test also took quite a while, but I chalk that up to the 8th gen U mobile processor in this mini PC.
For the price, though, the Mini IT8 performs quite well. I think adding a second stick of RAM might improve things a bit, but for what you get here, I expected worse.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Software
The Mini IT8 comes with Windows 11 Pro pre-installed, which is excellent to see on a PC at this price. The installation itself comes with an unfortunate amount of bloatware including TikTok, Prime Video, Facebook, and Instagram. You can remove these if you wish, but I really don’t like that Microsoft bundles this garbage into its software. (They’re even present on the ISO you get from the company directly.) I don’t really fault Geekom here, but it would have been nice to not see this stuff on the Mini IT8.
Otherwise, you’ll find what you need to get started on the Geekom Mini IT8. Pick your preferred web browser, install your favorite programs (maybe uninstall the other stuff), and get running to the races. This machine handles Windows 11 very well considering its older chipset.
You can also install Linux if you want. Just hit F7 on your keyboard when the machine boots to enter the BIOS to change the boot order to select your live USB. Like I said earlier, this machine would be a great low-cost, power-efficient server, perhaps running Proxmox or Ubuntu Server. You could even turn it into an overpowered router with pfSense.
In fact, I started playing around with alternate operating systems after testing Windows. I threw Proxmox on the Mini IT8 and set up some virtual machines to take care of some of my home needs like Home Assistant, a central Docker location, my network ad blocker, and so on.
The beauty of the Mini IT8 is that you can do basically anything on it with the exception of gaming. If you’re content with Windows, beautiful. But if you want to choose a Linux desktop distribution, the world is your oyster. And if you’re looking to get into homelab stuff, the Mini IT8 can handle a lot of those starter use cases, too.
Geekom Mini IT8 review: Verdict
For a starting price of $439, the Mini IT8 is a great little desktop PC. It’s unassuming, you can mount it to the back of your monitor, and it’s upgradeable. It’s hard to find a better option for this money, especially when the alternative is spending a lot more cash on an expensive mini computer for performance gains you may not even notice.
The Geekom Mini IT8 would make a great family PC or low-cost server. With its NVMe drive and 3200MHz RAM, it punches well above its weight.