Introducing the FANG Mini Ultra Small Form Factor Desktop PC
Working for CYBERPOWERPC, we tend to get a little jaded. We often see all sorts of new gaming hardware – from graphics cards to headphones – roll across our desks months before they are revealed to the public. The sheer volume of things we see every day makes it hard to get excited for anything that doesn’t completely break the mold of what we’re used to.
During development of the FANG Mini, we were all genuinely excited about the product for a couple of reasons. First, it was tiny. There are technically smaller “computers” out there- things like the AppleTV, Roku, Chromebox, and even smartphones – but one thing all of those devices have in common is that they are grossly underpowered for anything other than the fairly limited range of tasks they’re built to perform. Second, it was a genuinely powerful, fully-featured PC that we could actually use to play the latest and greatest games, competently run whatever software we desired, and hook up all of our peripherals with room to spare.
Measuring just 4.5” x 4.3” x 2.4”, the FANG Mini is a lot smaller than an ATX power supply. It has 4 high speed USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort outputs, an RJ45 jack for wired Ethernet, and a S/PDIF capable 3.5mm headphone jack. It also has built-in IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. FANG Mini is powered by an external power brick but is designed to run efficiently and sips power from the wall when not running full-bore.
Being the nerds that we are here on the CYBPOWERPC Blog, we find the coolest part of the FANG Mini to be the inside. The more powerful FANG Mini R9 is ingeniously engineered, with two separate PCBs connected with an interesting PCI-Express derived MXM riser card. The processor, an AMD A8-5557M APU is mounted on the top of the bottom PCB, while the GPU, an AMD Radeon R9 M275X, is mounted on the bottom of the top PCB. Both chips have a fairly beefy (for being jammed inside a tiny little computer) copper heatsink bolted to them and are basically touching each other due to the chip orientation. This creates a single primary “cooling chamber” where most of the heat is dissipated from. A pair of 50mm fans push air across these heatsinks to keep everything cool.
The FANG Mini Pro has a bit more conservative internal design, with a single, double-sided PCB. The top of the PCB has the Intel Core i7-4770R processor. This is a quad core processor with Hyper-Threading Technology, which gives you 8 Haswell processing cores. In addition, it sports the integrated Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 – far and away Intel’s best ever integrated graphics solution. A similar, beefy copper heatsink is strapped onto the CPU, and a traditional laptop-style blower fan is strapped to the top of that to move push air out the side vent on the FANG Mini.
When you first open the FANG Mini by removing the bottom panel, you see the bottom of the bottom-most PCB, if that makes sense. On this board you’ll see the dual 204-pin SO-DIMM slots that can accommodate up to 16GB of DDR3 memory, a mini PCI-Express slot occupied by the combination WiFi+BT card, an available mSATA slot for hooking up a high-speed SSD, and flexible cabling with a SATA+Power connector attached to the end. The bottom panel of the FANG Mini has a 2.5” bay mounted to it, which can accommodate high-volume mechanical hard drives or traditional SSDs.
But what about performance? Equipped with just 8GB of DDR3 memory and a basic 2.5” SSD, the FANG Mini Pro nets a Futuremark PCMark 7 score of around 6600. For a system this small, this is an incredible score and indicates that the FANG Mini Pro is well-suited to run all sorts of demanding productivity and business applications. In 3DMark 11, the FANG Mini Pro gets 752 in the Extreme setting. It is not as well-suited for high-def gaming as the FANG Mini R9, but you can still have a pretty satisfactory gaming experience when settings are turned down a little. FANG Mini R9, with its discrete mobile graphics card, nets a significantly better 3DMark 11 score. Think about that for a moment: this tiny little computer that can literally fit in the palm of your hand can handle most of the latest games with high quality settings.
Being so tiny also means the FANG Mini has an infinite number of applications. You can have it sitting on your desk an unassuming little powerhouse, attached to the back of your monitor using the included VESA mount, or tucked away in your media center, silently delivering HD content to your living room TV.
In an environment where we see so many new products on a daily basis, the FANG Mini series is one that actually has us pretty excited – and that’s pretty exciting.
Learn more about the FANG Mini at http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/landingpages/fangmini/