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Voyo vMac Mini V1 (N4200) Build and Assessment

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    Voyo vMac Mini V1 (N4200) Build and Assessment

    As my Sunvell T95U-Pro is being moved to the bedroom, I needed to find a replacement for the living room. I could have just replaced it with another Android box, but I wanted to try something a little different. Windows is more my bag than Android, so I looked into mini PCs...

    There is not that much out there that is affordable, especially when compared to cheap Android boxes, however, the Voyo vMac Mini V1, peeked my interest the most with its sub-180 price tag (still three times the price of an Android box though). The Voyo is still relatively cheap compared to other equivalent mini-PCs, however, there are caveats to be aware of...
    1. At this price you only get 4Gb RAM and the device only has a single SoDIMM slot. If you want to upgrade to 8Gb, look on eB@y for an equivalent 8Gb used module.
    2. The device has no built-in WiFi or BlueTooth! You do get a USB WiFi dongle, but it is only Wireless-N.However, if Ethernet is all you'll ever use, then the 1Gbps port is pretty fast with the latest drivers.
    3. The device is actively cooled out of the box with a rather noisy, but pretty useless, fan. It is possible to replace this with heatsinks, since there is a nice tray to hold them in place. There is a YouTube video showing you how, but you can do a much better job (I reckon I did) with a bit of thought and ingenuity. Plus, it is great fun building a copper-aluminium hybrid heatsink and then seeing the theory work in practice.
    4. WOL does not work with the standard firmware.It may, or may not, work with an alternative firmware that is available, but I have not upgraded my firmware (it seemed too risky).To wake this device up from sleep, you must use a physical keyboard, or a wireless one with physical keys.A wireless keypad with virtual keys cannot be used to wake it up I have no idea why. My solution was to invest in a ridiculously expensive K830 wireless & BlueTooth keyboard from Logitech.
    5. HDMI 1.4 which might be an issue for some folk.
    6. It may be close to end-of-life? It may be worth hanging on for a MSI Cubi N Gemini Lake Mini PC with the N5000 processor... but these are not currently available (April 2018).

    OK, if I haven't put you off yet, what you have is a really beautifully built fully functional Windows 10 Home x64 PC in a 12cm x 12cm x 28mm all aluminium case. The model I bought is based around the top-end ultra low power Pentium N4200 (Apollo Lake 2.5GHz) quad-core processor which is a highly capable beast, well suited to driving Windows 10 and delivering top-notch video playback in all apps that I've tried. Also, this device comes with a nippy 128Gb SSD as standard, which is what Windows is installed on. There is an additional 32Gb of slower flash memory, useful for storing installation packs and the like. This device can also accomodate an additional standard SSD drive within the bottom of the case, but you need to purchase a special cable to fit it, directly from Voyo. Quite why you would need all of this extra storage on a HTPC is beyond me

    There are three USB ports at the rear, which you will need for all of those dongles!

    The pre-installed Windows 10 Home is somewhat out of date, but it upgrades seamlessly, all the way to Redstone 4. I have had zero issues with drivers, although I have sought out all of the latest ones from the various hardware vendors (this is standard practice for me). So far, I have not needed to install any additional Codecs, since everything I've tried plays perfectly, the hardware acceleration taking most of the strain. CPU usage is low when streaming video.

    The only time the CPU seems to get stressed is when Acronis TrueImage is taking a backup, or Symantec is scanning for viruses. This is when my heatsink comes into play, keeping the temp below 90 degrees for prolonged periods of running at 100% CPU. During hours of normal usage, the CPU rarely exceeds 60 degrees. The aluminium case itself enhances the passive cooling performance. The CPU throttling occurs at 105 degrees, however, this has never happened to me!

    If you appreciate the advantages of Windows over Android and are prepared to pay the price premium for a more functional and robust piece of kit, then I can thoroughly recommend the Voyo, providing that you can live with the various caveats.
    Last edited by Yemble; 04-07-2018, 02:52.