Minisforum’s UM250 is a very small form factor PC, with power and ports to handle a lot of tasks. And thanks to the choice of an older processor, it’s pretty cheap.
A few months ago, I revised the U850 powered by the Comis Lake i5 from the Minisforum. The UM250 we are looking at today is cut largely from the same cloth – it has 16GiB RAM, flagship Intel Wi-Fi 6, a 256GB SSD, two wired Ethernet ports and an attractive VESA mountable case that is easy to work with ( and in).
The biggest difference in the real world between the two models is the price: 430 USD for UM250 with full charge, AMD, compared to 700 USD for U850 with Intel power.
Like most Minisforum models, the UM250 is a modest, silver-black brick filled with ports – including four USB A-type ports and enough video output to drive three large USB-C, DisplayPort and HDMI displays.
The UM250 we tested is “fully charged” with 16GiB of dual-socket RAM, a 256 GB Kingston M.2 SSD and a copy of Windows 10 Professional. If you want to provide your own RAM, SSD and operating system, there is also a bare-bones version on the Minisforum store for $ 320.
The reason the UM250 is so cheap (not much more than half the cost of the Intel-powered U850) is the Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U that powers it. The 2500U model of the UM250 is almost two years older than the Comet Lake i5 of the U850, but it goes hand in hand with Intel’s newest and most expensive part in most benchmarks. Heck, Ryzen wins even in some areas.
Minisforum also dropped costs by offering only one SATA port compared to the two U850s and using a slower S.2 M.2 model of the Kingston SSD. The UM250 also offers dual RTL8111 Gigabit Ethernet over the U850’s RTL8111 Gigabit + Intel Ethernet 2.5Gbps. We suspect that most people in the market for this type of mini-PC will not mind these sacrifices, especially when we consider that they come with almost $ 300 in retail cost.
Going beyond the raw specifications, the UM250 is nice to share an office. Even in multi-threaded Time Spy and Cinebench R20 testing, its cooling fan remains fairly quiet. If you are close to her in a dead A quiet environment, you will be able to hear it – but even then, it is a clean and constant panting, without any crying. This mini-PC slowly changes RPMs, rather than quickly rotating up and down repeatedly.
Inside the UM250
|Specifications at a glance: UM250|
|CPU||Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U|
|YOU||Windows 10 Pro (preinstalled) / Linux supported|
|Ram||16GiB DDR4 (2x 8GiB SODIMM)|
|GPU||Vega 6 (integrated)|
|Wifi||M.2 Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6, dual-band + BlueTooth 5.1|
|SSD||SSD Kingston M.2 256GB SATA|
|Tested price||$ 430 on Amazon / $ 470 on Minisforum|
Like the U850, the UM250 is extremely easy to get into and work on. The top plate can be removed by gently pushing two corners and letting it out (similar to some kitchen cabinet doors). Once in the UM250, you are presented with an socketed NVMe SSD on the left, an unpopulated SATA power + data center connector in the center and two socketed DDR DIMMs on the right.
Unlike the more expensive U850, the UM250 offers only one SATA connector – and there are no drive slots immersed in the chassis. Instead, you can attach a 2.5 “SATA HDD or SSD to the bottom of the top board. This is functional, but a little irritating, as it means that the SATA cable is attached to the board that you need to remove to get into box.
But again, given the massive price difference between the U850 and the UM250, we’re not complaining. We are glad that there is a SATA connector and a mounting bracket, given that the main unit is NVMe.