Review of the MINIX NGC-1 Windows 10 Fanless Mini PC

Review of the MINIX NGC-1 Windows 10 Fanless Mini PC

The MINIX NGC-1 is a fanless mini PC with a fully licensed Windows 10 operating system. It offers 4k

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The NGC-1 is the latest from MINIX.

Playback and has a hefty amount of RAM 4 GB of DDR 3L. This allows the system to handle a ton of applications and programs and perform well as a media center. At $399.00 the system is at a premium price but it is very much a premium product with a metal case and a stout weight. MINIX products always have a solid build and this one tops them all. Think of it as a pre-assembled Intel-based NUC. It is fully functional right out of the box and can be configured for multiple home entertainment and productivity needs in mind. Read on to get our overall impressions of the device.

Operating System Windows 10
Ah Windows 10, the operating system so exciting Microsoft skipped past Windows 9. Windows 10 was not built to be a media player interface. No version of Windows was unless you count the Xbox. Navigating made

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The NGC-1 supports a number of familiar apps. the start menu can be arranged as a nice launcher for them.

me miss the Windows Media Center. With a wireless keyboard, the navigation is very natural because it is just like using any computer. Windows 10 is plenty fully capable of supporting a vast number of programs and applications. But if one chooses to use the device as a media player it would be helpful to utilize a front end system like Kodi or the Plex Home Theater.

Media Apps
Windows 10 utilizes the Windows app store. While not as robust as the IOS or Android store the Windows App Store has all of the big name apps the typical consumer would look for like Netflix, Hulu, Watch ESPN, Crackle and Plex.  Users are hardly limited to the selections in the store of course. Plex itself offers numerous channel options when paired with an active server.Users can also download Kodi and other media apps directly from their respective websites. We set up Kodi 15.2 for Windows in a matter of minutes.

Install full servers for Plex, Kodi and PlayOn
When it comes to media servers some people swear by Kodi/XBMC while others argue that Plex’s ability to work as a peer to peer hub make it superior. While there are any number of Android media players set up around Kodi as well as some lighting fast Linux machines very few set-top boxes can be used as a Plex server. The NGC-1 can.

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Use a browser to jump to Plex.tv and get the full Plex Media Center and Home Theater.

Because it is a full Windows PC with RAM to spare it easily handles Plex and Kodi at the same time. It can also support the Plex Home Theater which is a far more capable application than any of the Plex application available on other devices.  Another option that we tried was PlayOn. PlayOn is a media center built to be used as a DVR for digital content and offers users an easy pathway to TV network based websites amongst other things. All of the media centers functioned quite well playing back media in HD  The ability to handle all of these options helps set the device apart from numerous competitors.

Controllers
The NCG-1 does not ship with a remote of any type. This is common with mini PC’s. The system supports USB and Wireless controllers. For set up purposes the best route is a wireless keyboard. We used a Logitech

Without a mini keyboard or Air
It’s best to use a keyboard of some type as opposed to a game controller for searching and navigation.

wireless keyboard which made entering passwords for the numerous apps and server programs easy. Once set up is complete a simple air mouse will do. I have to think that the type of user who would invest in a mini Windows 10 PC likely would have a workable solution handy. But in the absence of one another purchase will be required.

Desktop Replacement
It makes me sound much older than I am to say this machine has more than 3 times the RAM of the computer I had custom built by Annand Shimpi  before I started college (also indecently before he finished 11th grade). With 4 GB of DDR3 RAM it will power through any basic Windows program. If a user chooses to they can utilize the NGC-1 as a desktop computer with a printer etc. It’s HDMI port will support a monitor and any peripherals needed.

Browsers
You want it you got it. It comes loaded with Microsoft Explorer and Microsoft Edge. The best thing about Microsoft Explorer is that you can use it to download Google Chrome. We did that immediately. With a full browser as opposed to an Android/mobile browser users can access any website including CBS or Hulu to get content that cannot be accessed via apps. Users can also access the Plex Web App if they choose to and bypass downloading any other

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Have your pick of browsers.

interface. Any media site can be accessed through a television and if it turns out that a site is best optimized by something else just download it. There are no flash issues to negotiate or any other protocols.

Wi-Fi Performance
Dual Band Wi-Fi is an industry standard so it should come as no surprise that the NGC-1 supports it. As with any wireless connection the performance will have a great deal more to do with the strength of one’s home network than the hardware on the computer itself.On the hardware side the NGC-1 has two external Antennas to give users the best Wi-Fi performance possible on the network.

Ports

The NGC-1 has 3 USB 3 ports along with an Ethernet port, a combined headphone/microphone jack and optical audio port and the power adapter port (of course). There is no SD card port which is odd for both a computer and a set top-

The NGC-1 features a majority of necessary ports but it may be helpful to use a USB hub to add more devices.
The NGC-1 features a majority of necessary ports but it may be helpful to use a USB hub to add more devices.

box. If you choose to utilize SD cards I would recommend using a USB based one.

 

Build
The NGC-1 has a silver metal case which differentiates it from the traditional black cases that the company typically utilizes. The company uses the same supplier that Apple uses for the Macbook. It feels like a premium product, heavy, substantial and sturdy.

Specs
SoC Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor @ 1.6 GHz / 2.08 GHz (Turbo) with 2MB L2 cache, and Intel HD graphics with 12EU (4W SDP / 6W TDP)
Memory 4GB DDR3L
Storage 128 M.2 SSDNGC-1 USB
Video Output HDMI 1.4 up to 4K @ 30 Hz (not true 4K) and mini DisplayPort
Audio HDMI, 3.5mm stereo jack (microphone + headphone), and optical S/PDIF
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 with two external antennas
USB  3 USB ports on

 Want to order an NGC1? Pick it up from our Amazon Powered store Here

 

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