The Advent of the Ryzen Z1 Mini PC

The tech world is buzzing with the first benchmarks of the Ryzen Z1 Mini PC, a device that harnesses the power of the Ryzen Z1 APU, previously seen in the Asus ROG Ally Z1 and Lenovo Legion Go. This review delves into the performance and potential of the Ryzen Z1 in a mini PC form factor, moving beyond the constraints of handheld gaming devices.

Dec 1, 2023 - 17:06
The Advent of the Ryzen Z1 Mini PC

The Edge Z1 Mini PC: A Market Prospect

Interestingly, the future of the Edge Z1 mini PC in the consumer market remains uncertain. Its release might hinge on crowdfunding, and even its pricing is not yet finalized. This ambiguity raises questions about its viability in the competitive mini PC market.

Exploring the AMD Z1's Capabilities in a Desktop Scenario

The primary intrigue around the Ryzen Z1 Mini PC lies in assessing the AMD Z1 chip's performance outside the thermal limitations of a handheld device. This benchmark review seeks to uncover whether the Z1 can truly realize its full potential in a mini PC setup.

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Initial Impressions and Specifications

YouTuber ETA PRIME’s exclusive access to a prototype unit of the Phoenix Edge Z1 provides early insights into the device. His coverage includes an unboxing experience and a detailed specification overview, setting the stage for a comprehensive performance evaluation.

TDP Analysis: Power Consumption and Limitations

Intriguingly, despite the mini PC's official 54W rating, actual power consumption peaks at 40W, falling short of the in-software target of 68W. This finding suggests that the mini PC might still be grappling with power constraints, potentially affecting its overall performance.

Synthetic Benchmarking: Measuring the Z1's Performance

The synthetic benchmarks paint a promising picture, with the 3DMark Fire Strike score outperforming the Ally Z1. However, the TDP limitations observed indicate that the mini PC's performance is not being maximized to its full potential.

Gaming Benchmarks: Comparing to Handhelds and the Steam Deck

When it comes to gaming performance, the Z1 Mini PC shows signs of rivaling the Steam Deck in certain titles, though it remains behind the Ally Z1. The benchmarks suggest that even with increased TDP, the limitations of the Z1 APU are still evident, affecting gaming performance.

Future Prospects: The Z1 Extreme Model and Market Positioning

With the mention of an upcoming Z1 Extreme model, there's speculation about the mini PC's market positioning. If priced around $299, as suggested by ETA Prime, it could offer a competitive alternative in the mini PC space. However, pricing it any higher risks losing ground to the Steam Deck, which uses the more powerful AMD Aerith processor.

Conclusion: The Ryzen Z1 Mini PC's Place in the Tech Ecosystem

The Ryzen Z1 Mini PC, as tested and analyzed, shows potential in bringing the capabilities of the Z1 APU to a desktop form factor. While it does exhibit performance improvements over its handheld counterparts, the power limitations and uncertain market strategy pose significant challenges.

The device stands at a crossroads, where its success may depend on balancing performance, pricing, and market demand. As it stands, the Ryzen Z1 Mini PC seems to be in a precarious position, potentially overshadowed by more powerful alternatives like the Steam Deck, or risk being overshadowed by its own upcoming iterations. This review highlights the need for strategic market positioning and potential hardware improvements to make the Ryzen Z1 Mini PC a viable contender in the growing mini PC segment.