GMKtec K9 Mini PC Review: Versatile Performance

The GMKtec K9 mini PC is perfect for those wanting desktop power in a portable design. Despite its small size, it offers excellent processing and graphics capabilities.

This mini PC is ideal for creative tasks like video editing, photography, intensive office applications, and even gaming. Its expandability stands out, with the ability to boost internal storage and RAM far beyond most competitors.

Pros:

Cons:

One notable feature is its expandability. It has dual LAN ports and a USB4 port, perfect for adding an eGPU or extra storage. However, it faces competition from the GMKtec K8, which features the AMD Ryzen 7 8845HS and Radeon 780M. The K9, on the other hand, is powered by the Intel Core Ultra 5 125H CPU and Intel Arc Graphics.

The K9’s build quality is decent, with a silver-coated plastic finish that feels a bit cheap. However, it does have large cooling grates and nice button detailing. Inside, it offers dual M.2 slots and dual-channel RAM for easy upgrades. The base model comes with 1TB storage and 32GB RAM, but you can upgrade to 4TB SSD and 96GB RAM.

Upgrading the K9 involves removing the top plate and fan plate, which requires some effort. Once open, it’s easy to add or replace components.

The Intel Ultra 5 125H processor ensures impressive everyday performance. Office tasks run smoothly, and creative software like Photoshop and Da Vinci Resolve perform well. However, like most mini PCs, the K9 struggles a bit with gaming and doesn’t match the graphics power of full desktop PCs.

When choosing between the K9 and K8, it boils down to Intel vs. AMD preferences. The K8 slightly outperforms in graphics, while the K9 excels in processing speed. Both are powerful and capable, making either a great choice depending on your needs. In summary, the GMKtec K9 is a powerful, expandable, and versatile mini PC, making it a strong contender in the market.

GMKTEC NUCBOX K9 Review: Price

Cost: Starting at $800
Availability: Available now
Purchase Options: Directly from GMKtec or Amazon.com

The K9 model reviewed starts at $800, featuring 32GB of RAM, a 1TB HD, and Windows 11 Pro pre-installed. For $100 less, there’s also an Intel i7 13260H option with the same RAM and storage. In the UK, the Ultra 5 125H model costs £630, while the i7 version is priced at £551.

GMKTEC NUCBOX K9 Review: Specs

ItemSpec
CPU:Intel Core Ultra 5 125H (14 cores, 18 threads)
GPU:Intel ARC Graphics 112EU iGPU
RAM:32GB Dual DDR5 5600MHz (expandable up to 96GB)
Storage:1TB M.2 2280 PCIe Gen 4
Expansion:1x M.2 2280 PCIe Gen 4
Front Ports:USB4, two USB 3.2 Gen 2, 3.5 mm combo audio jack
Rear Ports:Two USB 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, two 2.5G Ethernet ports
Networking:2x 2.5GbE LAN, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
OS:Windows 11 Pro (pre-installed)
Dimensions:123 x 111 x 43 (mm)

GMKTEC NUCBOX K9 Review: Design

The GMKtec NUCBOX K9 shares the sleek aesthetics of the K8 but has similar design drawbacks. While visually appealing, its metallic-finished plastic casing feels less premium than expected for its price range. The overall look is attractive but slightly cheaper compared to some competitors. The main difference between the K9 and K8 is the switch from an AMD to an Intel chipset.

Accessing the inner hardware is straightforward. You can pry off the top plate without tools, revealing a small cooling fan secured by four screws. Removing this plate requires some effort, and you’ll need to unplug the fan’s mainboard connector to reach the internal components.

Inside, the layout is spacious and neat, allowing good airflow through two large vents. On one side, you’ll find two PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots and SODIMM DDR5 memory slots. Our review unit featured two 16GB Crucial DDR5 5600 modules, totaling 32GB and upgradeable to 96GB—one of the highest capacities among mini PCs. The Dual M.2 slots, one occupied by a 1TB M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 SSD, are expandable to two 2TB modules. Beneath the RAM is the WiFi 6 (2.4GHz/5.0GHz) and Bluetooth 5.2 card, allowing future upgrades.

The K9 features a standard array of ports. The front includes a USB4 port, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The rear has a DisplayPort 1.4 (4K@144Hz), HDMI 2.0 (4K@60Hz), two USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) ports, two 2.5Gbps Ethernet ports, a Kensington lock, and a DC power socket.

Overall, the design is neat but doesn’t fully showcase the chipset’s power, with only one USB4 port and a somewhat cumbersome upgrade process.

GMKTEC NUCBOX K9 Review: Components

The GMKtec K9 Mini PC is ideal for power users who need a compact and expandable computing solution. It features the latest Intel Core Ultra 5 125H processor with 14 cores and 18 threads, reaching speeds up to 4.50 GHz.

This mini PC also includes Intel Arc Graphics 112EU iGPU, based on the Meteor Lake GT1 graphics processor. It supports DirectX 12, making it perfect for demanding tasks like video and image editing. Additionally, Intel’s AI Boost technology enhances performance by optimizing the use of both CPU and GPU based on the workload. This technology supports OpenVINO, Windows ML, DirectML, and ONNX RT.

The K9 comes with 32GB of DDR5 dual-channel RAM running at 5600MHz, expandable to 96GB with new 48GB RAM modules. It includes a 1TB M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 SSD, with dual slots allowing up to 4TB of internal storage.

Connectivity options are extensive. The front features a USB4 port, Thunderbolt 4 compatible, with transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps. Although positioned on the front, it remains functional. Additionally, there are two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports on the front and two more on the back.

Networking is strong with dual 2.5Gbps LAN ports, WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5.2. You can connect up to three displays via the USB4 port (up to 8K@60Hz), DisplayPort, and HDMI options. The placement of the USB4 port on the front is a bit unusual, but it works well.

GMKTEC NUCBOX K9: Performance Review

The GMKtec K9 is a compact and powerful Mini PC, perfect for both office and home use. It takes up minimal desk space and can even be VESA mounted for ultimate space-saving.

Setup and Performance:

Starting the K9 involves a quick Windows 11 Pro setup. Its 1TB internal SSD offers impressive speeds, with CrystalDiskMark showing read speeds of 7036 MB/s and write speeds of 6628 MB/s. These speeds ensure fast file transfers and smooth operation, especially with large files.

In GeekBench tests, the K9 scores 10863 for single-core and 2231 for multi-core performance. This makes it ideal for applications needing strong per-core processing like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Multi-core performance is solid for apps like Adobe Lightroom and DaVinci Resolve. During testing, adding a Samsung 8TB SSD via USB4 significantly boosted storage for video editing.

Benchmark Results:

The K9 performs well across various benchmarks. It scores 6410 on PCMark, highlighting its ability to handle multiple tasks efficiently. CineBench results show 1703 for single-core and 12685 for multi-core, indicating strong rendering capabilities.

In 3DMark tests, the K9 scores 6805 on Fire Strike and 3271 on Time Spy. These scores show it can handle modern games in moderate settings, making it suitable for some casual gaming. The Wild Life benchmark score of 18016 further demonstrates its capabilities for video editing and moderate gaming.

Real-World Use:

In everyday use, the K9 excels with software like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and Lightroom. It handles large files and complex edits smoothly, with video editing in DaVinci Resolve being particularly impressive. For 3D printing applications and laser-cutting software, the K9 performs reliably.

While not a gaming powerhouse, the K9 can run modern titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Red Dead Redemption 2 at reduced settings. It may not match dedicated gaming desktops, but it’s good for occasional gaming.

The GMKtec K9 is a versatile Mini PC, excelling in productivity and creative tasks. Its expandability makes it future-proof and suitable for various uses. Compared to the AMD K8, the K9 has an edge in gaming and Microsoft Office performance, while the K8 is slightly better for creative tasks. Overall, the K9 is a great choice for general computing, creative projects, and moderate gaming.

GMKTEC NUCBOX K9 Review Conclusion

The GMKtec K9 Mini PC is a versatile and powerful compact desktop. It offers impressive processing power and extensive expandability, making it perfect for various applications, from office tasks to creative projects.

However, it’s gaming performance and plastic build may not appeal to everyone. While the plastic casing doesn’t feel premium, it is still sturdy and functional.

Key strengths of the K9 include its power and upgradability, which surpass many competitors. Overall, it’s an excellent choice, but deciding between this and the AMD K8 version is a challenging one.

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