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GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO: Review, Specs, and Verdict

In written form, this device appears sensible and boasts exquisite engineering. Despite this, the processor is the lowest-tier mobile i7 from the 12th generation, and its cost doesn’t align with its performance. Opting for the K2 over the K3 Pro is a compelling rationale.

Pros:

Cons:

GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO: Review, Specs, and Verdict

GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO: BRIEF ANALYSIS

At first glance, the GMK K3 Pro closely resembles the recently launched AMD K2, sharing an identical sleek enclosure.

Internally, the K3 Pro distinguishes itself, housing a 12th-gen Alder Lake mobile CPU crafted with Intel 7 fabrication. Although this processor debuted in early 2021, it has since been surpassed by superior 13th-gen counterparts.

Featuring a reasonably power-efficient ten-core CPU (six performance and four efficiency cores), it operates at 45W, surging to 115W in Turbo mode.

In its compact NUC casing, the K3 Pro emerges as a potent platform, outclassing typical office desktop PCs with DDR5 memory and NVMe storage.

Despite its diminutive size, the K3 Pro accommodates five USB ports (including USB 4.0), 2.5GbE LAN, dual HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Augmented by WiFi6 and Bluetooth 5.2, the absence of WiFi6E is a drawback.

While pre-installed memory maxes out at 24GB, storage upgrades are possible. The barebones option lacks an SSD and Windows license.

A notable drawback is the $680 price tag for the 1TB NVMe model, $100 more than the more powerful K2 equivalent.

GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO: PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO: PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

AspectDetails
CostStarting at $640
AvailabilityNow available
Purchase OptionsDirectly from GMKtec or Amazon

The GMKtec K3 Pro’s pricing structure is distinctive. Surprisingly, it includes 24GB of pre-installed memory, even in its barebones variant. The base model, at $640 from GMKtec, lacks storage and a Windows license.

For an extra $40, you get both the license and 1TB of NVMe storage. Opting for 2TB brings the total to $720. However, the 1TB version is available on Amazon for $600.

While pre-installed storage adds value, the inability to upgrade memory diminishes its appeal.

Comparatively, other mini PC options seem more economical. Geekom’s Mini IT12, with the same processor, 32GB DDR4 RAM, and 1TB storage, is priced at just $550.

Beelink offers the SER6 MAX with a Ryzen 9 6900HX processor, 32GB RAM, and 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage for only $640.

In essence, those seeking a robust NUC may find AMD-powered alternatives, even from GMK, providing greater performance for a more budget-friendly cost.

Value Rating: 3 / 5

GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

ItemSpec
CPUIntel Core i7-12650H (10 cores, 16 threads)
GPUIntel Iris Xe (96 EU)
RAM24GB LPDDR5 (expandable to 64GB)
Storage1TB Vaseky V900 Gen 3 NVMe M.2 2280
Ports2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 1x 4.0 Type-C, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x universal audio jack
Networking2.5GbE LAN, WiFi 6 (AX201), Bluetooth 5.2
OSWindows 11 Pro (pre-installed)
Base Power45W
Max Turbo Power115W
PSU19V 6.32A
Dimensions10510545mm

Explore the robust features of the GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO, from its potent Intel Core i7 processor to its expansive RAM and versatile connectivity options.

GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO: AESTHETICS AND ENGINEERING

Reintroducing the K2 enclosure for familiarity, the design facilitates easy access. Externally identical to the K2, it boasts a well-thought-out structure—a cool metal skin on the sides and plastic end caps on top and bottom.

The lid effortlessly detaches with a plastic spudger, revealing access to the M.2 slot. Disappointingly, only one slot is present, necessitating a USB to M.2 caddy for upgrades.

Memory access is limited; the 24GB LPDDR5 4800 MT/s, while an odd amount, suffices for most tasks. In contrast to the K2, the enclosure leaves the memory slot space empty, an unconventional visual aspect.

Featuring a unique airflow layout, it draws air from the sides and expels it below the I/O area. Although atypical, this design doesn’t excessively warm connected cables.

The K3 Pro upholds GMKtec’s renowned engineering quality, surpassing cheaper plastic NUC designs from other brands.

Design Rating: 4 / 5

GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO: TECHNOLOGICAL ATTRIBUTES

Features
Processor12th Gen Core i7-12650H
MemoryDDR5 (4800 MT/s)
USB ConnectivityUSB 4.0 (40Gbps)

The 12th Gen Core i7-12650H in the K3 Pro, while middle-tier, faces challenges. Despite a $502 list price, it falls short compared to its Core-i5 counterpart in certain aspects.

The Core-i5 12500H, with fewer performance cores but more efficiency cores and GPU Execution Units, may outperform the 12650H in various tasks, thanks to faster clock speeds.

The i7-12650H’s redeeming quality lies in its 24MB Smart Cache, shared with higher-end options. However, it feels like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

GMKtec’s choice of DDR5 memory provides a performance boost, although it operates at 4800 MT/s, lagging behind AMD’s 5300 MT/s and Apple’s LPDDR-6400.

The 1TB Vaseky V900 NVMe drive claims PCIe 4.0, but benchmarks reveal it as a PCIe 3.0 drive, casting doubt on GMKtec’s specifications accuracy.

A single USB 4.0 port with 40Gbps data transfer capability adds versatility, though the compatibility with Thunderbolt 4.0 remains uncertain.

Features Rating: 4 / 5

GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO: SYSTEM PERFORMANCE

BenchmarkK3 Pro ScoreK2 Score
3DMark WildLife10,94916,647
3DMark Fire Strike4,1556,067
3DMark Time Spy1,4462,758
Cinebench R23 Single core1,4501,501
Cinebench R23 Multi core8,91211,451
Cinebench R23 Ratio6.157.56
GeekBench 5 Single core1,7291,550
GeekBench 5 Multi core9,3349,300
GeekBench 5 OpenCL14,00029,955
CrystalDiskM. Sequential Read2,134 MB/s3,560 MB/s
CrystalDiskM. Sequential Write727 MB/s2,353 MB/s
PC Mark 10 Office Test5,8556,760
WEI Score8.38.2

In direct comparison with the K2, the K3 Pro falls short in GPU performance, with 64 Execution Units unable to match the K2’s Radeon 680M.

The Vaseky V900, the NVMe drive in the K3 Pro, exhibits notably poor performance, with a write speed of only 727 MB/s, making it one of the slowest PCIe 3.0 NVMe drives tested.

While the K3 Pro secures a few minor victories against the K2, the overall performance doesn’t justify its higher cost. Considering the K2 is $100 cheaper, choosing the K3 Pro seems unjustifiable unless there’s a specific preference for Intel hardware.

Performance Rating: 5 / 5

GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO: FINAL THOUGHTS

The positive aspects include its well-crafted design and clean Windows 11 installation devoid of unnecessary bloatware.

However, the drawback lies in its higher price compared to the NucBox K2 and NucBox M2, both offering better value. The K3 Pro’s limitations, like the restricted clock speed and GPU constraints of the Core-i7 12650H, contribute to its underwhelming performance.

SHOULD YOU CONSIDER GMKTEC NUCBOX K3 PRO?

AspectEvaluationRating
ValueExpensive compared to alternatives, both from GMKtec and other brands.3/5
DesignShares the K2’s enclosure but lacks memory upgrade options.4/5
FeaturesGood port selection and internal access, but the NVMe SSD is limited to PCIe 3.0.4/5
PerformanceAdequate for an Intel Mini, but the GPU and DDR5 fall short. Slow NVMe drive.3/5
OverallDisappointing for a Core-i7, with subpar GPU and DDR5 performance. Slow NVMe drive.3.5/5

Consider buying if:

  • You insist on Intel.
  • A single USB 4.0 port is essential.

Avoid if:

  • Memory expansion is crucial (K2 supports up to 64GB).
  • Better GPU performance is required (consider Intel models with superior Iris Xe or AMD chips).

While the K3 Pro caters to Intel enthusiasts and those valuing USB 4.0, its limitations make it less appealing compared to other options within the same brand and beyond.

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