Gaming desktops have always gravitated toward big, bulky towers packing the latest hardware. But a new breed of small form factor PCs is changing the game. MINISFORUM‘s HX90G is leading the charge, delivering stunning performance in a supremely compact frame.
In this in-depth review, we‘ll explore every aspect of this pint-sized powerhouse. You‘ll learn all about the design, specs, real-world performance, pros and cons, and how it stacks up to rivals. Let‘s dive in!
Overview and Pricing
The HX90G compact gaming PC comes from MINISFORUM, a Hong Kong based firm specializing in small form factor computers. It landed in early 2022 as part of their Neptune series of performance-oriented Mini PCs.
Here‘s a quick rundown of the HX90G‘s core features and specs:
- Dimensions of 7.99 x 7.99 x 2.95 inches, weighing only 3.1 lbs
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU (8C/16T, 3.3GHz base, 4.6GHz boost)
- AMD Radeon RX 6600M GPU with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
- Up to 64GB DDR4-3200 RAM (32GB included)
- Up to 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD storage (512GB included)
- 4x video outputs (2x HDMI 2.1, 2x DisplayPort 1.4)
- Extensive port selection with USB-C 3.2, USB 3.2, RJ45 ethernet, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
- Windows 11 Pro pre-installed
Pricing starts at $809 for the barebones unit. Fully configured models with 32GB RAM and 512GB storage run approximately $1,049.
Next, let‘s explore the design, specs, and features in more detail.
Design – Premium Build Quality in a Tiny Frame
Despite measuring less than 8 inches in each dimension, the HX90G makes a bold statement thanks to eye-catching aesthetics. The angular carbon fiber shell and metallic logos give it an almost futuristic, high-tech look.
Build quality feels rock solid too. MINISFORUM used carbon fiber reinforced plastic throughout the chassis for lightness and rigidity. The material choice allows for ample ventilation on all sides as well.
With a footprint comparable to a Mac Mini, the HX90G‘s 1.4kg (3.1 lb) weight also makes it easy to stash in a bag. The DLNA certified compact size lets you to use it in your living room as a media center too.
Connectivity and Ports
The HX90G packs an impressive array of ports into its petite frame:
- 1x USB 3.1 Type-A
- 1x USB-C 3.2
- Headphone/Microphone combo jack
- 2x HDMI 2.1
- 2x DisplayPort 1.4
- 3x USB 3.2 Type-A
- 1x 2.5Gbps RJ45 Ethernet
- 1x DC-in power
This flexible I/O selection allows you to hook up multiple 4K displays, high-speed external storage, peripherals, and more.
Wireless capabilities are equally robust, with the latest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 built-in.
Specs – Compact yet Potent Hardware
Despite its size, the HX90G‘s specs rival top-tier gaming desktops:[specs table]
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX (8C/16T, 16MB L3 cache, 3.3GHz base, 4.6GHz boost)|
|GPU||AMD Radeon RX 6600M 8GB GDDR6|
|RAM||2x SO-DIMM slots (up to 64GB, 3200MHz DDR4)|
|Storage||2x M.2 2280 slots (up to 2TB PCIe NVMe)|
|OS||Windows 11 Pro|
Let‘s analyze the core components driving the HX90G‘s performance:
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU
MINISFORUM chose AMD‘s Ryzen 9 5900HX, an 8-core, 16-thread Zen 3 processor intended for high-end gaming laptops.
With a 105W TDP, it runs nearly as fast as popular desktop chips like the Ryzen 7 5800X. The generous L3 cache and advanced 7nm transistors give it a leg up in gaming and multimedia workloads.
AMD Radeon RX 6600M Graphics
The Radeon RX 6600M handles graphics duties with its 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM across a 128-bit bus.
With 28 compute units and game clock speeds around 2.4GHz+, it has noticeable grunt. The RDNA 2 architecture enhances power efficiency as well.
According to NotebookCheck‘s gaming benchmarks, it averages 87 FPS in GTA V at 1080p high settings. Frame rates exceed 60 FPS across most popular titles at 1080p.
The HX90G‘s four video outputs allow you to game smoothly while streaming without compromise. It‘s an excellent match for the Zen 3 CPU.
Storage, RAM, and Operating System
MINISFORUM outfits the HX90G with quality components in these areas:
- RAM: 2x SO-DIMM slots, upgradable to 64GB DDR4-3200
- Storage: Dual PCIe NVMe M.2 slots, supporting up to 2TB each
- OS: Windows 11 Pro pre-installed
The bundled 32GB RAM keeps things snappy when loading games or juggling apps. NVMe SSD storage accelerates boot times and offers blazing read/write speeds around 3.5GB/sec.
Cooling – Quiet and Efficient Thermal Design
Despite the compact dimensions, MINISFORUM designed an intelligent cooling system to keep the HX90G running smoothly.
It leverages seven heat pipes (three for the CPU, four for GPU) to rapidly conduct heat away from the cores.
Dual onboard fans combine with ample ventilation holes to quietly exhaust hot air. The thoughtful fan curve keeps acoustics low, only ramping up RPMs when needed.
Reviewers found the 30dB noise levels perfectly acceptable given the gaming-grade components inside. Just be sure to give the sides ample clearance for airflow intake.
Performance Benchmarks – How Fast is it Really?
We‘ve covered the on-paper specs, but how does the HX90G perform in real world gaming and applications?
Overall, reviewers found the compact PC delivers excellent 1080p gaming performance and lag-free everyday usage:
- In PCWorld‘s testing, esports titles like Rocket League and Rainbow Six Siege ran between 90 to 144 FPS at max settings.
- The HX90G achieved above 60 FPS in AAA games like Control and Shadow of the Tomb Raider at high settings.
- Video editing and 3D rendering benchmarks were on par with full sized PCs. Export times impressively fast.
- Daily productivity and web browsing felt snappy thanks to NVMe speeds and ample RAM.
For a mini PC, gaining desktop-like gaming performance is mighty impressive. As long as you‘re realistic about frame rates, it‘s a surprisingly capable portable.
Upgradeability – User-Friendly Access and Expansion
Despite the compact design, MINISFORUM made the HX90G reasonably accessible for upgrades and maintenance.
Removing a few screws allows you to slide off the chassis cover. This reveals two RAM slots and two M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD slots for expansion.
While you can‘t upgrade the CPU or GPU, the easy RAM and storage access is appreciated. Hardware geeks will enjoy tailoring this mini PC over time.
How Does it Compare to Rivals?
The mini PC world is heating up, with many models packing desktop-class components into tiny spaces. How does the HX90G stack up?
- 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7
- Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics
- Fanless, silent operation
The ASUS PN63 uses more basic integrated graphics instead of a dedicated mobile GPU. Performance is noticeably lower but runs cooler and quieter.
Intel NUC 9 Extreme
- 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9980HK
- Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics
- Higher TDP components in a smaller chassis
Intel‘s NUC 9 kit supports more advanced CPUs and GPUs, but in an even smaller box. However, this results in a large price premium.
Zotac Magnus One
- 11th Gen Intel Core i7
- Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU
- Liquid cooling
Zotac‘s flagship Magnus One offers uncompromising RTX 3070 graphics and liquid cooling in a console-sized box. But far higher cost.
Among these premium competitors, the HX90G stands out by blending size, performance, price, and customizability into an appealing package.
What Do Reviews Say?
The HX90G averages a stellar 4.7 out of 5 stars across Amazon, Newegg, and enthusiast PC forums. Here are some of the most common sentiments:
- Impressive gaming FPS considering the compact size. Smoother gameplay than many beefy gaming laptops.
- Quiet operation even under gaming loads. Fan noise rarely becomes intrusive.
- Snappy performance for everyday tasks thanks to NVMe speeds and ample RAM.
- Well-built and thoughtfully designed for a small chassis. Stays cool when stressed.
- Great value considering everything that MINISFORUM packed inside.
Areas of concern include limited upgradability of the CPU/GPU, as well as potential fan noise if used in quiet rooms. But most reviewers praise the balance of power, performance, and portability.
Pros and Cons Breakdown
If you‘re still on the fence about the HX90G Mini PC, this pros vs cons breakdown can help finalize your decision:
- Extremely compact and lightweight
- Surprisingly capable 1080p gaming performance
- Quad monitor support via four video outputs
- Powerful 8-core AMD Zen 3 CPU
- RDNA 2-based mobile GPU with 8GB VRAM
- Quiet thermals thanks to well-designed cooling
- Easy RAM and M.2 SSD upgrades
- CPU and GPU not user-upgradable
- Limited internal expansion and ports due to size
- Higher noise levels than larger gaming PCs
- Can‘t achieve max settings or high FPS above 1080p
If you want a highly portable PC with real gaming grunt, the pros should outweigh the cons. Just don‘t expect full tower performance levels and unlimited upgradability.
Is the MINISFORUM HX90G For You?
After reviewing all aspects of this mini powerhouse, should you put the HX90G on your shortlist?
The HX90G makes sense if you want:
- A compact, console-sized gaming PC
- Solid 1080p performance in a desk-friendly box
- A LAN party or living room gaming rig
- A portable PC with power for gaming, content creation, and productivity
- Small form factor computing with room for upgrades
Look elsewhere if you need:
- High resolution AAA gaming above 1080p
- Total silence for an office or bedroom
- Max future upgradability
- Lots of storage bays and expansion room
For the niche of users wanting potent PC power in an ultra-portable form factor, few devices fit the bill as well as the MINISFORUM HX90G.
After taking a deep dive on this mini PC gaming rig, it‘s clear the MINISFORUM HX90G is an impressive feat of engineering. The petite size yet mighty performance make it a compelling option for gamers and power users.
Factor in the smart aesthetic touches, quiet cooling, and moderate upgradability, and you have a compelling blend of portability and functionality. While not infinitely flexible or expandable, it brings bonafide gaming desktop power down to the size of an Xbox.
For the right buyer wanting a compact productivity and gaming machine, the MINISFORUM HX90G warrants serious consideration. The blend of performance, capability, design, and value make it a standout in the increasingly competitive mini PC world.