Here at MMORPG.com, we are no strangers to hardware oddities. While some of you might scratch your head from time-to-time, each review typically has its place within our team’s mantra: to provide coverage of MMO news, reviews, and the stuff (hardware and such) that we use to enjoy them… even if some items have a niche use-case. Today’s review is no exception. This is a review of the CHUWI GTBox mini PC.
- MSRP: $269.99
- Processor: Intel Core i3-5005U (5th Generation)
- GPU: Integrated Intel 5500 HD Graphics
- RAM: 8GB 1600Mhz LPDDR3
- Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD
- Wireless: 802.11ac, dual-band, Bluetooth 4.2
- Connectivity: 2x HDMI, 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, ethernet, microphone jack, headphone jack
- Optional: 2.5 inch drive mount with SATA mini-cable
- Operating System: Windows 10
- BIOS: American Megatrends
Now, before we jump into the comments section to rail on the specifications, we ran the tests anyway. With a grand Cinebench score of 476 and an average FPS score in the Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringer benchmark of 10 FPS, the GTBox won’t be running Elder Scroll Online or be Destiny 2: Shadowkeep ready. But remember: every piece of technology serves a purpose. The GTBox may not be up for AAA titles, but it might just fit into the spaces between the enjoyment of games and the consumption of games media.
If you have never heard of the brand, they are largely known for their tablets and notebooks. However, CHUWI also has a line of mini PCs with varying degrees of purposes. The GTBox falling somewhere in the middle of the product pack between a low power consumption work station and a portable gaming PC, meaning that the GTBox has just enough features to be a daily driver for light lifting.
As a low power mini PC, the GTBox can handle daily productivity uses, such as browsing the web, checking e-mail, or streaming media - to name a few. And it is that last point were the GTBox really shines… with a little extra help.
While the GTBox is equipped with a 256 GB M.2 form factor SSD (which performs on-par with other SATA SSDs tested), it does come with cabling, screws, and mounting for a 2.5 inch drive. Throw in something like the Gold S31 by SK Hynix and you could have yourself a local media server for applications like Plex or a tiny home theatre PC to tuck behind your TV. To drive this use-case home, the GTBox is also equipped with both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wireless bands at 802.11ac speeds, meaning you won’t have to worry about streaming from this device.
Your storage options are limited, however, to SATA based-drivers and the aforementioned 2.5 inch form factor. I did try to install the Patriot Scorch M.2 NVMe SSD, but it simply was not having it. I did not have any other SATA-based M.2 drives on hand at the time of this review to test out with the GTBox, so I cannot speculate whether or not it would take an upgrade to the existing Netac drive.
Speaking on expandability, outside of the expansion bay (with included cabling), the GTBox has four USB ports, two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0. Unfortunately, the placement of these ports are a bit tight. If you have a chunkier USB drive needing to be plugged in, you might have to juggle your ports a bit to keep plugged in what you need.
The GTBox did handle some light gaming loads that I threw at it, but only after severely reducing the settings did Intel’s 5500 HD Graphic chip go to work. After reducing settings in Terraria I spent some time puttering about the digital landscape with relative ease. This did, however, put the oh-so tiny CPU cooling fan to work. It tried its hardest and I am very proud of it for doing the best it could.
The GT Box by CHUWI is only available the US through Amazon.
The GTBox by CHUWI is not for everyone. It is underpowered by current standards, but that does not mean that it is without a place in today’s market. It makes the perfect, low cost option if you are looking for a low power consumption option with a small footprint for kids to poke around or do homework on, to browser this internet with, or to run a home theatre streaming system. With its options to expand storage, high speed wireless protocol the GTBox might be worth the gander.
- Small footprint
- Low power consumption option for home media center
- Expandable storage optional
- While PCI lanes are available for an M.2 SSD, it will not take an NVMe drive.
- The Intel 5500 HD Graphics chipset has not aged well
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.