Beelink SER4 AMD Ryzen Mini Workstation Review
Beelink’s SER4 is a great example of a product that has evolved over generations to reach a level of maturity that is hard to ignore. This minicomputer embodies everything you expect from a pint workplace who is ready for serious work: the presence of Windows 11 Pro, a powerful processor and a lot of memory and a plethora of ports point in this direction. While it’s louder than we’d like, it’s also faster than almost anything in this price range with generous expandability and Wi-Fi 6e a definite step up. The only real hiccup is the lack of rock-solid after-sales service, but if you’re looking for an AMD alternative to the Intel-based NUC, then this is it.
Beelink SER4: Price and availability
Oddly enough, there are currently two versions of the SER4 on sale and the only difference between the two is the amount of memory. The version we reviewed has 32GB and costs as little as $626 (about £480 / A$852) from AliExpress (you can buy it at Amazon as well as for just $679 (around £521 / A$924) at the time of writing if you prefer a faster, more reliable route). A cheaper version comes with 16GB of RAM and retails for $580 (around £652 / A$1,156).
Beelink SER4: Design
The SER4 features a pair of distinctive red metal grilles on each side of the computer to aid in airflow. It’s tiny, barely bigger than a stack of CD cases and weighs just under a pound (excluding power supply).
As for connectivity, there are plenty – literally – two USB 3.0 ports, a Type-C connector and an audio connector on the front next to the bright red power button.
On the back, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a barrel-type power connector and two USB 3.0 ports. There’s a grill on top that gives the SER4 the appearance of a bookshelf Bluetooth speaker.
Four screws hold its bottom panel firmly in place, and removing it will give you easy access to its easily upgradeable innards.
Beelink SER4: Hardware
Intel NUC (Next Unit of Computing) pioneered the concept of tiny computers that could pack a mighty punch. The shift to energy-efficient computing and mobile-first technology has accelerated this trend, so much so that smaller manufacturers like Beelink are able to produce desktop computers, like the SER4 we’re testing today, which share many components with laptops.
Here are the full specs of the Beelink SER4 setup sent to TechRadar Pro for review:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800U
Chart: Radeon Vega 8
RAM: 32 GB DDR4-3200
Storage: 512GB Solid State Drive (Intel SSDPEKNW512G8)
Ports: 3 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB Type-C, 2 x HDMI, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, audio jack
Connectivity: Mediatek RZ608, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Mass: 300 grams
Cut: 126 x 113 x 40mm (H x W x D)
No surprise therefore to see an AMD Ryzen 7 4800U at the heart of this mini PC. Launched in September 2020, the 4800U generated a lot of buzz as it was AMD’s first laptop processor that was clearly ahead of what Intel was offering at the time with its eight cores, 16 threads, a Capable GPU (a Radeon Vega 8) and modest power. consumption.
Alongside it are a pair of 16GB DDR4-3200 memory modules from Crucial, a 512GB Intel SSD (SSDPEKNW512G8), and a Mediatek RZ608 Wi-Fi 6e card. Note that retail products may come with a Kingston SSD instead of Intel’s. While it might be faster, it’s also slightly smaller at 500GB.
In terms of packaging, the SER4 is powered by a 57W wall power supply and comes with a wall bracket and a pair of HDMI cables.
Beelink SER4: Performance
Here’s how the Beelink SER4 fared in our benchmark test suite:
Passmark Processor: 17200
CPU-Z: 502 (single wire); 3907 (multi-threaded)
Geek Bench: 1187 (single-core); 6398 (multi-core); 14274 (calculation)
CrystalDiskMark: 1839 Mbps (read); 960 MB/s (write)
Cinebench: 1245 (single processor); 8371 (multiprocessor)
Attack: 1710 MB/s (read, 256 MB); 922 MB/s (write, 256 MB)
Windows Experience Index: 8.1
The SER4 is louder than expected, especially under load. It was loud enough to be inconvenient in a face-to-face meeting, but on the other hand, it allows the computer to dramatically increase CPU clock speed under load. When it comes to numbers, it can keep up with almost anything Intel can throw at it, especially when it comes to creative tasks.
It averaged 80% faster than an Intel Core-i5 1135G7 PC when benchmarking popular Blender software (Monster, Junkshop, and Classroom). The only issue was the poor performance of the Intel-based SSD, which suffered from below-expected write speeds across all storage benchmarks.
Windows 11 Pro is the operating system that powers the SER4, a clear indication of the target market. There was no bloatware, which is another plus.
Should I buy the Beelink SER4?
the Minisforum Elitemini HM90. It’s more expensive at $759 and has slower WiFi-6 connectivity. However, the Ryzen processor that powers it is faster, it can take two additional hard drives and has an additional 2.5 GbE LAN port.
Any AMD Ryzen 7 laptop with eight cores. Take for example the new Dell Inspiron 15 3525 with the recently announced Ryzen 7 5825U processor. It costs a bit more at just under $700, doesn’t have 32GB of RAM (only 16GB), Windows 11 Pro, or the same level of external connectivity. However, it benefits from Dell’s excellent support pedigree and is much more flexible given its laptop form factor.
First revision April 2022