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Minisforum AtomMan X7 Ti review: It's a modern Intel Core Ultra 9 Mini PC

Minisforum is well known for its Mini PCs and appears to serve a niche market with outlandish designs and daring configurations. The AtomMan X7 Ti is no exception to that rule with its four-inch display embedded on the top (or the front?) of the Mini PC along with the availability of an OCulink port, so you could pair a dedicated eGPU with it if you have one at your disposal.

Below are the full specifications of this thing.

Minisforum AtomMan X7 Ti
Dimensions 145 x 145 x 48.6mm

Weight

858g / with Stand 1025g

CPU

Intel® Core™ Ultra 9 185H
16 Cores, 22 Threads (6P/8E/2LPE), 24MB Cache, Max Turbo Freq up to 5.1 GHz
Min: 35W, Base: 45W, Max: 115W (TDP)

Graphics

Intel Arc Graphics, 2.35GHz. 8 Xe-cores, 128 EU
NPU Intel® AI Boost, 1.4GHz

Memory

32GB Crucial (CT16G56C46S5) 16GB DDR5-5600 (SODIMM Slots, Max 96GB)

Storage

M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 SSD ×1 (1TB Kingston OM8PGP41024N-A0)
M.2 2230 PCIe 4.0 SSD ×1
SD Card Slot Yes

Operating System

Windows 11 Pro (22631.3296)

Bluetooth

5.4

Ethernet

2 x 5GbE RJ45 Ethernet

Wireless LAN

M.2 2230 Wi-Fi 7

Kensington Lock

No

Adapter

19V power adapter
I/O Ports 2 x RJ45 5G Ethernet Port
1 x DP 2.0
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x OCulink 2 Port (Supporting up to 64Gbps bandwidth)
2 x USB4
2 x USB3.2 Gen2 Type-A
1 x USB3.2 Gen1 Type-A
1 x USB2.0
1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack
Front Display 4" TFT-LCD Module (Resolution: 480 x 480)
71.86 × 70.18mm
Front Camera FHD 1080P (Windows Hello)

MSRP / Deal Price

$1,059 / $849

This is the only configuration of the AtomMan X7 Ti, and although it has an MSRP of $1,059, right now they are listing it on the website for $849.

minisforum atomman x7 ti mini pc

First impressions

The box is a bit larger than I am used to seeing with a Mini PC, this is thanks to the Stand which is positioned next to the Mini PC in the box. In any case, once you have the cardboard sleeve off, and the the top of the box removed, the Mini PC sits inside a foam-cushioned interior. Once you have the PC and Stand out, and with the foam removed you will find a compartment with the power and HDMI leads, as well as some documentation.

What’s In The Box

  • 1 x AtomMan X7 Ti Mini PC
  • 1 x Stand
  • 1 x Power Adapter
  • 1 x HDMI Cable
  • 1 x User Manual

My contact mistakenly sent me a U.S. power lead, but thankfully it's just a C5 connector on the power brick, so that was relatively easy to order off Amazon for a few euros.

minisforum atomman x7 ti mini pc

Design

Although the bottom of the AtomMan X7 Ti has rubber feet, it is designed to sit in the Stand that comes in the box, this is so you can position it to view the 4-inch display that shows helpful details that we'll get into later. The top and bottom of the AtomMan X7 Ti are completely flat, but the corners are rounded off and aside from the top, which is glass, and the bottom plate, which is plastic, the rest of the exterior is made from aluminum.

In "Stand" mode, all of the I/O ports are located on the left or right of the AtomMan X7 Ti, with the Power button, camera privacy shutter, and SD Card slot located on the top. For airflow, there are vents on the bottom, rear and top of the Mini PC.

minisforum atomman x7 ti mini pc

As far as looks go, it is completely black, and a bit of a fingerprint magnet when it comes to the glass front. It looks pretty cool on its stand, but once you start connecting it up it looks a bit busy to the eye.

Accessing the AtomMan X7 Ti is no easy task. Although the marketing imagery talks about expanding the storage through the second 2230 M.2 slot and that it can take "up to 96GB" memory, there is incomplete documentation on how to achieve this (more on that later). Once you flip the Mini PC over, it's not immediately obvious how it can be accessed, but there are screws under the rubber feet, which are affixed with glue. Once I prised them off, I could unscrew four screws that are almost the same length as the Mini PC. Then it was a case of getting a flathead screwdriver between the bottom plate and side to prise it free. I soon discovered that there was a short ribbon cable attached to a USB port array that came loose, thankfully that was just a question of pressing it back in.

All this revealed was the CPU fan, so I reached out to my contact if swapping out the SSD and memory was even supported, she got back to me with the following image, which requires you to unscrew about ten tiny screws that keep the fan in place.

atomman x7 ti

But all that achieves is access to the SODIMMs. The M.2 slot is off to the left (above pic), below a large heat spreader that must also be removed. So if you want my opinion on ease of access, it is doable, but you better have a magnetic screwdriver handy for those small internal screws. Unless you are comfortable with tearing down this Mini PC, you're better off leaving it as is. I also have to question if accessing it this way voids the warranty.

Update May 27: My contact told me that if a customer swaps out the SSD and memory, the machine itself will still be covered under warranty. So to clarify, swapping memory and/or SSD does not void the warranty.

As far as cooling goes, Minisforum says they have a "patented compact phase-change cooling module with small size, high efficiency and long lifespan, paired with a large-diameter silent cooling fan and 3 cooling copper tubes." Such a thing (if you look in the above pic) wouldn't look out of place in a laptop, as it is designed to be compact and quickly dissipate heat.

The back plate only fits back on one way, this is to ensure that the USB ports are connected to the proper side of the AtomMan X7 Ti.

Usage

AtomMan X7Ti

On first boot, you are prompted to complete the setup of Windows 11 Pro, meaning you do not have to fork out for a license, which is nice. After the setup is completed, I am happy to report that the AtomMan X7 Ti does not come with any bloatware installed. It shipped with Windows 11 23H2 build 22631.3296, so updates were relatively minimal.

Following on from my malware test of AceMagic, Beelink, and Geekom Mini PCs, I felt it was only right to at least ensure Microsoft Defender was updated and then run a Full Scan and after that an "Offline scan", which restarts the computer and scans the entire computer for rootkits or persistent malware before Windows loads. I am pleased to say that our AtomMan X7 Ti came back clean. But don't take my word for it, always check your newly bought pre-loaded PCs for malware.

Let's talk a bit about the orientation, as you can see from the above images, when the AtomMan X7 Ti is placed flat on its rubber feet all of the port descriptions are upside down. I asked my contact about this and was told that this is intentional, because it is designed to be on the stand, but even on the stand when looking head-on, the port descriptions are upside down. Aside from the SD Card slot, all of the I/O ports are either on the left or right when it is on the Stand.

It's physically possible to directly attach four screens to the AtomMan X7 Ti using the HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 2.0 and two USB4 ports if you want. Regarding connectivity, on the left side from top to bottom, there is an OCulink port, USB4, dual RJ45, DisplayPort and USB 2.0, HDMI and USB 3.2 gen 2 port as well as a barrel port for power. On the right side from top to bottom, a 3.5mm Combo jack port, USB4, then two USB 3.2 gen 2 ports and a clear CMOS reset pin button. On the "top" from left to right, there's a SD Card slot, privacy shutter for the front camera, and the power button.

Front Display

The front display shows a grid with the current time and date along with an icon displaying the current weather (cloudy and light rain in my case) and temperature. Directly below the weather there is a button with a forever scrolling marquee "Mode adjustment". Tapping on that brings up the performance meter screen which can be switched from "Energy Mode, Balanced Mode (which is the default) and Performance Mode. Next to that is a settings button that brings you into a screen called "Expanded function" this lets you set a clock, the orientation of the default grid, view the port setup, and change the language between Chinese, English, German, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and Hong Kong.

Back on the main start screen, and below the time, date and weather are a few statistics that are also available in the Windows Task Manager, like utilization of CPU, GPU, RAM and SSD, and below that you can view the network throughput and speed, along with the CPU fan speed. There's also a brightness and volume slider and a button that shows the ports, but this does not indicate which are currently in use.

There is no documentation about the features of the screen, you just have to figure it out for yourself. For example the language/region was set to Chinese at first, so although there was some English on the default stats screen, all of the buttons and other text were in Chinese. As of writing there is also no app control in Windows to turn it off, or utilize any of the settings through Windows. I've asked my contact if this is planned.

Since it's really hard to make photos of a LCD screen's content, the above short video shows the different clocks that can be scrolled to, although in every screen except the default stats start screen, there is a permanent "return" button you can tap on to get back to the starting screen.

Benchmarks

With that out of the way, and because people like that sort of thing, I ran some benchmarks and compared it to my main PC that I built last year.

The reference PC consists of the following at the time of benchmarking:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 9750X3D (1.30 BIOS)
  • ASRock X670E Steel Legend
  • 64GB DDR5 Kingston Fury Beast RGB 6000MT/s
  • WD_Black SN850X 1TB NVMe
  • ASUS ProArt GeForce RTX 4080 SUPER 16GB OC Edition (Nvidia driver 551.52)
  • Windows 10 22H2 build 19045.4046

For our benchmarks, UL Solutions provided us with Professional (commercial use) licenses for 3DMark, PCMark 10, and Procyon, and hwinfo.com provided a commercial license of HWiNFO. In addition, we used a licensed version of Geekbench 5 and Cinebench 2024.

3DMark Time Spy tests gaming capability with DX12 graphics performance and 7-Zip for compression and decompression speeds. PCMark tests are a mix of CPU and real-world productivity tests, such as using an office suite, web browsing, light photo/video editing, and making conference calls.

Cinebench stresses the entire CPU as it is a multi-threaded rendering test. Finally, Geekbench is a synthetic benchmark that is great for a quick look at the potential performance across a wide range of workloads.

We were also interested to see what happens in UL's Procyon, which is an Inferencing benchmark meant to test AI and ML performance. We ran the Intel OpenVINO test on the GPU, and for the CPU we kept it with the Windows ML test so we can compare performance.

AtomMan X7 Ti
Core Ultra 9 185H
ACEMAGIC F2A
Core Ultra 5 125H
Selfbuild
Ryzen 9 7950X3D
3DMark Time Spy
Steel Nomad Light
Steel Nomad
3,480
2,695
647
3,393
2,167*
563*
25,785
6,581
30,178
PCMark 10
Extended test
6,903
6,900
7,174
6,799
9,781
14,185
Procyon NPU
GPU
(Windows ML) CPU
279
378
113
277
408
96
-
-
114
Geekbench 5 Single
Multicore
Compute (OpenCL)
1,843
13,036
29,674
1,642
10,432
27,556
2,102
22,418
266,805
Cinebench 2024 Single
Multicore
107
1,053
102
847

112
1,857

7-Zip (v23.01) 101,496 71,759 207,569

* The Steel Nomad benchmark became available after I completed the AceMagic F2A review, but for the sake of a complete comparison, I updated 3DMark on that system and ran it to add in to this review.

Although the new Steel Nomad Light benchmark was "recommended" for the AtomMan X7 Ti, I also ran the normal version as well, to bench against my main rig, as people would most likely want to know how worse off they would be taking on a relatively non gaming-capable PC.

The CPU briefly reached 61C near the end of the TimeSpy benchmark, but in other tests it didn't peak as high.

Understanding the subpar PCMark score

Right off the bat, you can notice that the PCMark 10 number on the X7 Ti is lower than the F2A, and this is despite the former having a supposedly better Ultra 9 processor. At first, we thought this could be another one of those instances wherein thermal or some other limitation was preventing it from performing better, similar to reports of Alder Lake P.

However, we realized that may not be the case as Cinebench 2024, which is a demanding workload that stresses the entire CPU, performed significantly better on the Ultra 9-powered X7 Ti.

Therefore, the other possibility is the SSD and the associated I/O performance. It's not wrong to say that the drive which comes with the X7 Ti isn't the best. On both CrystalDiskMark and AS SSD, the Kingston NVMe SSD in the X7 Ti does worse. This is likely impacting every single one of these test scores, especially App Start-up.

AS SSD CrystalDiskMark

This is also why the Ryzen 9 powered-Geekom A7 did much better in PCMark 10 than the Ultra 9-based X7 Ti. The A7 is 13% faster and it has to do with the much better drive.

Despite running all of the above benchmark tests, the AtomMan X7 Ti did not get hot to the touch and there were no annoying noises coming from the single fan that cools the unit.

Great performance elsewhere

Outside of PCMark 10, there is excellent performance in the other tests. Hence, this Minisforum Mini PC may not be the best value all-rounder system but it does quite well when you want to run certain specific tasks on it, the likes of rendering, compressing/decompressing data, or AI inferring. In every single standalone benchmark, it performs admirably implying that outside of general day-to-day usage, this mini PC is a good performer.

CB 24 is a tough test on processors and it helps showcase the architectural improvements Intel has made in regard to efficiency as the MT scores indicate the newer CPU was likely able to hold its boost for longer which led to the higher performance.

Eco, Balanced, or Performance?

At first I ran all of the benchmarks in Performance mode, but when I saw the lower performance in the PCMark 10 test I ran it again in Balanced and the score dropped a few points, well within the margin of error. I did the same with the 3DMark tests and confirmed that setting the AtomMan X7 Ti between Balanced or Performance didn't seem to change anything. The CPU still boosted to 5.1GHz (according to the front display) in both modes, and the modes do not appear to be connected with the Windows 11 Power modes, which are basically named the same. I reached out to my contact to provide more clarification on what the modes are supposed to do, and will update when I hear back.

Conclusion

The AtomMan X7 Ti is a bit confusing out of the box, there is no guidance on how to use the front display, and although there are instructions on how to replace the SODIMMs and SSD, the manner in which to do so is incomplete. For example the instructions say to "remove the four screws holding the cooling fan" but there are six screws indicated, and there are even more screws that have to be removed to take out the cooling fan, and also the heat spreader above the M.2 SSD, which isn't indicated at all.

However, there's a lot of modern tech in this Mini PC, the newest mobile Core 9 Ultra CPU from Intel, 5600MT/s DDR5 memory, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 2.0, OCulink and USB 4 connectivity, aside from the paltry 1TB Kingston M.2 SSD, Minisforum have not held back, or cut corners in other areas.

atomman x7 ti

If you don't mind the spaghetti of wires going off the left and right of the AtomMan X7 Ti, then you have a very capable modern Mini PC that will serve you for many years to come. However with no way to turn off the display on the front, that's something you would have to accept. Hopefully Minisforum come with updated instructions that also make it a bit clearer to the end user what the display on the front does and how users should use the different performance modes.

This is one of the most modern Mini PCs I have tested, and although it doesn't tick all the boxes, it comes very close. The AtomMan X7 Ti starts shipping in July, but is available for pre-order right now on the official website for $849, which is a $210 saving on the MSRP. The optional DEG1 eGPU Dock can be added for an additional $50.

Sayan Sen contributed to this feature in the Benchmarks section.

Verdict
8
Great!
AtomMan X7 Ti
Pros
Ultra modern components OCulink port Stylish design
Cons
MSRP is a bit pricey No cable management Subpar Kingston M.2 SSD
Price
$1049
Release
July 2024

 

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