Minisforum has been around since 2012 and has offered some truly innovative designs, mostly in the Mini PC segment. The company has a wide range of options with Intel and AMD processors, but their Venus series is definitely one of the most interesting, packing AMD's latest Ryzen APUs and powerful integrated graphics that will be more than enough for a casual gaming session or a performance-focused computing workload.
Although Minisforum has moved on to more powerful offerings with its new UM690 and UM790 line, the company still offers a range of affordable and budget-friendly Mini PCs in the same Venus line that feature slightly older but still very capable hardware. The company sent us its UM560XT PC which has Ryzen 5 5600H "Cezanne" APU and along with it an older Vega iGPU in 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD configuration. This mini PC retails for $299 US for the configuration we got, and if you already have a spare SSD and SO-DIMM lying around, you can buy a barebones kit for just $219 US.
Miniforum Venus UM560XT Mini PC – Specifications at a glance
Minisforum has already launched several AMD Ryzen 5000 APU-powered Mini PCs, including the EliteMini X500, Elitemini HX90, UM590 and DeskMini HM90. This is another Venus PC with the Ryzen 5000 APUs, offering the Ryzen 5 5600H APU which is technically aimed at the mid-range market.
When it comes to the specs, the Minisforum Venus UM560XT rocks the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H CPU which has 6 cores, 12 threads, 19 MB cache (L3+L2 combined), and a boost clock of up to 4.2 GHz. The CPU has a TDP of 45W which can be configured down to 35W. The CPU cores use the Zen 3 architecture which offers great efficiency on the 7nm process node, although the new Ryzen 6000 APUs tend to offer slightly better efficiency thanks to a 6nm process node update.
Another primary component of the Minisforum Venus UM560XT Mini PC is the Vega graphics core. The Radeon iGPU has 7 compute units for a total of 448 shaders running at a top clock of 1800 MHz,
Speaking of the settings you can configure, the BIOS leaves some room for user customization, such as setting power limits, thermal limits, shared memory pool for the iGPU, and even adjusting frame rates.
Other specifications of the Minisforum UM560XT include 16GB of DDR4-3200 memory. This is not soldered and instead has a SO-DIMM design so users can upgrade it to their heart's content. Storage comes in the form of a single M.2 2280 PCIe Gen 3.0 SSD and a single 2.5-inch SATA HDD. There is no HDD on the pre-configured units, but users can easily upgrade it by disassembling the case, which is a simple process. The following are the main configurations of the UM560XT available through MInisforum:
For I/O, you'll get 2 HDMI 2.1 ports, four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, a 2.5GbE RJ45 LAN port, a DC19V input on the back and a Clear CMOS button, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type – C port, a 3.5 mm Combo Jack, a DMIC port and a Power button on the front. There is also full support for WiFi and Bluetooth functionality. The Minisforum Venus UM560XT Mini PC also comes with triple 4K display support.
Software wise, the Mini PC comes loaded with Windows 11 which is configured on all pre-config devices except the barebones version as it does not include any storage device. The mini-PC also gets a 2-year warranty.
Minisforum Venus UM560XT comes in a small cardboard box. It has a black color with red triangles and a Minisforum logo in the middle. The back of the package has the label in the top left corner and contact information for after-sales service. The pages are where information such as CPU/GPU and display support is listed.
When you lift the lid of the top box, you're greeted by the Venus UM690 itself, sitting in a soft styrofoam housing and wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent dust from entering the top grills.
Before we talk about the case itself, we have to mention the accessories that come with the UM690. It comes with a DC 19V/6.3A compatible power adapter, an HDMI cable, a mounting bracket and a user manual. There are also two extra rubber feet that can be fitted to the bottom in case you lose the ones that the unit comes with.
Out of the box, the Minisforum UM690 is definitely one of the best-looking MIni PCs to date. It has a premium metallic black look that gives it a more premium feel.
The Minisforum UM560XT is perhaps the most powerful mini PC in this form factor, it is much smaller than the EliteMini but has more performance. But a smaller size does not mean lower thermal capacity as the UM560 XT retains its active cooler with a dual heatsink design that makes use of large heat pipes and the APU itself uses liquid metal TIM for better thermal conductivity.
The outer shell of the suitcase is made of aluminum and has a very solid design. The bottom cover is made of plastic and can be removed by unscrewing four screws that are not hidden under the footrests.
The front of the Venus UM560XT has a USB4 port, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, a DMIC connector, a 3.5mm combo jack, a power button and a Clear CMOS button.
The back of the Venus UM560XT has four USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, aRJ45 LAN ports (1 x 2.5 GbE), dual HDMI outputs, a Kensington lock and a 19V/3.42A DC power input.
All four sides of the Mini PC have exhaust vents that reveal the aluminum heatsink fins. This allows the UM690 to ventilate hot air out of the internal casing.
As mentioned above, it is easy to open the bottom plastic cover and reveal the inside which is only partially upgradeable. These include SATA HDD, M.2 SSD and memory. There is also a small SATA header but the main thing to note is that the M.2 SSD has a heatsink which is very important as the limited space can make things hot inside the chassis and the extra cooling on the SSD is definitely a plus.
Our test unit came with 16GB of DDR5-3200 memory, a 512GB SSD (pre-installed with Windows 11) and a WiFi module. The single SATA 2.5" drive can be connected to the port on the opposite side of the SSD slot through a SATA III connector provided with the accessory. Only a 2.5" drive is compatible given the small and limited size of the case.
For performance testing, we compared the Minisforum UM690 with several other Mini PCs that we have previously tested.
Right away, you can see a big increase in performance compared to the previous generation AMD Mini PC offerings and even the competing solutions from Intel. The Zen 3 cores really do a fantastic job of getting higher performance in a package of this size, and with some really nice power numbers too.
For gaming, we tested a couple of the latest and most played esports titles at 1080p resolution. Performance was measured between AMD Radeon 680M, AMD Vega 8, Vega 7 and Intel Iris Xe-LP integrated graphics.
Although Intel's Hades Canyon comes with an exclusive Vega discrete GPU, it is not part of the CPU itself and thus ends up being much faster while using much more power. Even the Phantom Canyon Mini PC is equipped with a discrete (built-in) RTX 2060 graphics card, but it is not wise to compare it with it.
Despite having lower CUs than the Vega 8 iGPU, the Vega 7 iGPU on the Cezanne managed to outclass the Renoir thanks to several optimizations made to the compute and graphics engine.
The Minisforum UM560XT Venus Mini PC is an extremely efficient design. Once again, the options in the BIOS allow you to unlock full power or switch to maximum efficiency mode. Using the 45 Watt mode, we saw the following power figures.
Our previous Mini PC review of the MInisforum UM690 showed us a very powerful machine with the latest hardware, and the UM560XT review gives us a taste of a very affordable Mini PC that still offers the same solid power. Although you should expect the performance to be less than the new Ryzen 6000 and Ryzen 7000 CPUs, the prices are also much lower. We are talking almost half the price of the UM690 for the same configuration.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600H is still a very capable chip for the vast majority of office work and gaming. It's the GPU side that might seem a bit underwhelming, but the upgraded Vega graphics core from Renoir offers decent performance that lets you play eSports titles and some AAA titles at either 720p or 1080p resolution with a mix of low-medium settings. Going the high preset route is something I'd avoid with Vega iGPUs as it can be quite taxing, but there's FSR to help when you need that little extra push in games.
I/O is also decent with an ample amount of USB ports, both Type-A and Type-C. You lack USB4 and Gen4 SSD support as it is a hardware limitation, but you're SSD requirement is something you can live with as Gen 3 SSDs are still good enough for hardware of this scale. Overall, the Minisforum UM560XT is another great option for budget builders in the Venus family, and you really can't go wrong with the barebones price of just $219 US.
I was able to find a 16GB DDR4-3200 SO-DIMM for $24.99 and a 512GB Gen 3 SSD for just $30 by doing a quick search on Newegg, so that will give you a fully configured machine for $275 or $25 cheaper than the base configuration.