AMD has made massive strides in the past 24 months as its arch-rival Intel failed to execute on its plans, resulting in poor stock allocation and falling behind its nimbler competitor. The demand for AMD’s Ryzen was so high that older processors – based on the Zen architecture – have only recently come onto the market from smaller PC vendors in China.
One of them, TBao, released the TBook MN22, which happens to be a cheaper version of the MN25, a mini workstation PC that we recently reviewed and that made the editor choice because of its exceptional value for money. How does the MN22 compare to the MN25? Let’s find out.
Prices and availability
The TBao TBook MN22 is available for $ 290 from Chinese online retailer Banggood at the time of writing. A cheaper version is available for $ 240 with half the onboard storage. It could be a better option for those looking for an absolute bargain.
Barely larger than a stack of 128 x 128 x 51 mm CD boxes, the MN22 is an excellent example of how laptop components have now found their way into desktop computers. This is a clear sign of economies of scale at work. The chassis is made of metal with some plastic and lots of ventilation slots to make it easier to cool the internal parts.
The bottom of the MN22 can easily be removed for easy access to components (or to add a hard drive / SSD) by removing four screws. Speaking of screws, you can also add a VESA mount, but you’ll need to screw it on.
On the back there is a barrel-shaped power connector, a Gigabit Ethernet connector, a DisplayPort and an HDMI connector (both can display 4K content), two audio connectors, and six USB connectors, two of which are USB 2.0.
There’s no USB-C, no card readers, no Thunderbolt port (remember, it’s an AMD CPU), and no additional legacy ports (VGA, RS232, etc.).
Here are the full specifications of the TBao MN22:
CENTRAL PROCESSOR:AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
R.A.M: 8 GB DDR4
Camp: Asint AS806 256 GB
Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 4 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x display connection, 2
x audio jack, gigabit ethernet
Connectivity: RTK8821CE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Weight: 540 g
Size: 128 x 128 x 51 mm (H x W x D)
It’s fascinating that TBao chose one of the slowest AMD Ryzen processors, the Ryzen 3 2200U, a dual-core quad-thread processor with Vega 3 graphics and low TDP that betrays its original market. Laptops. This three-year-old product is faster than all entry-level non-core quad-core processors from Intel (e.g. Celeron J4125), but would only barely hold its own against the newer AMD Athlon Gold series.
TBao added a pair of 4GB DDR4 memory modules to take full advantage of the Ryzen processor’s two-channel capabilities. That is absolutely the right thing to do. Also included are a Realtek wireless chip with Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi 5, an ASInt AS806 solid-state drive with 256 GB NVMe PCIe, a 65 W power supply, Windows 10 and even a 2.5-inch replacement slot for a SATA drive (SSD or HDD).
This is how the TBao MN22 performed in our series of benchmark tests:
CPU-Z: 335 (single thread); 1044 (multithread)
Geekbench: 817 (single core); 1962 (multi-core); 4626 (calculate)
CrystalDiskMark: 1956 Mbps (read); 1182 Mbit / s (write)
Atto: 1130 Mbit / s (read, 256 MB); 1900 MBit / s (write, 256 MB)
Windows Experience Index: 8th
The Ryzen that powers the MN22 is still a very capable dual-core processor that easily outperforms the quad-core competitors typically found at this price point. The graphics and memory subsystems are recommended as they help the MN22 achieve some spectacular system test results.
CrystalDiskMark scores were the highlight with 1.95 and 1.18 GBit / s respectively, while the Cinebench result placed it above the Core i3-1005G1, a newer Intel processor, a remarkable achievement. Needless to say, it pulverizes everything in this price range and effortlessly brings together more expensive business PCs or entry-level workstations. Note that the device can be very loud under load.
The MN25 remains the MN22’s strongest rival, despite costing $ 60 more at the time of writing. The additional bonus flows directly into upgrading the processor to a much more powerful Ryzen 5 2500U, which is around 80% faster thanks to four cores.
If you’re looking for sheer performance, Dell sells this for roughly the same amount of effort Inspiron 3880. It lacks a DisplayPort connector, it has half the on-board memory, a much larger footprint, and a spinning hard disk drive. Then what makes it so special? Aside from the fact that it comes with a 12 month McAfee LiveSafe subscription, it offers on-site support – ideal for small and medium-sized businesses as well as an older VGA port, card reader and its processor, the Intel Core i3-10100 more than twice faster than the MN22.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is also an interesting candidate, a statement about how even laptops are now competing with desktop PCs. At Walmart, it costs $ 329, and while it only has half the storage and onboard storage, it has a far faster processor (Ryzen 3 4300U), a 14-inch full HD touchscreen monitor, and everything what you expect from a laptop (battery, keyboard, touchpad, speakers, etc.). Sure, you won’t get as many ports as the MN22, but the IdeaPad Flex 5 offers a reasonably attractive alternative to a standard desktop PC.
The MN22 has a lot to offer. It’s compact, fast, and very affordable. Overall, a very balanced product, especially if you buy the cheaper 128GB version. None of the issues we addressed are deal breakers: the lack of a USB-C and card reader can be easily fixed with the help of adapters.
We’re more excited about the configuration of the dual memory channel, the great performance of the storage subsystem, and the fact that you can run two 4K monitors, which should be highlighted. Simply put, you cannot get a better bang for your buck. Sure, the Dell Inspiron desktop mentioned above has a much faster CPU, but that doesn’t make it a better system as it’s hampered by a pitiful hard drive and an equally pitiful amount of system memory.
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