Laptops and PCs

Chuwi CoreBox i5 MiniPC – Review

The world of mini-PCs, among which is the Chuwi Corebox i5, is offered as the best option for the price sensitive market segment and who does not care about the range, because what he wants is a PC for office and virtual classroom work, or as a secondary PC for only remote work or as a multimedia hub. There are many cases that want a PC that occupies the minimum of space, or that has a low price, but it always happens that they have very little raw power.

This is mainly due to manufacturers opting for lower-end components. They come to offer i5 CPUs but so late that their memory is DDR3 format. Now that we're starting to notice a generational shift, with CPUs starting to opt for DDR5 memory and with DDR4 soon being abandoned for the enthusiast market, this format promises to have a good future for the low range. The same with the lower ranges of SSD M.2, which help make mini-PCs smaller and more energy efficient. It is with this that we find the Chuwi Corebox i5 proposal, a mini PC with an 5th generation i8, DDR4 memory, and M.2 SATA SSD. Although they are not of the highest range, we must not forget that there is a huge low-end market that simply wants a simple and cheap PC, and it is for these that it is aimed.

We thank Chuwi for giving us the product for review

Unboxing

Upon arrival, the front of the box strongly warns that it is a product for sale exclusively online, that when it arrives, you see the brand and know what you have bought, not to expose it in retail stores.

It is on one side of the box that we see the exact specifications, which is a sticker with the model, on a standardized manufacturer's box.

Due to the size of the box, we can think that it is a larger PC than we imagine. But the reality is that it is quite small. In the box there is a huge foam frame, and a large part with the inner box section for the power and connectivity cables.

This is how the actual size of the Chuwi CoreBox mini PC i5 is better seen. It's still a very small size, and offers quite a bit of power.


Chuwi Corebox i5 Design

We are presented with this very minimalist mini-PC design. The power button is on the front, and the top one has nothing on it beyond the Intel certification sticker. With a smooth design, some may think that things can be placed on it, such as papers, books or funko pop figures. It is evident that we do not recommend this, and it is worth remembering, but it is a human instinct to check if some smooth surfaces can really act as a support, because when space is saved by having it limited, it is unthinkable that some space is left without being be used.

It does not mean that, with its minimalist and elegant touch designed for the office, it can be customizable. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for people to put tons of stickers on their laptops, and a miniPC that you can take with you and connect it to any screen or television where it has an HDMI input, can allow some customization with dedicated vinyls.

It is a very versatile design, especially for work environments where each user must have their personal and identified machine, or in classrooms or simply a home that wants to buy their children their first PCs.

Its sides also have ventilation slots in addition to the bottom side, so it is recommended that the mini-PC does not have things on the sides in order to have better ventilation.

In terms of connectivity, this Chuwi CoreBox MiniPC I5 is not bad at all. Four USB 3.0 ports, with mini-jack microphone and speaker connectors, an RJ45 port for those who want a direct connection, and an HDMI port along with a Display Port so that we initially have the opportunity to connect it to two screens. Although this Last you will need to use a cable in which at least one of the connectors is Display Port.

With all this connectivity, it's easy to plug in a keyboard, mouse, controller to play games, and still have plenty left over for additional USB storage or any other accessory.

The lower part of the Chuwi Corebox i5, with several ventilation grilles. The stops that ensure there is some space for airflow are two thick, elongated rubber bands.

Due to its texture and resistance, it is not difficult to imagine that they can deteriorate over time, and with the inevitable movement that a mini-PC is going to have.

It would have been more convenient to have four firm plastic bumpers, or for the outer frame of the mini PC to be the one with a higher rock on this side to raise the device in order to have the necessary ventilation.

It's time to see the inside of the miniPC, and that's why we open it to find this. More than half of its interior content, at least on the surface in relation to the lower side, is intended to support the power supply and ventilation.

On the left is your motherboard, which we see from the outset that it supports expansion to have two SATA hard drives or SSDs, preferably 2,5″ in size.

Before the question of "Where do you screw 2,5 SSDs or hard drives?“, the answer is in this support for 2,5” SATA storage.

Apparently, it only allows the screwing of one, despite the fact that the motherboard allows the connection of two SATA storage units. It would be possible to simply put in two SATA SSDs, but we don't recommend using hard drives for that.

Inside is a 2GB M.512 SATA SSD, which is quite a bit of storage to boot. Assuming that we are not going to add games to it, it is a lot for an entry-level office miniPC. Although it may be little if we want to use it as a multimedia center small in size and low consumption in the living room, with numerous download programs downloading content.

We have found that while it is possible to change it, you need to deal with the CPU fans to give yourself the space to try making a change. Although we have not tried it, we do hope that many users, in these times of downloading a lot of content to consume locally seeing that movies and series that do not last long on subscription services, the 512 GB fall short and hope to change to a better one . At the end of the day, the total internal memory is 512 GB, which is fine, but in the long term they are insufficient.

It is clear that many would choose to use the two SATA ports and place a 2,5″ SSD there, but given the higher speed of NVMe and the fact that they are becoming cheaper, to think that someone will want to replace them as the boot disk and so on. having it all without dividing folders or storage devices is inevitable.

The RAM of this PC is soldered to the motherboard. In principle it is not bad, since It's 16 GB of DDR4 memory., which is still a considerable amount and very acceptable. But then the time comes when one wants to expand the RAM memory to a better amount, say 16 GB.

Many laptops already think in this case of wanting to improve RAM memory and use modules in SODIMM form factor to at least give users the opportunity to expand the memory if they wish.


Features and benchmark of the Chuwi Corebox i5 miniPC

After seeing the physical components of the Chuwi Corebox i5 miniPC, thinking about whether it could be expanded, it's time to pull benchmarks and analysis tools.

The hardware analysis tool was able to confirm the I5-8259U processor model, which although many may be put off by the fact that it is a mid-range from five generations ago, its quad core and 8 threads, give a positive result, within what are the tasks of a mobile CPU. The years have passed, but it still offers good results in general, if you are not looking for the most extreme performance, which those looking for a budget PC do not look for.

In the field of memory, it is 16 GB in DDR4, which in itself is positive. But we remember that it is welded to the base plate and it is a single channel, so we are forced to this configuration. At the level of the amount of RAM, it is comparable to mid-range gaming PCs, but the dual channel is greatly promoted to have better bandwidth and avoid bottlenecks. Does this make the CoreBox bad? No, but slowdowns may be noticeable at times.

Now, the subject of graphics, and they are 1 GB of integrated graphics thanks to Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655. Clearly, insufficient to play many leading titles even at minimum. But it is not necessarily a death sentence for someone who wants to play games, since 1 GB is enough to play many visually optimized games. Of course, do not expect to reach 60 FPS at 1080p, since it is closer to 30. Surprisingly, think that many games from the time of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, do not ask for such an amount of VRAM, so you will undoubtedly be able to play games with this mini-PC.

It is not possible to expand it further with low-end models such as the GTX 1030 or 1630, but of course, no one would think of buying this mini-PC and constantly expanding it. It is not at all a PC that we would recommend for a gamer public, but it is for a family, who wants something for the virtual classroom, and who wants to play undemanding games.

With a stress test like Furmark, the amount of FPS stays at an average of 20 FPS. Knowing that it is a test made to test the graphic capacity with a large amount of details on the screen, reaching 20 FPS, with an integrated graphics is a considerable score. It is clear that we are not going to have games at 60 FPs except for the most restrained games, and we are not going to move leading games by far, but it can be saved in some from several years ago.

We've talked a lot about its gaming capabilities, which is a case we imagine many students will want to use. It is not uncommon for the student who buys a laptop and then wants to play social games with his classmates and friends, or wants to take advantage of it. In this case, you can easily move games like League of Legends and Fortnite. But it will rarely be anywhere near 60 frames per second or with graphics beyond medium quality.

Regarding office automation, having a single channel of RAM can generate a certain bottleneck in tasks with higher loads. But in general, it is more than enough for standardized office automation. Its price and size make it ideal for companies that want to renew their fleet of equipment for power reasons, since they are the equipment that tends to be most out of date.

What games can be played with 1 GB of integrated graphics?

Oddly enough, several of the most popular titles run on as little as 1GB of VRAM. For example, GTA V can move. At minimum, it asks for just 1 GB of VRAM. A problem would be that it asks for all its graphic capacity, to be played at minimum. Another example is Fortnite, which has been optimized to be played on integrated graphics. Epic Games understands that the more devices that can be played on, the more players will sign up and the more skins they will buy or watch promotional events.

But we have a wide range of and catalog of games from years ago. Many modern games, generally the so-called indies, are not the ones that ask for more graphically. Of course, if we want to play news, it's time to forget. The Chuwi Corebox i5 is not made for top gaming, but it can be a low-cost machine.

Gallery


Conclusions about the huwi CoreBox i5 MiniPC

After these analyzes and benchmarks, it is clear that the Chuwi Corebox I5 is a high-end mini PC for offices, which is not going to break wallets. For the remote worker who wants a work-only system to separate leisure from work, it is highly recommended and you will not lack power. This is if you do not work with programs that demand a lot of graphic capacity. For students who want a cheap speaker for their university stage, it is also highly recommended.

Your big problem overall, is that the graphic capacity is a bottleneck and that will be noticed, whether you like it or not. You won't be able to use image editing software fluently, and video software will be especially slow when it comes to rendering. At the level of video games, it can be a very good emulator machine up to a certain generation, and the reduced energy consumption helps.

Here we speak to professionals, and this is a good solution if you are looking for a functional and low-priced PC. But whoever is looking for enthusiast range performance is far from what they are looking for. There are products for each audience and this one is for those who are more interested in having something functional from scratch for a low price.

  • Includes 1GB integrated graphics, capable of running some games.
  • Integrated M.2 SATA SSD, and with a capacity of 512 GB, very good to start with.
  • Expandability with two SATA ports.
  • Very low energy consumption.
  • Enough power to be a miniPC, because its i5, despite being five generations ago, still offers good performance.
  • It heats up very little, even with a stress test.
  • Integrated graphics limits you to very low graphical and older games. Without many options to reach 60 FPS even at minimum.
  • The RAM is soldered, so it can't be expanded, and it's single channel.
  • Without grounding.
  • Without VESA anchor.
  • The SATA bracket only allows one storage device to be screwed in, when the motherboard allows two.
  • It does not have secure boot, so it will not be easy to install Windows 11.
Features - 8.5
Design - 8
Value for money - 9

8.5

An ideal PC for office workers and students, but limited for more advanced workers and gamers.

User Rating: Be the first one!

Show more

Benjamin Rosa

Madrileño whose publishing career began in 2009. I love investigating curiosities that I later bring to you, readers, in articles. I studied photography, a skill that I use to create humorous photomontages.

Related publications

Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Button back to top