The Chinese manufacturers are making high-quality mini computers with a passive cooling system. Before the New Year 2019, we have ordered Alfawise B1. The basic version of this mini-PC costs $479. Yes, it is not powered by the latest Intel processor generation, but it is still Core i7. Also, it has NVIDIA GTX960M graphics card with 4GB of memory, which provides FPS above 30 in any games.
In the article we will review the budget Chinese gaming mini-PC called Alfawise B1. We’ll look at specifications, design, and make a variety of stress tests, benchmarks and of course the real game tests. Is this mini-computer better than game console? Can you play the latest games on it? Let’s find out.
Alfawise B1: Specifications
- Processor: Intel Core i7 6700HQ;
- Kernels: 4 cores 8 threads;
- Base clock frequency 2.60 GHz;
- The maximum clock frequency of 3.50 GHz;
- Graphics processor number 1: Intel HD Graphics 530;
- Graphics processor number 2: Nvidia GTX960M 4GB GDDR5;
- RAM: 2 DDR4 SO-DIMM slots up to 32 GB;
- Operating system: Linux and Windows;
- Size: 15.00 x 19.50 x 5.00 cm;
- Weight 1.0470 kg.
Alfawise B1: Design
We have received a massive solid box unmarked. The main task of this box is to ensure the safety of mini-PC during shipment. There is only a small sticker in the corner, which says “mini B1 and CPU: I7 – 6700 HQ”.
Alfawise B1 computer has an interesting design. It has a shape of game console. The body is made of aluminum. The gray case perfectly masks the dust. There are no prints left on it, and in general the device looks great.
The dimensions are very compact and allow you to place it on almost any desktop. Compared to my previous Hystou 7200U, it is slightly larger, but smaller than Sony Play Station 3 Super Slim.
On the front we can see a large power button. It has an unobtrusive red LED backlight. If you don’t need backlight, then you can turn it off.
For the convenience of connecting high-speed drives there are 2 USB 3.0 connectors on the front panel. The other connectors are located on the rear panel. Here we have:
- Power plug;
- Display Port 1.2 (supports resolution up to 4K with 60Hz update rate);
- HDMI 1.4;
- 2 USB 3.0 connectors;
- 2 USB 2.0 connectors;
- USB Type C;
- Gigabit Ethernet port for wired internet connection;
- Headphone jack;
- Microphone jack;
- Optical output for connecting to speakers.
There is nothing on the top cover except the small Alfawise logo. Air vents are located on the sides.
Through the left grille inside comes cold air. Then it is blown from the right grille, behind which the radiator is located. All hot items are located on the right side and there are some advantages to this. Cold air tightens left and right. Before it cools the processor and graphics card, it passes through the entire body and cools the memory and the drive.
The computer stands on rubber feet, which slightly raise it above the surface, providing additional air flow to the metal case.
It is a pleasant surprise that even when Alfawise B1 computer is turned off, USB connectors are still working. This can be used in many ways. For example, you can charge any device via USB, such as smartphones, tablets, etc. All the ports, including USB Type C, has a voltage of 5V.
Alfawise B1: Functions
We chose the mini-PC for video editing. Using our old computer, it took about 15 minutes to process a 10-minute video in Sony Vegas 15. Using Alfawise B1, a similar video was processed in 3 minutes 49 seconds. This is 3 times faster. The processing of a 20-minute video takes about 7 minutes.
The next important task for us for playing video. If we talk about YouTube, you can watch 4K video at 60 frames per second.
The processor is loaded quite heavily, on average by 80% – 85%, and the graphics card is only about 46%. It is worth saying that when playing video, the built-in HD 530 graphics card works. The powerful GTX960m is used exclusively in games.
If you watch video in Full HD at 60 frames per second, then the load is significantly reduced. The processor is loaded by 12% – 15%, and the graphics card by 20% – 25%. The most common Full HD video generally loads a processor by 7% – 8% and a video card by 10% – 11%.
Intel HD Graphics 530 graphics card hardware supports all major codecs such as H264, H265, VP9, etc.
Nvidia GTX960M graphics card also has support for codecs at the hardware level, but it does not participate in video playback. When running test video clips in high resolution, the processor practically stays idle. For example, a movie in HEVC with a resolution of 3840×2160 loads the processor by only 1% – 2%, while a graphics card at 30% – 35%.
A similar result when playing AVC in 4K (50 Mbps bitrate). Processor – 1% – 2%, while graphics card – about 30%.
When playing video at 60 frames per second, the load on the processor and graphics card increases. For example, the cartoon downloaded from the Internet in Full HD resolution and AVC format loads the processor by only 1%, and the graphics card by 5%.
As for the sound, there is an undeniable advantage – a separate optical output. This option is very rare in mini computers. Alfawise B1 supports for 5 channel sound. But we did not check this, because we used stereo speakers.
Alfawise B1: Synthetic tests and benchmarks
On a clean system, I first made SSD disk performance test. After all, the speed of the computer directly depends on the drive – working with files, launching the system, games, etc.
I have been using various SSD drives for a long time, but mostly they were cheap Kingston, Toshiba and various “Chinese”. Samsung does not leave them any chance. Due to the support of NVMe, drive speeds are comparable to the speeds of the RAM of any smartphone. In real use everything “flies”, instantly starts and leaves only positive emotions in work.
The linear reading speed test in Aida 64 showed an average result of 2000 Mb/s.
Further performance tests from different benchmarks. Geekbench 4: Single core mode – 4188 points, Multi core – 13966 points.
Cinebench R15: in processor test – 678 points, in graphic test fps is 85.08 and this ensures the first place in the comparison table.
The next complex testing using 3D Mark. In the test Sky Diver with a resolution of 1920×1080, the computer scored 12980 points. This is a test for gaming laptops and mid-range computers. In graphics tests, the average FPS is 60.
In the test Fire Strike, which is designed for high-performance computers with powerful graphics cards, the result is 3929 points. This is in Full HD resolution.
Fire Strike Ultra is held in 4K resolution and the result is 984 points. Alfawise N1 is certainly not ready to run games in 4K. Its maximum is Full HD. Nevertheless, the result was interesting to see.
And the last test is also designed for the most powerful PCs and is also carried out in 4K resolution. The result is 1331 points.
A few more simple performance tests. CPU-Z: in the single-core mode — 367.3; in the multi-core mode — 1831.4. The important point is that the result can be compared only in identical versions of the test. Since with each update, developers increase the complexity of the test and the result can be very different.
Download speed is 186 Mbps from 200 Mbps. Several consecutive measurements showed that the speed is constant.
Alfawise B1: Game Test
Well, here we come to the most interesting – the game test. Let’s start with a simple but familiar friend: World of Tanks. The system automatically set the settings to high. The resolution here is Full HD.
Average FPS is 70 – 80 frames per second, below 60 does not fall under any options.
Graph showing FPS, CPU load and CPU temperature. Low drawdowns in FPS are loading levels.
Then we increased the settings on ULTRA, and we got a great FPS 35 – 40 frames per second. In the toughest moments, FPS went down to 30 – 31. Fully suitable for games.
We also checked out relatively simple, but still popular games:
- CS GO (high graphics settings): 120 – 130 fps.
- DOTA 2 (maximum graphics settings): 70 – 80 fps.
Then I decided to run some popular high-end games. First, this was GTA 5. For comparison, it is great, because many gamers are guided precisely by popular games. With high graphics settings on Full HD resolution, the average fps was 45 frames per second.
In the built-in benchmark, it ranged from 39 to 54. Moreover, 39 it was at the moment when the general plan from the height of flight, and in the city was 45 – 55 on average.
The next game is the legendary Witcher 3 Wild Hunter. Graphics settings are average, Full HD resolution. Average FPS is 40, minimum – 36.
And finally, Far Cry 5. Resolution is still the same – 1920×1080, but we set the graphics settings to low. Average Fps is 34, minimum – 31. You can play more than comfortable.
This is enough to understand what Alfawise B1 computer is capable of. In fact, it can be said that this is a budget gaming computer.
The mini-computer is able to run any game in Full HD resolution with a minimum FPS of 30 and higher. The games about 3 years old and more have an average FPS of 50 – 60 and higher.
Alfawise B1: Pros
- Core i7 processor. Works great from the first seconds.
- Two hraphics cards. Simple for silent work and watching videos. A powerful Nvidia GTX960M with 4GB of dedicated memory for demanding games.
- Support NVMe protocol. This allows the use of high-speed SSD drives.
- The ability to connect 3 drives at once, including the standard 2.5″ HDD / SSD drive.
- Ability to install 2 drives of 16GB.
- Good WiFi adapter with support for AC standard. It can work both in the 2.4 GHz range and 5 GHz.
- Many connectors.
- USB is powered, even when the computer is turned off.
- There is an optical output for sound.
- Ability to connect 2 monitors at once.
- Nice design like a gaming console.
- Compact size.
- Metal case.
Alfawise B1: Cons
- High GPU temperature in games.
- Noise fans for demanding tasks.
Alfawise B1: Conclusion
We are very pleased with Alfawise B1. It even exceeded our expectations, and we would say it is perfect, but there is only one “buy” – insufficient cooling. However, given many advantages, the cooling does not look like a big problem.
You can buy a gaming mini-PC Alfawise B1 for only $480.