Weighing a little over half a kilogram, MSI‘s Cubi 5 is an energy efficient barebones PC with a tiny footprint. Ideally suited for the business and commercial market, and for those looking for a media centre computer at home. For what it packs under its adorable cubic exterior, is it worth every penny? Or are there better options?
Let’s find out.
HARDWARE AND PERFORMANCE
Included with this review unit is an Intel Core i5 10210U which is a 10th Gen quad core laptop processor based on 14nm technology. Whilst it may not be the best in its class, it still handles basic computer tasks with ease. The processor has a base frequency of 1.6GHz and a max turbo frequency of 4.2GHz. For a 15W processor and a computer of this size we are quite power limited but it functions well, all things considered – and up to 10th Gen i7 U-processors are supported.
The lack of a dedicated GPU means that this mini-PC isn’t intended for gaming, but the integrated UHD 620 graphics onboard the CPU are functional enough and operate well when running less-intensive graphics applications. Dual 4K monitor setup at 60Hz is supported – but don’t expect to be running anything other than simple presentations.
This review model featured an Intel 256GB NVMe drive which facilitated fast boot speed and responsive applications, even when under load. Also included was 8GB of Samsung RAM and this is fully expandable to a whopping 64GB – supporting up to two 2666MHz SO-DIMMs.
BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN
The components are shrouded in a black plastic and metal casing with plenty of air holes to aid heat dissipation. Whilst it might not be to everyone’s taste, I think MSi have designed it well, and it looks more striking compared to the similarly specced Intel NUC i5. An external power switch can be bought to facilitate easier on/off management of the PC if it is VESA mounted, but unfortunately this isn’t included as standard. The VESA mount is included however, and will attach to compatible monitors.
There are four screws to the underside which are easily removed in order to access the unit to change hardware. Under the panel you have instant access to the SO-DIMM slots and NVMe drive. There are also connectors for a 2.5″ SSD, should you wish to install one.
Measuring a mere 12.4 x 12.4 x 5.37 cm, the Msi Cubi 5 is a great alternative to a laptop. Offering more or less the same functionality at a much smaller price point, and a smaller footprint to boot.
The chassis offers enough connectivity for all your peripherals and more. The front of the unit features an individual mic and headphone jack, one USB 3.2 type A and one USB 3.2 type C slot. To the rear is a further four USB slots – two of which are USB 3.2, HDMI and display port outputs, a 2.5Gbps Rj45 ethernet port, and a proprietory power port.
|CPU||Up to 10th gen. Intel Core i7 U-processor|
|Storage||1x M.2 SSD|
1x 2.5″ SSD/HDD
|Memory||2x DDR4 2666MHz SO-DIMMS (up to 64GB)|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics|
|I/O (Front)||1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type C|
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A
|I/O (Rear)||2x USB 2.0|
2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A
1x HDMI out (1.4)
1x Display Port out (1.2)
|Wireless LAN||Intel wireless AC 9462 or Intel Wireless AX201|
|Dimensions||124 x 124 x 53.7 mm|
4.88 x 4.88 x 2.11 inch
|Weight||0.55kg – 1.4kg|
MSi Cubi 5 – Is it worth it?
For the light computer user, the Cubi 5 10M by MSi is a great option for those that want an alternative to using a laptop in a work or home environment. It’s very quiet, even when running under load and the option of vesa mounting means that this computer will fit in the very smallest of spaces. However, for those demanding more power from their systems, the Cubi 5 simply won’t be enough.