If you’ve been following me for a long time, you know that I don’t discuss gear much on this site because I tend to keep my equipment for an extended period. However, this time, I needed a small, recent PC for my tests under both Windows and Linux.
I didn’t require a high-end gaming machine or anything expensive, so I explored Mini PCs. That’s when I discovered the AK1PLUS MiniPC from the NiPoGi brand, equipped with an Alder Lake-N95 processor (up to 3.4 GHz), 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1 TB M.2 NVMe SSD. It can accommodate 2 4K screens and integrates all modern conveniences in terms of USB, Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity.
I understand that the Alder Lake-N95 is considered Intel’s entry-level, but since it has low power consumption and I don’t plan to game on it (except for Xbox Cloud), I’m not concerned. I just need something compact for dual-booting Windows/Linux and tinkering around.
Admittedly, I find the AK1PLUS somewhat expensive given its modest specifications (listed at $379 in the catalog). Nevertheless, I previously purchased a PC from them, and I’m satisfied with it.
However, buying it at that price was out of the question. What really persuaded me was the 222$ discount voucher offered on Amazon, reducing the final price to 242$ euros. I consider it a fair price, especially since it’s the most affordable compared to its competitors with an equivalent configuration.
In short, for once, I thought it would be nice to present it to you in detail, considering it’s been a while since I last tested a PC here.
In the compact box, you’ll find a user manual (which is useless), a VESA support for wall mounting or placement behind a screen, and a power supply with an HDMI cable.
Regarding the appearance of the device, nothing extraordinary—it’s a small black box measuring about 13 cm on each side and 5 cm in height, with a few blue LEDs that illuminate when it’s operational (easy to unplug if you don’t want it lighting up your home). In essence, it’s very small, ideal for minimalism enthusiasts, as it can even be hidden behind a screen or in a drawer.
In terms of connectivity, there’s a USB port and the power button on the right side for accessibility, while the remaining ports are on the back—4 USB ports, 2 HDMI, 1 Ethernet, and a headphone jack.
One thing I didn’t realize when purchasing is that it has a removable base for adding an SSD. This is a good expansion option for those needing extra disk space, such as for creating a media center. Personally, I’ve removed it for now.
Concerning OS installation, nothing noteworthy, except that it comes with Windows 11 Pro. I also considered putting Linux on it, and it worked smoothly in dual boot (UEFI). I just needed to upgrade to a Linux 6.5.6 kernel for proper support of the Intel graphics processor, ensuring a correct screen resolution.
However, be cautious; the only truly bootable USB port is the one on the back. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out why my USB key wouldn’t boot when plugged into the USB ports on the right side of the machine.
With a 1 TB NVMe, I divided the disk into two 500 GB partitions, more than sufficient for my intended use.
As I’m curious, I took it apart to see the interior. It’s quite simple—remove the pads underneath, hiding the screws, and carefully open it from the top, being mindful not to damage the wires for the blue LEDs.
Inside, you’ll see that the power supply to the LEDs can be easily disconnected. It’s quite basic—just a large radiator/fan that is exceptionally quiet and a BiWIN brand NVMe. I have no idea about its value, but since it’s easily replaceable, I’m not concerned. I removed the radiator to get a look at the processor with its ample dose of thermal paste.
That wraps up my feedback on the gear side. It’s a silent and discreet mini PC with a recent and efficient CPU, suitable for office work, internet browsing, and watching films.
It’s ideal for those on a tight budget, seeking minimal space, and, above all, silence 🙂 Since it supports Linux well, there’s plenty of room for other cool activities.
However, forget about uses that require a GPU. It’s far from being a PC for playing recent games or handling 3D tasks.
Note that NiPoGi offers other models with less disk space, less RAM, and consequently, lower prices (with additional great discount vouchers).
Now, let’s see how it performs in the long term.