The Mini PC is a strange piece of hardware in the tech world. It lies somewhere between being more capable than a laptop, yet not nearly as powerful as a desktop, and typically better for productivity than it is for gaming. With the advancements of AMD’s Ryzen chip, we’re seeing the gap close a little bit between the much more expensive laptop and the low-end gaming desktop that can be acquired or built for around $600. Enter the Mini PC, as it aims to deliver great performance for productivity with a little bit of gaming ability using the power of the Ryzen chip and Radeon on-board graphics to give you as much bang for your buck without taking up a bunch of space on your desk.
MINISFORUM UM590 Mini PC Review
Specs: Ryzen 9 5900HX, 32GB DDR 4 RAM, 512GB SSD
Price: $519.99 USD (as configured)
I wasn’t expecting anything Earth-shattering when I started looking into these Mini PCs, and while I’m super familiar with the small form factor builds that major manufacturers like to make in the Enterprise sector, this is my first real look at a dedicated Mini PC. Comparing the size of this MINISFORUM UM590 PC to something like a Dell Optiplex or HP G6 EliteDesk which are made from really nice small aluminum casing with plastic front faces. The MINISFORUM case is instead fully plastic and very quiet, but it doesn’t contain much cooling aside from a single fan that’s embedded inside but it stays decently cool.
This MINISFORUM UM590 PC came with Windows 11 Pro for some reason, which I assume is mainly so you can use the multiple desktop feature because I think Windows 11 Enterprise or perhaps even Ubuntu would perform better on these machines though I didn’t have a chance to verify that on this machine. One of the worst issues I had with this machine is for some reason my wireless keyboard/mouse combo continually gets interference while it’s connected and I basically have to put them right next to the PC in order for them to register correctly.
For gaming purposes, I installed Forza Horizon 5 and Returnal on the machine to see how it would handle some games with some benchmarking tools. Enabling AMD Freesync and a few other AMD-specific performance options, I was able to get 55 FPS by making Forza Horizon 5 look like a really decently emulated Xbox 360 game by changing the quality to Low, changing the resolution to 1080p, or setting AMD FSR 2.2 to Ultra Performance. I got it to 56 FPS by changing over to AMD FidelityFX CAS Ultra, but it doesn’t look any better and seemed to have a lot more screen tearing. With that said, it was decently playable and minimally laggy at 30 FPS with all the default “low” profile settings and looked closer to PS4/Xbox One than the performance-tuned AMD feature version.
Returnal on the other hand absolutely obliterated this machine. It barely cleared 20 FPS even on low settings, and the only way I got it to a respectable 35 FPS was by setting custom options and turning literally everything off and low as possible the game could play but looked like hot garbage. Emulators are definitely where this Mini PC shines as it played mostly everything I threw at it but it struggled a bit at the PS3 level.
Overall, the UM590 is a pretty cool little box but it’s hard to recommend it over something like the new Apple Mac Mini. In the $500-600 range, the Mac Mini doesn’t come near to the specs of this machine, but because of Apple’s proprietary components and the low overhead for Mac OS, the entry-level 8 GB RAM w/ 256 GB of storage sucks on paper but beats this thing into submission pretty quickly.
If you wanna stay with Windows and the MINISFORUM form factor, spend a bit more and pick up the UM690 instead.
The MINISFORUM UM590 is available for purchase on Amazon or their own website for a suggested MSRP of $519.99 USD. This MINISFORUM UM590 Mini PC was purchased by Niche Gamer for the purposes of this review. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.