Geekom IT8 Mini-PC Review
Intel blazed a trail with its NUC (pronounced “nuck”) ultra-compact form factor, and thankfully didn’t make it a closed ecosystem, letting other companies get in on the fun. One of the most recent to enter the market is Geekom, and today we’re reviewing the IT8, which is a feature-packed system that won’t break the bank.
What separates this system from most Intel-branded systems, as well as most models from major brands like Asus and Asrock, is that it comes fully ready to go out of the box. The NUC was originally designed to appeal to DIY enthusiasts and so came barebones, but in the budget market, that can mean paying more overall, due to economies of scale on lower-cost gear. That’s where Geekom comes in, putting together an amazing spec sheet, including a quad-core CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, and Windows 11 Pro, all at a bargain-basement price. But how does it do? We’ll tell you!
We’d like to thank Geekom for providing a sample of the IT8 Mini-PC for this review.
Get an in-depth look at the IT8, along with complete benchmarks, in our YouTube video review:
We’ve been keeping an eye on pre-built NUC-style PCs ever since we posted our NUC how-to build guide back in 2015. What’s funny is how little the NUC has changed since then, which gives a company like Geekom an avenue for success, even against Intel’s own NUC line. Luckily, Geekom does a good job delivering value with the IT8, making it a far less expensive alternative than going with an Intel NUC or most other competing ultra-compact PCs. From the quality Kingston PCIe SSD, to a large helping of Kingston RAM, to the cost-effective 8th-Gen Intel Core i5-8259U quad-core, to the USB Type-C, HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort functionality, there’s a lot of quality packed in.
There are two things we think Geekom needs to improve, however: first, this system runs loud and hot, and while the form factor is certainly a culprit, Geekom probably should be sourcing a better cooling fan, and potentially offering a bit more case ventilation. Second, the RAM configuration, while generous at 16GB, is simply not in the right configuration. Using a single stick of 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, when the system is limited to DDR4-2400 RAM, is throwing a whole lot of performance out the window. As we showed, using dual 4GB sticks of “slower” DDR4-2400 CL17 RAM drastically improved performance, both because the CL rating was properly set by default (which it will not be when 3200 RAM runs at 2400), but also because running in dual-channel mode is a necessity to get the most out of any system.
Yes, Geekom has trimmed a few dollars off the price by going with ubiquitous DDR4-3200 rather than the older and less popular 2400 standard, but a 16GB configuration really must be in dual-channel mode. We understand that the 8GB model uses a single stick, as that does offer a clear, cheap upgrade option, but 16GB is about as much as you’d need in the system, so it should be maxed out in terms of performance too.
Even with these shortcomings, we can’t help but feel that the Geekom IT8 is a home-run when it comes to value at its MSRP of $450, and would make a great second PC or family PC for anyone wanting something small, capable, and budget-friendly. But even better than going with the model we tested would be going with the IT8 8GB/512GB configuration for about $50 less, and then adding an 8GB stick of DDR4-2400 RAM. It will offer the same overall RAM capacity, far better performance, and until Geekom catches up and lowers the price of the 16GB model, will cost less too!