SER5 5600H by Beelink Review: Mini PCs are Getting Exciting

Beelink is a company that specializes in small form-factor computers. The SER5 5600H is just one of many models that range significantly in price, CPU tier, CPU generation, and intended use case.

Share on twitter
Tweet
Share on facebook
Share
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp

A few months back, I reviewed Beelink’s SER4 4800U with pleasure. Its performance was surprisingly great. I’m happy to say that the SER5 5600H was no different.

Beelink is a company that specializes in small form-factor computers. The SER5 5600H is just one of many models that range significantly in price, CPU tier, CPU generation, and intended use case. Beelink sent SER5 5600H, one of their higher mid-range devices, for us to review.

Like the SER4 4800U before it, the SER5 5600H arrived in modest packaging, both in terms of size and flashiness. The lilliputian stature of the SER 5600H and business-friendly colors give it a fairly timid appearance. Almost everything about the SER5 5600H is understated, and, ultimately, betrays the impressive performance it’s capable of.

SER5 5600H Box

SER5 5600H Specifications

Operating SystemWindows 11 Pro
CPU ModelRyzen 5 5600H
6-Core/12-Thread
3.3GHz Base Clock
4.2GHz Boost Clock
iGPUAMD Ryzen 5 Mobile Processors with Radeon™ Graphics
7 graphics cores @ 1800MHz
RAM16GB or 32GB Options
Upgradeable to 64GB
Storage500GB NVMe SSD
NetworkGigabit LAN
Wifi 6E (802.11ax)
Bluetooth 5.2
Front Connectivity2x USB Type-A 3.0
1x USB Type-C 3.0
3.5mm audio jack
Rear Connectivity2x USB Type-A 3.0
2x HDMI (Full-Sized)
Gigabit Ethernet
DC power barrel jack
Internal ConnectivityNVMe
SATA with 2.5″ Drive Bay
Dimensions126mm x 113mm x 42mm (598ml)
Weight455g
Beelink SER5 5600H Specifications

The SER5 5600H configuration is almost identical to the SER4 4800U. The SER5 comes with an additional 28ml of volume but is the same weight. It would appear that this is to accommodate extra cooling to dissipate the higher TDP of the 5600H, which is 54W in contrast to the 4800U’s cool 25W limit. Not that you could fault Beelink for this negligible difference, seeing as how you’d be hard-pressed to notice the additional height of the SER5 without them side-by-side.

Both internal and peripheral connectivity are also identical, with the exception that the SER5 has two USB 3.0 ports on the rear as opposed to the SER4’s combination of one USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port.

Unboxing

SER5 5600H Wrap

As mentioned, the SER5 5600H comes in very unassuming packaging. The branding and styling have a touch of flare. But I wouldn’t call the SER5’s packaging flashy. What I would call it is efficient. Beelink has optimized the use of packing materials. In other words, they include virtually no protective packing, save for a thin sheet of foam that I think is there to prevent scratches rather than impact damage.

The boxing appears to be designed for retail environments, but I imagine most units will be sold online. Given that most online retailers ship their products with protective packing anyway, I don’t think that this should be cause for concern, especially when you consider the nearly all-metal construction of the SER5 5600H.

SER5 5600H Contents

As I’ve come to expect, Beelink includes two HDMI cables, one short and one long. The short cable is the counterpart to the VESA mounting bracket (and required screws) that enables mounting the SER5 directly to the back of a monitor. Doing so results in a much shorter HDMI cable requirement. Then, of course, the longer HDMI cable is to connect a second monitor via the second HDMI output on the SER5. Even in comparison to other mini PCs, Beelink has, in my opinion, perfected the low-footprint and clean desk computer kit.

The SER5 also includes the less exciting stuff in the box, like a power cable and operator’s manual. It’s very easy to unpack, so I don’t even have any funny anecdotes about that. As I said, the SER5 5600H is very understated.

SER5 5600H First Impressions

SER5 5600H Top

Like the SER4 4800U, one of the most noticeable things about the SER5 5600H is the metal construction. The combination of the all-metal chassis and the small size of the SER5 make it feel extremely sturdy, imparting a strong impression of quality (and even durability, at least as far as computers generally go).

SER5 5600H Front

There aren’t any sharp edges. Even along the bare edge, where there is no anodization, the metal is rounded and well smoothed. Everything is assembled evenly without any meshes, plates, or faces protruding. This creates a sense of quality that goes beyond the sturdiness, making the articulation and attention to detail in manufacturing immediately perceptible.

SER5 5600H Side Rear

Something that I was happy to see with the SER5 is that Beelink ditched the fatigued (even by cliche standards) gamer red and black color scheme used on the SER4. This time, opting for a much more neutral and business-friendly black (and slightly darker black) color.

Everyday Use

The SER5 5600H is a workhorse. It might not have as many cores as the 4800U, but that doesn’t stop it. The 5600H doesn’t just stand up to the 4800U; it surpasses it. That’s not just in single-core performance, though. The 5600H also beats the 4800U in multi-core workloads, despite only having 3/4 of the cores and threads. This is undoubtedly due, at least in part, to the significantly higher 54W TDP of the 5600H over the 4800U’s 25W maximum.

The 5600H delivers more than 50% more single-core performance and almost twice the multi-core performance compared to the i5-8250 in the HP Elitebook I use for work. The 5600H might not look like much next to the latest desktop i7 and Ryzen 7 parts, but in the world of mobile CPUs, it’s still an excellent choice for performance, especially for the price point compared to higher-end CPUs.

The inclusion of an NVMe SSD with the SER5 5600H is a no-brainer. A hard drive would only serve to nerf the performance. The NVMe drive that Beelink includes is a Kingston SNVS500G, or alternatively, the Kingston NV1 500G. Kingston advertises this SSD as having a maximum read speed of 2,100MB/s, but there are reports online of benchmarks nearing 2,700MB/s. That certainly makes the Kingston NV1 look like a bargain, but SSDs tend to have widely varying performance characteristics and Kinston may have opted for a conservative number so as not to betray some of the drive’s shortcomings. Notebookcheck has performed a battery of benchmarks if you’re curious.

Overall, the SER5 5600H delivers excellent performance as a daily driver for productivity tasks. The fan rarely ramped up for me during normal productivity tasks, and when it did get a little bit higher, it was only about as audible as the average laptop. Mind you, it was right beside me. If I had mounted it to my monitor as Beelink intended, I imagine it would have been much less audible.

SER5 5600H Gaming Performance

I am always simultaneously impressed and unimpressed by integrated graphics performance. On one hand, it’s come leaps and bounds from where it used to be. On the other hand, it seems that 1080p gaming on a mobile CPU with an integrated GPU just isn’t quite there yet. This is no fault of Beelink, of course. But some games just don’t perform nearly as well on integrated graphics, and it’s not always obvious which ones those will be. Despite this, the SER5 did manage to surprise me.

The current SER5 BIOS does not allow for user-specified VRAM capacities, but the unit that Beelink sent me was equipped with 32GB of ram. This is pretty crazy considering that’s what my personal desktop has. Because of this, there was always plenty of memory for the iGPU to leverage when I was playing some games, but I’m not sure how different the performance would be if the RAM were dedicated to the iGPU. I suppose this would heavily depend on the game and how and when graphical assets are loaded. But those are details I could only speculate on.

No Man’s Sky, which continues to impress with update after update, ran very nicely on the SER5 5600H at 1080p. I had to reduce some graphics options, but it was still an enjoyable experience. My expectations weren’t very high, given my experience with No Man’s Sky on the SER4 4800U. I chalked that up to 512MB VRAM configuration that was not modifiable in the BIOS. However, Beelink did mention to me later that a BIOS update to the SER4 enabled user-specified VRAM capacity allocation.

As for a more modern title, I decided to try Stray. Stray is a very endearing game where you play as a lost cat in a post-apocalyptic world with rich imagery, quirky characters, and a heap of existential contemplation. It has been praised for many things, its graphics among them. Unfortunately, Stray was entirely unplayable for me, even with the graphics turned right down. This could be due to the low VRAM capacity that’s cannot be changed. But it could also be due to a lack of developer optimization for the 5600H integrated graphics.

Lastly, I tried running the Ryujinx emulator. This was probably the most surprising result. I tried one game to see if it would be viable, and I was shocked. Mario Kart 8 ran at 1080p with two players without many issues. There was the occasional stuttering and then there was some severe input lag every now and then (which could be the fault of Bluetooth) but, otherwise, it worked shockingly well. Mario Kart is not a particularly graphically intense title, but it’s an extremely popular one, and it works fairly well. There is still the potential to be even better as the Vulkan kinks are worked out of Ryujinx.

The SER5 5600H certainly won’t provide console-level game performance. But for a small form-factor computer of its size and price, it’s actually pretty solid, especially once you consider the cost of other 5600H computers and laptops.

Home Lab

Desktop Ryzen parts were always promising for home labs because of their higher core/thread count and competitive single-core performance. But the performance of mobile parts like the 5600H makes them excellent candidates for home labs, particularly those looking for lower power consumption. Beelink can even deliver the performance with an incredibly small footprint.

The SER5 5600H only comes with a 1Gb ethernet port, which isn’t ideal for any prosumer home labs. I believe that 2.5Gb ethernet should have been popularized a long time ago and then 5Gb ethernet should now be the technology starting to come over the horizon to consumer goods. I think that any product marketed as “pro” or “performance” should include 2.5Gb ethernet at a minimum. Given that the Intel KTI225LM S LNNH, a 2.5Gb ethernet controller chipset, costs less than 7 USD when purchased in very low quantities, I think that OEMs can increase the product bill of materials by a few dollars to provide higher performance network capability to accompany the performance branding.

My 2.5Gb ethernet rant aside, the SER5 does have four USB 3.0 Type-A ports and one USB 3.0 Type-C port which can easily accommodate a 2.5Gb or 5Gb ethernet adapter to compensate. That is if you don’t have a Wifi 6E access point.

The included Kingston SSD is likely sufficient for most home lab workloads. Additionally, there is room for a SATA SSD in the SER5 as well. This would allow for tiering of storage to optimize for workloads.

Conclusion

The SER5 5600H packs a lot of performance into a seriously small package. I did a few searches of the Canadian big box stores, and it appears that Beelink might actually be one of the best buys at its price point. So, if you’re looking for a new PC and want some solid CPU performance, the SER5 is something worth checking out. For those looking around the same price point that requires as much GPU performance as possible, I would recommend checking out your local online used market or maybe consider a console instead.

The SER5 left me very impressed. I’ve been a fan of Beelink since I reviewed the SER4 4700U. Now the SER5 has reaffirmed my respect for their SER line and I’m excited to see what SER6 or SER7 looks like.

Devin McElheran

Devin McElheran

IT professional by day and various hobbies by night.

Find your dream job

Work at your dream company with Fossbytes Jobs