MotherboardsTech Review


MINIPC Heaven!

PCB       Score : 8/10

The AR900i is small, ITX small, and all of its components are soldered on both sides of the same PCB explaining its massive 10 layers, a high count which will avoid component signal bleeding, and a longer life-span.

In terms of fundamentals, we are where we need to be.

CPU / PCH      Score : 9/10

Our CPU / Chipset combo is where most of our money is.

The AR900i is powered by about the best mobile processor you’ll ever find. It has nothing to envy to desktop CPUs. It boasts 24 core , 32 threads. A maximum clock of 5.4 GHz and 20 fully loaded PCIe 5.0 lanes.
And it performs gorgeously as well! No matter what I threw at it, it scored right to the top, and showed it could compete with the best premium processors today! Pure Intel yumminess!

Performance wise, the i9-13900HX plays with the highest performing CPUs out there. It is a monstruous piece of silica which has nothing to envy from its desktop counterpart.

Here are some quick benchmarks from Cinebench 2024, CPU-Z





    Chipset wise, our i9 is supported by an HM770, the mobile version of the b760 which brings all the lower grade PCIe lanes, and can fully run at a low 3.7W allowing a rather small back plate to keep it cool without issue.

    VRM      Score : 8.5/10

    I did spend some time researching it, cause there is not much documentation about it.

    We do have about 475 Amps organized in 6+1+1 direct phases configuration, 354 of which is CPU centric.

    Absolutely adequate to push the i9 HX to its natural limits, and to moderately overclock it, cause, yeah this thing can be toyed with.

    And if you do, well knowing that we are dealing a cpu which can peak to 160W worth of heat, and powered by 60 AMPs power stages, well we are going to need something massive to keep all that heat at bay.

    And so here comes the air cooler monoblock!

    Our CPU plate transfers heats directly into four 8mm diameter coper pipes which spreads it throouhough dozens of fin arrays blades. Big kudos for the fin array design. Expensive and annoying to build but provides an obscene amount of radiating area.

    I do want to mention the double contact design large motherbaord manufactuers introduced a few years ago happily recycled into the mini pc market in general.

    It provides an immediate and intimate heat relief to both chokes and power stages alike. Great initiaitve!

    On its own, and passively it is said to dissipate upto 100W worth of heat. I don’t doubt that but since our CPU can comfortably peak above 160 Wats worth of heat (excluding VRM heat participation), I would not advice you to operate the AR900i on without a more active cooling solution added to it.

    Make sure to complement the monoblock with a low profile fan (not included in package).

    Without one, your CPU will reach the 100c thermo-throttling limits as soon as any subtential CPU load is triggered.


    After an hour torturous stress test, the block stayed below 40c, and the CPU itself never went beyond 68c.

    Equipped with a fan The cooling apparatus ejects far more heat than the CPU and VRM can produce. Meaning that you can run this thing day and night, itll never over heat, and you have room for some overclocking! Which is pretty sweet!

    RAM      Score : 8/10

    Memory Wise, our AR900i can support upto a massive 96 GB of ddr5 ram clockable up to a fast 5.6 GHz.

    This is not just another specs, having that much off DDR5 memory available on this thing means next level production capacities. This will tare through what ever heavy video editing or 3D rendering you got in store for it.

    And that is truly novel on an ITX form factor.

    Storage      Score : 7.5/10

    Staying in the memory and taking full advantage of the imposing amount of PCIe lanes here, we have no less than 4 PCIe 4.0 enabled M.2 sticks, all of which can swap data, concurrently and without PCIe bifurcations, upto 64 Gbs.

    That means you can easily RAID these sticks and achieve faster reading / writing performances, especially great, again for a production minded environment.

    Fast is nice but fast is hot, precisely why at least 2 of those sticks received royal cooling treatment with a massive heat block, and I mean massive the all toped by a silent fan.

    PCIe export         Score : 8.5/10

    Export wise, we got a future proofed x16 PCIe 5.0 lanes slot. The board will be able to operate any GPUs produced well in the next decade without any chances of bandwidth bottle neck!

    Let us mention the fact that PCIe export does not have any metallic reinforcement which might seem to be problematic since GPUs are getting heavier and heavier.

    In fact it is not such a big issue since this board was obviously designed for an ITX build which, in every compaticble chasis, will use a PCIe raiser in order send the GPU on the other side of the build, so no worries there.

    FANS        Score : 7/10

    Colling wise, we have 3 PWM connectors which is about right. You should not need much more to operate a compact build. But if you are like me, and decided to add a water pump, as well as a radiator, feel frre to use a cable splitter. The AR900i plugs are 12 Watts rates eache and can support upto 5 fan per connector.

    Back IO       Score : 8/10

    Now back IO wise, let s note the integrated plate, which is never a given in this kind of products. So a good start.

    And starting from the left, we have :

    •        x1 7 channel, ALC 289 REALTEK codec, budget friendly and efficient. The only issue here is the absence of filtring capacitors we usually find on full sized boards. It will do the job for your day to day audio jobs, but for anything more subtle, such as pro recording and such, you might want to invest into an external sound card
    •        x1 surge protected 2.5 Gb LAN plug.
    •        x1 dual-band wifi 6E module | BLUETOOTH 5.3
    •       x2 USB 2.0 plugs (480 Mbs)
    •       x2 USB 3.2 plugs in addition of one on the board as well 5 Gbs.
    •       x2 video output (HDMI 2.0 4K@60Hz & DP 1.4 8K60Hz) as well an optional USB TYPE-C (4K@60Hz or 10 Gbs)
    •      Reset button

    Overall a full board menu of connectivity and bandwidth yumminess. Happy all around with that.

      Troubleshooting and RGB Score : 4/10

      On a less happy note, despite having a plug fully traced but not operational, we have zero RGB connectors.


      Equally, seeing the heavy specs of the AR900i, I would want to see more troubleshooting features than a reset button. I thing that an EZ-DEBUGGER would have been welcomed.

      CONCLUSION           TOTAL Score : 72/100

      The AR900i will cost anywhere between 500 to 600 bucks, and truth be told, the way I see it, this is GOLD for your money. The specs are as high as they possibly can be at this price point.

      The tricky part was the thermal aspecst of things. On a small factor board like this, components produce lots of heat, and MINISFORUM showed some real engineering muscle to make this thing work the way it does.

      Engineering wise, the AR900i is sturdy as a rock. I did put it through hell and back, and it never crashed, never complained. This thing is more satisfying than a divorce.

      It is just  rare to find that much computing available at that pricing. I coupled my AR900i with an RTX 3080  and this thing games better, works better than any build you’ll have for 1500 bucks. I mean, that’s what it comes down to.

      In short ,for any purpose, heavy or light, This thing is a must buy!


          MINISFORUM AR900i

          CPU / PCH - 90%
          VRM - 85%
          RAM - 80%
          DURABILITY - 90%
          TROUBLESHOOTING - 40%
          CONNECTIVITY - 85%
          STORAGE - 75%
          PRICE - 85%
          PCIe EXPORT - 70%
          BACK IO - 70%
          COOLING - 70%
          THERMALS - 95%
          RGB - 0%



          It is just  rare to find that much computing available at that pricing

          BUY IT NOW
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          The never aging alpha geek is still here! Don't you dare question me!

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