ACEMAGIC AD15 Mini PC Review
By Matt Keith,2023-09-26
The AD15 Mini PC is an exciting idea from the minds of manufacturer ACEMAGIC. A company that prides itself on “ miniaturizing personal electronic devices ,” ACEMAGIC aims to offer a productivity powerhouse packaged in a tiny box in its latest AD15 Mini PC. Targeting productivity and workflow, the AD15 is packed to the brim with hardware designed to keep work quick and efficient, all while taking up as little room as possible.
Armed with an 11th Generation Intel Core i7-11800H , the AD15 has no problem handling any productivity suites thrown its way. In benchmarking, it scored quite high in its weight class. Under the hood, you’ll also find 16GB of DDR4, 3200MHz RAM. While not the latest generation of RAM available, it has more than enough power to handle the multitasking of the average student or office worker. With the option to upgrade all the way up to 64 GB, it should have no problem keeping up with the high demands of an office environment.
To help keep things moving smoothly, ACEMAGIC also included an M.2 2280NVMe SSD with room for both a second M.2 as well as a standard 2.5-inch SSD. Speaking of data, the AD15 comes with a host of data ports. Two USB 3.0 Type-A ports can be found on the tower’s back and front. To accompany these is a single USB 3.0 Type-C port for both data transfer (up to 10Gbps)as well as support for 4K 60Hz).
On the note of monitor support, the AD 15 supports up to three 4K 60Hz monitors thanks to two HDMI 2.0 ports and the aforementioned USB Type-C. This is all handled by the Intel UHD integrated graphics chip (more on this in a moment), which is optimized for the 11th Gen Intel processor installed. In testing, the AD 15 had no problem handling three displays: 1 28-inch 4K 60Hz, one 24-inch 1080p 165Hz, and one 24-inch 1080 144Hz.
As for networking, I was impressed to find that the AD 15 comes with both Wi-Fi 6 as well as Bluetooth 5.2 connections, which is impressive when considering the form factor and price point of this mini PC. For those who still prefer the old RJ45 (Ethernet) port, you’ll be happy to know that it is also included on the back of the tower.
All of this is wrapped in an impressively small package. Measuring 5.9 x 5.9 x 2 inches with a weight of 4.5 lbs, the AD 15 leverages every square inch of room for its hardware. With such tight quarters, I was impressed at how cool the system felt even after long testing periods. Only slightly warm to the touch after three days of testing, the AD 15 manages to keep everything cool by implementing a double copper tube system for heat dissipation, resulting in a much cooler and quieter PC experience. In fact, during testing, any onboard fans were consistently quiet.
As stated previously, the goal of the AD 15 is to offer a powerhouse computing solution for students and office types while reducing the overall footprint. To test this, I ran the AD 15 through a series of productivity suites to see how it faired. The results, for the most part, were impressive.
Office suites like Microsoft Office and OpenOffice run beautifully on the AD 15. Even complex Excel docs with multiple macros and formulas run smoothly and without issue. Load times for writing programs such as Word were almost instant, and there were no notable slowdowns while writing and editing larger (4000 words+) documents.
Shifting away from office productivity, the next tests included audio and video editing. Reaper runs like a champ on the AD 15. While I didn’t have any excessively large, 16-channel audio files to work with, it had no problem with a four-person podcast, each with its own FX channels, FX master and music track. The render time was on par with my M1 Macbook Pro, and there were no slowdowns during the editing process.
Running Davinci Resolve for video editing was a bit of a different story. The AD 15 has no problem firing up Davinci or even loading media into the bins. The final render, as well, is smooth and fairly quick on 1080 and even 4K video. Colour grading and even audio editing all worked well and without issue. Where I did notice a bit of a slowdown was in the area of scrubbing timelines and adding fusion animations. This is where UHD chip limitations come into play.
On my gaming rig, for example, Davnici allows for the allocation of additional hardware (GPU) power to help keep things running smoothly. This simply isn’t an option with the UHD chip. While there is an option to do a real-time rendering of animations to help smooth out the playback, it is a time-consuming process and more so because that processing lacks the power of a dedicated GPU.
Let me be clear though, the fact that you can even do in-depth video editing on a mini PC is an impressive feat. Typically, it wouldn’t even be possible, yet with the AD 15’s processor, RAM and SSD all working together, it is now manageable, albeit a bit slower. While not as smooth as editing on a gaming PC or M1, it is nevertheless an impressive feat for a mini PC.
While not a gaming PC by any stretch of the imagination, I ran some gaming tests for science. The AD 15 cannot handle any triple-A titles from the last couple of years. DOOM Eternal came in at a glorious 13 FPS and just simply couldn’t render properly. What did surprise me, though was that the AD 15 was able to handle some older titles with ease. Torchlight 2 ran like a champ, easily maintaining 50-60 fps. So, while not officially supported, the AD 15 could handle some light, older titles if needed.
The AD 15 Mini PC from ACEMAGIC is a pleasant surprise. Historically, mini PCs haven’t been much to look at, typically designed to run the most basic of software and usually regulated to a second-tier media server or word processing machine. Yet ACEMAGIC seems to be redefining what a Mini PC is, and the AD 15 is a shining example of this. It packs a serious punch for its weight class and is a great option for students of office workers who need power and productivity without a large footprint. Priced at USD $399.99, the AD 15 has a lot to offer.