The VivoMini VC65R is one of the latest small form factor (SFF) PCs to come from ASUS, and it’s gorgeous. Square, and sporting a “spun metal finish”, the VC65R is both really good to look at, plus it is small and light enough to mount behind a PC monitor or TV using a VESA mount.
Even though it’s small, it’s an incredibly versatile PC under the hood thanks to support for desktop-grade sixth-gen Intel Core chips, two DDR3 DIMM slots that support a maximum of 16GB, and various drive bay configurations with space for up to four 2.5-inch hard drives, just two drives or two drives and an optical drive. That’s quite surprising from a PC barely the size of a box of biscuits.
Getting at the machine’s insides requires that you open the lid and unscrew the drive cage. Once that’s done, you’ll get access to the two RAM DIMM slots and the second hard drive bay. It’s a minor inconvenience that offers a lot of benefits in return.
Upgradeability in small form factor PCs is becoming increasingly common, which is great for anyone worried that choosing SFF means about being locked in to a set specification – it’s simply not the case here.
The default model comes with two drive bays, one of which is filled with a 1TB drive that’s partitioned into OS and Data drives. But the beauty of ASUS’s design is that you have the option to simply add a second drive of the same capacity and configure RAID using the built-in tools. You can choose between a super-fast drive, one with built-in redundancy or a single, high-capacity logical volume made up of two separate drives. Handy!
In addition to an SD card reader, the VivoMini VC65R has a full suite of ports. Over and above the USB 3.0 ports and the usual microphone and headphone inputs/outputs, you have support for up to three displays using the individual HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA ports on the back.
Interestingly, ASUS also included an RS-232 port, better known as a serial port. While an odd decision on the surface, it’s there for good reason: this little PC is ideal as a Point of Sale (POS) machine, and since POS machines need to interface with things like barcode scanners, and 90% of barcode scanners made today still use serial ports, the VivoMini VC65R simply has to have one.
And because AC-class Wi-Fi is quite normal in 2017 (some would even say expected), this little PC comes with an AC-class Wi-Fi radio. It ensures super-fast wireless networking speeds when connected to an appropriately-specced router.
ASUS’s engineers did such a great job spacing the internal components out that they even managed to put the power brick on the inside of the VC65R, which means less clutter for you at the end of the day.
So with its stunning looks that will be at home in any living room environment plus its ability to mount any VESA-capable TV or monitor, the VC65R is well-suited to both work and play. In fact, as its power means it can play and stream 4K movie files without breaking a sweat, it would work brilliantly as a home theatre PC.
And there you have it, the best of both worlds: small and powerful.
- Beautiful to look at
- Plenty of configuration options
- RAID support in such a tiny form factor is a treat
- Powered by 6th-gen Intel chips
- Power brick is on the inside
- Plenty of ports, AC WiFi
- The inclusion of a serial port is a mystery
- Have to take it apart to get to its upgradeable bits