Rating:
9/10
?
  • 1 - Does not work
  • 2 - Barely functional
  • 3 - Severely lacking in most areas
  • 4 - Functions, but has numerous issues
  • 5 - Fine yet leaves a lot to be desired
  • 6 - Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 - Great and worth purchasing
  • 8 - Fantastic, approaching best-in-class
  • 9 - Best-in-class
  • 10 - Borderline perfection
Price:
Starting At $500
GEEKOM Mini IT11 PC front-facing on a black desktop
Mark LoProto / How-To Geek

Space is an invaluable but limited asset, and GEEKOM aims to maximize it with its Mini IT11 PC. This tiny unit may not look like much, but with an expandable 16GB of RAM, 11th Gen Intel processor, and the latest in Intel graphics, the Mini IT11 delivers on efficiency and performance.

When I first held GEEKOM’s Mini IT11, I immediately thought I had misread the included specs and capabilities. Surely, there was no way a PC this small could offer expandable RAM and storage alongside a relatively powerful graphics processor and all of the ports its marketing boasted. And yet it does, because we live in an age of space-saving tech. Even still, I was skeptical about how it would all work together without creating a perpetual desktop heat source for my office. Again, my pessimism was put in check when, after a full day of office use, I had to press my hand flat against the metal frame to feel any radiating warmth.

The more I tried to push the IT11, the more it proved that GEEKOM knew what it was doing when it crafted this bit of PC magic; until it came to gaming, which is where the small computer showed its limits.

Here's What We Like

  • Expandable RAM and Storage
  • High performance for a modest price
  • Fits virtually any desktop
  • Wi-Fi 6 delivers high speeds

And What We Don't

  • Poor performance as a gaming PC
  • Too many ports can become a tangle of wires

How-To Geek's expert reviewers go hands-on with each product we review. We put every piece of hardware through hours of testing in the real world and run them through benchmarks in our lab. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product and never aggregate other people’s reviews. Read more >>

Design: Sleek and Compact

GEEKOM Mini IT11 size comparison against a Logitech G502 gaming mouse
Mark LoProto / How-To Geek

  • Dimensions: 1.8 x 4.6 x 4.4in (4.57 x 11.68 x 11.2cm)
  • Mountable?: Yes, VESA mount included

It’s impossible to ignore the IT11’s design. This isn’t some generic, unremarkable desktop tower. It’s minuscule at 1.8 x 4.6 x 4.4in, so it’s sure to fit most desk configurations without much hassle, but the mini PC is also sleek.

A durable charcoal grey metal case lends to a clean aesthetic sure to mesh with most styles. If you don’t want it visible for any reason, the included VESA mount can hide it on the back of a monitor. The fact that it can hang on a monitor should help visualize not just the size, but also the light weight of the mini-computer.

Since the surface area is so limited, GEEKOM needed to surround the PC with ports. No matter what angle you look at, there’s at least one port, which can create some eyesores. I haven’t needed them yet, but the two USB connections on the IT11’s front (1x USB4, 1x USB 3.2) are a little awkwardly placed. Under the wrong circumstances, the PC can become a mess of wires jutting out from the front and rear. Considering the size, that will be far more noticeable than if it were a standard desktop.

Performance: A Surprising Little Powerhouse

  • Processor: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1195G7 (4 Cores, 8 Threads, 12M Cache, 5.0GHz Turbo)
  • RAM: Dual-Channel DDR4 SODIMM 16GB (Expandable up to 64GB)
  • SSD: 512GB SSD (Expandable up to 2TB)
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Pro

For as good as the IT11 looks, the appearance won’t matter if what’s under the hood is subpar. Thankfully, that’s far from the case here. The IT11 runs on Windows 11 Pro and my review model includes an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1195G7 quadcore processor that keeps tasks running smoothly. There are configurations for two 11th Gen i5 processors and the i7-1165G7, but the 5.0GHz max turbo frequency and 12M smart cache have been essential to the IT11’s rapid performance.

Note: Don’t want to use Windows 11 Pro? The IT11 also supports Linux installations.

I ran into very few slowdowns in overall system performance and found it ran just as well as my daily-driver Lenovo computer, which features an i7-9000 3.00 GHz processor. Intensive programs like Adobe Photoshop and my typical assortment of way too many Firefox and Opera tabs didn’t seem to tax it too much, and its near whisper-quiet fan kicked on surprisingly infrequently throughout the day. When I did notice things moving a little slower, I just had to restart Firefox, which has been an issue on every computer I’ve used.

Iris Xe Graphics Keeps Gaming an Option

When gamers see a case as small as the IT11’s, they simply move on to bigger options. For the most part, something as tiny as GEEKOM’s mini PC will include an integrated GPU (a generally lower-powered graphics processor built into the motherboard or CPU). However, the IT11 continues to surprise with dedicated Iris Xe Graphics, and though it’s small, it does put in a fair amount of work.

Are you going to achieve a 4K resolution at 120FPS? No, it doesn’t quite stand up to the latest NVIDIA or AMD offerings. Even at low graphic settings, games like Resident Evil Village chug along uncomfortably. Your mileage is really going to be in older releases and multiplayer games that rely less on crisp graphics.

It’s worth noting that even after pushing through 20 minutes of Village, the IT11 never got hot.

Upgradability: Personalize Your Mini

Though the configuration I worked on was suitable to my needs, the RAM and M.2 SSD of the IT11 can be upgraded if needed. There’s a 2.5-inch SATA HDD slot that can support up to 2TB, and the 16GB DDR4 RAM is expandable up to a whopping 64GB. I don’t foresee going that high with my RAM, especially since this won’t be my primary gaming setup, but the option is always nice to have.

I will, however, upgrade to a 2TB HDD down the line as 512GB is a little on the smaller side these days. If you’re looking to do even the slightest bit of gaming on the IT11, you’ll definitely need to add some hard drive space.

GEEKOM Mini IT11 PC opened to show RAM and SSD cards
Mark LoProto / How-To Geek

While I didn’t install any new components, I did take a peek under the hood. It looks like GEEKOM tried to keep things as simple as possible, so even if you’re intimidated by taking apart your PC, you should feel more comfortable poking around inside the IT11. The RAM sticks pop in and out easily, and adding the SATA HDD is just a matter of tinkering with cables and screws.

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Ports: No Shortage of Options

  • 1 x Mini DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0 input
  • 1 x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port
  • 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 1 x SD card reader
  • 2 x USB4 ports
  • 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports

For its size, it’s impressive how much GEEKOM was able to squeeze into the small case. There are a total of 9 ports, including 1 HDMI, 1 mini DisplayPort, 2 USB4 ports, 3 USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a standard headset jack, and an ethernet port. GEEKOM also snuck in an SD Card Reader and Kensington Security Slot on either side, ensuring that you’ll have at least one of everything needed for most uses.

I question if a DisplayPort was a better option over two HDMI inputs, as the latter is still more universally supported. It seems GEEKOM is hinging more on the mini PC being used for gaming, as the DisplayPort produces a higher-quality image and refresh rate. Unfortunately, the Iris Xe is simply not strong enough to carry the IT11 into the modern AAA gaming space.

It is nice to see that the company went for a higher-quality picture, though, as it shows how dedicated GEEKOM was to providing the best for this tiny package.

Wireless Connectivity That Favors Speed

  • Bluetooth Version: 5.2
  • Wireless (Wi-Fi): Intel Wi-Fi 6

The deeper I got into the IT11’s features, the more surprised I was by what GEEKOM strived to achieve. The company evidently wasn’t looking to cut corners, even when it came to wireless connectivity. The mini PC is equipped with Bluetooth 5.2 for a strong link with your most vital accessories. More important, though, is the built-in Wi-Fi 6.

Wi-Fi 6 was designed to provide 75% lower latency and speeds up to 3 times faster than its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5. It’s capable of talking to devices that support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, so you can best tailor your home network to fit your wireless needs. While it’s not an upgrade you physically see, I ran speed tests on the IT11 and my Lenovo desktop and saw a remarkable difference between the two.

Wi-Fi 6 provides a much cleaner and stronger signal to maximize your wireless speed, both in uploads and downloads.

Should You Buy the GEEKOM Mini IT11 Mini PC?

There is no question that GEEKOM’s Mini IT11 Mini PC is a quality unit capable of handling daily taxing use. What it’s not is a device made for the gaming industry. You’ll be able to play less demanding games at 1080p 30FPS, but it’s certainly not going to replace a larger prebuilt gaming rig. For all other uses, however, the IT11 is a suitable stand-in.

Video and photo editing are possible without slowdown and the 11th Gen Intel Core processor keeps things moving relatively smoothly even when pushed to its limits. If 16GB RAM and a 512GB M.2 SSD don’t cut it, you can upgrade to more than double the size of each. While the option to expand is nice, I don’t see myself having to touch the RAM anytime soon.

The Mini IT11 doesn’t look like much, but GEEKOM was able to pack a lot into the tiny metal frame. There’s an ample number of ports, and likely more than enough USB 3.2 and USB4 inputs for your everyday use. I do have a USB-C docking station connected to my IT11, but only because I needed a third monitor output and none of my monitors were USB-C compatible. Swapping out the DisplayPort for a second HDMI input may be beneficial for some, but the option for a higher resolution is always a plus. It’s just a shame the Iris Xe graphics aren’t quite strong enough to handle intensive gaming.

While far from a requirement, the ability to play higher-end titles at even a medium graphics setting would have elevated the IT11 even further. For now, it can handle older games and modern games not hung up on requiring high-performance rigs. While Resident Evil Village was a bust on even the lowest settings, games like PUBG: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, and a few indie titles off Steam ran well without having to sacrifice the visuals.

There are definitely more powerful PCs on the market, but you won’t easily find a mini that’s as functional, efficient, and capable as GEEKOM’s Mini IT11.

Rating:
9/10
Price:
Starting At $500

Here’s What We Like

  • Expandable RAM and Storage
  • High performance for a modest price
  • Fits virtually any desktop
  • Wi-Fi 6 delivers high speeds

And What We Don't

  • Poor performance as a gaming PC
  • Too many ports can become a tangle of wires
Profile Photo for Mark LoProto Mark LoProto
Mark is a freelance reviewer for How-To Geek and Review Geek, a seasoned freelance writer, and a marketing manager with a strong footing in the gaming and esports industries. He’s been featured across the net on Cultured Vultures, Heavy.com, Bloody Disgusting, and more.
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