Apart from the likes of the Raspberry Pi, casual computer users don’t tend to buy mini desktop PCs – that could change thanks to gaming hardware company Ayaneo’s latest creation.
The newly announced Ayaneo Retro Mini PC AM01 is a compact desktop computer powered by AMD processors. It’s housed inside of a 5-inch case designed to look as much like a beige Macintosh from the 1980s as it can, without attracting the ire of Apple.
The front even flaunts a brazen six-colour rainbow logo (magnetic, and removable), while the faux display bears a phoney Finder-esque face on it.
As Ayaneo is an established (and somewhat prolific) maker of handheld gaming PCs it’s no surprise to see the gaming potential of the Retro Mini PC made the focus in the promotional fluff accompanying the launch, as you can see in this video:
Despite its Apple-esque appearance, the Ayaneo Retro Mini PC actually runs Windows 11.
Plus, the product website advertises compatibility with Ubuntu, Debian, and other ‘Linux hosts’. This isn’t hidden in the fine print, either; the both website and the IndieGoGo campaign have a crisp mockup of Ubuntu 23.10 on a monitor connected to the PC.
I must stress: this PC doesn’t come pre-loaded with Ubuntu. You’ve got the choice of Windows 11 or a barebones version with no an OS (perfect for those who’d rather not splurge on a Windows license they won’t use).
With a starting price of just $149 (barebones, no RAM or SSD), you’d expect sucky specs. Surprisingly, they’re not too shabby. They might not match the cost-effectiveness of building your own rig, but few pre-assembled PCs ever do:
- AMD Ryzen 3 3200U or AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
- Up to 64GB DDR4 dual-channel memory
- Up to 1TB M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 SSD
The performance of the Ryzen 3 3200U falls into the (s)low end APU category, ergo it’s not setting benchmarks on fire. But if paired with ample RAM and fast storage it’ll serve as a decent, if basic, day-to-day computer. For gaming, it’ll plow through retro titles with ease thanks to the Vega 3 graphics.
The Ryzen 7 5700U packs more punch. This 8-core, 16-thread APU has enough clout to offer a capable mid-range PC experience. Games-wise, it’ll run retro and indie titles without woes, and if you keep your expectations and in-game settings low, it should manage mildly demanding older titles, like GTA V.
Connectivity is expansive:
- Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.2
- 1x USB-C
- 3x USB-A
- 3.5mm audio jack
Ayaneo has created an app called AYASpace. This is preinstalled on the non-barebones editions. The app is part games launcher, part data management tool, and part system tweaker. This app only supports Windows, so if you want it you need to buy/install Windows to benefit.
Buy the Ayaneo Retro Mini PC
The Ayaneo Retro Mini PC is available through an Indiegogo campaign, priced from $149 (prices are minus shipping, import fees, etc). That price is an early bird offer and for the bare-bones edition with no RAM, SSD, or OS included.
Shipping begins in the first week of December. If you’re quick enough (and maybe make friends with a few reindeer along the way), you could be decking your halls (or maybe just your desk) with this diminutive device in time for Christmas!
As for why it’s on IndieGoGo at all, your guess is as good as mine. Still, it adds to the confused DNA in offer: a mini PC that looks like a vintage Mac, running the latest version of Windows, but marketed as a retro-gaming machine, and sold via crowdfunding despite production being complete.