Asus PN40 and PB40 mini-PCs bring Gemini Lake SoCs to the masses

Asus may not be your first thought when you start looking for a mini-PC, but the company has a fair few on offer. Its most recent releases, the PN40 and PB40, are fanless designs that differ only in size and external connectivity. Let's check 'em out.

Asus PN40 mini-PC

The PN40 is a general-use device aimed at home users, while the PB40 is aimed at businesses and offices looking for quiet-and-compact workstations. Both machines have a square footprint: 4.5" (11.5 cm) on a side for the PN40, and 6.8" (17.5 cm) on a side for the PB40. They differ slightly in thickness too. The smaller PN40 is slightly boxy at just under 2" thick (4.9 cm), while the PB40 is slimmer at 1.3" (3.4 cm).

Asus PB40 mini-PC

The hardware inside either model is the same. You get the option of Gemini Lake Celeron N4000 or Celeron J4005 SoCs. Both chips have two CPU cores and 12 GPU EUs, but the 10-W J4005 starts at 2 GHz while the 4.8-W N4000 runs at 1.1 GHz by default. Either CPU will burst to over 2.5 GHz for short intervals. The Asus mini-PCs come with two SO-DIMM slots that support DDR4 memory at up to 2400 MT/s, and room for both 2.5" and M.2 storage. They also can be purchased with up to 64 GB of eMMC flash.

Asus PN40 external ports diagram

The other big difference between the PN40 and PB40 is in their external connectivity. As befits its consumer-oriented design, the PN40 has an HDMI port along with Mini-DisplayPort and VGA connections. The machine gets a single USB 2.0 port, four USB 3.0 ports (one in Type-C flavor), a combo audio jack, and a Gigabit Ethernet connection. For those looking to use the machine in embedded environments, the VGA connection can be replaced with a legacy serial port, though it's not entirely clear if this is an option or something the user can do himself.

Asus PB40 external ports diagram

Meanwhile, the PB40 has a few more options. The HDMI port makes way for a full-sized DisplayPort. There are six USB 3.0 ports (one of them Type-C) as well as the one USB 2.0 port. This model has a dedicated mic-in jack besides the audio output combo port, and it comes with a legacy serial port as standard. Interestingly, the PB40's VGA jack can apparently be switched out for another serial port or DisplayPort connection, though once again it's unclear if this something done at the factory. There's also an RP-SMA connector for an external Wi-Fi antenna.

Asus hasn't announced pricing for the mini-PCs yet, but they'll apparently come in a plethora of varieties given all the options on offer. There will also be barebones versions for folks who'd rather do it themselves. These machines should be available any day now, so if you're keen to try out Gemini Lake, keep an eye out. Thanks to TR tipster SH SOTN for the heads-up.

Comments closed
    • LostCat
    • 2 years ago

    I assume when these companies marketers try to sell me something with USB 3.1 Gen 1 they really just want to be punched in the face.

    • uni-mitation
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]Asus hasn't announced pricing for the mini-PCs yet, but they'll apparently come in a plethora of varieties given all the options on offer. There will also be barebones versions for folks who'd rather do it themselves. [/quote<] Let's try to estimate a fair market value: CPUs: [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157803&cm_re=celeron_j4005-_-13-157-803-_-Product<] embedded AsRock J4005 [/url<]: This one seems to have feature parity with the business oriented Asus offering including that Serial port for legacy support. As for consumer, we have [url=https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/processors/celeron/n4000.html<] the laptop chip for the consumer offering. [/url<] There is unavailability on price but it was last seen as [url=https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-Pentium-G4600-vs-Intel-Celeron-N4000-vs-Intel-Celeron-J4005/2921vs3239vs3200<] $107 [/url<]. We also have Intel NUC barebones for [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA24G74D8056&cm_re=celeron_j4005-_-1VK-004K-001W5-_-Product<] $133.27 [/url<] as a comparable bare-bones competitor. So, I think for the business offering a price of $145 through $185, and for the consumer offering a price of $105 through $135. Is this a good fair market value? Am I missing something? uni-mitation

    • LoneWolf15
    • 2 years ago

    Disappointed they didn’t release a model with the quad-core J5005. It’s a much better value.

      • uni-mitation
      • 2 years ago

      I was surprised they were using a laptop chip for their consumer offering. They could have gone with the dual core J5005 as the consumer choice and then offered the quad-core variant on the madding confusing name of Pentium Silver (yay for marketing departments!) [url=https://ark.intel.com/products/128984/Intel-Pentium-Silver-Processor-J5005-4M-Cache-up-to-2_80-GHz?wapkw=j5005<] for around $161 MSRP [/url<] since it has a beefier turbo clock of 2.8 GHZ. And within the same thermal envelope! On a side note, why is AMD copying Intel's naming schemes with its ryzen chips? What is up with this Pentium Silver & Gold? What is next, Xeon Platinium? ICore Emerald & Ruby? I rue the day we let marketing department be run by a bunch of MBAs. Let's have engineers run marketing departments! uni-mitation

        • HERETIC
        • 2 years ago

        You used to be able to get “real”mobile Celeron’s-15Watt on 6″boards,and were
        generally twice as powerful as SOC’s based on atom………………………………….
        The quad core Pentium’s closed the gap thro……………..

        • LoneWolf15
        • 2 years ago

        What dual core J5005? The J5005 is quad.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      At least from what I’ve seen, AsRock is the only manufacturer (besides Intel) that has any J5005 products you can buy.
      [url<]https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157808[/url<] I think it'd be neat for TR to review that mobo BTW.

    • Growler
    • 2 years ago

    One thing I hate about these SoCs is that they keep getting lost in the wash.

    • FanlessTech
    • 2 years ago

    Another scoop by Zak!

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