Outside of single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi, small form-factor desktop PCs aren’t super common — a market gap gaming hardware company Ayaneo hopes to fill.
They’ve unveiled the Ayaneo Retro Mini PC AM01, an AMD-powered desktop computer housed inside a 5-inch box designed to look as much like a beige Macintosh from the 1980s as it can, without being sued by Apple.
The front is brazenly embellished with a six-colour rainbow logo (magnetic, and removable), and the faux display bears a phoney Finder face on it.
Ayaneo is a profiling maker of handheld gaming PCs, so it’s not surprise to see they’re leaning heavily on the gaming potential of the Retro Mini PC in the marketing materials to accompany it:
Despite the Apple aesthetic, the Ayaneo Retro Mini PC actually runs Windows 11.
Ubuntu, Debian, and other “Linux host” compatibility is advertised on the IndieGoGo page. It’s not buried in an FAQ or footnote either; the campaign page has a nice crisp mockup of Ubuntu 23.10 on a monitor connected to the device.
I must stress: this PC is not sold with Ubuntu pre-installed. There’s Windows, or a barebones edition without an OS for those who don’t want to pay for a Windows license you won’t use.
Given the starting price is just $149 (barebones, no RAM or SSD) you’d expect the specs to suck. But they’re actually kind of okay — no, not as cheap as building something yourself, but few pre-assembled PCs ever are:
- AMD Ryzen 3 3200U or AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
- Up to 32GB DDR4 dual-channel memory
- Up to 1TB M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 SSD
The performance of the Ryzen 3 3200U is a (s)low end APU, so it’s not stellar performance wise. But with ample RAM and nippy storage it’ll be a decent, if basic, day-to-day computer. On the gaming side, it’ll chow through retro titles due to the AMD Radeon RX Vega 3 graphics.
The Ryzen 7 5700U is more capable. The 8-core, 16-thread APU has enough clout for a competent mid-range computer. Gaming-wise, it’ll run retro and modest indie titles without sweat, and if expectations and in-game settings are set low, it’ll cope with 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 a custom gaming app that comes preinstalled on the Windows versions. It’s some sort of launcher/store, but they’re hoping to turn into all sorts of stuff, based on their social media) replies.
As that software only supports Windows, if you want it, you’ll have to buy/use 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).
Devices begin shipping first week of December so if you’re quick (and possibly befriend a few reindeer) you could have this on your desk in time for Christmas!
— No, I’m not entirely sure why it’s on IndieGoGo either. It’s already been made. I guess it adds to the confusion: a mini PC that looks like a Mac, runs Windows, and is pitched as a retro-gaming gaming machine, sold via a crowd-funding site, despite having already been made…