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GMKtec NUCBOX5 Review – An amazing palm sized budget mini PC!

A high performance budget mini PC that fits in the palm of your hand
  • Design
  • Build Quality
  • Performance
  • Features
  • Software


The GMKtec NUCBOX5 is an amazing mini PC that packs a very impressive punch for its extremely small size. If you are looking for a high quality budget mini PC for work or retro gaming then look no further!

User Review
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  • One of the smallest PC’s we have seen!
  • Only 2.8×2.8×1.7 inches & 204g.
  • Fastest processor in budget mini PC range
  • 8GB of RAM and up to 1TB SSD supported
  • Fast WiFi 6, Gigabit Ethernet and BT 5.2
  • Two HDMI ports for dual monitor display
  • Quiet fan


You may have seen a sneak peek of the GMKtec NUCBOX5 mini PC in our recent best budget mini PC article, if you haven’t already, read it to find out who won! In our GMKtec NUCBOX5 review we take a closer look at the device then after we run some benchmarks to see its performance. We then try some games and emulators to see its how well it can run them.

GMKtec NUCBOX5 Review Video

Unboxing the GMKtec NUCBOX5

As always, let’s get the GMKtec NUCBOX5 review started with the unboxing! Inside we have a quick start guide that is in full English and covers how to set it up and use it. Underneath is the GMKtec NUCBOX5 which we will show in more detail shortly.


In the box we have a power supply. We will include the correct adaptor for your country when you buy a NUCBOX5 from DroiX.

GMKtec NUCBOX5 unboxing
GMKtec NUCBOX5 Unboxing

GMKtec NUCBOX5 Overview

The GMKtec NUCBOX5 is our smallest reviewed PC, measuring just 2.8 x 2.8 x 1.7 inches (7.2 x 7.2 x 4.4 cm) and weighing only 204 grams!

GMKtec NUCBOX5 Dimensions

On the front are the power button and two USB 3.2 ports. On the right side is a Micro SD card slot for up to 128GB cards.

Front view of the GMKtec NUCBOX5
Front view of the GMKtec NUCBOX5

And on the back you can find a USB Type-C port used for the power. Two HDMI 2.0 ports supporting dual monitor up to 4K 60Hz, a 3.5mm headphone port, a gigabit ethernet port and a USB 3.2 port. 

Back view of the GMKtec NUCBOX5

GMKtec NUCBOX5 Technical Specifications

CPUIntel 11th generation Jasper Lake N5105
FREQUENCY (Base / MAX)2.0GHz / 2.9GHz
GPUIntel UHD Graphics
RAM8GB DDR4 LPDDR4x @ 2933MHz (Max 12GB(
STORAGE256GB / 512GB SSD (Max 1TB)
SLOT3x USB-A 3.2
2x HDMI 2.0
1x Type-C (Power only)
Gigabit LAN RJ45
1x 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Micro SD Card slot (Max 128GB)
WI-FI802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax WiFi 6
OSWindows 11 Home
SIZE / WIGHT2.8 x 2.8 x 1.7 inches (7.2 x 7.2 x 4.4 cm) / 204 grams.
FAN NOISE 49dB (recorded in average office noise environment)
TEMPERATURE 37°C / 99°F (ambient room temperature of 19°C) under full load

System Benchmarks


We start off the benchmarks in our GMKtec NUCBOX5 review with PassMark. It pushes the CPU, GPU, RAM and storage to their maximum to see their peak performance for this small mini PC.

Beelink U591455.6
Beelink GK Mini912.7
Beelink GK35590
Beelink GK35765.5
Minisforum GK50 618.1
Minisforum JB95 1387.7
GMKtek NucBox5 1749
PassMark results compared with other budget mini PC’s

As we recently completed our best budget mini PC comparison, we can compare the scores with those. The NUCBOX5 mini PC for work comes out on top with 1,749. It’s the highest performer in our range of budget mini PC’s of less than £250.


Next we are running PCMark to see the day to day performance when using the NUCBOX5 mini PC for work and home. These include everything from web browsing, working with office documents, media consumption and some light image editing.

Beelink U592349
Beelink GK Mini1852
Beelink GK351071
Beelink GK351345
Minisforum GK50 1973
Minisforum JB95 2292
GMKtek NucBox5 2522
PCMark results compared with other budget mini PC’s

The NUCBOX5 scores 2,522, again putting it just ahead of the Beelink U59 followed by the Minisforum JB95 office mini PC’s. 


3DMark tests the CPU and GPU together to see how they perform for video related tasks such as image or video editing through to gaming. The NUCBOX is not a gaming mini pc, far from it, with a score of just 355. You would not be able to play any AAA high end games, but older ones and classic console emulators will be just fine as we will see shortly.


As part of our GMKtec NUCBOX5 review we are including CrystalDiskMark results as a few of our viewers have requested it to be included in the benchmarks again. 

Beelink U59540 / 401
Beelink GK Mini515 / 491
Beelink GK35244 / 130
Beelink GK35559 / 487
Minisforum GK50 544 / 454
Minisforum JB95 535 / 493
GMKtek NucBox5 555 / 409
CrystalDiskMark results compared with other budget mini PC’s

The NUCBOX5 mini PC for home gets a best read score of 555 and write score of 409 MB/s. The writing score is a little lower than others in this price range, but it makes up for that in read speed with 2nd place in the results.

Benchmark Summary

Here is a summary of the benchmark results compared to other mini PC’s in the sub £250 price range.

Budget Mini PC benchmark results
Budget Mini PC benchmark results

As you can see the GMKtec NUCBOX5 comes out very much on top with the highest scores in PassMark and PC Mark. Disk speeds are around the same levels of performance as the other devices. And WiFi performance is excellent thanks to the high speeds of WiFi 6.

Gaming Performance

Continuing our GMKtec NUCBOX5 review with some gaming performance. As mentioned, it’s not a gaming mini PC, especially at this physical size, specification and price. So we won’t be doing all of our normal gaming benchmark tests such as Forza Horizon 5 which is unplayable. 

Instead we will take a look at some Windows games which run very well on this tiny PC.

Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4 running on Ultra
Streets of Rage 4 running on Ultra

We have Streets Of Rage 4 running at 720p on Vulkan graphics set to Ultra. We are getting 60 frames per second with barely noticeable drops to 59 FPS. I did try lowering the settings to the lowest and still get the drops to 59, so the counter is just being overly accurate, it does not affect the gameplay at all. The game otherwise runs perfectly and is very playable.

Pinball FX3

Pinball FX3 GMKtec NUCBOX5 Review
Pinball FX3

A game that is often overlooked is Pinball FX3, it is a great game that is regularly updated with new tables. It runs at around 40-60 frames per second depending on the complexity of the table. You can either let it jump around between, or lock it to 30 frames per second to keep things running smoothly.



Tunic was released just a few weeks ago and it runs at around 60 frames per second during the time I played on low settings at 720P. You may notice a few dips now and again when loading in a new level or there is a very busy scene. 

Emulator Performance

The emulator performance really surprised us while testing the NUCBOX5. It can play all of your favourite retro games on classic 8 and 16 bit consoles without any issues. It makes for a great retro gaming mini PC! So let’s take a look at the more advanced and recent systems.


SEGA Saturn emulation runs very well on the NUCBOX5. You may notice some dips in busy scenes in some games, but otherwise you should be running at full speed for the most part.

SEGA Saturn emulation
SEGA Saturn emulation

PlayStation 1

PlayStation 1 also works great. I tried a bunch of games and did not notice any slowdown at all. All of the games were running at full speed, you can add some graphics filters to improve the visual quality.

PlayStation emulation
PlayStation emulation


The SEGA Dreamcast is next and I was happy to see all of the games I tried running at full speed. I did not have any problems with lag or having to change settings. It simply works on the NUCBOX5!

Dreamcast emulation on the NUCBOX5
Dreamcast emulation on the NUCBOX5


Games running on the Mupen64 Plus – Next emulator work very well. I tried some 1st and 3rd party titles and did not have any issues with slowdown. Everything seems to work just fine.

PS2 emulation on the GMKtec NUCBOX5 Review
PS2 emulation on the NUCBOX5


The first of our handhelds running on the MGBA emulator is Contra Advance. We had no issues with games running and they were all playing at full speed. You can add some graphics filters to improve the upscaling with no drops in performance.

GBA emulation on the GMKtec
GBA emulation on the GMKtec


We can’t test the PlayStation Portable and PPSSPP without God of War. I am pleased to say it pretty much runs at 60 frames per second. There were a couple of drops to 50 or so while playing but they were a rare occurrence and did not affect the gameplay too much. Other less demanding games work amazingly well!

PPSSPP PSP emulator for GMKtec NUCBOX5 Review
PPSSPP PSP emulator


The dual screen handheld is up next running DESMUME on RetroArch. I tried several different games and they all ran without issues. By the way, you can swap the two screens side by side, or single screen if you want to. Simply set up a hotkey to swap in the RetroArch settings.

DS emulator
DS emulator


The 3D dual screen handheld is the last of our handhelds. We are running the excellent emulator Citra and the performance kind of depends on the game. As you can see on Sonic Generations, it lags while generating shader caches. The second playthrough will be smoother as the caches are already generated. Ridge Racer 3D on the other hand, works far smoother and is playable on your first playthrough.  So yeah, it depends on the game really.

3DS emulator on NUCBOX5
3DS emulator on NUCBOX5


Games running on the Dolphin emulator are quite mixed. I tried some 1st party titles and I saw a fair number of them getting around 30-40 frames per second.  I did however find some games that either run full speed or are very playable. Not every game will run great, but I would imagine a fair number will.

Dolphin emulator
Dolphin emulator

PlayStation 2

The PlayStation 2 and PCSX2 is where we see the NUCBOX5 reaching its limit. I tried a few games and none of them reached full speed. You can see we are getting around 30 FPS on Outrun. You may get lucky with some basic games if you want to try those.

PlayStation 2 emulator
PlayStation 2 emulator

Summary – Is the NUCBOX5 worth buying?

Time to finish our GMKtec NUCBOX5 review with our thoughts. This mini PC is perfect as a home or office work PC. It takes up minimal space and is powerful enough to easily handle your daily tasks and workload. These can include the basics such as web browsing through to media consumption up to 4K quality, and working with large office documents.

While it is not a gaming mini PC, you can play older titles from several years ago with varying degrees of success. And depending on the game you can play newer titles such as Streets of Rage 4 or Tunic which is a great game!

Tekken 6 on PSP emulator
Tekken 6 on PSP emulator

For emulation, the NUCBOX5 impressed me a great deal. It can easily handle all of your 8 and 16bit classic computers and consoles. Going into newer generations such as the PlayStation 1 and Dreamcast era you can enjoy these at mostly full speed. For the newer generation of handhelds you can expect no major issues with the PSP and DS emulators. For Citra, you will have a mixed bag of what runs and doesn’t, but there are quite a few very playable games.

The GMKtec NUCBOX5 is an amazing mini PC that packs a very impressive punch for its extremely small size. To put it in comparison, many mini PCs in the budget range are at least twice the physical size, and still do not compete in terms of performance and features. If you are looking for a high quality budget mini PC for work or retro gaming then look no further!

Where can I buy the GMKtec NUCBOX5?

You can learn more about and buy the GMKtec NUCBOX5 here. You can also browse our range of mini PC’s here.

Thanks for reading or watching our GMKtec NUCBOX5 review, we hope you have found it useful in deciding if this is the right mini PC for your requirements!

Bringer of videos, text and images! AKA the social media guy at DroiX. Massive retro gaming fan and collector, with a far too large collection of consoles and computers from 1970's to modern.