Chuwi LarkBox X Review – Ryzen Powered Mini PC with Dual 2.5 gigabit ethernet
This is their lark box x, and this is powered by a ryzen, 7 3700u processor, its a problematic machine and were going to take a look at whats good about it and whats, not so good in just a second. But i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure. This came in free of charge from chewy. However, nobody is paying for this review, nor has anyone reviewed or approved what youre about to see before it was uploaded and all the opinions youre about to hear are my own, so lets get into it now and see what this mini pc is all about. Now the price point on this one is about 400. At the time im recording this video. I always like to start these reviews off with a warning which is to buy at your own risk. I have heard that the support from chewie and other brands like it is not very good primarily because they dont have a worldwide support presence. So if you have a problem with this and support offers to fix it, you might have to send the computer all the way back to china to get that issue rectified, and i have not had very good support experiences with chewy in the past. In fact, i had some questions about this machine which ill talk about in a few minutes, and they were not very good about helping me through those and im the guy they sent this thing to for a reviews.
I dont know how you, as a customer, might fare in a support question with them. So again, just keep that in mind if you are in the market for one of these things now this one has a ryzen, 7 3700u processor on board. This is an older ryzen chip, but it actually performs quite well and im seeing a lot of mini pcs powered by this same chip entering the market right now, and i suspect that theres a glut of these 3 700 – u processors out there and companies are buying Them up and building inexpensive pcs around those and other low cost components. Now this one has eight gigabytes of ram and its configured in dual channel mode, and it has a 256 gigabyte, nvme ssd, both the storage and the ram are upgradable. You can bring the ram up to 32 gigabytes and, of course, you can put in a larger nvme if you want both of those components are very accessible on the bottom of the computer. You just screw off the lower panel here and you are good to go. So not hard to get this thing upgraded if you do want to go beyond what it comes with on the front, youve got two usb 3 ports along with a usb type c port. This is a fully functional port in that it can actually power the computer as well as provide data and video through that single port. One thing to note, though, is that the video coming out of the usbc is limited to 4k at 30 frames per second.
So you can get three displays going, but only two of them can run at 60 frames per second at 4k. This third one will be at 30 frames per second, you have a headphone jack over here, nothing on this side or this side, and then in the back here, youve got your fan exhaust along with power, an hdmi output, a display port output. Both of these again will do 60 frames per second, and then youve got your usb 3 ports here, youll notice. I skipped over the ethernet ports because theres a problem here they do advertise these ethernet ports as two and a half gigabits each, but as youll see in a minute were not able to get anywhere near that performance out of these ports. In fact, these ports perform at a lower rate in most cases than even a gigabit ethernet port would perform and thats due to the intel networking chipset that theyve installed in this computer. This has an i 225 chipset, which has been a problematic chipset in a few other computers that have had it, and the result of this is that i cannot get this to perform anywhere near two and a half gigabits, and if i plug in a usb two And a half gigabit adapter to the front everything is fine, so theres really something up here. With these two ports, i tried driver, reinstallations, weve, tried reconfiguring switches and routers different cables. You name it. I exhausted every possible thing.
I could – and i could not get these two ethernet ports to work correctly. So if you were looking at this, as maybe a neat little way to do a pf sense, router or something look elsewhere now i did reach out to the company to tell them that there was something wrong with these ethernet jacks. They wrote back and said there was nothing wrong with my unit, so i guess the performance that youre about to see is how its supposed to perform. It is made out of plastic its got kind of an xbox series, s like design to it, but youll notice. Here that the fan at the top doesnt quite fill up the area that theyve designated with the grill, but most of the fan here, is able to get access to air that it will blow out the back here. Let me plug this in now and ill show. You how it performs all right lets begin with some of the ethernet performance issues. Now remember. This is supposed to be two and a half gigabits per second. My internet connection here at the house is three gigabits per second symmetrical. So we should easily max this out and, as you can see here were only getting about 180 or so megabits per second downstream, and the upstream will be better but far less than the two and a half gigabits that is advertised here, as you can see, were Getting about a gigabit and a half here and whats odd is that when the machine first boots up, itll often work fine, but after its been on for about 15 or 20 minutes, or so is when this performance issue degrades im going to plug in the ethernet.
Now to the other port and see if it makes any difference here in my testing, it hasnt made much of a difference, but this thing has been acting quite erratically when it comes to these ethernet jacks, so sometimes itll, work and other times it just does what You saw here, although once its been on for a while again it just kind of tends to stay at this performance level. So heres the other ethernet port same issue, and i did test it with a iperf test on the local network, also just to make sure it wasnt the internet, and this is the exact same performance im getting using an iperf test. So theres just something not right here and i suspect that when the system heats up a little bit is when this ethernet problem presents itself. So again, i just cant recommend this for its ethernet performance, because it is really all over the place now. Power consumption on this at idle is about 7 watts when youve got it fully. Maxed out, itll hit about 32 watts, or so now, as a general purpose. Pc, it feels pretty nice and were running this display right now at 4k, 60 and, as you can see its able to render everything in without any noticeable lag, it just feels pretty snappy and responsive. Even at this high resolution and again this is an older chip that is typically found in older laptops, but its performing better here, because its not power constrained inside of a desktop like it might be on a laptop.
So you might be surprised with these 3000 series. Ryzen chips, how nicely they perform here in desktop form and browsing the web is one area where i think youll have a lot of good performance. We also took a look at youtube a little bit earlier with a 4k 60 video file. Here we were getting a decent playback performance; it was dropping frames every once in a while. That was not the fault of that ad that popped up. We did let it go a little bit longer, just to be sure it wasnt all that noticeable. It was dropping a frame or two here or there, and it was able to mostly keep up with this high frame rate. High resolution youtube video, so i think for again, general desktop computing uh. This is not a bad performance level and on the browserbench.org speedometer benchmark test, we got a score of 119 thats, almost double what we saw out of a 3200. U chip on a laptop, i reviewed a couple of years ago, but its not as fast, of course, as the current generation ryzen processor, which is two generations ahead of this one, but still decent performance, and if youve got work to do microsoft, word and excel, and Everything seem to be running pretty nicely on here as well, so lets take a look at games on this device. This is not going to be a triple a game platform, but we were able to get red dead redemption 2 running on it.
This is at 720p. At the absolute lowest settings and we were getting between 25 and 30 frames per second, although it was mostly on the lower end of that range, but still somewhat playable, which was surprising. We had better luck with the witcher 3. This was also 720p lowest settings, and here we were getting above 30, sometimes as high as 45 frames per second, but again quite a range here, depending on whats, going on in the game. A few lag kits here and there, but still somewhat playable, which is pretty cool out of a low cost mini pc like this one. We also ran the gamecube emulator dolphin, and here we were able to run dolphin at full speed, which has been similar to what weve seen out of these ryzen processors running on laptops. Now i did try no mans sky and do maternal those are games. We like to test on these ryzen devices as well. Neither game worked here on this little mini pc. What did work, though, was game streaming and we streamed some games from stadia here, as you can see, and it seemed to work just fine even over the ethernet, but because of some of the issues im seeing with the ethernet, you might want to use the computers Wi fi instead just note that the wi fi is ac only and does not support wi fi six and, on the 3dmark time spy benchmark test. We got a score of 815.
I was surprised by this score because it was very close to what we saw out of the lenovo ideapad flex 5, the other day, which is running with a more recent ryzen processor. So it really is performing quite well with those ethernet issues aside, but its still not going to be anywhere near what you would experience with an xbox series s, for example. So while this can play games its not something, i would recommend for its primary use case and on the 3d mark stress test, we got a failing grade of 92.8 percent. That indicates that when this machine is placed under heavy sustained load, it will slow down a bit to prevent itself from getting too hot. So you might notice some dips in performance here and there, especially if you are playing games on it over a longer stretch of time. The fan noise is relatively quiet on this when its in a more idle state or if youre browsing the web, but once that processor gets placed under load, that fan does make some noise and because its so close to the top of the unit. Here you will hear it so if you are looking for something that doesnt make noise sitting on the desk, there are a number of lower powered intel machines that are fanless. That might be a better fit here, but generally the fan noise is at a pretty low level if youre just browsing the web or working on a word document, all right.
One last thing to check out and that is its linux performance. It was able to detect the display the wi fi. The audio performance fell about where i would expect it to be, even at 4k 60, which was what we were running it at here, but guess what didnt get detected or work the ethernet. So i think the networking is a real problem here and it didnt seem to work on the linux side in our testing with it it wasnt an out of the box experience. So this might be something where youve got to hunt down drivers and get everything installed manually, but we were not able to get that working here, so this is mostly a miss. For me, their performance was pretty good. Actually, when we were doing things like game playing and general computing uses, but i cannot excuse the lack of consistent performance out of the ethernet. So when you start it up from a cold state, you will likely get what you see on screen here, which is the full performance out of the ethernet. But after a little while that performance just degrades to what you saw at the beginning of the video – and i cannot figure out why it works fine one minute and not the next other than its not stable in its performance on the network. And i have definitely ruled out anything on my local network here as a cause of this issue, so i think theres just something going on here with this ethernet chipset related to this computer and as such, i cannot recommend this as something that i would run a Pf sense router on, for example, which might be an attractive use case, given the processing performance out of this, and the fact that it has multi gigabit built in and just in case, youre wondering when the performance is degraded like it is now again here.
Its still reporting that it is connecting at two and a half gigabits back to my switch, but were not getting uh that kind of performance out of it consistently. So this one is a bit of a miss for me, mostly because of that ethernet problem, which is a shame, because the performance otherwise for what it has inside is quite good thats, going to do it for now until next time. This is lon seidman. Thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by theland.tv supporters, including gold level, supporters, jim tannis and tom albrecht, hot sauce and video games and erics variety channel, brian parker and frank goldman, amda brown and matt zagaya and chris alegretta.