MSI Professional DP21 Evaluation

Mid-tower PC circumstances dominate finances desktop buying, however why not go smaller? Beginning at $329 ($471 as examined), the MSI Professional DP21 is a mini PC that holds simply as a lot functionality in about one-tenth the house. Compact sufficient for VESA mounting behind a monitor or underneath a desk, it nonetheless has loads of ports, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth wi-fi connectivity, and a perky Intel Core i3 processor. The ECS Liva Z3 and Intel NUC 12 Professional are even smaller, however neither balances value and efficiency in addition to the Professional DP21. With that, this mini MSI simply earns an Editors’ Selection award amongst finances mini PCs.

The Exterior: Operate Over Kind

MSI’s Professional DP21 is aimed toward house and enterprise customers with on a regular basis wants corresponding to workplace productiveness, internet browsing or video streaming, and point-of-sale operations. Our entry-level overview unit has a quad-core Intel Core i3-12100 processor, 8GB of reminiscence, a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), and Home windows 11 Dwelling. The PC is able to run out of the field and features a fundamental USB keyboard and mouse. All you will want so as to add is a monitor.

This PC’s no-nonsense case measures 2.2 by 8 by 8.2 inches (HWD), which works out to a quantity of simply 2.3 liters. That is nearly nothing when you think about a typical mid-tower is round 30 liters.

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

As talked about, the Professional DP21 helps VESA mounting, permitting you to place it behind a monitor, on a wall, and even connected to the underside of your desk. In case you do not need to mount it, that is positive; it will possibly lie horizontally or be positioned vertically in its included stand.

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Design-wise, the Professional DP21 will not appeal to second glances, although its entrance panel makes an try at standing out with plastic ridges for definition and a silver MSI emblem. Ports up entrance embrace 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks and 4 retro USB 2.0 ports. The facility button glows white when the system is powered on.

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Across the again, you will discover HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort video outputs, every supporting 4K at 60Hz for a contemporary dual-monitor setup. Along with these are Gigabit Ethernet, serial, three USB Sort-A (two variations of three.2 Gen 1 and one 3.2 Gen 2), one USB Sort-C (3.2 Gen 2), and microphone-in and line-out audio jacks. A last connector accommodates the laptop-style 120-watt AC adapter, as this desktop is just too small for an inside energy provide.

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

This little desktop permits for commendable serviceability. Eradicating two Philips screws enables you to slide the highest panel rearward. The 6.5-inch-square motherboard has every thing in plain sight, together with an M.2 2280 slot for SSDs, an M.2 2230 wi-fi card slot, and two DDR4-3200 SO-DIMM slots for as much as 64GB of RAM (two 32GB modules). The included Intel AX201 wi-fi card helps Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. Its antenna is constructed into the chassis.

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Two 2.5-inch storage drives could be put in within the steel cage above the reminiscence slots. Even the Professional DP21’s processor could be upgraded; the motherboard helps socketed FCLGA1700 Intel “Alder Lake” CPUs with a 65-watt base energy ranking. Mini PCs typically resort to non-upgradable cell chips, so this can be a nice shock.

Cooling wants are minimal in a PC this small. The fan atop the CPU heatsink is the one one on this unit; it stays quiet even underneath intense use.

Testing the MSI Professional DP21: On a regular basis Efficiency, Test

To recap, our $471 MSI Professional DP21 (mannequin 12M-407US) options an Intel Core i3-12100 CPU (4 3.3GHz Efficiency cores, no Environment friendly cores, eight threads), Intel UHD 730 built-in graphics, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and Home windows 11 Dwelling. The guarantee is one yr, and a USB-wired keyboard and mouse accompany the bundled stand. I briefly noticed the system on the market for $429 on Amazon.

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

MSI’s low value and desktop CPU are a uncommon combo within the mini PC section. Efficiency-wise, it competes with small-form-factor PCs, such because the Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92 ($559 as examined with a Core i5-12400). Mini PCs within the neighborhood embrace the palm-sized ECS Liva Z3, which is cheap ($250) however hobbled by a weak Intel Pentium Silver CPU. We even have the Geekom IT8 Mini PC ($549), which makes use of an older-but-capable, laptop-grade Core i5-8265U chip. Neither of them is as upgrade-friendly because the Professional DP21.

Along with these PCs, we embrace benchmark outcomes for the $1,064 Intel NUC 12 Professional powered by a laptop-grade Core i7-1260P. You may see the contenders’ fundamental specs within the desk beneath.

Productiveness and Content material Creation Assessments

Our first take a look at is UL’s PCMark 10, which simulates quite a lot of real-world productiveness and workplace workflows to measure total efficiency for on a regular basis apps starting from phrase processing and spreadsheet work to videoconferencing. It additionally features a storage subtest for the first drive.

Three different benchmarks concentrate on the CPU, utilizing all accessible cores and threads, to price a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 makes use of that firm’s Cinema 4D engine to render a posh scene, whereas Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Professional simulates standard apps starting from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine studying. Lastly, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to transform a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision (decrease occasions are higher).

Our last productiveness take a look at is Puget Techniques’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which makes use of the Artistic Cloud model 22 of Adobe’s well-known picture editor to price a PC’s efficiency for content material creation and multimedia purposes. It is an automatic extension that executes quite a lot of common and GPU-accelerated Photoshop duties starting from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to making use of masks, gradient fills, and filters.

MSI’s desktop posts a PCMark 10 rating that clears the 4,000-point hurdle signifying wonderful efficiency for Microsoft Workplace 365 and Google Workspace, outdoing the Geekom and the underpowered Liva Z3. The Professional DP21 additionally places up wholesome numbers within the CPU benchmarks, coming near the six-core Acer in Geekbench. Adobe Photoshop just isn’t this mini PC’s robust swimsuit, however with extra RAM it most likely would have fared higher.

Graphics Assessments

For Home windows PCs, our artificial gaming exams embrace two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark, Evening Raid (extra modest, appropriate for methods with built-in graphics) and Time Spy (extra demanding, appropriate for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs). Additionally looped into that group is the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which we use to gauge OpenGL efficiency.

MSI’s Professional DP21 does about in addition to could be anticipated from a desktop with Intel UHD built-in graphics—in different phrases, it will not be enjoying the newest video games anytime quickly. Intel’s NUC 12 Professional, with later-generation Iris Xe graphics, scores significantly higher in these exams, for instance.

Verdict: Mini Measurement, Mega Worth

Briefly, the Professional DP21 exemplifies what value-oriented mini PCs needs to be all about. Its present connectivity, together with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth—and its spectacular improve potential—make the Professional DP21 a viable different to small-form-factor towers, and its desktop-grade Intel processor is way more responsive than many cell CPUs. For lower than $500 as examined, you’ll be able to’t go flawed with the MSI Professional DP21, incomes a well-deserved Editors’ Selection amongst finances mini PCs.

MSI Professional DP21 4.5 Editors’ Selection See It $349.00 at Amazon MSRP $471.00 Execs Compact, VESA-mountable design


Peppy Core i3 processor

Ample connectivity together with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth

Simply upgradable View Extra Cons Not the smallest mini PC The Backside Line MSI’s budget-friendly, desk-space-saving Professional DP21 mini PC delivers loads of efficiency, numerous wired connectivity, and Wi-Fi 6 for a low value.