For some bizarre moon-reason, Amazon and eBay are flooded with HP EliteDesk 705 G4 Minis. These are not anemic N100 powered snooze bricks, nay! These wee critters pack an AMD Ryzen 2400GE processor (4 cores, 8 threads), Vega integrated graphics, 8GB of DDR4 memory, and a 250GB solid-state drive (SSD) – all for a very reasonable price of $120.

Let’s tear one apart, fix some bits, slap some Linux on it and find out what works.


BEFORE YOU GET STARTED

You really should think of this as a starter kit, since there are a few things we need to upgrade/repair.

Starting with the fan. It’s always on, and that means it’s going to start making angry fan noises sooner rather than later. Even if yours is working fine, order a spare. Procrastinate if you must, but when yours begins screeching at 2 am, remember old man Venn trying to warn you.

Since you’ve popped the lid, might as well add another 8 gigabytes of memory to take advantage of dual channel goodness. It’s a cheap and easy performance boost for any AMD system.

And last but not least, have a look at the NVMe drive that’s hidden under the SSD cage. Mine came with a Samsung PM961, which is an OEM Samsung 960 EVO, but I’m going to replace it with a new one because reasons.

Replacement fan: P/N: L19561-001 FL3B
Additional RAM: P/N: HMA81GS6AFR8N-UH


BIOS / UEFI

Smash that escape button, fam! Hop into the BIOS, click “advanced”, select “boot options” and slide USB right to the top. Now you can head over to the main menu and give it a save.

Now grab a flash drive filled with your favourite flavour of Linux, pop it in a USB hole, and give it a boot.


LINUX INSTALL

Let’s install Debian Stable on the EliteDesk! Why? Simple, if Debian Stable works, you’re golden for whatever distro you’re running. If not, well, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your life choices.

Everything was detected and configured correctly. Nice and uneventful. (AKA the good kind of boring).


AUDIO

Both the Intel and AMD audio controllers are recognized by ALSA, ensuring compatibility with Jack, PulseAudio and PipeWire.


NETWORKING

Wi-Fi connectivity worked flawlessly out of the box. Both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks were readily detected, and the wired ethernoodle was able to send and receive 900+ Mbits per second.


DISK PERFORMANCE

Our little NVMe drive managed read speeds of 2200 MB/s and write speeds of 1200 MB/s along with 4K random read speeds of 46 MB/s and 4K random write speeds of 184 MB/s.


POWER CONSUMPTION

The HP EliteDesk 705 G4 Mini is energy-efficient’ish, drawing only 12.12 watts on average at idle. Under heavy workloads, the power consumption rises to 42.26 watts.


NOISE

At idle, the HP EliteDesk gently whispers 36 dBA of sweet nothings. However, under heavy loads, the noise level increases to a shouty 50 dBA.


4K VIDEO

This may come as a shock, but a quad-core, 8-thread Ryzen 2400G can handle 4K video playback. The experience is even smoother with hardware acceleration enabled.

Don’t worry, 4K YouTube playback works flawlessly as well.


DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATION?

The EliteDesk makes a surprisingly capable digital audio workstation (DAW). It was able to handle the Reaper session I use to record podcasts and livestream. This session consists of 28 plugins across 12 tracks running with a 128 buffer at 48kHz. That leaves only 2.67ms for processing audio.

The little bugger pulled it off, just.


BENCHMARKS

GeekBench:

Running in single-channel memory, the EliteDesk 705 scores 1149 single-threaded and 3122 multi-threaded. Upgrading to dual-channel memory improves those scores to 1198 and 3676, respectively.


FurMark:

The furry doughnut yields significantly better performance with a dual-channel memory configuration averaging 21 FPS compared to a single channel-setup 11 FPS.


Shadow of the Tomb Raider:

Moving on to the cruel and unusual punishment segment. Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 720p with the graphics set to hella-low. The EliteDesk managed to squeeze out 22 FPS in single-channel memory configuration and 32 FPS in dual-channel.


DiRT Rally:

To conclude the “seriously, add a second stick of RAM” segment, I tested DiRT Rally running at 720p with low settings. The EliteDesk chugged out 81.26 FPS in a single-channel memory configuration and 112.52 FPS in dual-channel.


VERDICT

At the end of the day, the HP EliteDesk 705 G4 Mini is a solid little server, desktop PC, and media centre. Plus, the hardware knows how-to Linux out of the box, making it a breeze to set up and use. This combination of power and ease-of-use is what ultimately won me over, solidifying my decision to choose it over a Raspberry Pi 5.

Yes, you might be thinking, “But performance per watt!11!” That’s a fair point, and ARM-based SBCs are undeniably champions in that arena. However, the EliteDesk caters to a different user: those of us who prioritize a balance of compact size, affordability, and strong performance.

When it launched in 2020 at a MSRP of $700, the HP EliteDesk 705 G4 Mini was more of an intriguing niche product. However, at its current price, it’s a legitimate problem for anyone in the business of making mini PCs.

Pick one up, you won’t regret it.

HP EliteDesk 705 G4 Mini

9.3 out of 10
$120

At the end of the day, the HP EliteDesk 705 G4 Mini is a solid little server, desktop PC, and media centre that knows how-to Linux.

Installability
10 out of 10
It knows how-to Linux.
Performance
9 out of 10
2400GE performance is a tiny box.
Look & Feel
8 out of 10
A bit chonky and mostly metal.
Price
10 out of 10
Silly cheap.

Pros

Smol

Cheap

Fast

Cons

Shouty under full load

Heavy

External power brick

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VennStone

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You can support my little Linux A/V documentation project on Ko-fi. Or don't, I'm not your boss :)

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