Moonstone R9 - AMD Ryzen 9 - mini pc performance

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Introduction

Small systems can evoke endearment. The Moonstone from Simply NUC may look cute, but it can be quite a digital challenge. Simply NUC is a company that, as the name suggests, specializes in the production of mini PCs. Until now, these machines were often based on Intel products. With this Moonstone, however, the brand opts for the red camp. We tested it in a variant based on an AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS. That processor has eight powerful cores that can work on sixteen threads, in combination with an integrated GPU, the Radeon 780M.

When you see the box in front of you, it looks like two drops of water on the nucs based on an Intel processor. That’s not surprising, because just like with a regular desktop, you can simply exchange the motherboard. The housing measures 4 x 4 inches, which is about 10 x 10cm. 


There is also a slot for a MicroSD card.

All connections are within easy reach. On the front you will find two USB-A next to the on/off switch. One is a 2.0 copy, the other runs at 3.0 speed. On the back you will find two HDMI, a fixed 2.5-gigabit network connection, another USB-A 3.0, and two USB 4 in the C version. There is also a slot for a MicroSD card built in on the side. 

 

Technology

As mentioned, the heart of this model is the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS. That is a chip that rolls off the 4nm production line at TSMC. It is equipped with eight Zen4 cores and falls in the 45W class. The cores can work on two threads simultaneously. The processor also has a built-in Radeon 780M GPU with twelve CUs (768 shaders). This ensures graphic performance. The AMD CPU works together with DDR5 memory. Our test model was equipped with two Team DDR5-4800 modules of 8GB each. 

All this is combined with an OEM SSD from Kingston. It has a capacity of 256GB and a PCI Express 4.0 interface. You can also choose SSDs and memory with a different capacity via Simply NUC’s configurator. The prices for the larger capacities increase considerably. Simply NUC has installed a large cooling profile to allow the heat to flow away from the SSD. 


A large cooling profile has been fitted for the SSD .

The network facilities are arranged based on Intel products. An Intel AX210 controls WiFi and supports up to the 6E standard. The network port is also based on Intel and offers a speed of 2.5 gigabit. The system is supplied with a large 120W/19V power supply block. When idle the Moonstone consumes about 7 to 8 watts, under load this increases to an average of 68 watts, with peaks above 80 watts.

 

Performance

If we compare this Simply NUC with the previously tested Intel NUC 13 Pro based on Raptor Lake, an interesting picture emerges. In 3DMark, the AMD-based Simply NUC is much faster, but in PCMark 10 the picture is less clear. In that benchmark, the Simply NUC is faster in a number of tests, while in some other tests the Intel NUC wins. In Cinebench, AMD’s chip is a lot faster in multi-core, but in single-core it is outdone by Intel’s competitor. 

3DMark Intel NUC 13 Pro (Intel Core i7-1370P) Simply NUC AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS Performance difference (%)
3D Mark Time Spy      
Total score 1956 2799 43.10
Graphics Score 1715 2487 45.01
CPU Score 9764 9716 -0.49
PCMark 10 Extended      
Total score 5844 6770 15.85
Essentials 11985 10997 -8.24
App Startup Score 19206 15395 -19.84
Video Conferencing Score 8550 8533 -0.20
Web Browsing Score 10484 10126 -3.41
Productivity Score 8606 10387 20.69
Spreadsheet Scoring 7707 13744 78.33
Writing Score 8317 7851 -5.60
Digital Content Creation Score 7365 9073 23.19
Photo Editing Score 11114 13710 23.36
Rendering Visualization Score 4865 8841 81.73
Video Editing Score 7375 6162 -16.45
Gaming 4468 5446 21.89
Graphics Score 5808 70781 1118.68
Physics Score 22725 25869 13.83
Combined Score 1965 2423 23.31
Cinebench R23      
Multi 11834 15404 30.17
Single 1950 1822 -6.56

Because Simply NUC supplies the Moonstone R9 as a complete system, we also measured the performance of the 256GB SSD. In AS SSD the performance is very disappointing, but in ATTO a score is achieved that is excellent for a PCI Express 4.0 SSD. The throughput speed in the PCMark 10 test is average. All in all, it is not a special SSD. If you are a power user, we would put another one in this mini PC. 



Specifications

 Below you will find the specs of the Simply NUC Moonstone R9.

Brand model  Simply NUC Moonstone R9 (CBM3R9MS)
Processor AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS
Processor P cores 8
Processor E-Cores
Max clock frequency 5.2GHz
Built-in GPU AMD Radeon 780M
Type of working memory DDR5-5600 (supplied with 2 x Team 8GB DDR5-4800)
Memory slots 2 x SO DIMM
Storage 1 x PCIe 4.0 M.2 2280 or 1 x SATA 600 M2.2242.
Comes with 256GB Kingston PCI Express 4.0 SSD
WiFi adapter Intel AX210
WiFi technology WiFi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3
Fixed network Intel I-225V (2.5 gigabit)
USB 1 x 2.0, 3 x 5Gbit/s
USB 4.0
HDMI 2
Audio 1 x 3.5mm
Dimensions 11.7 x 11.2 x 5.4cm

Conclusion

The Simply NUC Moonstone R9 CBM3R9MS with a Ryzen 9 7940HS is a very interesting machine. The base is fast and powerful. Because AMD’s processor has eight powerful Ryzen 4 cores on board, combined with the Radeon 780M, this is truly a small bomb. 

That bomb is ideally suited for relatively heavy tasks. Of course, the first thought that comes to mind is to use it as a desktop. If you are really demanding, we would replace the built-in SSD with a faster one.

The basis is very interesting, partly thanks to the AMD chip, but also because of the excellent connectivity, with USB 4, 2.5 gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6E. In short: there is little left to be desired. However, the device is not cheap. The configuration we tested, with 16GB DDR5 and a 256GB SSD, costs 1,136.19 euros. It can be purchased through the company’s website. 

 

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