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MSI Cubi 5 12M – a versatile mini PC with impressive performance

MSI Cubi 5 12M – a versatile mini PC with impressive performance

The MSI Cubi 5 12M is preferable to another form factor desktop PC for many reasons

There is nothing better for serious work than a desktop computer. However, it has one big drawback that we can’t always swallow, especially in the home office – it’s too big. For many users, it’s already strange to have to use such a large device, in which more than half the volume is empty…

The good news is that we no longer have to deal with this legacy. Mini PCs have been on the market long enough and are quickly gaining fans with their many advantages. That’s exactly what the MSI Cubi 5 12M is, offering a long list of reasons to prefer it over any other form factor desktop. Of course, we make the caveat here that it is not designed for demanding applications such as CAD, 3D rendering and video encoding, although it does a decent job in this area as well.

The strength of the MSI Cubi 5 12M is to be a quiet, economical and inconspicuous work tool in the office or a flawless media player at home. Or vice versa – that’s up to you.

Appearance and interfaces

The mini computer is presented entirely in black (although a rather attractive white version is also shown on the manufacturer’s website), has an almost square shape and does not differ much in size from similar models in this segment. What makes it more special in appearance is the more elegant design and the many ventilation holes – typical MSI style. The great advantage of this solution is that the temperature in the small box does not reach very high values, and this directly affects the acoustic comfort. So even under load, the MSI Cubi 5 doesn’t get annoyingly noisy, nor does it get hot.


The model is equipped with a very good set of ports, so that you do not have to use hubs and are limited by the possibilities of connecting peripherals. For example, you can connect up to three monitors to the mini computer – via HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4 and USB-C interfaces. At the same time, these displays can even have 8K/4K resolution, thanks to the use of the powerful enough built-in Intel IrisXe video controller.

USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports are distributed in two at the front and at the back, i.e. there are four in total. As perhaps the only drawback, we can point to the presence of only one USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port on the front. Now many peripherals (for example webcams) come directly with a USB-C cable, so there is practically no way to plug them into one of the “big” ports.

On the back you will also find two Ethernet ports – 1 Gbps and 2.5 Gbps, which is a pleasant surprise. Thus, you can guarantee the security of the corporate network and bring a very fast connection to the PC. If it’s going to be used for a kiosk or reception, it’s a must to save yourself the potential problems with wireless access and rely on the wired connection. The two interfaces cannot be combined (link aggregation), but in this case there is no reason to want it, 2.5 Gbps at least nowadays is quite enough.

An analog 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack is also available on the front, which remains a reliable solution for communication and entertainment without the need for redundant drivers and configuration.

What’s inside?

You’re probably thinking that the PC is equipped with a less powerful processor anyway, so temperature shouldn’t be an issue. You won’t be quite right here, because our test unit came with a pretty serious mobile processor – Intel i7-1255U, which has 10 cores and can process 12 instruction streams simultaneously. Its clock speed is a maximum of 4.70 GHz, but even then the chip only dissipates 55W. In modes that do not require such high performance, it is even more efficient and economical. Compare that to a 500W+ power supply on a standard PC and you’ll know right away that you’ll be saving quite a bit of money on your electricity bills over the course of a year.



In terms of RAM, we have 16 GB distributed in two channels. The maximum is 64 GB DDR4-3200, with two SO-DIMM slots available for the purpose.

Data storage is entrusted to a 512 GB PCIe Gen4 x4 SSD, which demonstrates excellent performance (of the order of 3000 MB/s in sequential reading and writing). The lack of the morally outdated SATA interface is certainly not a disadvantage and saves space. There’s only one M.2 slot, so it’s a good idea to get the model with a big enough SSD from the start, because you won’t be able to use two SSDs at the same time.



On the small board, you’ll also notice an Intel wireless controller that provides Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 connections. There is nothing more to be desired in this regard, because in practice support for the most current methods of wireless communication is provided.

How fast is it?

The subjective feeling of the speed of the MSI Cubi 5 12M is excellent. The machine is as responsive as a desktop computer and does not suffocate even with heavy applications and multitasking. This is evidenced by the results of the PCMark 10, Cinebench 23 and Geekbench 6 test applications, which you can see.

In terms of graphics performance, the model has absolutely enough power to work with all office applications and watch high-resolution video. To some extent, it can also handle graphics, audio and video content processing and generation, but that is not its strength. Still, for this price, its capabilities in this regard are quite decent and will not disappoint you.

Who and what is the MSI Cubi 5 suitable for?

If you mount the mini PC to a compatible VESA mount on the back of the monitor (the necessary plate and mounting bolts are included), you might even forget it’s there and working for you. That should give you a clear idea of ​​how compact and handy the MSI Cubi 5 is. Even on display, it’s stylish enough to give your office a good image, and if you’re using USB-C to connect to your monitor, you can keep cable clutter to an absolute minimum.

In terms of applications, the model covers practically the entire palette of applications for working with the Internet, email, office documents and digital files. At the same time, it not only supports them, but works with them at an excellent speed. It’s no problem to open 2-3 or more office programs + browser and enjoy smooth operation.

Another angle to look at this interesting mini machine is in its role as a media player. It will cope with the playback of 4K content with high bitrate and multi-channel sound without a problem. And that’s all home theater fans care about.


The MSI Cubi 5 12M also stands out with its fast network and wireless connections, as well as its adequate cooling and silent operation. It is everything a business needs in terms of functionality and performance, plus the convenience of easily changing locations when needed. Few components and low operating temperatures guarantee a long life and trouble-free operation. Support for ultra-high resolution displays provides comfort for any workplace and increases productivity.

Availability and price

Mini computers from the MSI Cubi 5 series are widely available in the commercial network in our country from the manufacturer’s authorized partners. You can view available models here:

The standard MSI Cubi 5 warranty is 24 months. Information on other models and configurations of the Mini PC can be obtained from the dealers listed.


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