DinoPC Mini Carnivore

Score

Sections

View All

Key Features

  • Review Price: £549.00

Here in the TR office, some of us dream of the ultimate small form factor (SFF) PC: one that’s powerful enough to play games at decent settings yet small enough to carry under one arm, while remaining attractive, affordable and quiet. The Dell Inspiron Zino HD and Mesh Cute failed at the games element, while the Cryo Nano was still a little on the large side. Might the DinoPC Mini Carnivore be the candidate to devour all opposition?


To begin with, the Mini Carnivore’s specifications certainly impress. Somehow, DinoPC has managed to cram a 2.9GHz Core i3, 4GB of RAM, a USB 3.0 compatible mini-ITX motherboard and an ATI/AMD Radeon HD 5570 into a chassis measuring 328 x 222 x 96mm! Granted, it’s no Mac Mini, but then this little beast offers considerably more power and features, and costs considerably less besides. Indeed, in addition to the above specs DinoPC has added a slimline DVD rewriter (which you can upgrade to a Blu-ray rewriter for a mere £131), a 320GB 2.5in hard drive and a Wi-Fi dongle, and the whole package will still cost you just under £550.

We were a bit shocked by the size of the box our Mini Carnivore arrived in, but don’t worry – it’s all padding. In the huge outer box is a smaller one containing all the extra bits, including a sturdy stand to place the Carnivore upright. There’s also a retail-boxed Addon (that’s the brand name) 802.11g Wi-Fi USB stick. Obviously we would have preferred to see a Wi-Fi 802.11n dongle (or indeed a built-in solution – Ed.) here by default, but DinoPC’s website allows you to upgrade to this for only £15.


Because it’s housed in Antec’s snazzily-named (not) ISK 310-150 mini-ITX case, DinoPC’s smallest PC is an exercise in contrasts. From the front it looks great, thanks to a minimalist, silver faux-metal finish offset by a brushed metal, blue-backlit power button. However, the matt black sides and top look distinctly drab, and really aren’t helped by the multitude of vent openings. Consequently this PC will only look its best if you can hide everything but the front from view (in an AV cabinet, for example), though this might make it more difficult to get at the Mini Carnivore’s prodigious rear connectivity.

Back to the front panel, it sports an eSATA port, two USB connectors and headphone and microphone sockets, which are well-spaced and unobtrusively integrated. The slim-line DVD-Rewriter is hidden behind a neat flush panel but unfortunately, unlike most of these drive covers we’ve seen, it doesn’t open automatically along with the drive (either by being stuck to the front of the drive tray or being sprung). Instead you must press the panel to operate its push latch, then pull it down and press the drive’s open button. It’s a small gripe – especially with optical discs being used far less often nowadays – but certainly if you were using this system as an HTPC it could get frustrating.


In terms of connectivity this SFF system comfortably eats many larger PCs for breakfast, thanks to its use of Gigabyte’s GA-H55N-USB3 motherboard. The undoubted highlight here is a duo of USB 3.0 ports. These are accompanied by four USB 2.0 connectors and a second eSATA port, as well as a combined PS2 mouse/keyboard port and Gigabit Ethernet socket. Audio outputs include six colour-coded 3.5mm analogue jacks and a digital optical connector for 7.1 surround sound.

The motherboard offers VGA, DVI and HDMI video outputs, which are supported by the graphics chip integrated into the Intel Core i3 CPU. However, as already mentioned Dino PC has fitted a dedicated graphics card in the form of an ATI/AMD Radeon HD 5570. Unfortunately, because of its low profile this card only offers DVI and DisplayPort, meaning you’ll need an adapter to hook it up to the HDMI inputs on your TV, which is another minor inconvenience for using this as an HTPC.

More from TrustedReviews

LG Q8 finally brings the V20’s promise to Europe

Atari is now in the speaker business… and the hat business

Thinner Moto Z2 Force could come with a huge trade-off

HyperLoop One

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop gathering pace as NY-DC link gets ‘OK’

N64oid

Is this proof an N64 Classic will follow the SNES?

Agents of Mayhem preview

cats 17

Why you’ll want to download this OnePlus 5 update today

Golf rory

British Open Golf Live Stream: How to watch online for free

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for Xbox One down to under £9

Samsung Gear S3 finally gets Samsung Pay support in UK

Welcome to the all new Trusted Reviews

Netgear Arlo

Netgear Arlo Pro

Cat Amazon

Are you kitten me? Pet translation devices tipped for future smart homes

fire emblem warriors

Fire Emblem Warriors

pokken

Pokkén Tournament DX

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb 5

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay now lets you use your PayPal funds at the checkout

assassins creed origins

Ubisoft teases new games for Nintendo Switch, coming ‘quite soon’

amazon echo

Ask Vodafone: Mobile network’s first Amazon Alexa voice skill is revealed

Google Feed

The Google app’s new personalised feed might just drag you off Facebook

z2play 9

Moto Z2 Play

Mira Prism

For just $99 you can bring AR to the iPhone 7

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S9 displays may be the same, save one major new feature

movie theatre

The Netflix Effect: ‘Binge-watching’ is coming to movie theatres

Porsche MIssion E

Porsche’s latest electric car chargers put Tesla to shame

EE logo

EE’s new 20GB SIM-free deal is the best value tariff you’ll see all summer

Int-Ball

These are the first images from the ISS – as captured by a zero-gravity drone

iMac 21.5-inch 4K (2017)

LG V30 case

LG V30 design ‘confirmed’ ahead of IFA 2017 launch

iPhone 7 vs iPhone SE

Waiting for the iPhone SE 2? Sadly, it could be a one-and-done

Google Glass Enterprise

Google Glass 2 has arrived, sort of

Denon AH-C621R

Denon AH-C621R

BBC Proms

Get ready to listen to the BBC Proms like never before

Fender Newport Monterey Bluetooth speakers

Fender’s new Bluetooth speakers look just like tiny guitar amps

Garmin Vivosmart 3

Garmin Vivosmart 3

airplane

Is the laptop travel ban dead? Electronics restrictions lifted by TSA but UK fails to follow suit

KitSound Immerse

KitSound Immerse Wireless Headphones

Emojis

It’s World Emoji Day and Apple is showing off all of its newcomers

Porn Block

Privacy fears as UK plans age verification for porn sites

WhatsApp

New WhatsApp feature could give Apple’s iMessage a run for its money