Review: The Ayaneo Retro Mini PC AM01 Is a Cute, Surprisingly Powerful Love Letter to Retro Computing

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Mini PCs have become quite the hit in recent years, with users turning to these smaller, more streamlined PCs as an alternative to desktops or laptops. But few have made quite the waves that the Ayaneo Retro Mini PC AM01 has.I’ve been using one of the higher-end variants of the Ayaneo Retro Mini PC AM01 for a few months now, and I honestly have to say it’s one of the best mini PCs that money can buy, even if you have to jump through a few hoops to get it right now.Retro indie heavenCapturing the iconic look of the classic Mac computer from 1984, the Retro Mini PC AM01 is a dream come true for retro lovers and collectors alike. The affordable price (they start at $259) of this Ayaneo Mini PC comes equipped with quite a lot of potential—but how well it uses that potential can definitely vary based on what you’re doing.

Credit: Joshua Hawkins

If you’ve ever thought about buying a mini PC, then you’re probably already well aware of what kind of downsides you’re looking at, namely the lower performance and more limited upgradability that comes with these smaller packages. Still, they’ve come a long way in recent years, and these PCs can actually handle quite a bit now, especially as they embrace newer hardware like RAM, SSDs, and faster CPUs. The AMD 5700U packed into my Retro Mini PC AM01 is more than capable of running some of the newest games (albeit on lower settings), but there’s no dedicated graphics card, so you’re definitely going to have to play around with the settings if you try running the newest titles.As far as retro or indie gaming goes, though, the Retro Mini PC AM01 is a fantastic replacement for a desktop computer, and it’s packed with a ton of ports and even support for 4K at 60Hz, making it an easy purchase over a much more expensive desktop PC that you might want to do similar things with. The model I have used for the last few months is equipped with the previously mentioned AMD 5700U, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB SSD, and Windows 11 Home. It’s not quite the gaming beast that my main desktop is, but it also doesn’t need to be.The Retro Mini PC AM01 isn’t designed to replace your gaming desktop. Instead, Ayaneo has gone all-in on its retro design, even going so far as to showcase a slew of retro games in the company’s built-in app. And, because it’s equipped with a solid—though aging—processor like the AMD 5700U (you can also get up to an AMD 5800U), you can do all of your daily tasks on here, too. I’ve used it for playing indie and retro games, as well as for productivity tasks. In fact, I’m writing this review on the PC right now.As a mini PC geared more toward “light gaming,” Ayaneo delivers everything you would expect, along with some great performance in those lower-end games. Titles like Stardew Valley, Dead Cells, and slews of older, emulated titles are going to run great here, and that’s all going to cost you less than $500, depending on which model you design to go with. I did see issues with some titles, like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, but I also didn’t expect either of those titles to run very well in the first place.If you’re running one of the lower RAM variants here, though, it’s probably going to struggle more. As such, I’d definitely recommend upgrading the RAM or trying to get a higher RAM configuration just to keep things as smooth as possible.Iconic designThe design, of course, is what first drew me to the Ayaneo Retro Mini PC AM01. As I noted above, it’s designed to look like that iconic first Mac computer, and Ayaneo has really nailed down the look and design here.But it doesn’t stop there. The Retro Mini PC blends all of that iconic design with modern ports, offering plenty of room to connect different accessories and peripherals. The four included USB-A ports, as well as the USB-C port on the front, all allow you to connect multiple items like wireless keyboards, mice, and headsets. You can also connect directly to ethernet via an ethernet port on the back, just in case you prefer that instead of wifi.There’s also a DisplayPort and HDMI port on the back, allowing you to connect up to two displays. I was able to seamlessly run the Retro Mini PC AM01 on my dual 4K monitor setup, and it looks rather nice on my desk.What helps make the Retro Mini PC stand out even more is the customization that Ayaneo has designed around the iconic Mac look. You can use various magnets and stickers to create a certain look, and while you’ll need to place it on its back during use (that’s best for heat dissipation), it offers a small way to make the mini PC feel like your own.Jumping through hoops

Credit: Joshua Hawkins

Perhaps the most disappointing part of the Ayaneo Retro Mini PC is the many hoops you have to jump through to get your hands on it. Right now, Ayaneo only sells it as part of an IndieGoGo campaign, which means you’ll have to essentially back the campaign to get your hands on one.The configurations they offer now are also extremely limited, as they only have a certain amount of units laid out for each option. The different options offered on the IndieGoGo page can change, though, so it’s hard to say what will and won’t be available. (Ayaneo has yet to share any plans to offer the Retro Mini PC AM01 outside of its IndieGoGo campaign.) Thankfully, even if you end up with a smaller configuration of RAM or SSD, the Retro Mini PC AM01 is extremely easy to upgrade with new parts—you can take it apart, though that might void any warranty, so just be careful if you go that route. Overall, I’m really happy with what Ayaneo has brought to the table here. As I noted above, playing really demanding games isn’t going to be a great option. But, if you want a great little mini PC that can handle your daily tasks, run some retro and indie games without much trouble, and look great on your desk, the Ayaneo Retro Mini PC AM01 is easily one of the best options on the market. Its iconic design and easy upgradability are also big standout points.The AMD 5700U configuration I was sent lists for $420 on Ayaneo’s IndieGoGo page, and I’d recommend it as a great starting point for anyone who plans on picking one up.

spot_img

Explore more

How to Make Shame Your Ally

How to Make Shame Your Ally

“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” ~Brené Brown I was walking to...

The 6 Best Heart Rate Monitor For DDP Yoga Online

Get the best heart rate monitor for DDP Yoga! What’s the point of doing a workout if you can’t check your heartbeat and know...

Crimes against nature: UN agency puts environmental legislation under scrutiny

"Stronger legislation can help deter potential and repeat offenders and expand the range of investigative tools and resources for law enforcement to stop crimes...
5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Daily Steps

5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Daily Steps

A simple guide with 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Daily Steps, plus why...
How to Break the Chains of Process Addiction – Your Health Forum

How to Break the Chains of Process Addiction – Your Health...

Addiction manifests in various forms, transcending the traditional confines of substance abuse. Beyond drugs and alcohol, a growing concern has emerged: process addiction. Process...
The Stunning Pendulum Drawings of Swiss Healer and Artist Emma Kunz – The Marginalian

The Stunning Pendulum Drawings of Swiss Healer and Artist Emma Kunz...

Emma Kunz (May 23, 1892–January 16, 1963) was forty-six and the world was aflame with war when she became an artist. She had worked...

Can Dry Eyes Cause Blindness?

Dry eyes, medically known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, aren’t just a fleeting discomfort; it’s a persistent issue that occurs when tears fail to provide adequate...

Why Do I Feel Nauseous?

Are you curious why you feel nauseous? Discover common causes of nausea, helpful tips on how to stop feeling nauseous, and even when to...