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Reviews

Zoostorm Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G review: A secure office desktop

Mainly thanks to its shiny new processor, this PC is a suitably professional productivity aid

Price
£667 exc VAT
  • Fast CPU with security and management features
  • Quiet running
  • Integrated Wi-Fi 6
  • Basic graphics
  • Limited storage space

AMD’s Ryzen 4000 APUS might not have launched with all the fanfare of the more mainstream 3000 and upcoming 5000 series chips, but with integrated graphics and business-optimised Ryzen Pro models, they’re worth paying attention to if you’re in the market for prebuilt PCs. Zoostorm certainly seems to think so, having built this new system entirely around the mid-range Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G.

Zoostorm Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G review: Design

The chassis is as close to a plain black box as you’re likely to get; there are some vents cut into the front panel for airflow, and some extremely subtle Zoostorm branding on the upper-left corner, but otherwise this looks like a true business PC without the faintest whiff of extravences like side windows or RGB lighting.

However, lifting the top vent cover from its magnetic clamps reveals it does have one trick: a sound-dampening lining that’s also been applied to the front panel and both side panels. While not as substantial as the lining used by the (much more expensive) Chillblast Photo Zen, this does contribute to the system’s pleasant quietness when running under load.

Not that there’s a great deal of fan noise to begin with. There’s no power-hungry graphics card  - like the rest of the 4000 series, the Ryzen pro 4650G uses integrated Radeon graphics - and the CPU is chilled by a simple AMD stock air cooler. The case itself uses a simple two-fan setup with one at the front to drag in cool air and another at the back to vent hot air outward: a basic configuration, albeit one that ensures the ideal cyclical airflow.

The microATX motherboard doesn’t make full use of the chassis’s space, as it could comfortably fit a full-size ATX board, though at least it’s decently equipped with a full four RAM slots and dual M.2 ports. That’s on top of a PCIe x16 slot and two PCIe x1 slots, all of which are free for future upgrades. The same goes for one of the M.2 ports and half the RAM slots, though 32GB is already a healthy amount of DDR4 for challenging workloads.

A more pressing matter might be storage space: 500GB is rather modest unless you rely heavily on cloud storage, even if it does come in the form of a fast NVMe SSD. Fortunately, with that spare M.2 port, plus a two-bay hard disk cage for 3.5in drives and room to mount up to five 2.5in drives onto the chassis, there’s ample room to make such additions.

Zoostorm Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G review: Specs and Performance

Besides that SSD (which is a WD Blue SN550, one of the better budget M.2 SSDs) and the 32GB of RAM, the centrepiece is of course AMD’s Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G APU. This hexa-core, twelve-thread processor runs at a respectable base clock speed of 3.7GHz and has a maximum boost clock of 4.2GHz.

In our 4K benchmarks, Zoostorm’s system scored 193 in the image test, 245 in the video test, 289 in the multitasking test and 258 overall - so while this shows the 4560G is just a smidge faster than Intel’s similar Core i5-10600K on the whole, it’s also slightly slower in multithreaded workloads than the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X. 

That said, and even with a lack of more direct, Ryzen Pro-based competition (more on that later), we’d say this system has more than enough punch for its price. That multitasking score is especially high, likely helped in part by the bountiful memory. It also breezed through Cinebench R15 without much trouble, scoring 1,488cb in the CPU test and 74fps in the OpenGL test. 

Then again, the latter result is lower than what you’d get from PCs and even laptops with dedicated graphics cards, suggesting that the integrated Radeon graphics don’t contribute much on hardware acceleration. This is definitely more of a high-powered office PC than a true workstation, though for most 2D applications it’s more than fast enough. 

That goes for the SSD as well: in the AS SSD benchmark, we recorded a sequential read speed of 2,87MB/sec and a sequential write speed of 1,721MB/sec. Again, not exactly bleeding edge, but enough to prevent delays when booting up or launching programs. 

Zoostorm Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G review: Ports and features

The physical connectivity on offer is all relatively simple. Two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port sit on the front panel, alongside separate 3.5mm mic and headphone jacks, while the rear panel combines four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 3.1 ports, three 3.5mm audio jacks, an Ethernet port and a PS/2 port for legacy peripherals. In the absence of a graphics card, your only display outputs are a single HDMI, DVI-D and VGA port apiece - no DisplayPort here.

In fairness, that’s all enough for an arsenal of USB devices and two reasonably-specced monitors, though the highlight where connectivity is concerned is definitely the wireless capability. Both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 are supported natively, which is excellent: on most prebuilt PCs you’d be lucky just to get Wi-Fi 5/802.11ac, so to have 802.11ax ready to go is a big win. You’ll just need to find a spot for the antenna, which attaches to the rear I/O panel by a short wire.

Then there’s the arguably most convincing reason to stick with the Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G over any of the mainstream consumer Ryzens: its wealth of professional tools. Security is a big focus: this chip, like the rest of the Ryzen Pro family, includes a co-processor that protects against cold boot attacks, and its AMD Memory Guard feature adds full memory encryption as standard. While desktops aren’t at risk of theft to the same extent as laptops, this still thwarts bad actors from pinching information stored in the PC’s memory, and helps reinforce the built-in protections of the Windows 10 Pro operating system.

Then there’s all the manageability features, including support for Microsoft Endpoint Manager and AMD’s own DASH system: secure standard for web-based remote management of compatible PCs and laptops. That might come in particularly handy while we’re still all working from home.

Zoostorm Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G review: Verdict

Normally we’d have liked to consider how the Zoostorm Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G stacks up against other, similar PCs, but it’s surprisingly hard to find other prebuilt Ryzen 5 Pro systems; outside of Zoostorm’s own catalogue, the only other 4650G-based PC we found after various searches was the £375 Xenta MT Ryzen 5 Pro desktop. This isn’t as bad for the Zoostorm system’s value as it looks, either, given that it only comes with 8GB of RAM, a 240GB SSD and no preinstalled operating system.

Knowing this, and in the absence of any serious flaws - we still think 1TB should be the minimum for Windows 10 PC storage, but then your mileage may vary - it’s easy to come away from this PC feeling satisfied. It’s fast, it’s quiet, and it’s positively heaving with the kind of enterprise features that you just wouldn’t get with a potentially cheaper Ryzen 3600X system.

Zoostorm Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G specifications

Processor

Hexa-core 3.7GHz AMD Ryzen 5 4650G

Motherboard

Asus Prime B550M-A (Wi-Fi)

Expansion slots

4 x RAM slots (2 free), 1 x PCIe x16 (free), 2 x PCIe x1 (2 free), 2 x M.2 (1 free), 4 x SATA (4 free)

RAM

32GB DDR4, 2,666MHz

GPU

Integrated Radeon graphics

Outputs

1 x HDMI, 1 x dual-link DVI-D, 1 x VGA

SSD

500GB WD Blue SN500

Secondary drives

None

Dimensions

284x132x328mm

PSU

500W

CPU Cooler

AMD Wraith Stealth

Rear ports

4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB3.1, 3 x 3.5mm audio jack, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x PS/2, 2 x antenna jack

Front/top ports

2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, 1x 3.5mm mic jack, 1 x 3.5mm headphone/speaker jack

Operating system

Windows 10 Pro

Warranty

1 year collect and return

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