Gaming on the GPD MICRO PC

I own a lot of laptops but this one… this one is a bit different. Most hardware/gadget companies or brands start with an idea and a target consumer and produce products that are relevant to that target consumer. Shenzen based company GamePad Digital continues to surprise by being different.

Not only they are carving a niche as creators of miniature ultraportable PC that they keep refining every year but they also seem to have sent any conventional marketing idea of a target consumer out the window in favor of finding more use cases for their mini PC expertise. They started with the GPD Win, two generations of portable lightweight gaming on a tiny package for gamers more interested in portability than power. This lead to the GPD Pocket, two generations of tiny laptops mean for ultra-portable work while looking as styling, probably meant for anyone doing office work or just people who enjoy the MacBook aesthetic. Naturally, the next step on this evolution is this, the GPD Micro PC. Yet another pocket laptop with a completely different use case. It`s so comfortable for online casino playing when you away from home on your favorite microgaming casino games in Canada with you on your Micro PC.

The GPD Micro PC is a handheld industry laptop, meant for IT professionals and people working on more hand on jobs. Because of this target, it changes the shiny aluminum of the Pocket for a rugged and more resistant plastic. I might have dropped this while recording the video and the casing is still all sound which would have likely deformed the Pocket so definitely a good choice for heavier work.

The extra thickness comes from the inclusion of a very impressive array of ports for any laptop, let alone a tiny one: 3 usb 3.0 ports, a usb type C for charging, display or anything else, Gigabit Ethernet which was very useful when downloading software and games, full hdmi which made it easier to record them, and a RS 232 serial port. This might seem odd since these ports have pretty much disappeared from the consumer space, but these are still very common in lots of IT and industrial equipment, so I am sure a lot of people will find its inclusion very noteworthy. For example, this is a device that you will often find controlling several subsystems inside a bus or a tram, such as setting whatever message is displayed on the screens in a bus.

And guess which ports it has? That’s right, the serial port is one of the options for communicating and configuring this device on the field. How about something you have probably seen before? This is the sort of screen that you will find in the register of a grocery store, models similar to this one are in stores all around the world and it communicates using a serial port, so if troubleshooting one you are likely going to need a serial port or at least an adapter.

So it does make it sense that this could be a great handheld PC for on the go device access. Given that you can get one of these for only a little bit over $300 on the Indiegogo campaign, making it probably the cheapest mini PC by GPD I could see how a lot of people might end up with one just out of curiosity of having a full pocket PC. Inside you will find a quad-core Intel® Celeron® N4100 with IntelUHD 600, basically the successor of the intel atom and 4 goobehertz of DDR4 RAM, for this preproduction model. The CPU/GPU is a fair bit under what the Pocket 2 had, which makes sense since the programs this machine likely targets are far lighter and it is a fair cheaper.

Let’s talk about TDP for a second. The reason why often two components with the same name both one in a laptop and one in a desktop will have very different performance can sometimes be explained with TDP. Thermal Design Power, in watts, is the maximum amount of heat generated by a device during regular operation. The lowest the TDP the less heat it produces and less cooling it requires but less TDP usually comes at a cost in performance. Chips like Intel Atoms, Intel Celeron or Intel m3 are designed to get the best performance possible for a low TDP.

For most of the devices, the GPD devices that I have featured there are newer versions of the bios that allow increasing the TDP of their SoCs for more heat and better performance. While I am saving that for a future video on the older devices my MicroPC already shipped with a BIOS with this functionality included right there on its own category, meaning that you can set it for higher performance or lower temperature depending on your priorities. This device is quite thick and the cooling does seem to be able to keep up with the maximum 10 wat option so I will be using that. Next, the RAM. 4 Genehertz is reasonable for something that might basically use a light terminal.

Now as I was writing this script GPD announced that they would permanently upgrade the final units to 6 Georgiobytes which is even more appropriate for this use case. But. This. Is. The. LowSpecGamer This device was not aimed, designed or thought for gaming.

But can we game on it? What sacrifices will it take? How far can this Celeron go? Since the integrated GPU has no dedicated VRAM every game we try is going to be competing with all the memory Windows is already using. I made a whole video about scripts that you can run to reduce background RAM usage and reduce CPU spikes but I took the more extreme approach and installed the unofficial Windows 10 Lite which any time I mention this I will add a big warning about using unofficial versions of Windows 10, I went through great lengths to be careful of the credentials I used on this thing.

But with the reduction of RAM usage to a minimum, I can start throwing games at this thing. Let’s start with what works without the need for too much tweaking. Portal 2, as usual, and expected, pull some pretty good performance on full 720p and lowest settings. For screens this small I particularly suggest custom lower 16:9 resolution like 960×540 since you are going to have a hard time noticing the difference on the device and in games like Skyrim it works with averages great for 30 fps lock without the need of too many mods or changes. CSGO in that same resolution also gives some decent start numbers, with an average of almost 40 fps in the community benchmark map.

As I need to start disclaiming more often, this map tends to push a PC harder than the actual game so while it is very good for testing you can expect better performance on the actual game. But that all took very little effort so how about we start getting to the good stuff. Rocket League is always a favorite of mine in these situations.

Not only because it uses surprisingly little ram on the lowest settings but also because of the hidden resolution scaler that you can use to reduce the game to this garbled mess. But this garbled mess is still very readable and enough to keep it around 40 to 50 fps which is enough to play and win a 3×3 match. Have I mentioned Arkham Asylum yet? It is probably one of the games I have replayed the most and it initially seems to work very well here on full 720p although it can struggle a fair bit when you hit more open areas. Thankfully this is an Unreal Engine 3 game with a fair amount of things to change in the configuration file.

I did a whole video about it. This is not as low as the game can possibly go, you will have to watch the video to see how that looks like, but with some changes to shadows and illumination as well as a small reduction in the internal resolution, it becomes very playable, even in combat or tense situation. Always over 30. Definitely recommended for specs on this level. Since we are on the topic of Unreal Engine 3, guess we could try Bioshock Infinite… and also the game has a benchmark which makes it pretty easy to actually make comparisons. The benchmark tool at 720p returned about 20 fps average.

Again, very similar tweaks to Batman on its own video but this is not as low as it can go, you will have to watch the Bioshock Infinite video for that, but just some changes to illumination, reduction of shadows and a cut of internal resolution makes the benchmark closer to the 30 fps mark. Remember Just Cause 2? I made a video ages ago on a mod that exists to basically remove a lot of elements, explosions, vegetation and so on.

On 720p the dark tower benchmark provided an average of 21, initially, but after applying said mod it jumps to almost 30 which is pretty impressive. Linus from Linus Tech Tips looked at this device on a very interesting stream. Oh and by the way, are any of you in Canada? Because guess who is going to LTX this year?

Tech Deals. HardwareCanucks… LowSpecGamer So on that stream Linus explores the more general detail of this device and comments the following: No. It does not run Crysis.

It does not run Crysis But… can it really? I installed the original Crysis on 720p and gave it a spin on the lowest settings and surprisingly, it did quite ok with some occasional stuttering ruining it but much better than I had expected. That will not stop me from trying to make it run even better of course. I already did a video on running this game on a device far weaker than this one by screwing up the textures, the vegetation and cutting on draw distance and dramatically changing everything but hey!

No stuttering and decent performance in big open areas. It might not be technically playable but this is what you wanted to see right? This is what you came to the LowSpecGamer for, right?

Am I that one dimensional to you? In general, it is important to restate that the GPD MicroPC is definitely not meant to be a gaming machine but its low price actually makes it a very attractive as mini PC for geeks to experiment with, I know for a fact I am trying Linux on this thing next. The good news is that with the ram upgrade you are likely going to get much better use out of it without having to resort to an unofficial version of windows. I know some commenters are going to be unhappy about it, but at least with scripts like the ones on my windows 10 optimization video I can see what they are doing while installing a full unofficial proprietary OS from a random iso online, well, as someone who has almost lost important accounts in the past to password hacking I am always a bit careful. Ever since that incident, I am happy to rely heavily on Dashlane, this video’s sponsor.

Dashlane is a free program that helps generate unique secure passwords for all your accounts that are stored in encrypted storage that you unlock with a master password that only you know, so even if Dashlane gets breached your stuff is safe. My favorite feature is that it autocompletes your secure password on every site you go, so all you need to do is log in once when your PC turns on and you basically never have to think about passwords again during that day. As I said it is free to use, forever, but there is a premium version which adds functionality like cloud sync between different devices and a VPN for online privacy. Useful for public wifi, I use it on my phone all the time. And the first 200 people who use the code LowSpecGamer, get 10% off Dashlane premium. It is like $5 a month anyway.