Best Mini PCs Thrifter 2021
You don't always have to get the biggest and widest PC to get some decent power in your workstation. You'd be surprised how versatile a Mini PC can actually be. These self-contained kits are specifically picked up for the tiny form factor. They somehow manage to squeeze storage, speed, processor, motherboard, and plenty of connectivity into a small device that you can almost hold in your hand. If space is a priority for you for whatever reason, a Mini PC may be exactly what you need. Here are the best mini PCs available on Amazon.
- Best Value: New Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip
- Best Barebones Kit: Intel NUC8 Mini PC
- Expandable Storage: Guzila fanless Windows 10 mini PC
- Fully Loaded: Beelink Windows 10 Pro Mini PC
- Best Mini Desktop: ASRock DeskMini 310W Barebones system
- Best on a Budget: Acer Chromebox CXI3 mini PC
Best Value: New Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 ChipTop Pick
The truth is no mini PC is going to be easier to setup and use than Apple's Mac Mini. It uses the latest version of macOS, and it's powered by the Apple M1 Chip that combines CPU, GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine into one. Includes two Thunderbolt 4 ports with backwards compatibility, two USB-A ports, and more. You'll also get Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6 for wireless connectivity.
Best Barebones Kit: Intel NUC8 Mini PC
Comes loaded with an 8th-gen Core i5 processor, 16GB RAM, a 512GB solid state drive, and Windows 10 Home. It has integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Bluetooth 5.0, Thunderbolt 3, and support for 4K monitors.
Expandable Storage: Guzila fanless Windows 10 mini PC
Includes an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 quad-core processor with a base operating frequency of 1.44GHz. The storage includes 2GB of RAM and a 32GB drive that can be expanded via microSD cards, and the PC supports up to 128GB cards. You could also use a USB stick or USB hard disk. Supports 4K ouptut and comes pre-instlaled with Windows 10.
Best Mini Desktop: ASRock DeskMini 310W Barebones system
The mini PC includes a motherboard, power supply, and fan. It supports 8th-generation Intel processors, DDR4 RAM, and it has an Ultra M.2 PCIe Gen3 slot for an SSD. You'll just have to provide a CPU with integrated graphics, the RAM, and the storage that meets those specifications. But at least that means you can upgrade to what you want. Includes one HDMI port, one DisplayPort, and a D-sub port.
Best on a Budget: Acer Chromebox CXI3 mini PC
Comes with a keyboard, mouse, and VESA mounting kit. This mini PC runs Chrome OS and has an Intel Celeron 3867U processor, integrated graphics, 4GB DDR4 RAM, and a 128GB M.2 SSD. It has Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C, and more.
Do it Yourself
Keep in mind that not every Mini PC is the same. For example, the Intel NUC 8 Barebones Kit has an amazing 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, storage, an SSD, and even Thunderbolt 3 ports. However, a system like the ASRock DeskMini X300W only provides the motherboard, power supply, and fan while depending on you for things like the processor and storage. The idea here is that you might want a workstation where you can add your own upgrades or you might want one that lets you get to work out of the box. The choice is yours, but it's that level of flexibility that makes the Mini PC so enticing in the first place.
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