10 Best Mini Personal Computers | December 2016

10 Best Mini Personal Computers
Best Mid-Range
Best High-End
Best Inexpensive
We spent 32 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you're short on space at home or the office, or just looking for something easily portable, check out our list of the best mini personal computers. These PCs pack almost all the punch of a standard desktop computer into a tiny package. Skip to the best mini personal computer on Amazon.
Built with a powerful Intel quad-core processor at its heart, the Azulle Quantum Byte is capable of handling complex spreadsheets and high-definition video streaming. However, updating its drivers can be cumbersome and it tends to get hot under a heavy load.
  • expandable to 128gb via sd card slot
  • built-in bluetooth capabilities
  • weighs less than one pound
Model QS-1043-QB
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
The HP Pavilion 300 Mini Desktop looks very sleek with its silver Apple-esque housing and comes in either a a 2GB RAM and 32GB SSD or 4GB RAM and 1TB HDD configuration. Both feature 802.11b/g/n wireless connectivity and use just 45 watts of power.
  • recessed rear ports
  • lag-free hdmi connection
  • comes with a mouse and keyboard
Brand HP
Model 300-240
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
The Gigabyte Brix S comes with your choice of a sixth generation i3, i5, or i6 processor and has two SO-DIMM DDR3L slots so you can customize it to your liking. It supports any 2.5-inch HDD or SSD and 4K HD resolution via an HDMI output
  • vesa bracket for monitor mounting
  • integrated wi-fi and bluetooth
  • supports touchscreen monitors
Brand Computer Upgrade King
Model Brix GB
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
Ideal for gaming, entertainment, and small spaces, the Intel NUC is built around Intel's i5 core processor, which packs the ultimate power of a complete desktop system down into a small 4-inch wide case, without sacrificing performance.
  • supports 4k displays
  • 4 usb ports and one hdmi
  • barebones system
Brand Intel
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
The Qotom Q190S functions as a decent host PC for most home and office settings. It comes with a 64GB SSD, which allows it to boot up withing seconds and open programs with lightning speed. You'll have to add your own PCIe Wi-Fi card, though.
  • supports hi-definition blu-ray video
  • low power consumption
  • poor 3d hardware acceleration
Brand Qotom
Model QOTOM-Q190S
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
With 7.1 channel audio support and Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580, the Intel NUC Kit NUC6i7KYK makes watching movies and gaming a truly immersive experience. It also has a cool skull design on the case, giving it an aggressive look many will love.
  • 6th generation i7 processor
  • suitable for audio and video editing
  • hard drive and ram are not included
Brand Intel
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The Apple Mac Mini is a fast, compact, and affordable solution for Mac lovers who don't want to break the bank for an expensive desktop setup. It has a 2.6 GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor for lag-free multitasking, and a large 1TB hard drive to store all your files.
  • premium aluminum case
  • dual thunderbolt 2 ports
  • cutting-edge graphics performance
Brand Apple
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
Brought to you by the brand that is synonymous with PC gaming, the Alienware Alpha ASM100-3000BLK is a gamer's dream. It is low cost, but comes with a dedicated graphics card and, while it ships with 4GB of RAM, it can easily be upgraded to 16GB if needed.
  • ships with windows 10 os
  • 500gb onboard storage
  • i3 and i7 configurations available
Brand Alienware
Model ASM100-3000BLK
Weight 8.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
The ASUS Chromebox M004U offers a relatively easy setup, fast startup and response times, and a processor designed for lag-free multitasking. It uses the snappy Google Chrome OS and includes 100GB of free Google Drive space to backup your data.
  • dual display support
  • has an sd card reader
  • integrated virus protection
Brand Asus
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
The ZOTAC ZBOX E series offers the specs of a full-sized desktop in a package as small as your average router. It features a dedicated 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M graphics card, so it can handle intensive gaming and video editing, and it keeps cool the whole time.
  • can be mounted to a monitor
  • whisper quiet fan
  • four usb 3 ports
Model ZBOX-EN760-P-U
Weight 5.9 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

The Future Of Personal Computers Is Now

Mini personal computers, also known as nettops, are smaller, cheaper versions of a desktop. They use less power, but they can perform many of the basic functions of an average desktop. These mini desktops are easily portable and are often quiet and require less cooling power. They are considered small form factors because they are specially designed to save space that would ordinarily be taken up by a regular desktop.

Many mini personal computers are compatible with updated operating systems such as Windows 10 and Linux. They are great for business use, especially for frequent travelers. Many come with multiple USB ports, and some even come equipped with Bluetooth capabilities.

Some come with operating systems already built-in while others require that you install one yourself. Still others are equipped with updated virus protection programs and are built specifically for security purposes and to protect sensitive information. Government agencies and medical offices often like to use mini personal computers because they are excellent for protecting important data while maintaining a certain level of convenience.

Many of these tiny computers can perform the same functions as a regular desktop. You can perform business functions, streaming, document creation, and nearly anything else just like you would on a regular desktop or laptop. The compact design takes up very little space and will help you stay productive or entertained without missing a beat.

Thinks About This Before You Buy

If you are in the market for a mini personal computer, there are several factors you will need to take into consideration before making your final purchase.

First, decide what features you absolutely need and what ones you can live without. Some mini personal computers come in a basic package that includes only the box, motherboard, and processor. If you want a computer equipped with an operating system, virus protection, RAM, and other systems essential to running your unit, you can find one that comes with all of these already installed. Keep in mind that the basic units are generally cheaper than those that come fully equipped.

Second, keep in mind that you will need to separately purchase a keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, and other desired additions. You will need to purchase either a Bluetooth or USB mouse, keyboard, and speakers. The mini personal computers do not come with traditional attachments for older versions of these items. Since your mini PC will likely come with a mini-HDMI port, you will need to ensure that the monitor you purchase has an HDMI port as well.

Third, consider if you intend to upgrade your computer in the future. Because mini personal computers are so tightly packed, it is really only possible to upgrade RAM and the hard drive. If you hope to one day update the processor, a mini personal computer might not be the right choice for you.

Fourth, while mini personal computers are marketed as a space-saving replacement to your traditional desktop, it is important to note that they use laptop RAM and not desktop RAM. While they run well and function like any other computer, their power is not that of the average desktop. If you are happy with the power the average laptop provides, a mini personal computer is a great choice.

Finally, decide how you plan to use the computer in order to determine the program and processor that you need. If you plan to attach it to your television and use it as a media device, a computer in which you can install a Linux system is a great choice. If you plan to use it for work or other personal use like the average PC, then shop around for the best operating system and processor that will fit your specific needs.

A Brief History Of The Mini Personal Computer

The first personal computer, the Programma 101, was invented by Pier Giorgio Perotto. He was an Italian engineer who worked for the company, Olivetti. He began work on this invention in 1962 and presented it at the 1964 New York World's Fair.

NASA purchased ten Programma 101s for use on their Apollo 11 mission in 1969. They were soon picked up for use by television networks and the United States military. It wasn't long before government institutions, schools, and even hospitals were using these desktop computers to streamline their work.

In the 1970s, they were being used by academic institutions and researchers to further their knowledge and speed along work. While they were available for use by a single person in these settings, they were still far too expensive for the average consumer to afford. Many personal computers were purchased by engineers who were capable of assembling the computer kit that was far too complicated for the average person.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak presented the Apple I computer in 1976 and sold the circuit board on the condition that the computers be assembled and tested prior to selling them to the public. This cut out the complication of assembly and opened options up to the general population.

Over time, various companies developed their marketing strategies, operating systems were developed, and the computer slowly became a household item. In 1982, the personal computer was named Time Magazine's Machine of the Year.

The long and intricate history of the personal computer gave rise to computers as we know them today. Now, we sit at coffee shops with our portable laptops and write emails on our smartphones. And now, we have the option of mini personal computers to replace the clunky desktops that clutter our offices.

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Last updated on December 15, 2016 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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