The 9 Best Mini Personal Computers

Updated May 29, 2018 by Ben G

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We spent 38 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you're trying to reduce the footprint of your home office or you want a powerful computing option that's even more portable than a laptop, a good mini personal computer can do the trick. The PCs on our list take up very little space, but their specs can be comparable to some of the larger desktops on the market. We've ranked them here by size, speed, and performance. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best mini personal computer on Amazon.

9. Azulle Access Plus

The Azulle Access Plus packs essential computing components into a stick that plugs directly into your monitor's HDMI port. That makes it just about as inconspicuous as humanly possible, which is ideal for anyone looking to minimize their desktop footprint.
  • intel quad core processor
  • storage can expand to 128 gigabytes
  • slightly underpowered
Model A-1063-AAP-5
Weight 14.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Zotac ZBox Nano

The Zotac ZBox Nano is passively cooled by allowing air to pass through the grates in its body, making for a silent operation that's ideal for work spaces where quiet is needed. It can be purchased with a variety of different processors, depending on what you desire.
  • can support up to 32 gigs of ram
  • microphone input
  • some have trouble with 4k tvs
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

7. Samsung ArtPC

The most impressive aspect of the Samsung ArtPC is the cylindrical design. Any guests will be suitably delighted with the size and shape, even before you mention that it can perform serious computing tasks nearly as well a regular tower.
  • built-in omnidirectional speaker
  • configurable light ring
  • expensive for the specs
Brand Samsung
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Plater Z83-W

The Plater Z83-W is for those who only need a way to complete very basic tasks. The lack of RAM and processing power mean it might not be for everyone, but for people who are too clumsy to keep a Chromebook intact, this is a great altenative.
  • wall mount included
  • 1 year warranty
  • has difficulty streaming hd video
Brand Plater
Model Z83-W MINI PC
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Asus VivoMini

The Asus VivoMini offers a relatively easy setup, fast startup and response times, and a processor designed for lag-free multitasking. Its Nvidia GeForce GT 930M graphics card makes it suitable even for gaming applications, too.
  • 4-in-1 card reader
  • mini hdmi output
  • dual monitor support
Brand Asus
Model VM65N-G063Z
Weight 4.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Acer Veriton N

With a full terabyte of storage on the hard drive, the Acer Veriton N is the perfect solution for those looking for a media center that can do everything they need without getting in the way. It's ideal for playing music, shows, and even older video games.
  • up to 16 gigabytes of ram
  • vga port for older outputs
  • comes with a keyboard and mouse
Brand Acer Veriton
Model Acer Veriton N
Weight 7.9 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Minix Neo Z83-4

The Minix Neo Z83-4 relies on Intel's Cherry Trail quad-core processor, which is capable of performing the vast majority of home computing tasks with alacrity. That helps keep the price of the unit down, while still allowing it to do things like support 4K video.
  • doesn't get too hot
  • 32 gigabytes of flash memory
  • windows 10 is preinstalled
Model NEO-Z83-4-
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Intel NUC 7

With 4K video support and Intel Iris Pro Graphics 650, the Intel NUC 7 makes movies and games truly immersive. The price is steep compared to a lot of similar devices, but if you want something that can do everything a high-powered desktop can, this is your best bet.
  • 7th generation i7 processor
  • suitable for audio and video editing
  • 1 terabyte solid state drive
Brand Intol
Model NUC7i7BNH
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Lenovo Thinkcentre M910

The Lenovo Thinkcentre M910 offers a valuable combination of features. It's a moderately priced unit with the specs and performance of some much more expensive options, and it packs that quality and processing power into a very small design.
  • cpu speed of up to 3 ghz
  • includes six usb ports
  • supports four displays
Brand Lenovo
Model 10MV000NUS
Weight 7.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

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 May 29, 2018 by Ben G

Ben is a writer from California. He mostly dives into film, videogames, and science fiction literature. Also Hello Kitty. He likes Hello Kitty a whole lot.

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