If you are looking to get a new PC, but want something small, Mini PCs are the answer. These tiny computers offer a variety of functionality from media center, to workstation, to full blown gaming PC, but they all have one thing in common: they’re on the small side. That said, they are not all equally small. The smallest device on our list is little more than an HDMI dongle, while the bigger PCs are about the size of a modern video game console.
If you’re looking for a media center or workstation PC, most of these devices will do just fine. However, only a few are fast enough for video games, and not all of them are capable of 4K streaming.
No matter your use case, the best mini PC for you is on this list. Here’s the top 10 best Mini PCs, from lowest to highest price.
1. Quantum Access Mini PC Stick
Processor / Passmark Speed Atom Z3735F / 908 | RAM 2GB | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 32GB SSD | Weight 4oz |
If you’re looking for a sub-$100 mini PC, this stick will do the job. While it’s a great price, one should be warned that this stick is certainly for particular applications only. Some great use cases include: watching YouTube, Netflix, or Hulu videos, for outputting images to a custom display (like at a store), or as a media player. For normal computer usage, however, it’s a bit on the slow side. Still, if you just need the basics here, this is a Mini PC that will do a few things well at an unreal price. It’s not advised as a general use PC.
- Excellent stick for streaming media
- Tiny size, plug and play setup
- Includes full version of Windows 10
- Praised as great for a personal server
- Good for text editing and super basic office use
- Build quality isn’t great
- A small percentage of users had issues with the Wi-Fi
- With its slow processor and low RAM, doing anything else will be very slow
2. Asus Chromebox M004U Mini PC (Editor’s Choice)
Processor / Passmark Speed Celeron 2955U / 1444 | RAM 2GB DDR3 | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 16GB SSD | Weight 1.3lbs |
For those who want a more robust computing experience, the Chromebox offers less and yet more at the same time. While it does not have a full Windows 10 installation, just Chrome, the much lighter weight of this operating system means that the Chromebox is actually much more usable for web browsing than number one on our list. While the Chromebox is only good for web-browsing, there’s a shocking amount of things one can do online including edit Microsoft Office Documents, edit photos using Pixlr, and even edit videos (low-res, and in a pinch).
For many, going exclusively Chrome on their desktop machine is a great way to save a ton of money, and have a PC that does what people mostly do on a PC anyway: browse the internet. This computer is the editor’s choice because if you want a mini PC at a great price, this PC has better performance than any of the other very cheap minis (items one through four). Windows 10 is a massive drain on system resources. This PC eliminates that and therefore, even though it’s not more powerful on paper, in practice, it’s great.
- Solid performance for the price
- Great value for those who only need Chrome web browser
- Quiet PC has no fan
- Streams 1080P video without any problems
- Doesn’t generate any heat
- Only for using Google Chrome
- Not for gaming, video editing, or any normal Windows applications
- A small percentage of users had issues with the Wi-Fi
3. Azulle Quantum Byte
Processor / Passmark Speed Intel Atom Z3735F / 908 | RAM 2GB DDR3L | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 32GB | Weight 12.3oz |
While the specs of this Quantum Byte are comparable to the first Mini PC on our list, the reality is that this PC is a lot better for workstation applications. It’s great for browsing the web, being used as a media player, and runs smoothly for most office or student uses. It’s quiet, a solid performer, and includes a full install of Windows 10. With 2GB of RAM, one can open a handful of Chrome tabs, for instance, but don’t expect the moon from this PC. For people who want a PC for video streaming or office work, it performs well.
- Decent price for the performance
- Fairly large SSD for a Mini PC
- Full Windows 10 PC
- Small, minimal appearance
- Only $80 more than a Roku with way more functionality
- Struggles with non-optimized video not from Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix
- Won’t work with Linux
- Problematic as a 1080P media center
4. Minix Neo Z83-4
Processor / Passmark Speed Intel Atom x5-Z8300 / 1201 | RAM 4GB | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 32GB | Weight 1.4lbs |
If you’re adamant about a full Windows 10 system, then this mini PC brings a lot to the table. Boasting 4GB of RAM, this mini is good to go for up to 10 tabs of Chrome, working as a media center, and even outputting to multiple displays. Adding the extra gigabytes of RAM is probably the biggest strong point here, since this allows one to have more applications open at once. This mini PC is also capable of outputting 4K at 30hz, meaning for watching movies, it’s a great way to go. That said, for using a workstation at 4k, 30hz doesn’t look great (this means there are 30 frames per second, so moving the mouse feels choppy). It’ll serve its purpose best on a lower resolution workstation, but it should suffice for a 4K media center, given that one doesn’t like that super smooth TV look at 60hz.
- Full Windows 10 computer, 64-bit
- 4GB of RAM
- Can play 4K at 30FPS
- Great thermal design, no fan
- Turn off “fast reboot” from the settings; memory can be corrupted
- A small percentage of users had issues with the Wi-Fi
5. Zotac ZBox CI325 Mini PC
Processor / Passmark Speed Intel N3160 / 1699 | RAM 4GB RAM | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 32GB SSD | Weight 3lbs |
With a more powerful processor, and more RAM this mini is ready to do the job. It boasts a 32GB SSD, and a small profile. Plus, it can output to three displays. This is a reliable machine from a great manufacturer. If you are willing to spend the extra couple of bucks, it’s a great way to get a snappier processor with roughly the same power as some of the other minis. If you need a full Windows 10 installation, having a more powerful processor certainly helps create a smooth experience.
- Outputs 4K at 30hz
- No moving parts means more reliability
- Can upgrade RAM to 16GB
- Great device for streaming media
- Only gets warm not hot
- A small percentage of users found the PC overheated
- A very small number of users had issues with reliability
6. HP Slimline 260
Processor / Passmark Speed i3-6100T / 4835 | RAM 8GB | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 1TB (7200RPM) | Weight 9.7lbs | Extras Dimensions: 3.94 x 15.89 x 12.59 in |
This may be the first full PC on our list, but it offers quite a big jump in performance from the minis at not a dramatically larger size. With a much faster processor, solid RAM, and a big spacious hard drive. This is a great PC for student or office applications. IF you just need a computer with a smaller profile, but don’t want to sacrifice speed and functionality, this PC won’t let you down. Of course, it also won’t save quite as much space. It also includes a DVD drive with writing capabilities, something you won’t find on any of the above models. Another nice touch, often cheap PCs have 5400 RPM hard drives; it’s nice to a speedy 7200RPM on this model.
- DVD+/-RW Drive
- Full Windows 10 PC with more power than the smaller minis
- Solid price for the performance
- PLenty of outputs including three USB 3.0
- Not tiny
- A small percentage of users had issues with the boot time
7. Intel NUC 7 – Windows 10 Mini PC (i7)
Processor / Passmark Speed i7-7567U / 6532 | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 2TB (with Intel Optane) | Weight 2.9lbs | Dimensions 4.5 x 4.4 x 2 inches
If you want a robust and powerful PC for a media center and more, this PC brings enough power to do pretty much anything but play graphically intense games (it doesn’t have a graphics card). It’s an awesome business or student desktop, has enough RAM for plenty of multitasking, and with Intel Optane technology on its hard drive, loading files is faster than it would be on an ordinary drive. While this PC doesn’t offer the best value on our list, sometimes it’s worth spending the extra money to have a machine that runs fast and smooth with many applications open at once, or for doing things like editing photos or videos.
This is truly a no compromises machine at a decent price. Of course, if you’re looking to play games, then read on to number nine.
- Great business desktop at good price
- Powerful graphics, fast processor for business and workstation applications
- Enough RAM for solid multitasking
- Optane memory makes accessing files faster
- Plenty of space on the data drive
- Small, form factor; includes SD card reader
- Overkill for most users
- No gaming abilities
- Price to performance is only OK
8. Lenovo ThinkCentre M700
Processor / Passmark Speed i7-6700 / 10014 | RAM 8GB | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 240GB SSD | Dimensions: 3.46 x 13.31 x 14.05 in |
If storage isn’t your priority, this Lenovo Thinkcentre switches out the hard disk drive with an SSD and adds in a much better processor, the i7-6700. WIth 8GB of RAM, it’s good for multitasking, editing photos or videos, and one of the more unique perks: it includes a 3-year on-site warranty. Now that’s great service. This is a good PC to go with if you’re not planning on storing a ton of media on your computer. Having an SSD means the boot time is faster and in general, everything will be a bit more responsive. That said, if you do plan on having a lot of files available locally, the above PC may be a better fit.
- Includes 3 year on-site warranty
- Includes free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro
- Fast and quiet; powerful processor with enough RAM for business or student applications
- Quick boot time
- Includes Windows 7 Pro not Windows 10 (but upgrade to Windows 10 Pro is free)
- Includes bloatware that must be removed
9. Asus GR8-II (Gamer’s Pick)
Processor / Passmark Speed i7-7700 / 10813 | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1060 – 6GB | Hard Drive 512GB SSD, 1TB HDD | Weight 6 lbs | Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.5 x 11.8 inches
For those who want a small machine that can still play games, this Asus GR8-II pulls no punches and is the best mini PC for gamers. Boasting a powerful i7-7700 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 1TB data drive, it really does have it all. The one weakness of this machine is the relatively low RAM, but it can be upgraded. Nonetheless, it will still be fine for any office or student use, but for video editing and other intensive applications, one may want to upgrade. For the gamer’s, this PC is capable of playing modern games at high to ultra settings. The GTX 1060 is a great graphics card, and this PC offers a lot of value, plus it’s cool looking with a small form factor. It’s a little pricey compared to full size models, but if you need a small device, it can’t be beat.
- Fast processor for all applications
- Great graphics card for playing modern games at high to ultra settings
- RGB lighting for stylish exterior appearance
- Quiet PC
- Capable for VR applications
- No DVD/CD burner
- Overkill unless you’re editing video or need top of the line processor
10. Samsung DP700 Mini PC Cylinder
Processor / Passmark Speed i7-6700 / 10014 | RAM 16GB | Graphics Card RX 460, Passmark: 4329 | Hard Drive 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD (5400RPM) | Weight 8.6lbs | Dimensions:5.5 x 5.5 x 12.2 inches
Now this is a weird PC, but for those who are in the mini market for a bit of a show piece, this PC is essentially a speaker and a solid workstation PC. It does have an RX 460 which while a solid card, it’s not comparable to the GTX 1060 (the GTX 1060 is significantly faster; see Passmark). Still, this PC boasts excellent sound quality out of the box (it’s literally a speaker), the capability to play modern games at low to medium settings, and tons of RAM (its biggest perk). That said, it is a bit pricey considering its functionality. It is very much a “looks over substance” type of machine. IF you like the look, however, it makes for a decent gaming device and workstation, but nothing special compared to cheaper models on this list. Plus, you can save a few bucks on buying a speaker.
Price: $1507.67 (11 percent off MSRP)
- Fast processor
- SSD and data drive
- Built into a loud, high-quality speaker
- Includes graphics card for gaming
- Fascinating cylindrical design
- Hard drive is 5400 RPM, on the slow side
- Only one HDMI port
- Not the best price for performance unless you need a small PC
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