Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized our lives, in more ways than one, and have caused us to change our perspective on what a smart device should be. Now take a look at the best Mini PCs you can buy right now. Keep in mind that some of them, especially the cheapest ones, come without RAM or a hard drive, so you can add whatever you want. These Mini PCs usually called barebone or bourbon because they come with the basics. Also, some models include Windows 10, and others do not. Check it before buying one, so you don’t get a surprise.
They have also produced a veritable cataclysm in the PC world. Mobile devices have become fashionable, leaving classic desktop computers in the background. It took ten years for Intel, NVIDIA, AMD to completely revamp their manufacturing models, which prioritized power oversize, power, or heat.
But they are already here: low-power, low-power PC graphics chips and processors, allowing you to design robust and versatile Mini PCs that fit in the palm of your hand.
Its advantages are distinct. You can place them in any corner, from a small table behind the monitor to the library in the living room to connect to the TV and play videos, stream, or play PC games. Or you can take them on a trip.
They are also very quiet, and although they do not achieve the benefits of a high-end PC, they offer excellent performance.
Although we propose specific models, all brands offer many different variants within the same range, so in the links, you will find more and less robust versions that we use as a reference.
There are a lot of similar Mini PCs, so this is just a selection of the best mini-PCs (small computers) you can buy, based on Windows or macOS (of course, also Linux). We have ignored the new Raspberry Pi 4, having different objectives.
Barebones with the Basics
We are going to start with the cheapest models to go up, depending on our budget.
The cheapest choice, when buying our Mini PC, are barebone. These are Mini PCs that come with the basics, as they do not have RAM or a hard drive. Some do not even have a processor. That is so that you can mount your custom PC, but we must add to the price what the RAM and the hard disk cost.
You have to check the specifications for the type of memory it uses, the maximum amount it accepts, and the number of slots it has. For example, 4 GB of DDR3L memory costs about 28 euros, so it is not a significant expense.
In the case of storage, you can use 2.5-inch hard drives, SSDs, and even M.2 drives. Some barren ones only accept one of these types, so check before you buy.
Beelink Z83-V Mini PC
This Chinese march has become very popular because it offers easily expandable cheap barebones. One of its most affordable models is the Beelink Z83-V, which, although we have put it within the barebones, beware, it is a complete computer, with a processor, RAM, hard drive and Windows 10 included, all for just over 100 euros. It stands out for its powerful Internet connection and is capable of playing 4K video.
This Mini PC mounts a 1.68 GHz 64-core quad-core Intel Atom X5 Z8350 processor (1.92 GHz in Turbo mode), with Intel HD 400 graphics chip, 4 GB of DDR3L RAM and 64 GB of the hard disk. It also has a Micro SD card reader of up to 128 GB. It is enough hardware to navigate, multimedia player with 4K video, and basic office automation (word processor), but little else.
Where it stands out is in the connection. It has WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac dual-band at 2.4 and 5 GHz, Gigabit Ethernet port, Bluetooth 4.0, 2 x USB 2.0 and 1 x USB 3.0. The HDMI connection has 4K 30Hz support on some specs and 1080p on others, so check it out. It comes with a VESA mount to hang it behind the TV or monitor. Beelink Z83-V priced at 119 euros on Amazon.
ASUS Vivo Mini UN45H
ASUS’s most affordable barebone is this Vivo Mini UN45H model, which sports an Intel Celeron N3160 CPU, Intel HD graphics chip, 2GB RAM, and 500GB HDD. It has Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi WLAN connectivity and comes without an operating system. The ASUS Vivo Mini UN45H price is 280 euros.
Intel NUC 5CPYH
Intel’s Mini PC NUC range covers a wide range of prices. Its most basic version is this Intel NUC 5CPYH with an Intel Celeron N3050 dual-core 1.6 GHz, WiFi ac, Gigabit port, VGA, and HDMI 4K, 4 x USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0. It has no RAM (supports up to 8 GB) or hard drive (supports 2.5-inch HD and SSD). Intel NUC 5CPYH costs €128 at Amazon.
Multimedia mini PC and streaming
One of the primary uses of a Mini PC is to use it as a multimedia center in the living room. We are talking about equipment that fits in the palm of your hand and has enough power to play 4K video or stream any content to the TV. They usually have a full 2.5-inch hard disk or SSD support, an SD card reader, and a good WIFi or Ethernet connection.
It is also interesting that they include VESA support since it serves to hook it on the back of the TV, and thus it does not take up space in the library, nor is it visible. These are some of the best models.
Beelink BT3 Pro Mini PC
This Mini PC is similar to the barebones that we have seen before, but it already comes complete with RAM, hard drive, and Windows 10, so it is plug and plays.
Beelink BT3 Pro Mini PC comes with Intel Atom X5 Z8350 processor with Intel HD 400 graphics chip, 4GB of DDR3L RAM, and 64GB of internal eMMC storage. It also has a Micro SD card reader of up to 128 GB.
It has 2.4 and 5 GHz dual-band WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Gigabit Ethernet port, Bluetooth 4.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0 and VGA output. The HDMI connection has 4K 30Hz support on some specs and 1080p on others, so check it out. Beelink BT3 PRO Mini PC costs € 138 on Amazon.
PCs on a USB stick
The expression of the miniaturization of the PCs is the minicomputers with a pen drive or stick.
A complete computer in a case little more substantial than a finger
They are enough for basic tasks like playing video, browsing, downloading Internet mail, or running basic applications. But for certain specific tasks, they are an excellent solution if you travel a lot or have to access your data from several different places. You connect it to the HDMI input of a monitor or TV, and voila.
Intel Compute Stick
Intel has achieved what seemed unthinkable years ago: reduce the consumption and heat of its processors, to the point of putting them on a stick. But don’t be fooled by its small size. The Intel Compute Stick has inside a 1.84 GHz Intel Atom X5 Z8300 CPU with 2 GB RAM and 32 GB of storage, expandable to 128 GB with a micro SD card. You even have room for a small fan.
It connects to the monitor through a mini HDMI 1.4b connector and has 2 USB ports, WiFi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.0. It also comes with Windows 10 pre-installed. A complete computer that you can carry in your pocket. You can even use your mobile as a keyboard or mouse.
Intel Compute Stick only costs € 149 on Amazon. There are more powerful versions, such as the model with the Intel M3-6Y30 processor, 4 GB of RAM. And 64 GB of storage, which stays at € 479.
ASUS Vivo Stick
ASUS has also been encouraged to launch its Stick PC, with some exciting features. The specifications are the same as in Intel Compute Stick: 1.84 GHz Intel Atom X5 Z8300 processor with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. Expandable to 128 GB with a micro SD card.
It has a mini HDMI 1.4b output and 2 USB ports, WiFi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.0. It also includes Windows 10 pre-installed. ASUS VivoStick is worth € 159 on Amazon. And comes with an HDMI adapter to connect directly to the TV or monitor, USB cable, and a bracket to attach it to the back of the monitor. There are more advanced models. Such as this one with an Intel Atom Z8350 processor and Bluetooth 4.1, for € 198.
High-end and gaming
These Mini PCs that we are going to see next cost the same as a desktop computer. But their small size is a significant added value.
Processors are becoming more powerful, RAM increases to 8 GB. And even the highest modems dare to mount NVIDIA GeForce graphics chips, designed for gaming.
All without increasing the size, which is still slightly larger than the palm. An impressive achievement.
Gigabyte BRIX S BSi7H-6500
One of the benchmark PC brands, Gigabyte, has a range of barebones called BRIX. This one we show here is the Gigabyte BRIX S. But there is also a Gaming model and another Pro, with higher prices.
Gigabyte BRIX S mounts a brand new Intel Core i7-6500U processor. With two cores and four threads at speeds between 2.5 and 3.1 GHz. The GPU is an Intel HD Graphics 520, with 4K resolution support through HDMI 1.4b and Mini DisplayPort. Being a bourbon, it does not have RAM so that you can add up to 16 GB of DDR3L SO-DIMM memory with speeds between 1600 and 2133 MHz. It does not have a hard drive; it accepts any 2.5-inch SATA and SSD. And Includes multiple PCI-Express 3.0 inputs, Gigabit Ethernet port, dual-band WiFi 802.11ac, and 4 USB ports. It comes with Windows 10. Gigabyte BRIX S costs € 616 on Amazon.
Intel NUC 8 Enthusiast
If you are looking for a Mini PC, this Intel NUC 8 Enthusiast is an alternative to consider. Equipped with an 8th generation Intel i7-8809G processor with four cores and eight threads. That reaches a maximum frequency of 4.2 GHz. The GPU is an AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH and includes 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB storage on an SSD hard drive.
In terms of ports, it offers two Mini DisplayPorts, two Ethernet ports, 2 HDMI, 2 Thunderbolt 3, 5 USB A 3.0 ports, 1 USB A 3.1 port. And a USB Type-C 3.1 port. It has WiFi AC and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity with Windows 10 Home Edition. The price of the Intel NUC 8 Enthusiast is € 1,774.
Apple Mac Mini
Although in this article, we are focusing on recommending the best Mini PCs with Windows or Linux. The classic Apple Mac Mini could not be missing from the list. After all, it is the pioneering computer that made Mini PCs fashionable.
Mac computers never stand out for being the most powerful at the hardware level, when compared to a PC. But as we know, the macOS operating system is designed specifically for this hardware. So the performance is excellent.
Within the current Apple Mac Mini range, the most affordable comes with a 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 processor with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and Intel UHD Graphics 630 graphics chip.
It measures just 19.7 centimeters wide and incorporates an SSD disk of at least 128 GB. With Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI port, Bluetooth connection. And 2 USB 3.0 ports and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port for you to connect whatever you want.
It can connect to the Internet via Ethernet or WiFi 802.11ac cable and accept SD cards. All in just 1.3 Kilos of weight. The most affordable Mac Mini costs 729 euros on Amazon. You also have them with Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processor and up to 256 GB of internal storage. You can take a look at the settings and prices here.
Professional Mini PCs
If money is not a problem, or you need a Mini PC for your business with the same benefits as a desktop computer in a compact design. Then you must choose a professional Mini PC.
They incorporate the most potent mobile Intel i7 processors. With 16 GB of RAM and storage that can exceed 1 TB. They can work with all kinds of applications, except the most potent games, since they not intended for gaming.
If you are looking for a Mini PC capable of replacing a tower or a desktop PC without losing performance, here you have it. Of course, miniaturization comes at a price.
HP Elite Slice
The HP Elite Slice range has three or four models with different characteristics. We have decided to throw the house out the window and opt for the most expensive model to see what it can offer us. And it is truly exceptional.
HP Elite Slice incorporates a processor up to Intel Core i7-6700T 4-core 2.8 GHz with 8 GB of DDR4 2133 MHz RAM and 512 GB SSD. The graphics chip is an Intel HD 530, enough for any task other than gaming.
It comes with Windows 10 Pro, two USB Type-C, HDMI and DisplayPort with 4K support. And BIOS capable of self-healing if it becomes corrupted.
Intel NUC BOXNUC7I7BNKQ
As we have seen throughout the article, the Intel NUC range covers all prices. In the vast area of its catalog, we have this model that integrates an Intel i7-7567U CPU, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, Intel Iris Plus 650 graphics chip, 512 GB SSD and Windows. All in all, consumption does not exceed 65W.
This Intel NUC costs € 1,190.
With prices starting at € 100 on the cheapest barebones, we have covered the entire price range of the best Mini PCs you can buy. Have you found any that you like?