Did you know that Windows 10 users spend over 4 trillion minutes on their PCs each month?
That goes to show how buying a PC is a necessity in this digital age, especially when lots of jobs are making the shift online. If you’re buying a desktop computer, you might feel confused when you have no prior experience. This can lead you to pick a unit that won’t suit your needs.
Don’t panic, we’re here to help you figure it out.
With this guide, you’ll learn the best computers for compact spaces. Read on and find out more.
1. Intel NUC8i5BEKPA1
Intel’s NUC configurations have a few varieties. Most of these won’t come with storage, memory, or even an operating system. But if you want a pre-built mini PC with Windows 10, this Intel PC has the following specs:
- Core i5-8259U processor
- 8GB RAM
- 256 GB solid-state drive
This PC has four USB ports alongside a microSD port, a Thunderbolt 3 port, and an HDMI port. With these, the NUC has the same capabilities as an ultrabook or a business laptop while only paying half the price tag. Take note, buying this mini PC means buying its peripherals, like a monitor, mouse, and keyboard.
Compared to a full-sized desktop PC, the NUC has less upgradability and power. But it will only take up a tiny fraction of your space, making it the mini PC’s primary selling point. The pleasant news is that it’s easy to upgrade its storage and memory using its removable panel.
The NUC has loud fans, but not to where it’s distracting.
2. Asus Chromebox 3-N017U
Are you looking for a basic computer for simple needs? If so, the Asus Chromebox 3 is the best choice for web browsing and light productivity work. The Google Chrome OS makes this mini PC faster than a $250 Windows PC when browsing the internet, watching movies, and typing out documents.
The Chrome OS only has a 1.06% share in the global operating system market. It’s because this operating system can’t use apps designed for desktop computers. The app you’ll use for almost every task is the Chrome web browser, and it requires a stable internet connection for most of these things.
Chromebox supports Android apps. But with a mouse, you’ll find that most of these are clunky to use. That’s why if you aren’t looking for much, use this mini PC for your basic needs.
3. Apple Mac Mini (2018)
Do you like using macOS instead? If so, get the Apple Mac mini (2018) since its base model already has an Intel quad-core i3-8100 processor. It has 8GB of memory and an SSD with 128 GB space.
The Mac mini is bigger and costlier compared to the NUC, meaning it has less storage for the money you spent. Its primary advantage is that it runs silently, and the desktop-grade i3 processor has near-identical speeds with the NUC’s mobile i5 CPU.
Take note, the Mac mini is customizable, so you can put six-core processors to make it faster. You can also expand its memory and storage, but the caveat is that these upgrades can cost a lot. If you have money to spare, this won’t be an issue, especially if you’re prioritizing the space you save.
The Mac mini has more Thunderbolt 3 ports than any mini PC on this list at four. It also comes with two USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, HDMI, and a headphone jack. The Mac Mini won’t have unneeded preinstalled software, unlike most Windows mini PCs.
But then MacOS coming along with it has loads of useful software for word processing, spreadsheets, and more. This makes it easier to set up compared to Windows. If you choose this mini PC, try reading this guide about how to screenshot on Mac computers to kickstart your learning.
4. Intel NUC8i5BEK
Intel graces this list with another NUC. This computer is a solid choice if you want more control over the PC parts or if you have no use for a Windows license. This barebones mini PC can save you lots of money, as long as you have storage, memory, and operating system on hand.
This NUC model is the same as the NUC8i5BEKPA, but it only costs around half its price tag. It’s because it has no storage, memory, or operating system installed. Even when you buy these and double the amount of storage, the resulting price is still cheaper compared to its prebuilt counterpart.
What to Look for in a Mini PC
We chose the mini PCs featured on this list because of these factors. If you follow this PC buying guide, these features should be on top of your priority when buying a PC on your own:
- Price and Value
Mini PCs might be smaller compared to their desktop counterparts, but it doesn’t affect their price. In fact, fitting all these capabilities within a small rig is a feat of engineering. That means paying a small premium for this technological marvel.
Expect a $600-$800 price tag for a mini PC that can last a few years.
Mini PCs need powerful processors to support various tasks like word processing, photo editing, and web browsing. Aim for at least an eighth-generation Intel Core i3 processor. But ideally, you’d want a Core i5 processor to make the most out of your machine.
For browsing the internet and doing basic tasks, 8 GB of RAM is plenty. If you’re expecting to do some heavy tasks like video editing, you’ll need more, like 16 GB. Anything less will make it too slow for even the most menial tasks.
A solid-state drive is ideal since it won’t slow down a fast mini PC. Pick at least 128 GB SSD as the bare minimum, but get the 256 GB if you’re willing to spend more.
Start buying a PC today!
These are some examples of great mini PCs. Use this list if you want a starting point when buying a PC and get one perfectly suits your needs.
Of course, getting the right PC is only the beginning.
You need to learn which apps to get and how to optimize it. To get those tips and more, read more of our guides right here, today! Discover all the tips you need!
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