Even after buying memory, twice the amount of storage, and Windows 10, the barebones NUC is cheaper than the prebuilt option. Most people who want a desktop PC rather than a laptop and don't plan to do a lot of gaming should consider a mini PC, rather than a full-sized desktop computer or all-in-one. A mini PC attached to a monitor is a cheaper, more upgradable alternative to overpriced all-in-one computers and takes up much less space than a desktop, while still giving you the comfortable, more ergonomic experience of a big screen, full-sized keyboard, and mouse.
The size of a mini PC prevents much expansion, but you can upgrade the storage and the memory on most models and sometimes the CPU. You can add an external graphics dock if a mini PC has Thunderbolt 3, but those tend to be large and expensive and defeat the purpose of buying a smaller PC in the first place. Instead, we prefered Chromeboxes, which run Chrome OS , an operating system that uses the Chrome Web browser as its primary interface.
Chrome has very limited options for photo, video, and audio—editing software and programming text editors. If you're willing to install a few parts, you should consider a barebones mini PC. Most companies overcharge for RAM and SSD upgrades, so buying those pieces yourself can save money, and these systems work as well as any mini PC you can buy off the shelf. We started by researching more than different models of mini PCs, noting features and trends among a variety of both well-known and obscure brands.
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After we settled on the hardware criteria, we searched the websites of major PC manufacturers such as Acer , Apple , Asus , Dell , HP , Intel , and Lenovo , and then we poked around in the inventory of smaller manufacturers like Gigabyte , MSI , Shuttle , and Zotac to find models to test. We then ran the benchmarking program PCMark on each model to get a baseline for how it would perform in general use.
No mini PC in this round of testing had any issues with overheating in our tests. We then connected each mini PC to a 4K monitor and used it for at least three days of ordinary work. This process usually consisted of running a browser with at least 15 tabs open at a time Google Docs, Sheets, Gmail, Slack, and plenty more , and streaming music through the Spotify desktop application.
This testing allowed us to get a feel for how each mini PC performed on a daily basis and gave us time to discover any quirks related to bloatware or driver issues.
On each machine we tried to load up a few games. On every PC in this guide, games like Hearthstone , Rocket League , Minecraft , and League of Legends were playable at reasonable settings, but more demanding games like Far Cry 5 or Middle-earth: Shadow of War ran poorly, even on lower settings. It has plenty of ports and is the only Windows mini PC we found with a Thunderbolt 3 port. The speedy local storage and included wireless is better than you get with other mini PC options like the Lenovo Mq.
Two beautiful designs
The NUC has either more storage or a more powerful processor than most mini PCs in this price range, including the more expensive Mac mini, which comes with a measly GB of storage. In our week of using the NUC, it was great for basic productivity tasks, web browsing with multiple tabs open, and watching videos. We did light photo editing in GIMP without issues, and scrolling through massive spreadsheets in Excel was always smooth. At 4 inches wide by 4 inches long by 1. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald. Two USB-A ports and an audio jack are easily accessible on the front.
The yellow front port is a charging port; it can provide power even when the NUC is off. On the front you also get a headphone jack. On the back, you get an HDMI 2. To upgrade the NUC, you need to remove four Philips screws on the bottom. Intel offers a three-year warranty for the NUC, much longer than any other mini PC we tested, including those made by Apple, Asus, and Lenovo, which typically offer a one-year warranty.
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At idle, it was the lowest of any mini PC we tested at 7. During benchmarking the NUC maxed out at 55 watts, much more than the Lenovo q and Asus PB60, which maxed out at 32 watts, but lower than the Mac mini, which regularly hit 94 watts. The NUC is a loud little computer. From about two to three feet away, you will often hear the fan spin up when you do anything more complicated than open up a few browser tabs.
DNK-H | Best Thin Mini-ITX pc case with integrated power supply and cooling
Or sign in with one of these services. By woodoodm , April 15, in Hardware Components and Drivers. Good day. Since the spring, we have made some design changes, that have a positive impact on the efficiency of the cooling system. Now support processors with TDP up to 84W. LUNA Design. How can I fit my aftermarket cooler in there?
Looks sweet, but RPI2 serves me well for my small computing needs. I just ordered the Gold version from their website! You need to be a member in order to leave a comment. Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy! Already have an account? Sign in here. Hardware Components and Drivers. Existing user? Sign in anonymously. Or sign in with one of these services Sign in with Facebook.
Sign in with Twitter. Posted April 15, What do you think about this PC case? Share this post Link to post Share on other sites. This is a very nice case. Not sure how to go about getting one in the states? I'd pay for this. Posted April 16, Thank you. When you want to conserve space while also making the most of what you have, how do you identify the best mini-ITX cases among everything else?
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For starters, one way to find out more about all the technical specifics. Look at the dimensions. Is it big enough to fit the best graphics card of your dreams? Consider the airflow. Will it allow for proper cooling of your most expensive parts? While there's no objective methodology that can assess the quality of a mini-ITX case and rank it as compared to its rivals, we've done the next best thing.
Looking to Build a PC comparable to Mac Mini | Tom's Hardware Forum
Having tested every mini-ITX case we could get our hands on, we've measured the top-shelf candidates against each other in terms of value, specs and features, listing the best mini-ITX cases in no particular order for your information below. Because case reviews are almost completely subjective, included in the mix is not only our favorite mini-ITX case, but the four next best things as well.
Built to only support mini-ITX builds, the Hi does a great job fitting a high end system into a compact, minimalistic package. The case has a lot of features you'd find in a high-end mid-tower including great cable management options and a full sized tempered glass panel.
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With added support for liquid cooling and large graphics cards, the Hi is the perfect solution for those who want to make a small but powerful gaming PC. When it comes to innovative case design, In Win frequently pushes the boundaries and creates some remarkable cases.
The latest A1 mini-ITX tower is one of those cases with its sleek compact design and innovative feature set. The A1 features a preinstalled and pre-cable managed W power supply that eliminates one of our least favorite things about building in tiny ITX cases. It provides just enough power for most ITX builds with discrete graphics cards.
One of the nice modern touches is the integrated wireless qi charger at the top of the case that allows you to effortlessly charge your phone. Unlike some of the other ITX cases in this list, the A1 isn't capable of supporting big powerful builds with large radiators and lots of storage.