Size matters: Eight mini-PCs with whom retire your old and huge tower


Size matters: Eight mini-PCs with whom retire your old and huge tower

If you are looking for a computer that fits anywhere and do anything, as you have thought buying a small form factor PC, or you’ve had one. The so-called “mini-PC” offers a good balance between power and size, without being overly expensive.

We may find different software and hardware platforms, but most often worthwhile are those solutions with architectures x86. As for the operating system, much of what is on the market do not carry nothing loaded, but the most common is to pair it with Windows.


Credit: Google Image

All the major brands in the world of computers have its Mini-PC: Lenovo, ASUS, Apple, HP, and Dell…

It’s most striking used or application is one that places like HTPC next to a television or monitor generously sized, but is also well known utility as content servers, or download managers. Leading hardware nowadays we can make do almost anything even put him games with a moderate quality.

The main hardware maker, Intel, has its platform and solution, known as NUC, last week we told you how he had renovated Skylake. But there are plenty of options on the market that will propose a small computer that can be connected to all kinds of peripherals to get into something more capable.

Not all have the same characteristics – there are many levels and prices – but will assimilate appearing as the same hardware and ideas, but rather to present some products, we would like to highlight some points to consider:

  • Low power consumption, decent power:These devices are small, and despite being in a place in the room, are very portable in this regard. The power supplies are out of the box (for example, an Intel NUC, 19v 65W).
  • Silent: I am not saying that all they are, but the most interesting are those that do not carry fans or have systems that make very little noise, and uses games as a HTPC is a good idea to hit with this.
  • Memory: There are computers that can change the RAM; it is also possible with storage.Will have to see if we buy comes empty of everything, or a particular configuration. We find mSATA, M.2 connections, including built-in memory eMMC.
  • Connectivity: Not because they are small they are not well connected, we can relate all kinds of peripherals even expand in capabilities such as memory.We will have to consider using the USB, if HDMI or Ethernet connections, or if there are infrared (anyone is remote). The WiFi antennas usually go inside, but some displays.
  • Location: One of these mini PCs fit in anywhere, any offer how to put up, some even give you the chance to anchor them to monitors and televisions by VESA.

Also called barebones, these computers are shown with small dimensions and a design quite careful. Some are half set

We will not be able to expose all the possibilities here, we can find things more oriented HTPC other, minority operating systems that have very interesting solutions, some mini-PC or highly oriented play. We hope we have made a good choice, but we are open to hear your alternatives:

Intel NUC

You can configure as a simple HTPC, but you can mount a real substitute for the host

Intel NUC is more a platform than a product, is the miniPC that the firm has created processors to configure at will and needs. While waiting for the Skylake currently no configurations of all kinds – from Celeron to Core i7 – all with the small aluminum box together. It does not come with the operating system.

You have to choose storage memory and RAM, so you can go out more expensive than other alternatives. Also emphasizes the possibility of using memory through a M.2 port that can provide shelter for SSDs with more than 1,000 MBps transfer. Another feature that we sell is the possibility of stackable modules that add functionality and connectivity.

An average configuration with Intel Core i5 we can go to 400 dollars. We highlight its measures, forming a square 4, 5×4, 4×1, 3 inches, with a weight of 450 grams. It is also the most complete connectivity and can assimilate USB 3.0, HDMI, and mini DisplayPort ports.

HP Mini Stream

Nice, scalable HTPC, also a computer for less demanding

A big as HP also has a mini computer catalog, and the truth is that it is one of the most striking in design with a pretty blue. A tad larger than the NUC, we can also accommodate anywhere, offering the power of an Intel Celeron with 2GB of RAM – up to 16GB – and 32GB of SSD (M.2).

HP will put them in, particularly Windows 8.1 operating system at the time of presentation; we understand that is passed to the new version without any problems. There are card reader, HDMI / DP output, four USB 3.0 ports.

The HP Mini Stream easy to find on Amazon for a price not exceeding $ 230. Usually comes with keyboard and mouse.

Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny

Lenovo offers a whole computer in small format, ideal for companies. Slightly larger in size than previous options, Lenovo models are very capable; a good computer substitutes even have optical drives. We find up to four models ranging from 400 to 700 dollars. We start with an Intel Celeron and Core i5 got up.

The disk configuration is conventional – 7,200 rpm – with up to 1TB and hybrid / SSD options. The full dimensions are larger than 7 inches wide and deep, with 2.6 inches high. Windows come with 8 or 10 installed, depending on version.

Apple Mac Mini

The best option for users of Apple ecosystem… Refurbished in October last year, we already know what offers Apple : design quality, a size slightly larger than the previous two models – in the style of Lenovo – a system capable of moving smoothly OSX, and a high price.

There are three tiers of prices and configurations. If we stop at the basics, from 550 dollars we offer an Intel Core i5 with 500GB disk, 4GB of RAM, and an Intel HD 5000 graphics emphasize the Thunderbolt digital video output that can handle multiple monitors or 4K signal.

Gigabyte Brix

Gigabyte has an array of models and configurations BRIX; you can find what you want in your catalog

Within Gigabyte BRIX we can find five families of products, all under the same philosophy of mini PC, but you are giving guidance to games, an affordable solution, or even propose a substitute for a host, or a projector, all in minimum size.

Less than 500 grams in a delimited space 4, 2×4, 5×1, 8 inches – although there are a couple of sizes – to put in from Celeron to Intel Core i7. The teams generally have an attractive glossy black finish, but they put color accents for more leisure-oriented configurations.

We can also customize RAM – up to 16GB – Storage – SSD – and operating system. The price range is very large for the different configurations, models costing 120 dollars to 700 dollars Pro configurations.

Kangaroo Mobile

Kangaroo can take anywhere Windows 10 carries battery. I wanted to put something different on the list, although not sold here – or I cannot find it – I liked about the proposal of Kangaroo. In a much smaller space than the NUC – 250 grams – put an Intel Atom. The memory is 32GB eMMC format.

What makes it interesting to Infocus gadget is that it carries the Windows 10 system, is also a fingerprint sensor, certain modularity through the ports, and the ability to use a tablet as a screen. To round a different choice, it has its own battery which gives it two and a half hours of life.


Something bigger but with a great finish and design and many configurations… Taiwanese companies have much to say in this mini PCs, ASUS we propose a model well known and easy to find as are those within his family VivoPC. We find different metal and attractive designs.

If we want graphics power is there any configuration with Nvidia and Core i7 processors, we can even change the format to the ROG models, which are a kind of mini console. Here the operating system comes standard and puts Microsoft.

Acer Revo

At Revo One we had the chance to know him well through the analysis we perform. A design something different to the shortlist, Celeron processors and Windows operating system:

I think the list is the most decent, but I know that I leave out things as interesting as those proposed as companies engaged Zotac, MSI and ASRock, dedicated to games like Alienware Alpha, powerful devices AndroidTV teams like Nvidia Shield, Chrome OS-based solutions such as ASUS Chromebox – less flexible – or models of brands such as Dell.

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