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The mighty mini-PC: These little computers can have big uses

Time:2022-11-22 Views:1812

Mini-PCs are little but plucky, easily squeezing into small spaces to perform their computing tasks. Whether mounted to the back of a monitor or tucked into an entertainment center, they can handle everyday demands just as well as full-sized #desktops.

 

And like their larger counterparts, you can pick (and customize) a #miniPC to fit your circumstances. Most are bare-bones machines that just need a hard drive and some #RAM, but you can also find ready-made systems that range from stick-style PCs to smartphone-sized pocket computers to the very definition of a micro-tower.

To launch our increased mini-PC coverage, weve reviewed a few older but still currently available systems: bare-bones options from AMD and Intel, and a ready-to-go build from ReachingTech.

 

#Intel #Celeron #N5105 kit review

Reachingstar 5900 review

 

What matters at this size

The best mini-PCs are quiet, easy to set up, sip minimal amounts of energy, and have enough ports to accommodate multiple monitors and a basic array of peripherals.

Ideally, they also offer at least one or two of their bigger siblingsbells and whistles. Even if you dont plan to ask a lot of a mini-PC, its still good to have some future-proofing.

Cost is less important, at least relative to the kind of full-sized #desktop you could buy for the same amount of money. The amount of computing power youll get from a $300 bare-bones mini-PC naturally differs from that of a $300 full-sized bare-bones system that supports a socketed processor. Each cent you spend on #computer this small wont be maximized for obtaining as much performance as possible.

nstead, you should focus on the specialized features youre getting for your moneythat could mean an especially compact, quiet, or powerful system. It could also mean a mini-PC that comes loaded with extra storage bays, or one that offers a way to get inside the chassis without having to hassle with smaller screws.

 

How we test

For all our mini-PCs, we run a light array of benchmarks: The well-known and widely used 3DMark and PCMark provide a ballpark idea of how a system will perform when running graphics-focused (3DMark) or general, everyday (PCMark) tasks. For systems with faster processors, we push the integrated graphics in the chips by running the benchmarks from a couple of older AAA games: Tomb Raider on Low settings, and BioShock Infinite on Very Low settings. Because these are minuscule PCs, some folks might be concerned about power consumption, so we note the max power draw using a Watts Up! power meter during heavy load.

 

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