The Best Mini Desktop PC of 2023

These mini desktop PCs take up very little desk space while providing the same snappy performance as regular desktops.

Best Mini Desktop PC

Everyone certainly needs a laptop or PC to support their education and work, or as a means of entertainment. However, you don’t need a laptop or desktop PC with sophisticated specifications for everyday basic tasks. A mini desktop PC is an excellent alternative.

Mini desktops, despite their small size, provide the same performance as full-sized desktops. You can also customize your setup because you get to bring your own keyboard and screen. There are several reasonably priced and dependable models on the market — let’s take a look at the best mini desktop available today.

 

How We Picked

  • Size

    The advantage of the mini PC is its compact size, which allows you to keep your current desk. So, we chose one that is no more than 8 by 8 inches with a maximum height of 3 inches.

  • Energy-Efficient

    When compared to conventional desktop computers, mini PC desktops use less power because of their energy-efficient design. Energy-efficient components, optimized operating systems, and turning off the mini PC when not in use can all help to improve energy efficiency. When used optimally, a mini PC desktop consumes about 20–50 watts and up to 100 watts when in heavy use.

  • Storage and RAM

    The typical storage capacities for mini PC desktops range from 32 GB to 1 TB on SSD or HDD. RAM for high-performance models can range from 2 GB to 8 GB or 16 GB. Larger storage and RAM allow for smooth multitasking and increased productivity.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

    The average mini PC costs a couple of hundred dollars. While pricier models pack more specs, a base model works fine for the average user. This range certainly represents a product that can last several years, which is a deal worth considering.

Our Top Picks

Our Top Pick

Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny

Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny

This mini desktop PC has a six-core Intel processor, 256GB of SSD storage, 8GB of RAM, and plenty of ports for USB monitors and accessories.

The Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny is one of the champions in the mini PC market; it has a lot of ports and the specs are on par with pricier options. The performance is more than adequate to execute everyday tasks and still has room for upgrades.

Buy Now

The best mini PC with reliable performance.

Our Runner-Up

Geekom Mini IT8

Geekom Mini IT8

The Geekon Mini IT8 is VESA-mountable, has decent performance for everyday tasks, and is backed by 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

The Geekon Mini IT8, as a newcomer to the mini PC market, offers a good deal for what it has to offer; support for up to four monitors, plenty of desktop and server apps, decent performance, and ships with Windows 11 Pro. It also offers more than enough performance to run day-to-day tasks.

Buy Now for $429.99

A decent mini PC at a reasonable price.

Most Cost-Effective

CTL Chromebox CBX2

CTL Chromebox CBX2

CTL Chromebox CBX2 has lots of ports, lots of memory from competing models, a Dual-core Intel Celeron 5205U processor, wireless, and expansion space.

The CTL Chromebox CBX2 offers the most cost-effective of all our selections. Then the fact that it's a very useful mini PC at its price level offers a lucrative deal; it has more memory than other models at the same price level, has lots of ports, and it’s reliable for basic tasks.

Buy Now for $269.00

A small, portable powerhouse that is inexpensive and offers respectable performance.

Everything We Recommend

Our Top Pick

Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny

Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny

This mini desktop PC has a six-core Intel processor, 256GB of SSD storage, 8GB of RAM, and plenty of ports for USB monitors and accessories.

Buy Now

Our Runner-Up

Geekom Mini IT8

Geekom Mini IT8

The Geekon Mini IT8 is VESA-mountable, has decent performance for everyday tasks, and is backed by 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

$429.99

Buy Now

Most Cost-Effective

CTL Chromebox CBX2

CTL Chromebox CBX2

CTL Chromebox CBX2 has lots of ports, lots of memory from competing models, a Dual-core Intel Celeron 5205U processor, wireless, and expansion space.

$269.00

Buy Now

Who This Is For

It’s for those who want the power of a Windows ultrabook on a mini PC to perform basic tasks. Whether you are looking to handle large spreadsheets or do basic editing, we’ve got you covered. In fact, these mini PCs offer advantages not found in all-in-ones. They will certainly maximize PC performance in carrying out daily tasks with more memory and storage. They also offer a variety of useful ports and represent the needs of general PC usage; they connect to a monitor, mouse, headphones, and even a webcam.

Mini PCs also generally use integrated graphics cards rather than dedicated graphics, so you don’t want to expect to play Valoran on a mini PC. Although you can actually add external graphics to a mini PC that supports Thunderbolt 3, you won’t like the cost. Well, speaking of costs, some mini PC models have quite affordable prices. But that means a very slow processor, especially one that uses the Windows operating system. But this doesn’t just remove the affordable mini PC option from our pick list.

Do mini desktop PCs function differently from normal PCs?

Broadly speaking, they both function in the same way. The major difference is that the mini PC offers a compact value that all-in-one PCs don’t have.

Are mini desktop PCs good for gaming or streaming?

A mini PC is probably not a good investment if you are an avid gamer. That’s not to say it’s unreliable for gaming because modern games require more than a mini PC. Unless you plan to play basic games like Minecraft, then you are good to go.

 

Why You Should Trust Us

We devote a fair amount of energy to bringing you informed product review articles. We dive into trusted reviews such as Ars Technica, user reviews on e-commerce platforms, and self-testing for some products. The cross-referencing we do from these sources helps us to make the best buying guides.

 

How We Picked

Size

Mini PCs have a compact nature, which is their advantage. As such. we looked for mini PCs that do not deviate from this nature. We’ve lined up those measuring about 8 by 8 inches and no more than 3 inches tall.

Storage

We prefer mini PCs with a solid-state drive as opposed to a hard disk. The rotating fan on the hard disk will hamper the performance speed of the mini PC. Mini PC desktop storage ranges from 32 GB to 1 TB SSD or HDD. RAM varies from 2 GB to 8 GB or even 16 GB for high-performance models. Larger storage and RAM allow for smooth multitasking and better productivity.

CPU

We pay attention to the tasks that are generally performed by mini desktops, of which the 10th or 11th generation Intel Core i5 and AMD Ryzen are our flagship CPUs to accommodate them.

Noise

Due to the smaller size of the all-in-one, the mini PC fan will be a more audible thing. However, most of our selections are designed in such a way as to have unobtrusive noise.

USB ports

In general, mini PCs will provide at least four ports, of which good mini PC models will offer USB Type-C to Thunderbolt ports.

Compatibility with keyboards/mouse/audio set-up

Given that you need to provide your own keyboard, screen, mouse, and even audio accessories, we made sure to go with models offering wide compatibility. Our selected mini PCs provide ports for a keyboard, mouse, and headphones.

Use of PC

Mini PCs, in general, can be relied on to perform everyday tasks. Tasks such as processing documents, editing photos and videos, and playing simple games like Minecraft.

 

Our Picks For You

Our Top Pick - Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny

Our Top Pick

Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny

Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny

This mini desktop PC has a six-core Intel processor, 256GB of SSD storage, 8GB of RAM, and plenty of ports for USB monitors and accessories.

The Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny is one of the champions in the mini PC market; it has a lot of ports and the specs are on par with pricier options. The performance is more than adequate to execute everyday tasks and still has room for upgrades.

Buy Now

Who It's For

The Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny has more than just fast performance to carry out everyday tasks. As such, it's suitable for those who need to deal with Microsoft Office documents, Google Docs, or photo or video editing on a routine basis. This capacity is supported by 8 GB of RAM, which can still be upgraded.

Why It's Great

This mini PC comes with many ports, which will be useful if you use a lot of device accessories. The quiet fan sound makes it ideal for those who prefer a less noisy environment when working or studying. For power consumption, our testers found this to be almost the same as a mini PC in general: 8 watts when idle and about 60 watts when encoding video.

Potential Flaws

The space for the M70q Tiny's second drive seems "stingy"; it only has a single M.2 slot. Some of the mini PC models we found on the market have an M.2 slot for an SSD or an internal 2.5-inch drive bay, and many have both. The drive bracket and 2.5-inch cable must be bought separately.

Also, while mini PCs like the Intel NUC have a Thunderbolt 3 port and an SD card reader, the M70q lacks both. However, some user reviews argue that it isn't a deal breaker. You only need a Thunderbolt 3 port if you plan on adding a high-speed external SSD. You can also use a USB card reader.

Other Features

Mini PCs that do not have many ports require users to use accessories such as converters or hubs to cover needs that are not accommodated by their mini PCs. But the M70q Tiny is quite superior in this regard as it has a lot of ports of the type that is generally needed; USB Type-C, USB 3.2 Type-A, Display Port connection, Gigabit Ethernet port, and one HDMI port.

Our Runner-Up - Geekom Mini IT8

Our Runner-Up

Geekom Mini IT8

Geekom Mini IT8

The Geekon Mini IT8 is VESA-mountable, has decent performance for everyday tasks, and is backed by 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

The Geekon Mini IT8, as a newcomer to the mini PC market, offers a good deal for what it has to offer; support for up to four monitors, plenty of desktop and server apps, decent performance, and ships with Windows 11 Pro. It also offers more than enough performance to run day-to-day tasks.

Buy Now for $429.99

Who It's For

The Geekon Mini IT8 is a great choice for users looking for decent mini PC specs in general. It's power-efficient (of course), reliable for everyday tasks, and has plenty of desktop and server applications.

Why It's Great

One of the highlights of the Mini IT8 is the upgradeability it offers; you can slot in laptop RAM such as DDR4 SODIM up to 32 GB, add a 2.5-inch SATA drive (up to 2 TB), and insert a new NVMe drive (up to 1 TB). It also has 4 for support and ships with Windows 11 Pro upon order. However, various mini PC reviews say the Mini IT8 is a good choice to use as a virtualization host for your home network, as well as a streaming media hub.

Potential Flaws

Those who are computer nerds may always want to do the disassembly themselves. But unfortunately, the Mini IT8 is one that is difficult to disassemble. One user’s review noted that it felt really hard not to break some of the plastic inside when it was disassembled, hence the extra strength needed to separate the pieces. Then, the old-generation CPU used by the Mini IT8 is also something you might not like, even though in reality it still has optimal performance for everyday tasks.

Other Features

Geekom seems to offer the flexibility to choose the configuration according to the needs of its users. In this case, you can get the Mini IT8 in various configurations, starting with 8GB RAM with 256GB/512GB storage, all the way up to 16GB RAM with 256GB/512GB storage. The difference, of course, reflects the different prices. What is clear is that you can define in advance what tasks you want to do later with the Mini IT8 as well as your budget for sure.

Most Cost-Effective - CTL Chromebox CBX2

Most Cost-Effective

CTL Chromebox CBX2

CTL Chromebox CBX2

CTL Chromebox CBX2 has lots of ports, lots of memory from competing models, a Dual-core Intel Celeron 5205U processor, wireless, and expansion space.

The CTL Chromebox CBX2 offers the most cost-effective of all our selections. Then the fact that it's a very useful mini PC at its price level offers a lucrative deal; it has more memory than other models at the same price level, has lots of ports, and it’s reliable for basic tasks.

Buy Now for $269.00

Who It's For

The CTL Chromebox CBX2 is a great choice if you just want to shell out less for a mini PC. Despite its affordable price, it is superior to competing models, especially when it comes to the amount of memory. CBX2 also adapts its default OS to its lower-end processor; it uses Google Chrome OS instead of Windows, which will have a bad impact on its performance. What's clear is that the CBX2 processor is still fast enough to run everyday tasks, which makes it a reliable mini PC in general.

Why It's Great

Many mini PC reviews say that it is one of the best models compared to competing models in the same price range. In fact, it can properly accommodate the needs of users who use a mini PC in general to perform daily tasks.

Moreover, CBX2 provides the types of ports that are generally good. On the front, there are two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a microSD card reader port, and a port for the headphone jack. Then on the back, there is a USB-C port, a USB 2.0 Type-A port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two HDMI ports, an additional USB 3.1 Type-A port, and a power jack.

Potential Flaws

The dual-core Intel Celeron processor that the CBX2 uses may be something you don't like, considering that it's a lot slower than four- or six-core processors. Then Chrome OS may be the solution to this not-so-reliable processor, but be aware that you will not be able to run desktop versions of applications such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop. You can only use the Android version of the application on the Google Play Store, which has fewer features than the desktop version. What is clear is that if you intend to use this to play games or edit photos and videos, it appears to be less reliable.

Other Features

It has a utilitarian design, but the CBX2's plastic exterior is unobtrusive. But it won't be a problem as long as you only care about the function of the mini PC and not its appearance. The not-so-fast processor also keeps the CBX2 from getting hot — although the cost is the inability to perform certain tasks, and that means fan noise won't be a problem. It also has room to upgrade, is easy to use, and has a one-year built-in warranty.

Almost Made The Cut - Asus PN50

Almost Made The Cut

Asus PN50

Asus PN50

The best bare-bones mini PC

The Asus PN50 is powered by the AMD Ryzen PN50 processor, has good port types on it, and is a "bare-bones" type — the operating system, storage, and memory are provided by the user.

Buy Now

Who It's For

The ASUS PN50 is a mini PC that is the right choice for DIYers. It is a bare-bones model that requires the user to provide various components.

Why It's Great

Then the AMD Ryzen processor that the PN50 uses allows it to be faster than our other picks, like the Tinkcentre M70q. Not only is it reliable for operating word processing software, but it is also reliable for editing photos and videos. However, the PN50 offers a good price-performance ratio.

Potential Flaws

This may not be the right choice for novice users because users are required to decide on their configuration. While generally, buying your components will make your PC more affordable, this may not be a big deal for those who want a PC with a built-in configuration. Other than that, it has a faster processor than our other selected mini PCs, so the fan whine will be a little more audible when the PC is used to perform certain more demanding tasks.

Care and Maintenance

How to set up your mini desktop PC

Mini PCs are compact and don’t take up much space, especially when some come with standard VESA mounts. However, ensure the table you will use is big enough to place a monitor, an 8 by 8-inch PC, and accessories such as a keyboard and mouse.

Checking compatibility with other devices

Some Mini PCs come with more ports than other models. That makes the mini PC compatible for use with PC accessories such as headphones, mice, and keyboards.

Understanding RAM and CPU

The central processing unit (CPU) and random access memory (RAM) of a computer work together to process data. The CPU serves as the computer’s primary processing unit and is in charge of carrying out calculations and executing commands. RAM is temporary memory where the computer stores data for quick access.

A computer can store more information for quick access with more RAM, and it can process more commands per second with a faster CPU. RAM and the CPU work in tandem to make sure your computer runs smoothly and effectively.