Should your next computer be a mini PC? These are your best options.

The best mini PCs and NUCs come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your needs, there’s a compact computer out there to suit you. A mini PC is a particularly good choice for your school-age kids, since you’ll be able to pack a full PC to work on into something that will fit in even the tightest of spaces. And it’s great if you need to add a PC covertly to somewhere like the kitchen or living room. We’ve put together this collection of some of the best mini PCs and NUCs to help you get started down this path.

Best overall

Intel NUC 11 Performance

Staff pick

Intel continues to push the boundaries, and its latest high-end Next Unit of Computing (NUC, another name for mini PC), the NUC 11, is very impressive. You can get up to an 11th Gen Core i7-1165G7 processor inside with Iris Plus graphics, or for less money there’s the Core i5-1135G7 option. There are barebones kits available, though these options from Amazon come equipped with up to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD to let you hit the ground running.

From $630 (i5) at Amazon

From $900 (i7) at Amazon

$499 (i5 barebones) at B&H

Build it yourself

ASRock DeskMini X300W

Editor’s choice

This affordable little box from ASRock is a brilliant barebones kit that comes with support for AMD Ryzen 4000-series APUs with integrated graphics. You get the chassis and the motherboard with an external power brick while supplying your CPU, storage, and RAM. The end result can be either a budget build or a high-performance system; the choice is entirely yours. There are also some pre-built options available with Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 chips available.

$194 (barebones) at Amazon

$600 (Ryzen 5) at Amazon

$850 (Ryzen 7) at Amazon

Budget buy

GMK NucBox

The GMK NucBox is a neat-looking little PC with 8GB of RAM, expandable storage, and a decent selection of ports. It’s limited to an Intel Celeron J4125 processor, but at this price that’s expected. It comes with up to a 512GB SSD, plus you can expand with a microSD card. A fan on top keeps everything running cool.

From $199 at Amazon

Good for gaming

Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast

Intel’s NUC 11 Enthusiast kit takes the idea of a mini PC and injects some gaming flair. Models come with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU and NVIDIA RTX 2060 discrete GPU with 6GB of VRAM, and you can choose to add RAM and storage from the factory. You can also buy a barebones kit and add it yourself. It’s still a very compact PC that’s about the size of a network router.

$1,330 at Amazon

$1,460 at Amazon


Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q Tiny

Lenovo’s little ThinkCentre M70q Tiny is a great way to pack a bunch of business PC features into something that can attach to the back of your monitor. Add up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10900T vPro CPU, 64GB of DDR4 RAM, and 2TB of storage (split between SSD and HDD). It’s all upgradeable, it has a TPM 2.0 chip and Kensington lock slot, and it comes with Wi-Fi 6 for easy connectivity.

From $950 at Amazon

From $428 at Lenovo

Pocket PC

Azulle Access4

The Azulle Access4 is one of our picks for best PC stick thanks to a dual-core Intel CPU, 64GB of onboard storage and microSD expansion up to 512GB, and 4GB of RAM. There’s an Ethernet port, but there’s also an attached antenna for better Wi-Fi pickup. Other ports include 3.5mm audio, USB-C, USB-A, microSD, and a Kensington lock slot. This is a great pick if you need a PC you can keep in your pocket.

$290 at Amazon

Choosing what’s best

Despite their size, all of these machines are full, capable Windows 10 PCs. But when it comes to the small PC, Intel continues to lead the way with its NUC line. The latest NUC 11 Performance kit packs in 11th Gen Intel CPUs for excellent performance, plus it’s built into a chassis that’s compact and easy to work with. You can buy it barebones, or you can go with a model that includes RAM and storage as well.

And if you’re a fan of AMD, ASRock’s DeskMini X300W is a brilliant pick packed with Ryzen 4000-series APUs with built-in graphics. The attractive little case comes barebones or with storage and memory. Be sure to check out our collections of the best desktop computers and the best Windows laptops for a bunch of great full-size PC options.

Original Article