Customers are always asking what the purpose of mini PC’s are; dwarf technology? Overkill search engines? Well, you know the bitter burn of jealousy that you feel when you see a Smart Car slipped into the smallest space on a packed street parking? A mini PC consumer is the driver of that parked Smart Car.
Don’t let its size fool you; mini PC’s are compact and easily deployable, to be squeezed into small spaces for the everyday computing demands that a full-sized desktop can handle; tuck one into the back of a monitor or insert it into that small free space available in your games room.
Although they’re small, there’s still a massive amount of selection available to you when choosing (or customising) a mini PC. Most are sold as bare-bone machines that just need additional RAM and a decent hard drive, but if you want an easier purchase then there is still a range of available mini PCs which are barely larger than a smartphone and have very simple set-up’s.
Our world is becoming more about portability and ease. As commuters and businesses innovate to tackle the constantly changing technological landscape, many people have opted for a computer that can literally fit in their bag. Still, businesses and offices tend to use workstations for reasons such as a larger screen, replacement ease, and the ability to upgrade.
However, this also leads to many businesses losing out in aspects that they weren’t even aware of. The bulking size of a desktop computer can, as it says on the tin, literally take up an entire desk space.
Electricity consumption while continuously running a desktop PC is also more expensive. It’s like buying a massive house when there is just a single tenant, the larger space becomes a lot harder to maintain than a modest apartment space would in comparison; desktop PCs demand more maintenance such as cleaning because their larger space is more at risk to error and malfunction from unchecked dust and dirt.
The price gap between mini PCs and desktops is constantly shrinking. Where mini PCs were once seen as flawed computing that was costly and slow, advancements in technology means that mini PCs have swiftly become an affordable, beneficial hardware.
If you’re in the market for a mini PC, there are numerous qualities to look out for. The ideal mini PC will run quietly, use only a sip of power, require minimal setup, and will feature multiple ports for added connections such as an upgraded monitor.
Just remember what purpose you are buying a mini PC for. Don’t think of a mini PC as equivalent to an average desktop. The money you spend on a mini PC won’t get you the computing power of a larger desktop PC that is the same price. Instead, the money you are spending should be focused on getting a mini PC with tailored specialties.
The money you are investing in a mini PC isn’t for boosted performance. Instead, focus your spending on creating a silent, compact, powerful system that can be used for extra storage or less maintenance.
The benefits of mini PCs are broad and vary depending on your choice of uses. The obvious advantage lies in a mini PCs size. Mini PCs can be fixed behind a monitor screen, taking up only a fraction of a desks’ space. Mini PCs are for those looking for a small, lightweight hardware that can be easily moved and transported between locations. Portability is key.
The maintenance of a mini PC is usually a walk in the park compared to average desktop computers. They are well-designed machines that overheat substantially less than desktops because of their smaller size and scalability. This means you can use your mini PC for much longer without worrying about an overheating issue. Larger desktops suffer overheating from the large collections of dust that form on their hardware, causing familiar, frustrating issues and errors for your machine. A mini PC has all its hardware tucked into one box, meaning everything is much more condensed and safe from dirt and dust.
Mini PCs are found to actually use around one-tenth of a desktops electricity. Mini PCs consume less energy, which is a positive for both your electrical spending and the environment itself. Think of a mini PC as green computing. There’s a revolution among businesses for a shift towards an energy-saving option that is green-friendly to our planet. Because computers consume such a high amount of electricity as a device, mini PCs are being considered and opted for because they use fewer units of power and save on unwanted power expenses. Their longetivty also means producing less ewaste.
Mini PCs have many advantages over their desktop counterparts and should always be considered if you are in the market for a new or replacement PC. Remember that you can always reuse your compatible old hardware, such as an old monitor, keyboard, or speakers, to mix and match with your new mini PC.
Of course, an increase in portability and hardware reliability also features its own downsides that any potential buyer must heed. Unlike a desktop PC, a mini PC is very limited in what can be upgraded; its smaller size means that its motherboard lacks many slots for different parts, with little room for additional hardware. This means that you won’t be able to upgrade your CPU when a new range is released, you will be stuck with the one that you choose unless you are prepared to get the old soldering iron out.
If you are a dedicated heavy PC gamer, mini PCs are also definitely not for you. The hardware isn’t powerful enough to run games at full capacity and it will ruin your gaming experience playing on such a limited machine. However, if you are a casual gamer that isn’t bothered by the quality or graphics for your gameplay, who just wants a portable machine for easy play, then certainly consider a mini PC.
Another hardware buffer for buyers is that mini PCs opt for laptop RAM rather than desktop RAM. If you want to replace it, remember that laptop RAM is slightly pricier than desktop equivalents but is also smaller and fits well with the mini PC.
In terms of operating systems, barebones PCs naturally don’t usually come with Windows or Linux built in. While this can be annoying for consumers, it also gives you choice depending on what you are using the machine for. I recommend using Linux for a mini PC as the software and hardware work together seamlessly. Again, this is all a matter of considering what role you are using your mini PC for.
If you need a new PC for tasks such as media editing (Photoshop, etc.) then I would strongly recommend against a mini PC as your choice of hardware. The internal hardware speed can be genuinely slower than a desktop, as well as the storage space being relatively less than a larger PC. The lack of disk drives for CD or DVD players may also be a lacking resource to media editing. A workstation specifically built for video editing would be more suitable to meet your demands.
Mini PCs open up possibilities of efficiency, making work much more easily accessible on the go – you may even find yourself working a lot more thanks to the ease that a smaller computer provides.
Mini PCs are exactly what they say on the tin – smaller, compacted machines that work best for designated, technical roles. If you travel frequently, then a mini PC is the perfect companion for you. Their lightness is more similar to a notebook or iPad rather than a colossal desktop PC; if you travel frequently for business, then stay up to date with cloud documents and important writing using this nifty little PC partner.
Every business and startup needs easy hardware that cuts budget corners. Unnecessary costs can be the bane of an organisation. With the latest technology, you could find yourself saving big money with a little computer: a mini PC.
14 Jul 2021
We caught up with PNY's David Flood to discuss how the 4th industrial revolution GPU refreshes and other major tech developments are powering incredible and exciting transformation in the media and entertainment industry.