Mini PCs offer a compact alternative to traditional desktop computers. As long as you have the right peripherals available, you can move mini PCs around to wherever you want, plugging them into available monitors or TVs for immediate availability. That makes them useful for flexible work situations, traveling presentations, LAN parties, and a variety of other tasks. Here are our favorite mini PCs of the year so far.
If you want to go even smaller, consider taking a look at our list of the best stick PCs as well.
Apple Mac Mini
High-end power in a tiny footprint
- Still very compact
- M2 Pro boosts the graphics
- Lots of storage options
- Stays amazingly quiet and cool
- Fantastic port selection
- Very affordable base configuration
- Base configuration has slower SSD
- Not user upgradable
|CPU:||Apple M2 Chip|
|GPU:||Apple M2 10-Core|
|Dimensions:||7.75 x 7.75 x 1.41 inches|
The Mac Mini M2 is a stupendously powerful miniature PC, sporting the same M2 processor that you can find in some of Apple's best MacBooks. There are even options for higher-end configurations like the M2 Pro and up to 32GB of RAM. Storage options are expansive, with up to 8TB available for those willing to pay extra, although you can always augment a more bare-bones system with an external hard drive.
Starting at $600, the Mac Mini is relatively affordable too — although its top configurations do get rather pricey. This system runs cooler and quieter then MacBook Pro models, and if you have a monitor already, setting yourself up with a latest-generation Mac Mini is a breeze. It supports the latest Thunderbolt ports, so you can connect all your accessories, no matter what connector they use, and utilize them at full speed.
This mini PC is understated and very trim too, so you can slot it into a desk or even between a few books on a shelf — just be sure it has enough airflow to stay cool during operation.
Beelink U59 Mini PC
Best budget mini PC
- Very compact
- Affordable price
- Plenty of storage space
- Weak performance
|CPU:||Intel Celeron N5015|
|Dimensions:||4.8 x 4.56 x 1.6 inches|
For a super-compact system with enough performance to outstrip any stick PC, the Beelink U59 does a great job. It's very affordable, costing not much more than you would pay if you just slapped together a Raspberry Pi box, but with the power of a real Intel x86 CPU with four cores. It's not going to play the latest AAA games, but as a home media server, CAD box, Zoom machine, download server, or anything else that doesn't run high-end applications, it's perfect.
It comes with Ethernet, HDMI, and USB ports built-in, so there are plenty of connection options for accessories and local networking. You can also connect over Bluetooth 4.0, or Wi-Fi 5. These aren't cutting-edge features, but they're the kind of bare-bones connectivity options that make this a fully functioning mini PC. It's vastly cheaper and more capable than most budget laptops too, so if you have a screen you can plug this into and just need a little system for the basics, the Beelink U59 is a great choice.
Apple Mac Studio
The best mini PC for creatives
- Incredible performance
- Quiet no matter what you do
- Understated design
- Lots of ports
- Very expensive
|CPU:||Apple M2 Ultra Chip|
|GPU:||Apple M2 60-Core|
|Dimensions:||7.7 x 7.7 x 3.7 inches|
The Mac Studio M2 Ultra is Apple's flagship miniature desktop computer, and though it isn't as diminutive as the Mac Mini, it's vastly more powerful. Featuring the high-end M2 Ultra processor with a massive 60-core GPU, this is the system for those who need incredible performance in a desktop machine that has a miniature footprint. This system can rival even the much larger M2 Mac Pro in a much more compact design.
Despite all that power, this system performs incredibly quietly. The fans barely spin up even when it's working hard thanks to the impressive efficiency of Apple's M2 silicon. It also comes with a great port selection, including multiple Thunderbolt 4 connectors, a pair of traditional USB-A ports, an HDMI output, a headphone jack, and support for 10 Gigabit Ethernet. If you prefer wireless, there's Wi-Fi 6E support, as well as Bluetooth 5.3 for connecting all your wireless accessories.
This is the ultimate system for heavy multitaskers. This system can support as many as three 8K displays simultaneously, or up to eight 4K displays. If you've always wanted to sit in front of a huge bank of monitors, this is the PC to do it with.
Geekom Mini PC AS6
Best mini PC for casual gaming
- Capable GPU for casual gaming
- Excellent connectivity
- Fast CPU and memory
- Expensive for a mini PC
|CPU:||AMD Ryzen 7735H|
|Dimensions:||4.6 x 4.4 x 2.3-inches|
For a mini PC with real power for gaming or demanding creative applications, the Geekom Mini PC AS6 is an awesome design. It features an AMD Ryzen 7735H processor with eight cores and 16 threads. It's based on older Zen 3+ architecture, but it's on a 6nm process node and has a high clock speed, so it offers impressive performance in games and applications. That's paired up with 32GB of DDR5 memory, which is more than you'll find in a lot of full-size desktop PCs.
The Radeon 680M is a capable mobile gaming chip that isn't going to get you playing Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K, but in more casual games, it has plenty of power for high frame rates and detail settings. It'll easily outstrip the typical onboard GPUs and runs efficiently too, so heat buildup isn't too extreme. The fans can get a little noisy during extensive gaming sessions, though.
Connectivity on this mini PC is also excellent, with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, as well as USB 4 and 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet connections. It also has DisplayPort and HDMI outputs for external displays, plus traditional USB-A for accessories.
Lenovo Ideacentre mini desktop
Best mini PC for the office
- Powerful processor
- Great array of ports
- Very slim design
- Lacks dedicated GPU
|CPU:||Intel Core i7-13700H|
|GPU:||Intel Iris Xe|
|Dimensions:||7.7 x 7.5 x 1.5-inches|
The Lenovo Ideacentre mini dekstop packs ATX-size desktop power into a chassis that's just an inch-and-a-half thick. It has a Core i7-13700H CPU ,which brings a staggering 14-cores to the compact mini PC market. Combine that with 16GB of DDR4 memory and a half a terabyte of SSD space, and you have a snappy and responsive system that's perfectly suited for running demanding office applications.
This is effectively a Mac Mini PC for Windows users. It's the same style of super-compact, understated, highly connective computer, but with Windows 11 loaded up instead of MacOS. It's clean and professional, with an array of USB-A, USB-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt ports. There's Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6 for fast networking too.
There's no dedicated GPU, so this isn't great for gaming or 3D design work, but for everything else, this mini PC is one of the best.
Intel NUC Pro 13
The best Intel NUC mini PC
- Silent operation
- Great 13th-gen performance
- Customizable memory and storage
- No USB-C power cable
|CPU:||Intel Core i7-1360P|
|GPU:||Intel Iris Xe|
|Dimensions:||4.6 x 4.4 x 2.1-inches|
Intel might be moving away from making first-party NUCs, but one of its last ones is a real gem. It features a 13th-generation CPU with 12 cores and a high clock speed for impressive performance in such a compact design. It has a terabyte of SSD storage, giving you all the space you need for a range of applications, and with 32GB of RAM, this is a system that will start up fast and remain responsive no matter how long you're using it for and how many browser tabs you open.
It's completely free of fans, so it operates silently even when you're pushing it, and it has a great number of connection options and ports. There's Thunderbolt 4, USB-A, a headphone jack, and a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports for 4K monitor outputs. It supports up to 7.1 channel audio, and it has Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. This is a mini PC that has it all outside of a big GPU.
If you need a powerful little system, you can't go wrong with the Intel NUC 13 Pro.
These are PCs with a compact form that are made to easily fit in small spaces where a full PC tower couldn't. They are also easily transportable if you need to move around between different workspaces or rooms. Finally, they are designed to provide most, if not all, of the capabilities of a full desktop PC.
Note that this differs from a stick PC, which is a smaller device made to plug into TVs or monitors, and all-in-ones, which combine a desktop computer and monitor into one device.
Mini PC specs can often soar as high as any desktop PC (although they aren't as friendly for modding or upgrades), so they can be very good if you are willing to pay for a high-end version. However, mini PCs are also a strong choice if you want to save money on something simpler than the standard desktop PC. This requires a compromise on specs like storage and RAM, though.
Since mini PCs can vary significantly, start by thinking about your needs. Do you need something that can mimic a traditional desktop PC at work? Do you need compatibility with Apple devices? Do you want to save money and focus on portability?
Take a look at the models above and see which closely matches your wants and needs, and then determine how well it first into your budget.
This is another choice that will depend on your own needs. Getting a recent-generation Intel 12 or 13th-generation CPU is a good idea. For AMD, Ryzen 5000, 6000, or 7000 are all good choices. You'll want to check reviews for individual mini PCs, as their performance can vary dramatically depending on cooling.
You certainly can, as some gamers prefer a compact PC to take with them on the road for LAN gaming. Gamers may have to put in a little more work -- and money -- into outfitting a mini PC with their desired components, but it's definitely possible.
First, look to see if the mini PC is bundled with anything. Some already include a mouse and keyboard. If not, that's where you should start -- our wireless keyboard guide can help.
If your workspace doesn't already have a monitor ready for a PC, then you will also need to choose a monitor. A set of speakers may be a good idea for your workspace as well, and you may like to include an external hard drive for more expansive storage.
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