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5 Best Small Desktop PCs in 2018

Large, noisy, and often overly expensive desktop PCs are going out of fashion because abundant processing power has become available in much more appealing and convenient form factors. Small desktop PCs squeeze all the components of a regular desktop PC inside an elegant case that’s often not much larger than the average set-top box.

Best Small Desktop PC Link Brand Link Price on
Samsung Samsung ArtPC PULSE Desktop 2199
ASUS0 ASUS VivoMini Mini PC 670.31
Acer Acer Revo One Home Entertainment Desktop 599.99
Minix MINIX NEO Z83-4, Intel Cherry Trail Fanless Mini PC Windows 10 179.9
Apple Apple Mac Mini Check Price

Unlike personal computers, small desktop PCs, or mini PCs as they are often called, are quite limited in terms of upgradability, so it’s essential to purchase one that can withstand the test of time long enough to make financial sense. All 5 mini PCs on this list offer excellent performance, extensive connectivity options for peripherals and various wireless devices, and, above all, a form factor small enough to work great as a media center computer.

Asus VivoMini

The Asus VivoMini small desktop computer is a versatile PC with business-class performance and a rear mounting VESA bracket for monitors and HDTVs.

Configurable with up to a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM, the VivoMini works great as a personal computer, home entertainment center, media library, or even as the brain of a point-of-sale machine or a kiosk display.

On the front of the VivoMini are two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, and one USB 3.0 Type-C port. Next to the USB ports is a 3.5 mm audio connector for headphones or speakers. On the rear panel are two additional USB 3.0 ports, 4-in-1 memory card reader, one DisplayPort, one HDMI port, one DVI-D port, one gigabit Ethernet port, Kensington Lock, and traditional COM port for communication with legacy devices and business equipment.

The VivoMini is the only mini PC on this list that has an optical drive capable for burning CDs and DVDs. The entire computer can be relatively easily taken apart to access the 2.5-inch hard drive or M.2 SSD as well as the computer’s memory.

Acer Revo One

Designed with entertainment in mind, the Acer Revo One is a sleek all-in-one PC that comes with a matching wireless mouse and keyboard. The natural habitat of this modern computer is the living room. Thanks to its small size, the Revo One fits in any nook and cranny even though hiding it from view almost doesn’t feel right considering how pretty it is.

The good news is that the appeal of the Revo One doesn’t end with its looks. The computer comes with a 1 TB Solid State Hybrid Drive and several additional hot-swappable drive bays for extra hard drives, should you ever need more storage space. You can also enjoy content from memory cards thanks to the SD card reader, which is conveniently located on top.

All the usual connectivity options are also present, including 7.1-channel audio 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, two rear USB 3.0 ports, two front USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI port, and one Mini DisplayPort. Acer created a companion Android app, called Acer Revo Suite, making it possible to control the Revo One using any Android smartphone.

The included mouse and keyboard combo is a nice touch, adding a lot of value to this otherwise mid-range computer with an Intel Core i5-5200U CPU and 8 GB of RAM.

MINIX Neo Z83-4

The MINIX Neo Z83-4 is the most affordable small desktop PC on this list. It’s built on the Intel Cherry Trail platform, which is a series of energy-efficient processors with support for Windows and Android. The Neo Z83-4 is one of only a few Intel Cherry Trail mini PCs that ships with Windows 10, offering the full Windows desktop experience for less than $200 without making any drastic compromises in terms of its performance.

With 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage space, the Neo Z83-4 is great as a Home Theater PC (HTPC), or a primary computer for someone who only wants to browse the web, talk with friends and family, and occasionally do basic office work. Thanks to two display ports (Mini DisplayPort and full-size HDMI), the Neo Z83-4 can output up to 4K video at 30 frames per second to any HDTV or monitor, and you can even stream content wirelessly to from your smartphone because it has 802.11ac Dual-Band Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet.

Samsung ArtPC PULSE

The Samsung ArtPC PULSE small desktop PC is a mighty beast of a computer. Featuring AMD’s Radeon RX 460 desktop-class graphics card with 2 GB of dedicated video memory and up to 8 GB of total video memory, this mini PC would work great both as a professional workstation and as a high-end entertainment center.

Built into the ArtPC PULSE is a 360-degree omnidirectional speaker designed and manufactured by Harmon Kardon. This single speaker alone produces detailed sound with deep bass and crisp highs, especially when listening at moderate volume levels. Should you ever want to connect a dedicated sound system to the ArtPC PULSE, you can do so using Bluetooth 4.1 or the headphone/microphone output port.

Besides the capable graphics card, the ArtPC PULSE also features top-of-the-range CPU from Intel and 1 TB SSD M.2 Drive from Samsung with speeds up to 2,500 MB/s. Included with the computer is a wireless mouse and keyboard combo, which makes its steep price of over $2,000 slightly more bearable.

Mac Mini

While not exactly a PC in the traditional sense of the word, the Mac Mini runs Windows flawlessly, and it’s one of the best mini PCs out there. Carved from a solid block of aluminum, one look at the Mac Mini is enough to convince anyone that Apple knows what it’s doing when it comes to industrial design.

The latest version of the Mac Mini comes with a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of LPDDR3 memory, up to 1 TB Fusion Drive, and Intel Iris integrated graphics. In terms of connectivity, the Mac Mini offers two Thunderbolt 2 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, a single HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet, and SDXC card reader.

Even if you don’t care for macOS, the Mac Mini is not a bad purchase because you can easily switch to Windows with Boot Camp, which is a multi-boot tool included with macOS that assists users in installing Windows on Intel-based Macs.

Best Small Desktop PC Link Brand Link Price on
Samsung Samsung ArtPC PULSE Desktop 2199
ASUS0 ASUS VivoMini Mini PC 670.31
Acer Acer Revo One Home Entertainment Desktop 599.99
Minix MINIX NEO Z83-4, Intel Cherry Trail Fanless Mini PC Windows 10 179.9
Apple Apple Mac Mini Check Price

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