The computing world has been facing a major technological shift down from mighty towers to compact yet powerful mini desktops the size of your peanut butter sandwich.
The mini desktop computer, once relegated to simple, lightweight everyday computing tasks, is today taking the world of computing by storm, becoming the go-to choice for many computing enthusiasts.
In CES 2018, Digital Storm unveiled Project Spark, a shoe box size mini desktop computer with the kick of a high-end gamers’ PC.
This newest addition to the gaming world sports a GTX 1080 graphics card running on an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU. How cool is that?
Well if you are out to get a slice of this tiny gadget pie, then you are in for quite a treat, judging by how fast these tiny monsters are growing in terms of computing power and capability.
If you need one for work or play, then there are a few factors to watch out for, so that you may purchase what is optimum for you.
Factors to consider when choosing a mini desktop
Bare bones or ready to go?
Ready to go mini-PCs can be used immediately they are out of the box while a barebones mini PC only has the processor and motherboard onboard its case.
There are USB ports, Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi capabilities but you are expected to purchase its RAM and hard drive (if you do not already own one).
Their main advantage is that they are cheaper than ready-to-go units, and allow you to use parts you already may have, or dictate how much computing power you would like onboard.
Things to consider when buying a barebones kit
- There is no operating system installed as there is no hard disk on board. You will need to purchase this aside or operate on Linux since it is free.
- Mini desktops support laptop Ram which is more compact than desktop RAM. The former cost a little bit more too than the latter.
- Ensure that you factor in how many DIMM slots your barebones mini PC has so you can buy the correct number of RAM sticks required.
- Your barebones mini PC will support either a 2.5 inch or an M.2 flash storage type of hard drive. The 2.5-inch drives are more affordable and have higher capacity.
Do you have peripheral devices?
Your newly purchased mini desktop will not have a keyboard, mouse, speakers or monitor. If you do not have these, you will need to purchase them separately.
- A mini PC only has mini HDMI output to ensure that your monitor is also HDMI capable. If not buy the HDMI-to-DVI converter.
- A VESA-compatible one is great if you are purchasing your monitor afresh since you can mount your mini PC on it later.
- Ensure that if no mini-HDMI-to-HDMI cable is supplied, you purchase one.
- Your mini PC has no PS/2 port, so can only utilize Bluetooth or USB based mouse and keyboard.
You may not be able to upgrade your mini PC later
Being compact, a mini PC’s motherboard has very limited slots nor is there much room to aid you to juice up your computer. That means the CPU cannot be upgraded…easily that is unless you are a bit of a comp geek, which will also void your warranty. So before purchase ensure that you buy the processor of your dreams, be it Intel or AMD
Keep some of these factors in mind as you shop in the now limitless market of mini desktop computers and have a great hunt!