Best mini PCs of 2024

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Don't let the size fool you - the best mini PCs we've tested offer a powerful, portable alternative to laptops and desktop PCs. Our team of reviewers tested the best of the best, benchmarking performance, and comparing specs for a range of uses - from basic office tasks to gaming and video editing. 

Mini PCs, sometimes known as a NUC or thin client, are compact boxes that often hide impressively powerful components. Because of their small size (you can mount many to monitor) and reliability, they've become a popular choice for video conferencing, streaming, and server use alongside general office workflows. And while they lack the sheer force of the very best business computers or even best business laptops we've tested, they're a lot more powerful than you might think - and a lot cheaper, too. 

Our review team have gone hands-on with a massive range of the best mini PCs for video editing, gaming, office work, and and the cheapest mini PCs for those working to a budget. Rigorously benchmarking overall performance, we compared specs, connectivity, and explored features across Windows and Mac mini PCs for the home, office, and everywhere in between.

Quick list

Best mini PC overall

Mac mini (2023) in a studio

(Image credit: Future)
Apple’s little PC gets a big upgrade

Specifications

CPU: Apple M2 (up to 12-core)
Graphics: Integrated GPU (up to 19-core)
RAM: Up to 32GB
Storage: 256GB SSD
Connectivity: Up to 4x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 2x USB-A, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack. Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth

Reasons to buy

+
Even more powerful
+
Small form factor
+
Reduced price

Reasons to avoid

-
Can't upgrade after purchasing
-
Premium price

The Apple Mac mini might not be the smallest around, but for the sheer power relative to its size, it’s our pick for best mini PC. Packing the incredibly fast M2 and M2 Pro chips, the Mac mini (‘mini’ in lowercase, just to emphasize its compact form) is perfect for running basic office apps, browsing, right up to intensive creative tasks like photo and video editing. 

When it comes to performance, we had absolutely no issues with the Mac mini. It breezed through every task, every benchmark test, with results putting it not too far behind the similarly portable but not so mini MacBook Pro. The machine even offers good value for money for a mini PC, with prices around the $600 / £600 mark. If you’re not too concerned about the best processors, you can still occasionally find the M1 model, which is a very good alternative at a cheaper price. 

However, this is an Apple device - and an excellent entry-point into its closed ecosystem. But unlike most mini PCs, there’s no barebones option here, no upgrading the system, switching distros, or any other tinkering. This is for those who want a mini PC ready to go from day one. 

Read our full Apple Mac mini (M2, 2023) review.

Best mini PC on a budget

Beelink U59 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
A mini system done right

Specifications

CPU: Intel Celeron Processor
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB M.2 2280 SATA SSD
Connectivity: 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 USB-C, 4x USB3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 2x HDMI 1.4, 1 x audio jack, Intel WiFi 6E, 2x Gigabit LAN adapter, Bluetooth v5.2

Reasons to buy

+
Super small size
+
VESA mount included
+
Upgradable storage and RAM
+
Very affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
M.2 slot is only SATA
-
USB ports are all 5Gbps

The Beelink U59 is a NUC-sized PC built around the Intel Celeron Processor N5105 (4C/4T, 4M Cache, 2.0GHz up to 2.9GHz). It can come with 8GB or 16GB of RAM and up to a 512GB SATA SSD installed.

Even with that modest silicon, the U59 performs well at basic tasks and has potential as a small office machine or for embedded applications. For 8GB customers, the RAM can be upgraded to 16GB, along with the M.2 SATA storage. There is also a bay inside for a 2.5-inch drive for even more storage options.

What seals this deal is the relatively low asking price of both the 8GB and 16GB models and the bloatware-free Windows 11 installation. Including dual HDMI outputs and dual gigabit LAN ports neatly positions the U59 for embedded use, ideal for providing product presentations or as a self-contained firewall.

The Beelink U59 is easily one of the better NUC-sized machines we’ve seen, and it’s cheap enough for even the tightest budgets.

Read our full Beelink U59 review

Best mini PC for the office

Geekom AS 6

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
More power and bandwidth than the AS 5

Specifications

CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX
Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics 680M
RAM: 32GB DDR5
Storage: 1TB GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD,(free Gen 4 slot, free SATA 2.5 bay
Connectivity: 2x USB4 Type-C, 5x USB 3.2 Gen1, 2x HDMI 2.1 Port, 1x Display Port 1.4, 1x 2.5G RJ45 LAN, 1x DC-in,1x padlock ring, 1x audio jack, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth v5.2

Reasons to buy

+
Ryzen 9 mobile CPU
+
Dual M.2 2280 slots
+
USB 4.0

Reasons to avoid

-
Plastic case
-
Noisy fan
-
Flexible ribbon cables

The AS 6 is a different beast compared to the AS 5. This NUC system might look identical from the outside, but the Zen 3+ processor and DDR5 in this system can deliver a dramatically improved performance.

Combining better bandwidth with DRR5 memory, a more power-efficient processor, a superior GPU and a PCIe 4.0 infrastructure, the AS 6 has almost everything going for it. If it has weaknesses, these include a noisy cooling system, all-plastic construction and the same Asus-designed interior layout where the motherboard is in two parts connected by a flexible ribbon cable.

However, it has USB 4.0, and the two 2280 M.2 NVMe slots are both Gen 4, allowing for plenty of performance storage to be added alongside a 2.5-inch SATA mechanism. Sadly, Geekom supplies the machine with only a Gen 3 NVMe drive, but swapping it for something faster is a relatively inexpensive and straightforward exercise.

With an asking price between $659 and $749, depending on the largely processor-optional SKU, this isn’t a cheap design, but it represents good value for a machine with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage as standard. For those wanting a high-performance NUC system that can take on most office challenges, the Geekom AS 6 is yet another practical option.

Read our full Geekom AS 6 review 

Best mini PC with a barebones option

GMKtec NucBox K1 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
Tiny and cheap NUC with bags of power

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800H
Graphics: AMD Radeon 680M
RAM: 16GB DDR5 (expandable to 64GB)
Storage: 512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
Connectivity: 1x USB 4.0 PD+DP1.4, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x audio jack, 2.5GbE RJ45 Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth v5.2

Reasons to buy

+
AMD Ryzen 7 6800H Mobile Processor
+
Compact design with easy access
+
Barebones option

Reasons to avoid

-
No Thunderbolt ports
-
16GB single-channel mistake

One of the best things about mini PCs is their upgradeability - it’s one of the joys of owning them. And while you can pick up plenty of ‘barebones’ mini PCs, in our experience, the GMKtec NucBox K1 is particularly outstanding here. 

The ‘barebones’ option is cheap, but you’ll need to provide DDR5 memory, NVMe, operating system - as you’d expect. Preconfigured models run up to 32GB RAM and  1TB storage capacity. So, plenty of options available, whether you’re a PC fixer or just need something to run (almost) straight out the box. 

Like all the best mini PCs, it’s also an incredibly compact device. Easily one of the smallest NUCs we’ve tested, it’s not much larger than the motherboard it houses - without impacting performance. However, we would've liked to see more port selection - USB4.0 is great, but where's the Thunderbolt compatibility? 

Speaking of performance, the K1 did well - and vastly improved once we swapped out the single 16GB module of our review model for a couple of Crucial DDR5 4800 SODIMMs. It brought performance up to Ryzen 7 7735HS levels. If you don’t choose the ‘barebones’ or 32Gb versions, then make sure you pick up a second memory module for best performance. 

Read our full GMKtec NucBox K1 review .

Best mini PC for creators

Mac Studio on wooden desk

(Image credit: Future)
Move over Mac Pro

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1 - M2
Graphics: 24 - 60 core GPU
RAM: 32 - 64GB
Storage: 512GB - 1TB SSD
Connectivity: Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, USB 4, USB 3.1, USB-A, HDMI, Ethernet, audio jack

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Powerful
+
Plenty of ports
+
Essentially silent

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Non-upgradable
-
Mouse and keyboard not included

If you’re a creative professional, the Apple Mac Studio is the best mini PC for you. A beefed-up version of the Mac mini, the Mac Studio is built from a single aluminum extrusion, with a square footprint of 7.7 inches and a height of 3.7 inches. 

In our tests, the Mac Studio performed beautifully. It easily handled 8K video editing and the advanced AI-powered photo editing tools in Adobe Photoshop. We even saw the Mac Studio load a detailed 3D scene that took up more memory than most discrete professional PC GPUs come with. And it did all this in near-silence. 

The bottom line is that you’re just not going to get another PC of this performance level in such a compact chassis. Its laser-like focus on creative professionals means it won’t be for everyone, but it packs plenty of ports, and if you want a powerful and compact creative mini PC, there’s a lot to love with the Apple Mac Studio. 

Read our full Apple Mac Studio review 

Best mini PC for performance

Beelink SER6 Pro 7735HS

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
Ultimate performance NUC from Beelink

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7735HS
Graphics: AMD Radeon 680M
RAM: 32GB DDR5 (expandable to 64GB)
Storage: 512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
Connectivity: 1x USB 4.0 Type-C, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0, 2x HDMI 2.1, 1x audio jack

Reasons to buy

+
Plenty of performance
+
Can be upgraded
+
Thunderbolt and 2.5GbE LAN

Reasons to avoid

-
Awkward upgrades
-
Only 512GB of storage
-
Thunderbolt port is on front

Those looking for the fastest NUC might head to the new Intel NUC 13 Pro, but that assumption might be premature. The Beelink SER6 Pro 7735HS, as the name infers, is built around the latest AMD Ryzen 7000 mobile technology and can match or better the latest Intel 13th Gen silicon.

The AMD Ryzen 7000 series processor in this tiny computer has eight cores and can process sixteen threads, making it one of the most powerful small system platforms. Combined with 32GB of DDR5-4800, a Gen 4 NVMe drive and a chipset that includes Thunderbolt, a 2.5GbE LAN port and Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX2111, expect a very positive user experience. 

At the time of writing, there is only one SKU that comes with 32GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. However, these machines can be upgraded to 64GB and at least 2TB of storage through drop-in replacements. Dismantling the machine to add these upgrades could be easier, but it's something most users will only do once. Our only other complaint is that the single Thunderbolt port is on the front, whereas the rear might have been a better option for those with docking stations.

The power and efficiency of this platform are distinctive, and we expect to see many NUC makers embrace this new silicon to deliver new high-performance options. Beelink got its machine out early, and this is now a no-brainer for anyone needing a NUC for demanding jobs lesser hardware might struggle with. It does all this for around $300 less than the Intel NUC 13 Pro, making it a bargain.

Read our full Beelink SER6 Pro 7735HS review 

Best mini PC for flexibility

Minisforum Venus NPB7

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
Intel’s 13th Gen performance on show

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-13700H
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB DDR5 (expandable to 32GB)
Storage: 512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
Connectivity: 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 2x USB 4.0, 2x HDMI, 1x audio jack, 2x 2.5GbE RJ45 Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth v5.2

Reasons to buy

+
13th Gen powerhouse
+
Easy access for upgrades
+
Aluminium exterior
+
USB 4.0 (Thunderbolt)

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one 2280 PCIe M.2 slot

A powerful mini PC packing a 13th Gen Intel Mobile chip, Minisforum Venus NPB7 is fast, modern (yes, there’s USB 4.0 and Thunderbolt), and beautifully designed with its attractive aluminum chassis. 

One of the big reasons why mini computers are popular is their upgradeability, letting you boost performance as better components become available. We like the flexibility on offer with the NPB7. It may not be the best mini PC with a ‘barebones’ option for upgradeability, but with incredibly easy access to the internals, it’s certainly worth considering if you enjoy tinkering.

During our benchmarking, we found performance was excellent - there’s no denying Intel’s processor is a beast, making short work of just about any task we tried. Even storage read/write speeds were respectable. Where the NPB7 falls down is in the graphics department. Not ideal, then, if you’re working on photo editing or other media creation and production. But for all other tasks, we found this mini PC to be exceptional. 

Read our full Minisforum Venus NPB7 review.

Best Intel mini PC

Intel NUC 13 Pro

(Image credit: Intel)
A new season, a new NUC generation

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1360P
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 32GB DDR4 (expandable to 64GB)
Storage: 512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
Connectivity: 2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB 4.0 Type-C), 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 2x USB 2.0, 2x HDMI 2.1, 1x audio jack, RJ45 Ethernet port, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth v5.2

Reasons to buy

+
13th Gen Intel silicon
+
All classes of CPU, including vPro
+
Upgradable storage and RAM
+
Silent operation

Reasons to avoid

-
Barrel-type power connector, not USB-C
-
Availability

The latest, and arguably the greatest NUC yet. The Intel NUC 13 Pro takes the best silicon from the new 13th Gen mobile product lines and packages them in the classic Intel NUC cases.

What the customer gets is plenty of CPU performance with up to 12 threads and 64GB of RAM combined with Gen 4 NVMe storage and Thunderbolt 4 technology baked into the machine. Starting at around $320 for the Core-i3 models and going to over $1,000 for the top-of-the-range Core-i7 vPro processors, there is plenty of scope for both performance and price. All these machines are provided as ‘barebones’, meaning that you will need to provide RAM modules, NVMe storage and other peripherals (mouse, keyboard, screen, operating system, etc.) to make them fully operational.

In our testing, the NUC 13 Pro was much quicker at multithreaded tasks than its predecessors, but the performance of single-threaded benchmarks was only modestly better. The best aspects of the new NUC are the connectivity with Thunderbolt 4.0 and USB 3.2 ports and the near-silent operation.

The Intel NUC 13 Pro might not be the cheapest option for compact computing devices, but it is from a highly trusted source and offers the absolute cutting edge in NUC technology.

Read our full Intel NUC 13 Pro review 

Best mini PC for beginners

Geekom AS 5 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
A powerful NUC limited by bandwidth

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: Radeon RX Vega 8
RAM: 32GB DDR4-(expandable to 64GB)
Storage: 1TB PCIe Gen 3 NVMe SSD (free Gen 3 slot, free SATA 2.5 bay)
Connectivity: 1x USB 3.2 Gen2, 2x USB 3.2 Gen1. 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C, 2x HDMI 2.1 , 1x Display Port 1.4, 1x 2.5G RJ45 LAN, 1x padlock, 1x DC-in, 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C (Data only), 2x USB 3.2 Gen1, 1x audio jack, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth v5.2

Reasons to buy

+
Ryzen 9 mobile CPU
+
Dual M.2 2280 slots
+
Great port selection

Reasons to avoid

-
Noisy fan
-
DDR4 bandwidth impacts everything
-
Dual board design with connecting flexible cable

On paper, this looks like a very powerful NUC and a bargain price from Geekom. Based on the 2021 launched Ryzen 9 5900HX mobile processor, this tiny system comes in a single SKU with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of PCIe 3.0 NVMe storage.

The problem it faces is that it’s competing with systems that use either more recent Ryzen designs or the latest Intel 13th gen processors that use DDR5 memory. The DRR4 RAM in this design comes in copious amounts, but the bandwidth on offer is the Achilles heel of this platform, as it reduces the performance of the integrated Radeon RX Vega GPU.

All that said, this is a fully featured NUC system with three monitor outputs, seven USB ports and a 2.5GbE LAN port. Internally it has two M.2 2280 slots for storage, and a bay for a 2.5-inch SATA device, allowing it to be a tiny power-packed media system. If it weren’t for hardware like the Minisforum Venus NPB7 and the Beelink SER6 Pro 7735HS, we’d be more impressed with a tiny computer with an eight-core and sixteen-thread CPU.

Still, at just over $600, this is plenty of mini PC for that investment, and it is a flexible solution that could easily be repurposed for one of many jobs.

Read our full Geekom AS 5 review 

Best mini PC for basics

Acemagic AD08 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
Last resting place of the 11th Gen i9 CPU

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 6900HX / Intel Core i9-11900H
Graphics: AMD Radeon 680M / Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR4 (expandable to expansion 64GB)
Storage: 512GB M.2 2280 NVMe SSD
Connectivity: 4x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C , 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x audio jack, 1x Gigabit LAN adapter, Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2

Reasons to buy

+
Monster processor
+
Easy internal access
+
Colourful lights
+
There is an AMD version

Reasons to avoid

-
Only Gigabit ethernet
-
Poor GPU for this CPU

The AD08 is built around an 11th Gen Intel Core-i9 processor and integrated UHD Graphics GPU to provide a platform that, in theory, has an eight-core and sixteen-thread capability.

The system is enclosed in an oddly wedge-shaped enclosure that is designed to sit on the desk rather than to be mounted on the rear of a monitor.

More colourful than most office PCs and with more of a game console vibe, the AD08 might look less out of place in a child's bedroom. But despite looking like a powerhouse on paper, the AD08 doesn’t perform that well when presented with tasks that require heavy multi-threading or raw GPU performance.

That it manages a multi-processing ratio of just 6.07 with sixteen threads might hint that the CPU doesn’t have the power budget or the thermal management to deliver its full potential. The GPU is also very lacklustre compared to the latest Intel Iris Xe integrated GPU, which is three times as fast in some operations.

Thankfully, Acemagic makes an AMD version of the same machine, the AM08 Pro, that has a Ryzen 9 processor and Radeon 680M GPU. It's not only cheaper but substantially quicker than the AD08. And, if you like this form factor, we’d recommend you get one of those.

Read our full Acemagic AD08 review

Best mini PC for conferencing rooms

GMKtec NucBox M2 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
An affordable mini PC for productivity

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-11390H
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 32GB DDR4 (expandable to 64GB)
Storage: 1TB NVMe M.2 2280, free M.2 2242 slot
Connectivity: 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x audio jack, 2.5GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2

Reasons to buy

+
Metal case
+
Highly affordable
+
Punchy processor

Reasons to avoid

-
USB port type confusion
-
Only a PCIe 3.0 drive installed

GMKtec has a reputation for making good quality small systems that won’t break the bank, and the NucBox M2 is a prime example of precisely that.

Built around the Intel Core i7-11390H mobile platform, this tiny NUC-sized system is designed to sit on the edge of a desk or be monitor-mounted to provide access to office applications and other productivity tools, and it is available for under $400. That’s not for a barebones solution but a fully operational system with 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and Windows 11 pre-installed.

The highlights of this design are its metal case, easy access to the interior and relatively straightforward upgrades to memory and storage. It even has a spare M.2 2042 slot for adding additional space above that available through the main M.2 2280 slot.

What could have been better was the USB ports that are all blue in colour, though one is a USB 2.0, and both USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports are on the front and both Type-A ports. That the only USB-C port is Gen 1 was a definite oversight.

USB port confusion aside, this is a capable mini system that covers many of the typical roles these devices are used, but inexpensively. With its size and power, we found it ideal for conferencing rooms, but it could easily be used as a replacement desktop PC, media server, or firewall, to mention just a few.

Read our full GMKtec NucBox M2 review

Best mini PC workstation

Khadas Mind Portable Workstation

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
A mini PC with big ambitions

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1360P
Graphics: Iris Xe
RAM: 32GB DDR5 (soldered)
Storage: 1TB M.2 2230 NVMe SSD, free M.2 2230 slot
Connectivity: 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C, 1x HDMI 2.0. 2x USB 3.2 Gen1, 1x 2.5GbE LAN, 3.5mm audio jack, SDcard reader, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x Gigabit LAN adapter, Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2

Reasons to buy

+
Beautifully built
+
Clever concept
+
Good performance
+
Modular

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Kickstarter pledge

With so many brands simply turning out NUC clones, the Khadas Mind machine is a radical departure but not a cheap option. The processor platform is the same as Intel put in the NUC 13 Pro, providing this system with good performance for a machine with a mobile CPU and integrated GPU.

However, the designers of this system decided not to follow the NUC pattern and created a modular design with a proprietary Mind Link connection that extends the PCI Express bus to other components. Initially, the Mind Dock adds lots of ports, but without the bandwidth limitations of Thunderbolt or USB-C. The Mind Graphics module will attach a discrete graphics card when it becomes available.

The examples of the Khadas Mind base and Dock we got sent to review were stunningly engineered and made, demonstrating a level of engineering normally reserved for aircraft or space capsules.

The catch, as with anything this nicely made, is the price. Khadas makes the pricing more complicated by launching the system through Kickstarter. Those who pledge now are promised that the machines will ship in October, and discounts can be found for bundle purchasers.

This isn’t a cheap NUC solution, but it does offer the potential for enhanced performance in the future for those who like to gamble a little.

Read our full Khadas Mind review

Best mini PC for ports

GMKtec NucBox K2 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
A cheap and powerful AMD NUC

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS
Graphics: Radeon 680M
RAM: 32GB DDR5 (expandable to 64GB)
Storage: 1TB NVMe M.2 2280
Connectivity: 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 1x 4.0 Type-C, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x audio jack, 2.5GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2

Reasons to buy

+
Highly affordable
+
AMD powerhouse
+
USB 4.0/Thunderbolt
+
Packed port selection

Reasons to avoid

-
Only a PCIe 3.0 drive installed

Brother of the GMKtec M2, the K2 is an AMD NUC that uses the excellent Zen3+ architecture of the AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS. It is the same processor as the Beelink SER6 Pro 7735HS uses, an ideal choice for a powerful and quiet NUC.

What the K2 offers is a minimalist case design with easy access to the memory and storage for upgrades and an excellent selection of external ports. It has four 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, a single USB 2.0 and a USB 4.0 Type-C port that doubles as a Thunderbolt port and can transfer data at up to 40Gbps. This NUC has the port selection for maximum flexibility and connectivity, almost bar none. With those options, the K2 would make a great media centre with external drives, but there aren’t many jobs this machine couldn’t handle. 

Internal access is via a lid that pulls off, and once inside, you can upgrade the RAM to 64GB and the M.2 slot to an NVMe of at least 4TB, and possibly bigger when they become available. The K2 is small, mostly silent and powerful for its tiny stature, and the only complaint we had with the review hardware was that it had a PCIe 3.0 NVMe pre-installed and not a PCIe 4.0 flavoured one.

Read our full GMKtec NucBox K2 Mini PC review 

Best mini PC for video editing

Minisforum UM790 Pro

(Image credit: Future)
Compact power and performance beyond content creation

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9
Graphics: Radeon 780M
RAM: 32GB DDR5 (expandable to 64GB)
Storage: 1TB M.2 2280 PCIe4.0 SSD
Connectivity: 4x USB3.2 Type-A, 2x HDMI 2.1, 2x USB 4, 1x 3.5mm audio jack, 1x RJ45 2.5G Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful processing
+
Versatile connectivity
+
VESA for monitor mounting

Reasons to avoid

-
Premium price tag
-
Limited Design Innovation

The Minisforum UM790 Pro Mini PC impresses with its compact design and powerful performance. Equipped with an AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU and AMD Radeon 780M GPU, it excels in processor and graphics-intensive tasks, including gaming and 4K video editing. 

The machine's 32GB DDR5 dual-channel RAM (expandable to 64GB) and dual M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD slots (1TB installed) ensure fast data access and storage capacity. The UM790 Pro offers versatile connectivity, VESA mounting compatibility, and effective cooling. Its benchmark scores reflect its exceptional real-world performance, making it just as suitable for creative professionals and gamers as gentler office tasks. 

The design might be plain, but it's practical, emphasizing functionality. While priced in the midrange for a high-end mini PC, its strong performance and features justify the cost, appealing to those seeking powerful performance in a compact form.

Read our full Minisforum UM790 Pro review

Best mini PC for gaming

Acemagician AM08 Pro on a desk during our tests

(Image credit: Acemagician)
Quiet power with decent connectivity and expansions

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9
Graphics: AMD Radeon 680M
RAM: 16GB DDR5 (expandable to 64GB)
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIE NVME
Connectivity: 1 x Audio-in/out, 4 x USB-A, 7 x USB-C, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x RJ45, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2

Reasons to buy

+
Quiet 
+
Expansive connectivity
+
Decent graphics performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Not ultra compact

The Acemagician AM08 Pro AMD Ryzen 9 Mini PC stands out for its distinctive triangular design, gaming aesthetics, and solid performance. Ideal for content creators and gaming, it features an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU and AMD Radeon 680M GPU, and in our experience, it handles graphics-intensive tasks and gaming well. Its 16GB DDR5 RAM (upgradeable to 64GB) and 512GB M.2 PCIe NVME SSD (expandable to 2TB) provide more than enough memory and storage.

The machine excels in cooling efficiency and connectivity, offering Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, USB 3.2 Type-A and Type-C ports, and HDMI outputs. Its triple 4K display support caters to both gamers and creatives. The design might not appeal to everyone, but it's practical with accessible ports.

We ran multiple benchmarks and real-world scenarios which you can read in our review. But overall, the AM08 Pro effortlessly handled the lot, with a real proficiency for multitasking and resource-intensive applications. While pricier than some competitors, we really liked the build quality on show here. And its cooling, expandability, and versatile performance make it a great pick for those seeking a mini PC best-suited to demanding content creation tasks and gaming. 

Read our full Acemagician AM08 Pro review 

Best mini PC tower

Chuwi CoreBox 5th Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
Oddly mini PC tower with good performance

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i5-13500H
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB DDR5 (expandable to 64GB)
Storage: 512GB
Connectivity: 6x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 2x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x 3.5mm audio jack

Reasons to buy

+
Unique case
+
Space for cooling
+
Excellent connectivity
+
Intel 13th Gen processor

Reasons to avoid

-
No USB 3.2 Gen 2 
-
Gen3 SSD in Gen4 M.2 slot
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Undermined by AMD mini systems

PC makers occasionally like to make cute miniature versions of recognizable hardware, and the Chuwi CoreBox 5th is a tiny mini tower, copying the previous CoreBox 4th. This styling makes the machine bigger than a typical NUC, but the extra space inside is occupied with an extensive cooling system and fan, delivering an almost silent system.

The only SKU sports a spritely Intel Core i5-13500H (12 cores, 16 threads), 16GB of DDR5 memory and a 512GB NMVe M.2 drive. While the CPU isn’t socketed, the memory and storage can both be upgraded, and it is possible to have 64GB of memory and 2TB of storage if desired.

The other desirable aspect of this design is that it has no less than seven USB ports, although they’re all USB 3.2 Gen 1, and there are no Gen 2 capable ports. It also has a 2.5GbE LAN port and WiFi6, providing plenty of potential for it to be a media server with external USB storage.

The Intel 13th-generation processor gives the Chuwi CoreBox 5th a significant performance edge over mini systems based on older architectures. However, it’s still not a match for the latest AMD Ryzen silicon used by other makers.

Read our full Chuwi CoreBox 5th Mini PC review 

Best mini PC with Intel i9 mobile chip

Geekom Mini IT13 Mini PC

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
Top-tier CPU in a NUC case

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-13900H
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Storage: 2TB
Connectivity: 3x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0, 2x USB 4.0 Type-C, 1x SD Card reader, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x audio jack. 2.5GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2

Reasons to buy

+
Core-i9 mobile CPU
+
Easy internal access
+
Upgrade potential
+
Connectivity is excellent

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive
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DDR4 memory

Geekom has a series of machines using the same case and general layout but different Intel chip generations. Therefore, on the outside, the Mini IT13 looks exactly like the IT12 and IT11, with the true differences being on the inside.

What makes this one stand out is that it uses the Intel Core i9-13900H (14 cores, 20 threads), one of the most powerful mobile chips Intel makes. From that standpoint alone, many people would be interested in the IT13, but before they rush off and buy one, there are a few caveats to this design that somewhat take the gloss off it.

For starters, we’ve seen faster machines, especially those using AMD Ryzen 7 and 9 CPUs, but we’ve also seen faster Intel-based mini PC systems. What all these high-performance machines had in common was DDR5 memory, whereas the IT13 only uses DDR4. That choice impacts the level of system bandwidth, which in turn limits GPU throughput.

As specifications go, this is an excellent unit, and the internal access allows for a good selection of upgrade options. But it isn’t as quick as the processor spec implies, making other machines in this series better value, and the asking price is on the high side. For even more higher performance, we recommend the similar but superior Geekom AS 6.

Read our full Geekom Mini IT13 review 

Best mini PC with NAS

T-Bao

(Image credit: Future)
Compact, stylish, plenty of mass storage

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U
Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics 7
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Storage: 512GB M.2 NVME 2280
Connectivity: 1x Type-C, 1x DP Port, 1x HDMI, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x audio jack, 2x RJ45 2.5G, RJ45 LAN, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish 
+
Efficient 
+
Centralized storage

Reasons to avoid

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Moderate graphics performance
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Average build quality

The T-Bao MiniPC + NAS R3 offers a unique blend of compact computing and network storage capabilities. In our tests, the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor proved to offer an excellent balance between price and performance for this style of machine. And while it might not be a powerhouse, it's a really versatile performer for everyday users.

We really like the design here, which seamlessly blends functionality and aesthetics, and a small footprint that makes it perfect for just about any workspace. But for us, the highlight feature is the provision for two 3.5-inch HDDs, which lets you rapidly expand storage expansion without altering this stylish mini PC. During our testing, we attached two inexpensive 500GB WD Green Drives, effectively quadrupling the storage size in under two minutes - no tools required. However, we did feel the build quality could be better here, as some flexing of the outer case was needed to correctly align all ports. 

While not designed for intensive tasks, its NAS feature and compact design make it suitable for home or small office setups. The T-Bao MiniPC + NAS R3 is an interesting choice for users seeking computing power and network storage in a single device.

Read our full T-Bao MiniPC + NAS R3 review

Best mini PCs: FAQs

Are there different types of mini PC?

There is a lot of variety when it comes to mini PCs: various sizes are available and they are designed for various use cases. 

Some mini PCs are designed to lay flat under a desk while others have a unique vertical design that allows them to be placed on top of your desk next to your monitor and within arm's reach. You can also completely conceal them behind your monitor if they come with VESA mounting holes.

Today's best mini PCs are a great alternative to bulky full-size desktops and all-in-one systems for all kinds of uses: from administrative workers doing  data entry, to customer service specialists and call center offices, to creative professionals and students learning at home.

What is the best use of a mini PC?

Mini PCs excel at everyday tasks like web browsing, word processing, video streaming, and light gaming. You can easily connect them to your TV to play games and watch movies either via a platform like Netflix or through your own media server, with the effectively set acting as a monitor. With specs comparable to mid-range laptops, they don’t have the necessary CPU and GPU to run more resource-intensive apps and games. In those circumstances, it may be worth investing in high-spec devices like the best video editing laptops, which are built for heavy workloads. 

What are the disadvantages of a mini computer?

While the best mini PCs absolutely shine, they’re not without a few downsides. When it comes to specs, mini PCs pale in comparison to modern desktop computers and the very best laptops. While you shouldn't have trouble using most as a space-saving alternative to the best laptops for graphic design or the best laptops for photo editing, it can make it difficult to use hardware-intensive apps and processes, like any of the best video editing software

Upgrading those lower-specced internals is usually out of the question. Even some of the best mini PCs can't be expanded with better components (at least, not without some technical knowledge and skill). 

They also need to be run from the mains, so while they’re an excellent portable option, you lack the built-in batteries found in laptops. Due to their form, some users may also experience issues with overheating. Mini PCs also lack peripherals, from screens to optical drives. 

How much RAM do you need for a mini PC?

As with desktop computers and laptops, the best RAM is the most amount of RAM you can get within budget. It will make performance much more fluid, especially if you’re using the mini PC for a lot of tasks. We recommend a bare minimum of 8GB memory, although 16GB and above is preferred.  

Are mini PCs good for gaming?

It all depends on which games you want to play. The very best mini PCs can ably run lightweight or older games - in fact, many use them as emulators. However, they will typically struggle with newer games, like the triple-A offerings from the likes of Rockstar. They simply don’t have the required CPU and GPU to handle them. 

Can you connect a mini PC to a laptop?

Yes, you can connect your mini PC to a laptop and use it as a monitor - but it’s also easy, as many mini PCs lack the required HDMI ports to output to the laptop screen. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by using remote desktop software. 

Are the best mini PCs better than laptops?

It depends how you intend to use your mini computer. While both are highly portable, mini PCs are more so, with a far smaller surface area. If you’re working on the go, be aware of the sometimes limited battery life on laptops - if you’re usually running off the mains, a mini PC may be the better choice.

Laptops serve as a great all-in-one solution with everything you need to work and play. Accessories like the best office keyboards and the best monitors for a dual set-up are optional. They also come with a range of tech specs, with options for everyday computing tasks right up to the best gaming laptops

Like a traditional desktop computer, a mini PC is best when used in spaces with easy access to monitors (or TV), keyboards, and other peripherals on hand. For this reason, mini PCs are great for office use, allowing multiple users to access the device in a variety of locations. Cost is also a factor, as mini PCs tend to be cheaper than laptops.

How to choose the best mini PC for you

When choosing which mini PC is best for you, there are several factors to consider - but first, it's important to be sure a mini PC is right for your needs.

Mini PCs, sometimes known as think clients or NUCs, are ideal for light use, such as web browsing and video streaming. Some can even handle casual gaming sessions. But you won't find the raw power offered by the likes of the best mobile workstations.

Despite their name, mini PCs come in a range of sizes, from tiny machines like the Acemagician T8 Plus to the Apple Mac mini, which on the larger size. But they're all considerably smaller than a desktop, so if you're looking for a space-saver, they're ideal. You'll find plenty that even include a VESA mount for attaching the device to monitors to de-clutter the desk. 

If a mini PC is best, consider how you'll be using your machine. In addition to general computer usage, mini PCs have been used as media servers, games emulators, and much more. 

For smooth performance. a good CPU, GPU, and RAM are essential. We've included a selection of AMD- and Intel-powered thin clients here, all capable of delivering speed and performance for a range of uses. 

However, be sure to check your device's ports and connectivity. Some of the best mini PCs pack in plenty of Thunderbolt and USB ports, memory card slots, and HDMI connections, but some are less generous. If portability is a consideration, remember to check dimensions and weight. You'll find these details in our full mini PC reviews. 

How we test the best mini PCs

We've tested thousands of devices, from the best photo editing PCs to best business monitors, including small form NUCs and thin clients. 

A lot of time and care goes into selecting the best mini PCs. Appliance-type mini-PCs often have a metal enclosure to help with passive cooling and more than one wired Gigabit Ethernet port. The best mini PCs are perfect for leaving unattended in a small network cabinet, rack, or locker, where they can be used as fixed-function mini-servers, such as a firewall for an office network or file storage for a small shop.

There's also a class of mini PCs that are small. These range from palm-sized to slightly more significant than a thumb drive, often with an HDMI male connector and built to be attached to the back of a TV or monitor for entertainment or web browsing on a big screen.

As such, selecting a mini PC is no easy task. First, we had to filter them based on size. We started from the tiniest ones, the thumb drive-sized PCs, up to the palm-sized devices, then moving to the TV-box-sized machines. In each size jump, we looked for the usage scenarios for each based on the capabilities of the CPU and amount of RAM and included ports, then we weeded out the ones with sub-par specs; this removed several dozen entries with the same Celeron CPUs and low RAM.

Once we got to the higher-spec entries, the winners started to show up either by expansion capabilities, unique features, or suitability for the purpose. Final filtering by brand name and support considerations is how we ended up with our selection of picks for the best mini PC for home and office.  

As such, when testing which mini PC is best, we study several key areas. This includes build quality and form-factor - we want to see a robust machine, and the best materials available for the cost. This is especially true with mini PCs, as they're designed to be easily carried and used in multiple locations. 

We explore the internal specs of each device, and how they compare with some of the other best mini PCs on the market. As part of this process, we also assess the upgradability of the device - from the options on offer to the ease of creating your perfect mini PC. This includes benchmarking performance of the CPU, GPU, and RAM. We're not necessarily looking for the most powerful mini PC. But we want to see suitable performance relative to a range of uses and budgets.

Ports and connectivity are another area where we look at what's on offer - and how it compares with rival devices. Not everyone will need Thunderbolt 4, but we expect to see adequate slots on a mini PC to increase functionality and flexibility. 

Price is always a consideration. Depending on how you use it, the most expensive mini PC you can buy may not offer genuine value for money. We've curated a selection of mini PCs here, from premium machines to the cheapest mini PC with great performance.

You can read more about our comprehensive testing methods in our guide How we test laptops and desktops: Our review process explained.

Steve Clark