Here are our best mini PC recommendations for 2019. We’ve made the list to simplify your decision which PC to buy. We’ve picked a mini PC for each of the most popular categories:
- performance/gaming for power users,
- everyday use,
- home theater PC (HTPC),
- PC stick for those who need the most portable PC form
Best Performance/Gaming Mini PC
Each year there are more and more mini PCs available on the market that are suitable for gaming. They are not as configurable or powerful as their desktop counterparts, but are still very good at their job.
Between the models there’s a slight difference in the CPU, while the discrete GPU is much better in NUC8iHVK, and makes it a great gaming machine. Performance of the GPU is at the level of a mobile Nvidia GTX 1060.
Both models provide a wide variety of ports, including USB 3.1, USB-C, Thunderbolt, two LAN ports, DisplayPort and HDMI for graphics output. They even have an SD memory card slot.
Originally they were available as kits, but you can also buy them as full systems. The kits have two M.2 slots for disk drives (or Optane memory) and two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots for up to 32 GB memory.
Also, since kernel 4.18 the GPUs are fully supported on Linux, too.
|CPU||Intel i7-8809G 3.1-4.2 GHz|
|GPU||Radeon RX Vega M GH|
|Size (inch)||8.7 × 5.6 × 1.5|
|Size (cm)||22.1 × 14.2 × 3.9|
Mini PCs in the performance category are for those who need the best performance from this PC form factor. These models have the best CPUs and a descrete GPU, and are suitable for at least moderate gaming.
Best Mini PC for Everyday Use
For regular use there are lots of mini PCs to choose from. The least expensive models start all the way down at $150, while the best in the category can go up to $1000. In our opinion it’s best to choose a device somewhere in between, because that’s where you get most for your money.
Intel NUC Kit NUC8i3BEK is such a device. With it you get a great CPU, a very decent integrated GPU and all kinds of ports (even Thunderbolt!). This device offers great performance and we’re sure it won’t get outdated anytime soon.
This mini PC is a barebone version, which gives you the freedom to add your own M.2 SSD and two SO-DIMM sticks. However, don’t worry – if you don’t want to deal with which disk and RAM to buy, the retailers will suggest them for you. Just make sure to buy an SSD, not an HDD.
Additionally, if you’re willing to spend more money, you can also check out NUC8i5BEK and NUC8i7BEH. They have better CPUs and are a better option for more compute-intensive tasks. The BEH version even has more space for additional disk.
|CPU||Intel i3-8109U 3.0-3.6 GHz|
|GPU||Intel Iris Plus 655|
|Size (inch)||4.6 × 4.4 × 2.0|
|Size (cm)||11.7 × 11.2 × 3.6|
In the everyday use category we feature mini PCs that have the best performance to price ratio. They’re suitable for browsing, writing articles in your favorite word processor, and watching videos.
Best Home Theater PC
There are lots of mini PCs on the market, suitable to be used as a home theater PC. However, similarly as with the recommendation for the best everyday mini PC, we think it’s best to pick a computer in the middle of the price range, because that’s where you get the best price/performance ratio.
Intel NUC Kit NUC8i5BEH is a great option for a HTPC. It has more than enough CPU and GPU power to play movies and music. For connecting it to the TV either an HDMI or a DisplayPort can be used. There’s also an infrared sensor in the device for controlling it with a remote controller.
The device is also powerful enough to have Plex installed, and be used for streaming with full HD (FHD) transcoding enabled.
This mini PC is a barebone version. It supports installing an M.2 SSD and 2 SO-DIMM sticks. Additionally, there’s also room for a 2.5″ hard drive. This way the SSD disk can be used as a fast system drive, while the much larger hard drive can contain all the big media files.
|CPU||Intel i5-8259U 2.3-3.8 GHz|
|GPU||Intel Iris Plus 655|
|Size (inch)||6.1 x 5 x 4.6|
|Size (cm)||15.5 × 12.7 × 11.7|
In the home theater PC (HTPC) category we feature mini PCs that can be comfortably used for watching movies and photos, listen to music, and to stream content. They’re also powerful enough to browse the internet and be used for work.
Best PC Stick
PC sticks are an interesting computer category. With smart TVs being more and more popular and wide-spread, there’s a question how these devices can compete with them. Are there any advantages to have a PC stick? We think there are.
The most obvious one is that you can always take a mini PC with you. And that’s a nice advantage, because you always use the same, familiar system. Also, being equipped with Windows 10 the device is capable of much more tasks than a TV system. Especially if you take a keyboard and a mouse with you, you can use it for same things as a desktop machine, like writing, watching videos and browsing the internet.
There aren’t that many manufacturers offering PC sticks, but you still have some choices. Based on popularity and user reviews we believe that you can’t miss if you go with Azulle Access Plus.
It’s a full Windows 10 PC with enough RAM and storage space to do all the tasks that you’d expect from this form factor. Also, it’s a fanless device that won’t disturb you while streaming video from Netflix or Youtube. It has a USB 2, USB 3, audio out and a LAN port. It even has a micro SD slot for expanding the basic storage space.
|CPU||Intel A. Z8300 1.44-1.84 GHz|
|GPU||Intel HD graphics|
|Size (inch)||5.2 × 2.0 × 0.75|
|Size (cm)||13.2 × 5.1 × 1.9|
PC sticks are fully functional PCs that are even smaller than your smartphone. They’re not as powerful as those from the previous category, but can still be used for the same tasks. Except that you can easily take them with you.
If our recommendations don’t meet your needs try our search tool. The tool supports filtering by different features, such as a CPU and a GPU model, available ports, and whether the PC is a fully equipped device or a barebone model.