Laptops and tablets have become the most popular types of computer, but desktops still offer more power, more flexibility if you ever want to upgrade, and a lower price point. But what if you don’t have room for a big tower? Mini-desktops have become a shockingly viable solution.
Mini-desktops are super small computers, a sort of in-between zone with laptops on one side and desktops on the other. Mini-desktops will allow some upgrades (usually RAM and storage disks), offer lots of ports, and allow you to swap out peripherals like keyboards, mice, and monitors.
When buying a mini-desktop, make sure you’re getting legitimate desktop-class power. Some mini-desktops use mobile processors, which has about the same amount of power as a laptop. Most processors start with a letter, followed by a number—the higher the number, the more powerful your processor will be. For example, a G7 processor will be more powerful than a G1. “G” means the processor is optimized for graphics.
You might ask, why get a mini-desktop instead of an all-in-one? The big reasons are cost and flexibility. With a mini-desktop, you can get a separate monitor and come out cheaper than if you’d bought an all-in-one. Another big advantage is the ability to upgrade. All-in-ones are generally locked systems; if you want to speed up your computer in a couple years by adding some memory, an all-in-one won’t let you. But a mini-desktop usually will, allowing for cheap upgrades to extend the life of your nice computer.