We dug into the specs on greater than 80 mini PCs, however solely a handful met our requirement of no less than an eighth-generation Intel processor with a solid-state drive (or the choice so as to add one) for beneath $800. Primarily based on testing quite a few Home windows 10 funds programs with low-performance processors for earlier variations of this information, we nonetheless suppose Chrome OS is the best choice for lower than $250.
Home windows PCs
The Dell OptiPlex 5070 Micro and Lenovo ThinkCentre M720 Tiny are Dell’s and Lenovo’s most direct opponents to the HP ProDesk 600 G5. Functionally, there’s little or no distinction among the many three fashions: All of them use the identical ninth-generation Intel Core processors, all of them have two RAM slots and M.2 storage that’s straightforward to improve, and so they all price about the identical quantity and use an analogous quantity of energy. The OptiPlex and ThinkCentre can match a 2.5-inch onerous drive or SSD as an alternative of a second M.2 SSD, however there’s a case to be made for each of these choices. The primary benefits of the ProDesk 600 G5, and the principle causes we choose it, are its second USB Sort-A port on the entrance (which neither the Dell nor the Lenovo gives), its help for Wi-Fi 6, and its three-year guarantee (which Dell has however Lenovo prices a bit further for).
HP’s ProDesk 400 G5 is similar to the ProDesk 600 G5 however lacks a USB-C port on the entrance. The HP EliteDesk 800 G5 has the identical ports because the ProDesk 600 G5 however gives an optionally available Radeon RX 560 devoted GPU as an add-on. That is an older low-end GPU that gained’t play fashionable video games at excessive settings, and the EliteDesk 800’s small measurement is prone to restrict its speeds to stop overheating. However the devoted GPU represents a considerable step up over built-in graphics and is perhaps adequate for informal gaming or skilled 3D work.
We examined one AMD Ryzen–based mostly mini PC, HP’s EliteDesk 705 G5. It has the identical ports and the identical design because the ProDesk 600 G5, however the mannequin we examined had a quad-core Ryzen 3400GE processor as an alternative of an Intel Core i5-9500T. For CPU-intensive duties like video encoding, the Ryzen processor was about three-quarters as quick because the Intel processor. However its Vega 11 built-in GPU fared a bit higher in video games—Intel’s UHD 630 might barely deal with Fortnite at low settings, however the Vega 11 might play it comfortably at medium settings. It’s nonetheless not a gaming laptop, and we nonetheless suppose a sooner processor is best for most individuals, however the EliteDesk 705 G5 is perhaps a good selection for a household PC that sometimes must play multiplayer video games.
We didn’t check Lenovo’s Ryzen-based mini PC, the ThinkCentre M75q Tiny. From the surface, it’s principally an identical to Lenovo’s Intel mini PCs. We’d count on its efficiency to be just like that of the HP EliteDesk 705 G5 we examined—it could be a great possibility for informal gaming if you should purchase it for a lot lower than $700, however total we nonetheless choose the higher processor efficiency of the Intel fashions.
Older NUCs based mostly on Intel’s eighth-generation processors, together with our former primary decide, the NUC8i5BEKPA1, are nonetheless obtainable. This NUC comes with an Intel Iris graphics processor, which is quicker than the Intel UHD 630 that our picks embody. However it nonetheless doesn’t make the NUC a terrific alternative for gaming—most individuals ought to stick with the newer, 10th-generation fashions, particularly because the eighth-generation fashions aren’t any cheaper.
Intel gives Core i3 and Core i7 variations of our NUC decide, the NUC10i3FNHFA and NUC10i7FNHAA, respectively. The Core i3 model is just rather less costly, and it makes use of a 1 TB onerous drive (as an alternative of an SSD) and a dual-core processor, which collectively make it considerably slower than the NUC10i5FNHCA we advocate. The Core i7 model gives a six-core Core i7-10710U processor, however the Core i5 model is quick sufficient that we don’t suppose the Core i7 NUC is value the additional $200-ish for most individuals.
The Dell OptiPlex 3070 Micro is usually an identical to the OptiPlex 5070 however and not using a USB-C port on the entrance. The OptiPlex 7070 Micro is dearer than the OptiPlex 5070 and has a Core i9-9900T processor improve possibility, however in any other case it gives no significant enhancements over the 5070.
The Lenovo ThinkCentre M920 Tiny is a model of the M720 Tiny that gives the eight-core Intel Core i7-9700T as an improve possibility; the M720 tops out at six-core processors. We don’t suppose most individuals want that a lot efficiency, however when you do, you possibly can configure the ProDesk 600 G5 with the identical processor. Do this as an alternative.
Although we just like the CTL Chromebox greatest and it often prices much less, the Asus Chromebox 3-N017U (our earlier funds decide), the HP Chromebox Enterprise G2, and the Acer Chromebox CX13-4GKM4 are all primarily an identical computer systems that use the very same motherboard, the identical ports, and many of the similar elements. If you’d like one thing a bit extra aesthetically pleasing than the CTL Chromebox (or when you simply choose one in every of these firms to the others) and also you don’t care concerning the further space for storing, any of those three choices might be positive.