8 Of The Best Mini PCs On The Market Right Now, Ranked

One of the great technological feats of humanity is the ever-shrinking size of powerful computers. It's a common enough anecdote that the smartphone in your pocket has more raw power than the computer that helped us put men on the moon. Still, a more contemporary example to grasp is that a desktop computer the size of a mass-market paperback or two is more powerful than almost any given consumer computer from 15 years ago and for a much cheaper price in many instances.

Mini PCs are, exactly as the name implies, miniature desktop computers. The market is flooded with an abundance of mini PCs, and there are many different use cases for having a mini PC. Some may prefer a mini PC to a laptop if they have multiple workstations where it may just be easier to transport a smaller desktop, and others may find their price appealing and not have a need for a more powerful rig. And that's not even to say that there's no such thing as a ludicrously powerful mini PC, because many do exist. Some can even hold their own, if not do better, against laptops and full-sized desktops of comparable prices.

In searching for the best mini PCs currently on the market, there are a good few that stand out as the top of the field with regards to power, price, and reliability. When looking for your own personal best in the field, it's important to consider your specific needs from a system, as what's best for you won't necessarily be best for everyone. Between the following eight mini PCs, it's also important to consider the operating system, as well as your needs before deciding on which one to purchase.

8. ThinkStation P360 Ultra (Intel) Workstation

Lenovo is well known for delivering on its lineup of business-class machines; in particular, its line of Lenovo ThinkPad laptops has gained something of a cult following online. However, the Lenovo Thinkstation line is nothing to turn your nose at either. More specifically, the Lenovo ThinkStation P360 Ultra is one of the most powerful mini PCs on the market today.

The specs on Lenovo's miniature workstation are nothing short of ludicrous, packing an Intel Core i9-12900, 64 gigabytes of memory, and a 1 terabyte SSD. All of that is topped off with an NVIDIA GPU that packs 16 gigabytes of VRAM, which makes this machine a regular little monster for most uses.

Beyond the staggering power inside of the small case, there's also quite a bit to enjoy on the outside. Mini PCs naturally aren't as great on ports as a full desktop, but the ThinkStation P360 Ultra has no issues with ports. The P360 Ultra comes equipped with five USB 3.2 ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two separate ethernet ports, and three display ports. There's no shortage of connectivity available for this little powerhouse. Expandability is another core feature of the ThinkStation P360 Ultra. It supports a range of storage options, including NVMe SSDs and SATA drives, ensuring that your data storage needs are met.

The only real issue with the ThinkStation P360 Ultra is its price and availability, which currently starts at upwards of $2,500, up from its original starting price of $1,069. Buying a used model away from Lenovo is the way to go for this one, which can see a price ranging from anywhere as low as $699 for some of the weaker models.

7. MSI Pro DP21

At first glance, the MSI Pro DP21 fits the cosmetic bill of many mini PCs, that being a small black square. However, simplicity isn't a reason to overlook this little machine. What truly sets the MSI Pro DP21 apart is its robust performance. Equipped with Intel's 11th Gen Core processors, this Mini PC boasts the processing power needed for demanding tasks. From data analysis to content creation, the DP21 handles it all with ease. The inclusion of up to 16 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM ensures smooth multitasking, making it a productivity powerhouse for professionals who juggle numerous applications simultaneously.

Connectivity is another area where the DP21 shines. With a versatile array of ports, including HDMI, ethernet, and eight separate USB-A ports, it accommodates a wide range of peripherals, displays, and storage devices. Furthermore, the Mini PC's expandability options are worth noting. The inclusion of M.2 and 2.5-inch SATA slots allows for easy upgrades, making it future-proof and adaptable to evolving needs. For those concerned about security, the DP21 offers TPM 2.0 support.

The MSI Pro DP21 Mini PC is a compelling choice for those seeking a compact, high-performance computing solution. Its blend of potent processing, versatile connectivity, and upgradability makes it well-suited for a variety of professional environments. With a price starting as low as $349, this machine is also great on a budget. Whether you're running a small office, need a dedicated workstation, or simply desire a powerful yet space-saving home PC, the DP21 is a worthy investment that excels in both form and function.

6. Mac Studio

The M1 and M2-base MacBooks are nothing short of absolute powerhouses in their realm, and the Apple Mac Studio is no different in the sphere of mini PCs. The M1 models of the Mac Studio are already in a league of their own, but the M2 models stand completely atop the summit of their own mountain in terms of performance-heavy mini PCs. It's also one of the few Mini PCs on the market that looks a little more creative than a black cube.

What truly sets the Mac Studio as a heavyweight is its out-of-this-world benchmarking. The M2 Mac Studio benchmarks double the CPU speed as the most powerful Intel-based Mac Pro. As the name suggests, the Mac Studio is fantastic for creatives. The four Thunderbolt 4 ports, ethernet port, HDMI port, and two USB-A ports are all in addition to an SD Card slot and two extra USB-C ports on the front side of the machine. Additionally, the Mac Studio is capable of displaying on up to five displays with the M2 Max and eight displays on the M2 Ultra, whether that be through the use of the native Displayport support via Thunderbolt 4 or with the use of a USB-C to HDMI adapter.

However, the one big drawback of the Mac Studio is the drawback of most Apple products: the price. The Mac Studio starts at $1,999 and can reach all the way up to $3,999. The purchase of this machine will not come lightly, but for creatives in need of something portable that they can quickly connect to impressive displays, the Mac Studio is nearly unparalleled. Whether or not that price tag is fully worth it will depend on your own needs and your own liking of the Apple experience.

5. Intel NUC 13 Pro

The Intel Next Unit of Computer (NUC) is one of the preeminent mini PC lines on the market. Intel is set to stop production on its NUC Mini PCs, but the company's more recent offerings are still well worth a purchase before they begin to disappear. The NUC 13 Pro is tiny, to say the absolute least of its diminutive size, and the available models can pack a punch.

The cheapest model of the NUC 13 Pro will be the barebones model that won't come with any RAM or storage pre-installed, but models can range all the way up to 64 gigabytes of RAM with a 4 terabyte SSD. Given the barebones model, the NUC 13 Pro is built with customization in mind. Cracking into the NUC 13 for some modifications will prove no issue for most users. Either way, the machine will come built with some of the latest and greatest processing power from Intel, with a 13th-generation Intel silicon chip.

For daily usage, this machine will prove to be insanely versatile and speedy for almost any given task. Moreover, the NUC 13 Pro is built to stay cool and perform with near silence as well. Most tasks short of gaming will see no issues with this PC.

The larger issue plaguing the NUC 13 Pro comes down to price and availability. The NUC 13 Pro is a little harder to get your hands on currently, and the barebone kit starts at $579 on Amazon and can work all the way up to $979. Although these prices are better than when the NUC 13 Pro was originally released, the specs that run alongside that price tag don't match up with similarly priced Mini PCs.

4. Geekom AS 6

The Geekom AS 6 is a standout in the mini PC field for a number of reasons, but the biggest one is its price. The Geekom AS 6 will currently run you between $649 to $739 when purchased from Geekom. With that price tag comes a system powered with some truly great AMD Processors, such as the Ryzen 9 6900HX at its highest price.

Under the hood, the Geekom AS 6 is also packing an AMD Radeon 680M to go along with the Ryzen CPU. The system supports up to 32 gigabytes of RAM and comes loaded with a 1 terabyte SSD. Altogether, the AS 6 is an absolute powerhouse and can get the job done quietly. Between everyday use and even some light gaming, the AS 6 can hold its own and then some.

Connectivity options are also a bright spot for the AS 6. It offers an array of ports, including two USB-C ports, five USB-A 3.2 ports, two HDMI ports, a display port, and an ethernet port, ensuring compatibility with a range of peripherals and external devices. For any mini PC, more than one dedicated port for outputting video is always a thumbs up.

Furthermore, this compact desktop's expandability options are noteworthy. It accommodates M.2 and SATA drives, simplifying storage upgrades and future-proofing your system to meet evolving needs. This comes alongside security features, including TPM 2.0 support as well as a Kensington lock and a padlock ring for the physical security of your device.

The performance combined with the price of the Geekom AS 6 makes it one of the best available options. Within the price range that the AS 6 is available in, you'd be hard-pressed to beat the level of performance Geekom's machine offers.

3. Intel NUC 12 Serpent Canyon

The Intel NUC series, as previously mentioned, has consistently delivered compact yet potent computing solutions. The NUC 12 Serpent Canyon offers a gaming-oriented blend of performance, versatility, and sleek design from Intel's NUC lineup.

On a complete first glance, the NUC 12 stands out immediately design-wise. Unlike the rest of its black prism counterparts of varying heights, the NUC 12 is a slimmer standing machine emblazoned with a skull design and some vents. Size-wise, the NUC 12 is fairly comparable to a cable modem.

Performance is where the NUC 12 Serpent Canyon truly shines. Equipped with 12th-generation Intel processors, including Core i5 and i7 options, it delivers the processing power required for a multitude of computing tasks. Whether you're running demanding software, editing high-resolution media, or engaging in immersive gaming, this Mini PC tackles it with grace. Support for up to 64 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM ensures silky-smooth multitasking, making it an invaluable asset for professionals and enthusiasts alike. On top of this, the system comes equipped with Intel Arc A770M graphics.

As ports go, the NUC 12 packs the usual suspects, ranging from multiple DisplayPorts, an HDMI port, six USB 3.2 ports, front and rear Thunderbolt 4 ports, and an ethernet port. Expandability options further enhance the NUC 12's appeal. It supports both M.2 NVMe SSDs and SATA drives, in addition to the upgradable memory. However, this expandability is double-edged as the Intel NUC 12 is a bare-bones kit. The NUC 12 will not come with memory, storage, or an operating system.

The NUC 12 Serpent Canyon is a worthy option for a gaming-oriented mini PC. However, the price being over $1,000 can be a high barrier to entry, especially for a kit rather than a fully built system.

2. Beelink SER6 Pro 7735HS

A quick look on an online forum dedicated to mini PCs will quickly lead you to the Beelink SER6 Pro. And for good reason, the SER6 Pro is a powerful unit, and at an extraordinarily reasonable price.

This compact computer boasts an AMD Ryzen 7735HS under the hood, placing it firmly among the top contenders in the realm of small-scale computing platforms. Pair that with up to 64 gigabytes of DDR5 memory, a 512-gigabyte SSD, and an inclusive chipset featuring Thunderbolt, a 2.5-gigabyte ethernet port, and Wi-Fi 6E, and you're in for a lightning-fast experience. What makes the SER6 Pro above and beyond is the performance it offers in conjunction with the modest price it's available for currently. On Amazon, the SER6 Pro can run you around $436. The SER6 Pro can also handle up to three separate displays. Although not as ludicrous as the eight-display offering from the Mac Studio, it is still impressive for a mini PC nonetheless.

The Beelink SER6 Pro 7735HS is a versatile and powerful computing solution that excels in a variety of roles. Whether you're seeking a compact workstation for productivity tasks or a capable media center for entertainment, this mini PC delivers on both fronts. Its combination of sleek design, commendable performance, extensive connectivity, and expandability options makes it a compelling choice for a wide range of users. However, its price point in combination with the above features makes it very easily recommendable for those looking to dip into the realm of mini PCs.

1. Mac Mini M2

The Mac Mini M2 is hard to not recommend in the realm of mini PCs. The only reason not to pick this up is if you absolutely cannot bear the thought of using MacOS, or absolutely need to use Windows or a distro of Linux. Other than that, the performance the Mac Mini features at the price point it commands is nearly impossible to beat.

While not as souped up as its Mac Studio M2 counterpart, what makes the Mac Mini M2 the much more easily recommended of the two is its price point. The Mac Mini M2 isn't just reasonable in the realm of Apple products, the mini PC has a reasonable price in general. It might just be the best value on nearly any Mac. Directly from Apple, the Mac Mini M2 starts at $599, making it the cheapest Mac currently available from Apple directly.

The base price unit comes equipped with a 256-gigabyte SSD, which can be doubled for an additional $200, as well as two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and an Ethernet port. More ports can be added with the M2 Pro version, but the Mac Studio's SD Card slot is simply unattainable on the Mini. Even without caving for the $1,299 M2 Pro variant, it packs some of the biggest punch for its modest price point. If price is no issue, the M2 Pro offers a huge step up in performance without going all the way up the $1,999 Mac Studio.