The best mini PCs and NUCs come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your needs, there's a compact computer out there to suit you. A mini PC is an excellent choice for your school-age kids since you'll be able to pack an entire PC to work on into something that will fit in even the tightest of spaces. And it's great if you need to add a PC covertly to somewhere like the kitchen or living room. Our collection contains some of the best mini PCs and NUCs to help you get started down this path.
The NUC 11 performance is impressive. You can get up to an 11th Gen Core i7-1165G7 processor inside with Iris Plus graphics, or there's the Core i5-1135G7 option for less money. Barebones kits are available, too, equipped with up to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD.
Build it yourself
This ASRock DeskMini barebones kit supports Intel 8th Gen LGA1151 processors with integrated graphics. You get the chassis and the motherboard with an external power brick while supplying your CPU, storage, and up to 32GB of RAM.
The GMK NucBox is a neat-looking mini PC with 8GB of RAM, expandable storage, and a decent selection of ports. It's limited to an Intel Celeron J4125 processor but with up to a 512GB SSD, plus you can expand with a microSD card. A fan on top keeps everything running cool.
Good for gaming
Intel's NUC 11 Enthusiast kits come with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU and NVIDIA RTX 2060 discrete GPU with 6GB of VRAM, and various RAM and storage options. You can also buy a barebones kit and add it yourself.
The Azulle Access4 is one the best PC sticks thanks to a dual-core Intel CPU, 64GB of storage and microSD expansion, and 4GB of RAM. There's an Ethernet port and an attached antenna for Wi-Fi. Other ports include 3.5mm for audio, USB-C, USB-A, and a Kensington lock slot.
Choosing the best mini PC or NUC
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Despite their size, all these machines are capable Windows PCs. But when it comes to compact computers, Intel continues to lead the way with its NUC line. The latest NUC 11 Performance kit packs in 11th Gen Intel CPUs for excellent performance, plus it's built into a chassis that's compact and easy to manage. You can buy it barebones, or you can go with a model that also includes RAM and storage.
And if you're a fan of DIY, ASRock's DeskMini X310W supports Intel 8th Gen (socket LGA 1151) processors with built-in graphics, but you need to provide a chunk of the components yourself. The attractive little case comes with an external power supply and motherboard to get you started. Be sure to check out our collections of the best desktop computers and best Windows laptops for a bunch of great full-size PC options.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.