Best Mini PCs and NUCs Windows Central 2020
Windows PCs come in all shapes and sizes, and whatever your needs there'll be a computer out there to suit you. If you want an extreme space saver but need a little more get up and go from your machine, check out one of these fantastic mini PCs, like the incredible Intel Hades Canyon.
- Ultimate power: Intel Hades Canyon NUC
- Great for gaming: Intel Skull Canyon NUC
- Media center: ASUS VivoMini
- So tiny: Kangaroo Mobile Desktop Pro
Intel continues to push the boundaries and its latest high-end Next Unit of Computing (NUC, another name for mini PC), the Hades Canyon, is easily the most impressive to date. You now get a choice of quad-core 8th Gen Core i7 processor, both with 4GB Radeon Vega M dedicated graphics. You need to supply RAM and solid-state drives (SSDs), with up to 32GB of DDR4 and a pair of m.2 NVMe drives supported, alongside more ports than you'd find on many larger desktop rigs.
This is no longer the highest end NUC you can get but it's still a very powerful desktop PC in a teeny tiny case. It comes as a barebones kit, meaning you need to supply the OS, RAM and m.2 SSD drive for storage, but it's all simple to put together. Inside is a Core i7 6770HQ, that also packs Intel's Iris Pro 580 graphics. Throw in 7.1 digital audio and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and you've got a crazy powerful little box, and connect an eGPU for a top gaming PC.
At its heart, the VivoMini houses an 8th Gen Intel Core i process, 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a range of storage options. Not only that but you'll get fast 802.11ac WiFi, USB 3.1 and 4K video capable Intel integrated graphics. It's easy to upgrade, and what makes it particularly useful for the home media enthusiast is that you can have one with an optical drive to play your DVD collection.
Mini PCs don't come much smaller than this, and that's only part of what makes it such a good little machine. The dock that comes with it has a 2.5-inch HDD bay, all the connectivity you might need including VGA, Ethernet and USB 3.0. It's powered by an Intel Atom x5 with 32GB of internal storage, but the whole package is a full desktop PC you can fit in your pocket. It even supports fingerprint-enabled Windows Hello.
Choosing what's best
All these mini PCs offer far more performance than their diminutive size may suggest. For the ultimate PC in a tiny box it's impossible to look beyond Intel's Hades Canyon, though the previous model Skull Canyon is still an amazing machine that's benefitted from recent price cuts.
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