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Mini Desktop PCs: Best Buys

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Group Test Mini PCs range from the downright tiny to systems that, today, seem barely smaller than a regular mini-tower machine. They encompass models based on desktop components and PCs that use laptop parts.

To recap, here are the machines I looked at this time:

In this group, the Acer Aspire X5900 trod the route of the conventional tower and delivered high performance at a reasonable cost.

Although the X5900 is small compared to a regular PC tower it looks enormous next to the Dell Inspiron Zino HD, which is an attractive PC but costs too much for what it delivers.

I was won over by the cutesy looks of the Core i3-based Fujitsu Esprimo Q9000 and could easily imagine using it as a second PC.

By contrast, the barebones Core 20-equipped Shuttle XPC SG41J1 looked dated and surprisingly large for a machine that was once the very definition of a small form-factor PC.

Peak's Cape 7 Ion and Viewsonic's PC Mini 132 are both tiny Atom-powered PCs with Nvidia ion graphics and have a great deal more in common. Unfortunately. the Cape 7 Ion is hamstrung by a single-core CPU that can't handle the heavy workload of Windows 7.

The ViewSonic, however, manages the job with aplomb and looks superb into the bargain. As such, it has to take home the Editor's Choice prize.

The Overall Winner ViewSonic PC mini 132
The Contender Fujitsu Esprimo Q9000
The Performance Leader Acer Aspire X5900
The Looker Dell Inspiron Zino HD

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