Feeds

Buyer's Guide: Mini Desktop PCs

The Pros and Cons of tiny PCs

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Reviews When you choose the components for a new desktop PC, it’s pretty much a numbers game. The more you pay, the more CPU cores, gigahertz of CPU speed, and gigabytes of memory and hard drive space you get. You don't have to worry about very much else.

Dell Inspiron Zino HD

Looks are more important when your PC is in your living room

It’s a different story with a mini PC. Manufacturers are limited by the size of the machine as to what they can include. That's not just a factor for the physical size of the components - hard drive, optical drive, chip coolers and so forth - but also how effective that cooling is. Less airspace around the components means the cooling system has to work harder and that may mean it makes more noise.

The size of the case also dictates how easily you can find room for your mini PC on a desk or beside your TV. It also has a major bearing on how portable the PC might be. The Acer Aspire X5900, for instance, is quite small but is effectively a regular desktop PC so you are unlikely to move it about. By contrast, you could drop the Cape 7 Ion or Viewsonic PC Mini 132 in the pocket of your coat.

Smaller machines can also be attached to the back of the screen if space is tight or you simply want a more all-in-one computing experience. Look out for machines that include - or provide as an option - a Vesa mounting kit. The Video Electronics Standards Association's spec ensures the computer's mount will fit onto the display or TV correctly.

Mini Desktop PCs

Some Mini PCs can be mounted onto the backs of monitors and TVs

Every desktop will give you wired Ethernet network connectivity, but you may prefer the convenience - at the cost of speed - of wireless networking, especially if you're after a mini PC for its portability. Some mini PCs have Wi-Fi built in, others simple bundle a USB adaptor, while the rest may not include it at all.

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Your chance to WIN the WORLD'S ONLY HANDHELD ZX SPECTRUM
Reg staff not allowed to enter, god dammit
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share
Not four. Point four. Count yer booty again, Microsoft
Getting to the BOTTOM of the great office seating debate
Belay that toil, me hearty, and park your scurvy backside
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.