If your small business values space almost as much as computing power, mini PCs give you an option for desktop performance in a compact, configurable, energy-efficient package. Learn which specs will have the greatest impact and what other features to consider.
Mini PCs Vs. Traditional Desktops
If you can buy a traditional desktop with the same performance, you might wonder why you should consider a business mini PC.
For many small businesses, managing growth also means managing space. If you don’t have room for a laptop or traditional desktop, a mini PC may be the right fit. Not only can a business mini PC hide away behind a monitor, but it’s also portable enough to move when you want to reconfigure your office or store. And with a design that’s as smart as it is compact, your employees don’t need to sacrifice productivity or creativity.
Why Mini PCs for Small Business
You may find mini PCs captivating due to size alone, but they also offer versatility and value. There are a range of mini PC products on the market today. Many are powered by the latest Intel® Core™ i5 or i7 processors, giving you great performance in a small form factor PC.
Reason No. 1: Space
Space is often at a premium for small businesses. Yet a full desktop tower typically stands at least 22 inches high—with widths and depths of 8 and 24 inches, respectively. Contrast that with a mini PC like the Intel® NUC. It’s less than 2 inches high, with a footprint of just over 4 x 4 inches.
Reason No. 2: Versatility
Mini PCs can be set up in creative ways and places. Use a mini PC to support digital signage, interactive kiosks, conference room screens, or embedded IoT applications. Your employees also enjoy a great range of features to enhance daily productivity tasks, videoconferencing, and multimedia experiences.
Reason No. 3: Value
Mini PCs require little energy compared to desktops. The low-power components don’t produce much heat, so you won’t need power-hungry fans to keep the machines cool in small spaces. If energy savings are important to your business, you can choose an Energy Star–certified mini PC like the Intel® NUC to ensure efficient power consumption.
In a footprint the size of a sandwich, Intel® NUC Mini PCs give you the performance and features of a desktop PC.
Mini PC Performance Specifications
Small form factor PCs rely on CPU, RAM, and storage to provide performance comparable to a traditional desktop. And if you haven’t migrated to Windows* 10 yet, you can save by selecting a mini PC with the latest Windows* operating system already installed.
The processor is the brain of a mini PC. If your employees need to tackle compute-intensive tasks—think working within data-heavy spreadsheets or graphic design programs—you need real performance. You can find it in mini PCs powered by the latest Intel® Core™ processors.
RAM temporarily stores data in your mini PC’s memory. If you find you need more RAM for complex programs, it’s easy to add. But you should ensure you have the processing power to take advantage of the RAM you add.
The addition of Intel® Optane™ memory makes mini PCs already equipped with powerful Intel® Core™ processors even more responsive. By remembering the programs your employees use most frequently, Intel® Optane™ memory makes it possible to access them quickly, so employees can work smoothly.
You need to equip your mini PC with a hard disk drive (HDD) or Intel® Solid State Drive or Intel® SSD large enough to store all your files and to easily launch and operate your programs and operating system. Unlike RAM, this drive handles permanent storage. Both size and speed matter.
HDDs contain mechanical parts, which can impact speed, but they’re less expensive. Intel® SSDs cost more, but provide faster system performance and responsiveness. Here’s another place where adding Intel® Optane™ memory to an Intel® Core™ processor and an HDD provides an advantage: storage capacity and overall performance and responsiveness comparable to Intel® SSDs, but at a lower price.
Intel® Core™ processors and Microsoft Windows* 10 have been optimized to work better together. Mini PCs with the latest Intel® Core™ processors and Windows* 10 Pro offer improved performance and security features compared with older computers, enabling employees to remain productive and businesses to stay competitive.
Other Features to Consider
Other factors that come into play when deciding on the right mini PC for your business include the device’s weight, graphics, and connectivity capabilities.
To make mini PCs worthy of their name, most depend on graphics integrated into the CPU for video outputs. For many business needs, this graphics acceleration is sufficient. But if your business demands workstation capabilities, you can also choose a mini PC that supports discrete graphics.
You’ll need to connect your mini PC to communicate with all the devices you’d use with a traditional desktop. That could include a monitor, mouse, keyboard, speakers, drives, and so on. Look for multiple ports to serve your needs. For example, Intel® NUC Mini PCs offer front and back USB ports, HDMI ports, and the Thunderbolt™ 3 superset of capabilities. These include USB 3.1 plus 40 Gbps Thunderbolt™ and DisplayPort 1.2 from a single USB-C port. Intel® NUC Mini PCs are also available with a microSD slot and Gigabit Ethernet.
Intel® Core™ processor-based mini PCs do everything a desktop tower can in a fraction of the space—and at a fraction of the weight. Many mini PCs weigh less than three pounds, enabling your business to move PCs and reconfigure your space as you grow. And if you need computers on-site at events, you’ll be delighted with how economically you can ship mini PCs.
Intel® NUC Advantages
Intel® NUC is the only mini PC engineered, built, and backed by Intel. It also comes with a three-year warranty. You can choose among three options: a ready-to-go mini PC, a barebones Intel® NUC kit to build your own, or Intel® NUC boards. The latest Intel® NUCs feature 10th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, integrated or discrete graphics, and HDD or Intel® SSD options. It’s all engineered to work in small spaces and consume low power.