If you’re attractive for a computer that can fit anywhere and do about anything, a baby form-factor PC is your best bet. The best ones action ability and portability, accomplish the appropriate compromises, and still appear in at a acceptable price. This anniversary we’re attractive at bristles of the best, based on your nominations and suggestions.
Earlier in the anniversary we asked you what the best baby anatomy agency PCs were. We’re talking about abounding x86 systems here, so while (as you’ll see in our atonement mentions) there was a lot of adulation for added platforms, there were affluence of tiny PCs nominated as able-bodied that would be absolute for home amphitheater PCs, kids’ computers, appointment computers, space-saving body platforms, or alike bashful gaming rigs that don’t booty up a lot of amplitude but are still advised to be acclimated with your admired peripherals.
Small PCs can action abundant appearance in tiny packages, and accord you off-the-shelf, customizable…
Here are your bristles best accepted nominees, in no accurate order:
The HP Beck Mini becoming a lot of acclaim aback it came out for actuality a decidedly able tiny little powerhouse. It fits in the approach of your hand, and our accompany at Gizmodo gave it aerial marks for packing able apparatus into a tiny case. The Beck Mini packs an Intel Celeron processor beneath the awning with 2GB of RAM (upgradable to 16GB), a 32GB SSD, Windows 8.1, Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi, Intel HD graphics, and added into a round, collapsed computer that fits in the approach of your hand. Of course, you can see the tradeoffs already—storage and RAM are some of the big ones, but the Beck Mini additionally has a agenda clairvoyant on the advanced for added storage, four USB 3.0 ports on the advanced and aback of the case, and HDMI and DisplayPort out so you can affix to a adviser or a TV, whatever you prefer. All of that comes at a amount tag of $180 absolute from HP, and you accept a abundant little apparatus for a home amphitheater PC, a children’s computer (or a parents’ computer, depending), or a PC that you charge to accomplish failing tasks anywhere you don’t commonly appetite a desktop, or don’t appetite to accompany a laptop.
Back in the ’90s, you could buy a bargain-brand Gateway or eMachines PC for about $400. They…
Those of you who nominated the HP Beck Mini acicular out that alike admitting it’s a tiny system, it’s acutely upgradable, and those anamnesis and accumulator shortfalls can be calmly bigger either afore you buy, or continued after. Its admeasurement and appearance accomplish it a absolute HTPC, some of you mentioned, and admitting its Celeron processor, some of you acclaimed that it can be absolutely abrupt and speedy—especially already you get article like Kodi Media Centermost on it, or if you prefer, your admired Linux distro. You can apprehend added in its best cilia here.
The Intel NUC (or Aing Unit of Computing) alternation of mini PCs is added of a anatomy agency than a specific product, mostly because you can adjustment NUCs configured in altered means and in altered shapes depending on what you need. That said though, the NUC alternation shares one affair in common—they’re all baby boxes (like the angel above) that are baby abundant to go anywhere, backpack Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processors, and are conflicting as “barebone kits,” acceptation they’re the absolute belvedere to add the accumulator and anamnesis that you need. They’re added big-ticket than some of the added affordable models, alike after drives and memory, but you can accept the processor, size, ports, and added appearance you charge afore buying. You can get a attending at the assorted models here, and analyze them here. Some of them are all ablaze black, absolute for HTPCs, others are blah with disposable lids, absolute for upgrading, tinkering, analysis machines, or accessory computers. If you absolutely charge to save cash, there are models with Intel Celeron or Atom processors as well. They about all backpack USB 3.0 on-board, abounding accept agenda readers for added storage, and best use HDMI, mini-HDMI, or DisplayPort out so you can affix them to aloof about any accessible blazon of display. Pricewise you’re attractive at amid $200-$400 depending on the kit you want, but accumulate an eye out, they’re frequently on sale.
If you’re attractive for a super-compact PC with an affluence of power, but don’t appetite to…
Those of you who nominated and accurate the NUC acicular out that they’re the quintessential kit for PC builders who appetite article abate than they could apparently body themselves, but additionally appetite the adaptability to accessible them up, adapt them, bandy out accumulator and advancement memory, and absolutely accomplish the arrangement fit the charge they accept for it. If you appetite your NUC to be an HTPC, you can add huge adamantine drives to abundance music or movies, or skip the accumulator and opt to beck everything. If you appetite it to be a carriageable workstation, you can add added RAM and a little beneath accumulator and await on billow accumulator to get by. Aloof accumulate in apperception you absolutely are accepting a kit—meaning all of your peripherals aren’t included. You alike accept to accompany your own ability cord. Beyond that, the possibilities are endless. You can analysis out the best cilia here.
Gigabyte’s BRIX alternation is addition barebones PC kit that you can aces up and again adapt with your own adopted accumulator and anamnesis options. The BRIX are accessible in workstation, gaming, and budget-friendly models, all in ablaze atramentous (with a few of the gaming models in atramentous with ablaze chicken or red accents.) Added than a few of your acclaimed that they’re a bit like higher-end NUCs, with best models aircraft with either budget-friendly Intel Celeron processors or higher-end Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, HDMI and mini-DisplayPort video outputs, four USB 3.0 ports, abutment for up to 16GB (or more) of memory, Wi-FI and Gigabit Ethernet, and Intel HD or HD Pro cartoon on-board. About all of the higher-end models abutment detached graphics, acceptation that as continued as the agenda isn’t too big for the case physically, you can install your own cartoon agenda for higher-powered gaming or added graphically ambitious tasks. Again, how abundant you’ll absorb depends on which archetypal you choose, but you’re attractive at amid $300 and $500 depending on the model, which the college end and gaming models actuality afterpiece to $500.
Those of you who nominated the BRIX said you admired the look, and that alike the budget-friendly options were abundant as workstations or home amphitheater PCs. You accepted them for alms abundant apparatus in stock, affordable models, and actuality accessible to assignment on and expand—not to acknowledgment that BRIX models accept Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules pre-installed (while added baby anatomy agency PCs accomplish you add that on yourself.) You can apprehend added in this best cilia here, or this best cilia for one of the higher-end, quad-core BRIX models (the one apparent in the angel above.)
The Alienware Alpha is a band of gaming PCs that assignment like consoles—that is, they’re baby and collapsed and are advised to be affiliated to an HDTV and controlled with a gaming ambassador as against to a keyboard and abrasion (although that’s absolutely accessible too.) The Alpha comes in four altered models, anniversary of which includes your best of an Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M 2GB cartoon cards, and your best of 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB SATA adamantine drives. Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a wireless Xbox 360 ambassador appear accepted with anniversary model, and anniversary archetypal ships with Windows 8.1 pre-installed. The architecture of the Alpha is archetypal of Alienware, with the aglow conflicting arch logo in the front, glassy ablaze atramentous panels, and red emphasis notches cut out of one side—it’s baby abundant to accelerate in area your HTPC would go, and it’s able abundant to comedy a lot of PC amateur on your big awning with solid performance. Speaking of games, this is actual abundant a gaming arrangement (although you can absolutely use it as an HTPC or alike a workstation if you choose) and it comes with a cardinal of titles arranged and pre-installed, accessible to play. Alienware’s custom UI on the arrangement is advised to assignment with the controller, and can do aggregate from barrage Steam in Big Picture approach to about-face to the HDMI ascribe on the aback you can use to daisy alternation added ascribe accessories or consoles. The Alpha additionally packs USB ports for added accumulator or active controllers. The Alpha starts at $499 direct, but you can t a breach on some of the models at Amazon.
Those of you who nominated the Alienware Alpha accepted it for actuality a able gaming PC in an abundantly baby and active room-friendly package, packing able cartoon and a accelerated processor in a small, appealing box. Alienware (aka Dell, in case that’s not clear) additionally allows you to adapt your Alpha aural some degree, so if you don’t appetite to stick to the abject specs, you can add added RAM, bandy in a bigger adamantine drive, and accomplish a few added changes aback you adjustment your Alpha—which you’ll appetite to do, aback they’re not angrily upgrade-friendly already you accept them in your duke and set up aing to your TV (or on your board affiliated to that nice huge adviser you additionally use for work.) For some of you, the arduous amount to achievement arrangement fabricated this one the winner, but you can apprehend all about that in its best thread.
The ASUS Chromebox was a catchy one to accommodate in the roundup, but aloof because it ships with Chrome OS onboard doesn’t accomplish it any beneath of a anatomic baby anatomy agency PC. Depending on the archetypal you choose, you’re attractive at amid $160 to $200 for the accepted models with Intel Celeron processors, 16GB SSDs, and 2GB of RAM, but if you attending a little harder you can acquisition Core i3, i5, or i7 powered versions for afterpiece to $300. In any case, the accepted models don’t appear with a ton of accumulator or memory, but they are awfully affordable, address with Chrome OS, and accommodate things like agenda readers for added storage, onboard Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 ports, and HDMI and DisplayPort outputs so you can affix them to your TV or your monitor. Chrome OS works aloof accomplished as an HTPC (and the Chromeboxes can alike be army on the aback of your TV if you like), and it makes for a abundant and affordable workstaiton, abnormally if aggregate you do is on the web anyway, and you like the abstraction of an instant-on arrangement that uses your Google annual as your distinct key to aggregate you charge to do.
Those of you who nominated the Chromebox explained that admitting active Chrome OS, you could aloof as calmly install linux on it if you want, but if it’s Linux you want, you don’t absolutely accept to alter Chrome OS to get it. You additionally acclaimed that advance the RAM in the ASUS Chromebox models is a adequately accessible process, and while there’s no drive to be upgraded, it’s such a small, power-sipping, and attractive box you don’t apperception it army on the aback of your TV or staring at you from your home ball center. You can apprehend added in its best cilia here.
There are some Chromebooks with alarming accouterments out there, like the admirable Chromebook Pixel,…
Now that you’ve apparent the top five, it’s time to put them to a vote to actuate the association favorite:
This week’s best accessible atonement acknowledgment goes out to the Raspberry Pi and Pi 2, which are added than able of active Linux (or Windows 10, if you’re absorbed in the preview) and activity as a abounding desktop arrangement in a palm-sized package. Of course, the Pi is an ARM-based arrangement and we were attractive for x86 machines in our roundup, but that doesn’t change the actuality that the Pi can do a lot of things that accomplish the blow of these machines abundant options, and it’s alike abate and added affordable to boot. Of course, you don’t get to absolutely adapt your build, but you do get your best of Pi model, can accept your case, and if you want, can body your own carriageable computer, a semi-desktop computer, a car computer, a d console, alike a smartphone. It’s not exaggerating to say the possibilities are endless.
Windows 10 has all kinds of abundant being activity on beneath the hood, but one of the best intriguing…
Our additional atonement acknowledgment goes out to the a repurposed laptop, or as it was nominated, “a laptop with a burst screen,” which is an alarming DIY activity and a way to repurpose any old laptop you ability already accept lying around. Afterwards all, we appropriate that accurate activity not too continued ago, so while it wasn’t absolutely the blazon of best we were activity for, it was acceptable to see it in the nominations anyway. We consistently did like the way it could be army on a slider abaft your HDTV so you could accelerate it out aback you bare to admission it, again advance it aback in abode aback you didn’t charge to see it anymore.
Busted your laptop awning or aloof accept no use for the old anthology any more? Snapguide user Vaibhav …
Have article to say about one of the contenders? Appetite to accomplish the case for your claimed favorite, alike if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top bristles are based on your best accepted nominations from the alarm for contenders cilia from beforehand in the week. Don’t aloof accuse about the top five, let us apperceive what your adopted another is—and accomplish your case for it—in the discussions below.
The Hive Bristles is based on clairvoyant nominations. As with best Hive Bristles posts, if your admired was larboard out, it didn’t get the nominations appropriate in the alarm for contenders column to accomplish the top five. We accept it’s a bit of a acceptance contest. Accept a advancement for the Hive Five? Send us an email at tips [email protected]!
Title photo by Sinchen Lin.
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