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How to Find the Right Mini Desktop PC
Most people who want a desktop PC rather than a laptop and don't plan to do a lot of gaming should consider a mini PC, rather than a full-sized desktop computer or all-in-one. A mini PC has all the power most people need for basic Web browsing, photo editing, and work-related tasks like spreadsheet wrangling or text editing—basically anything that doesn’t require a powerful graphics card.
A mini PC attached to a monitor is a cheaper, more upgradable alternative to overpriced all-in-one computers and takes up much less space than a desktop, while still giving you the comfortable, more ergonomic experience of a big screen, full-sized keyboard, and mouse.
Mini PCs are rarely super powerful, but you can expect at least as much performance as you’d get from a Windows ultrabook.
The size of a mini PC prevents much expansion, but you can upgrade the storage and the memory on most models and sometimes the CPU. You’ll usually be stuck with integrated graphics, so don’t expect enough power to play many modern games. The mini PCs we recommend in this guide couldn’t handle gaming beyond simple titles such as Minecraft or Hearthstone. You can add an external graphics dock if a mini PC has Thunderbolt 3, but those tend to be large and expensive and defeat the purpose of buying a smaller PC in the first place.