Mini PCs are the perfect middle ground between laptops and tower PCs. They are small and compact and easily fit behind monitors. And if your job doesn’t demand a high-speed performing processor, these mini PCs are the perfect fit. However, Windows Mini PCs are expensive, and cost as high as $700. But thankfully, that’s not the end of the road. There are a few good budget Windows Mini PCs below $500.
However, these budget Windows Mini PCs come at a cost, and you won’t get as much muscle power as some of its expensive or premium counterparts. As noted earlier, these PCs are apt for low-demand jobs. The best part is that they take up less space.
Now that is settled, let’s look at the top Windows Mini PCs under $500. But before that,
- Here are the best budget FHD monitors under $500
- Take a look at these cool mechanical keyboards under $200
1. Chuwi HeroBox Windows 10 Mini Desktop
Processor: Intel Celeron J4125
The Chuwi HeroBox is an entry-level Windows Mini PC and includes an Intel Celeron J4125 processor that can go up to 2GHz. Do note that Celeron processors are not fast as their current-gen counterparts. But if you are looking at minimal usage, it’s a good pick.
The box is thin and lightweight. Plus, the VESA mount gives you the option of mounting it on the back of monitors. At the same time, the ports at the front and back give you the flexibility of adding peripherals as per your choice.
For the record, the HeroBox comes with a duo of USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and a USB-C port. This is in addition to the VGA and HDMI connectors. It’s worth mentioning that the HeroBox lets you connect up to two monitors.
But at the end of the day, the cheap price tag comes at a cost, and in this case, it’s the processing power. The Celeron processor can rarely match the power that certain apps like Google Chrome (with many tabs) demand. But if you are looking at minimal usage (and to save on money), it’s worth considering.
2. Zotac ZBOX CI622
Processor: Intel Core i3-10110U
Zotac offers a line up of passively cooled mini-PCs, and the ZBox Cl622 is not different. It’s runs quietly and doesn’t make much noise even when playing graphics-demanding games. An Intel Core i3-10110U processor powers this mini PC, and it proves to be quite apt for everyday tasks and light-duty workloads. It’s small and compact and even sports a cool-looking chassis with a honeycomb design at the top.
Do note that the ZBox Cl622 is a bare-bones mini PC, and you will have to add the RAM yourself. But on the upside, you get the advantage of picking a sizeable RAM to let the PC have much room to work with.
That said, the Core i3 processor is enough to get you through your everyday job with ease. Of course, it’ll struggle to run high-intensive jobs like video editing or photo editing like its Core i5 processors.
One of the main highlights of this Mini PC is the number of ports. It comes with 6 USB 3.1 ports, out of which 2 are USB-C ports. On top of that, you get your hands on a headphone jack, a card reader, and a USB 3.0 port. The ports are arranged cleverly, thereby making it easy to connect peripherals. It’s worth mentioning that it lacks an SSD slot.
It’s not perfect. For one, the box gets a little hot when you push it too hard, despite being passive cooled. That said, if you are not looking for doing performing high-end tasks and want flexibility in picking RAM, then this Zotac Mini PC makes for a good buy.
3. Beelink SEI8 Mini PC
Processor: 8th gen Intel i5-8279U
Another affordable Mini PC is the one by Beelink. The highlight of this PC is the included Iris Plus Graphics 655 GPU which allows you to have a decent gaming experience with good visuals. That aside, an Intel Core i5-8279U processor runs this Beelink PC, and it can go up to 4.10 GHz. The GPU also lets you add dual 4K (@ 30Hz) screens to your setup.
Though it doesn’t have a passive cooling system, it includes a fan and a built-in cooling system that helps the system keep its cool. Unlike the one above, it’s not a bare-bones PC and comes with 16GB RAM. At the same time, you can upgrade the storage with an M.2 SATA SSD.
When it comes to the connectors, it’s safe to say that it has a respectable number of ports. It includes two HDMI ports, 5 USB 3.0 ports, and a Gigabit LAN connector.
So far, it has several good reviews and people like the easy setup process. It can pretty much run any low-demand task with ease.
4. Minisforum UM700 Mini PC
Processor: Ryzen 7 3750H CPU
Another budget Windows Mini PC is the Minisforum UM700 Ryzen NUC. It’s a versatile system and can easily sail you through everyday tasks and casual games with ease. It’s compact and can easily be carried in a backpack when needed. An AMD Ryzen 7 3750H CPU powers this computer and can clock up to 4GHz in speed.
It’s a little more expensive than its counterparts above. However, the right amount of power and size makes it a worthy pick. At the same time, setting up this PC is straightforward and doesn’t need much time.
The number of ports in this mini PC is also apt. You get an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, and a pair of USB 3.1 connectors. Plus, there’s a USB-C port to add to the features.
The modular ensign ensures that you can upgrade the RAM later. The current settings let you connect up to 3 monitors, which is a huge plus, especially if you need bigger screens.
Small Yet Big Power
Mini PCs may look small, but the right one lets you go about your job just like any laptop or tower PC out there. Though they appear cost-effective comparatively, do note that adding peripherals like keyboards, mouse and speakers tend to drive up the cost.
Last updated on 12 March, 2022
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