Not so mini anymore, as they have seriously upped their performance game to be a lot more desirable for the consumer
The ULP powered Mini-PCs have become as small as matchboxes like the Gigabyte BRIX, ASRock Beebox and Liva Core. And on the other hand those that have mobile processors have retained the chunky size like the ZOTAC Magnus and the ASUS GR8. Both types are still small enough to be easily mounted onto the back of your monitors using the VESA mount.
Zero1 Winner: ZOTAC ZBOX MAGNUS EN970
ZOTAC has been known for making Mini-PCs and mini-ITX motherboards for quite a long while. The ZOTAC ZBOX MAGNUS EN970 has everything you’d expect from an ordinary computer. The Intel Core i5 and the NVIDIA GTX 960 endow it with the gaming prowess that pegs it way above average according to Steam’s hardware survey. Then it has an M.2 slot with two PCIe lanes and two 2.5-inch SATA slots for SSDs. And if you were thinking what we’re thinking, then yes, the two 2.5-inch SATA drives support RAID. In fact, our benchmarks were performed with two SSDs in RAID 0 producing transfer speeds of around 1,000 MBps. This machine ushers in a new era where the word Mini-PC doesn’t mean hardware compromise.
Price: Rs. 70,000
Runner-ups: ASUS GR8
ASUS’s GR8 was released early in the year and therefore, uses slightly older hardware. But it’s very much in the same vein as the MAGNUS. With an Intel Core i7-4510U, its compute power is at par with the MAGNUS. In our benchmarks, it scored 4578 points in PCMark 8 Work Accelerated which is just 10 points shy of what the MAGNUS EN970 scored. It’s the graphics power that made the difference. NVIDIA’s GTX 960 is much more powerful since it is a second generation Maxwell while the ASUS GR8’s GTX 750 Ti is based on the first generation Maxwell chipset and is binned for a lesser performance segment. But when it comes to looks, the ASUS GR8 is much better than the MAGNUS EN970.
Price: Rs. 89,500
Gigabyte Brix GB-BXi5H-5200
Coming in at third is Gigabyte’s Brix GB-BXi5H-5200. It has a much smaller footprint and relies solely on Intel HD Graphics 5500 for its graphics processing. Needless to say, its compute performance is the same as the MAGNUS EN970 but the lack of a discrete GPU knocks it down to third place.
This also means that the Brix GB-BXi5H-5200 is considerably cheaper than the other two units and would be favoured heavily for this reason. Definitely worth considering at a lower budget.
Price: Rs. 27,299
Best Buy: ASRock Beebox N3000
If you’re looking at getting a rig setup in under 20K then the ASRock Beebox N3000 is one of the few Mini-PCs that can get the job done for you. Powered by an Intel® N3000, the Beebox has quite a few advantages over the competition. For starters you have a choice of storage formats and it’s one of the few Mini-PCs to come with a USB Type-C connector and a media centre remote. While the remote can be done away with the help of any remote mouse APP on your smartphone, its remaining features still make the Beebox N3000 quite the economical wonder since it’s priced under 10K. So you can get the rest of the components and peripherals to set it up completely in under 20K which is why the ASRock Beebox N3000 wins the Best Buy.
Price: Rs. 9,959