Mini-Computers Vs Desktops – Which Ones Are Better for High-Performance Computing at Home?

As you probably know, desktop computers have been around for a while, longer than any other kind of personal PC in fact. Over the past 35+ years they have diversified significantly, lending themselves to all sorts of use cases involving high-performance computing. These range from advanced data analytics to gaming to video rendering. The kind of desktops that are designed for this kind of computing definitely deliver what they promise and more. Nevertheless, they are plagued with the following issues:

  • High price. Conventional desktops are not very affordable when it comes to the models that can handle high-performance computing. Being able to accommodate multiple hard disks, RAM chips, and all kinds of specialized cards, makes their motherboards big and pricey.
  • High power consumption. Desktops are electricity hungry since they have to drive these cumbersome motherboards and oftentimes at least a couple of big fans too.
  • Noise level. As a result of the aforementioned fans, desktops tend to be quite noisy, particularly during warmer days.

  • Large size. Of course desktops are quite large, making them difficult to move and usually taking up a big part of a desk.

So, although desktop machines could deliver high performance, this comes at a price, making them a not-so-appealing solution for many individuals, especially those on a budget. Mini-computers, on the other hand, could address the majority of all the above disadvantages. Specifically they are:

  • Inexpensive. These PCs are as simple as it gets, making them efficient in every aspect. This translates to a lower cost, even with high-quality parts such as an solid-state disks. Today you could buy a mini-computer for less than $400 at certain stores.
  • Very eco-friendly (low power consumption). Mini-computers generally don’t consume more than 20W, with most models’ consumption being around 15W and a few of them as low as 12W. This equates to a tiny carbon footprint and a lot of savings on electricity over time.
  • Silent. Modern mini-computers don’t have any fans and their parts don’t have any moving components, making them as quiet as your smartphone or tablet. This is due to the state-of-the-art heat sink technology that they employ.
  • Compact in size. Utilizing laptop technology, mini-computers are able to deliver a lot of computing power making use of very small parts. This makes them light, compact, and easy to move.

In addition, mini-computers are:

  • Fast when it comes to storage memory. Mini-computers rely on solid-state disks, a technology that is the fastest available when it comes to storage (significantly faster than MMC memory). This allows for fast overall performance and high reliability.
  • Easy to upgrade. Mini-computers are just like desktops when it comes to upgrading. Just pop up the cover and change whatever part you want. Everything is merely a couple of screws away and doesn’t require advanced know-how to accomplish.
  • Secure. Oftentimes mini-computers are mounted on monitors, usually hidden from plain sight. This, along with the fact that they are easy to place on a concealed location (e.g. inside a keyboard tray) makes them quite safe from thieves.

All this makes mini-computers an excellent choice for high-performance computing and a great investment overall.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.