Best NUC Mini PC In 2022

Best NUC Mini PC

In the market for a small-sized PC that doesn’t skimp on performance? Learn about the best NUC mini PC’s available on the market today. Unsure of what an NUC mini PC is? Find out more about them in our handy buying guide.

Understanding the Best NUC Mini PCs

Technology is undergoing a paradigm shift.

To be more specific, the tech you see nowadays is being made smaller and smaller with each passing day. New milestones in ever-shrinking manufacturing processes are being hit day-by-day. The result is that what were once large and unwieldy devices in the past are now far more portable now than they’ve ever been.

This too extends to the concept of the personal computer. Long gone are the days when having a computer meant that you needed to find a space for a giant PC case, as the hardware is much more manageable size-wise.

Some thought it prudent to take this a step further however. Perhaps the mini-ITX form factor was simply not small enough. Or perhaps they just wanted to see how far they could push things. Whatever the reason, the fact of the matter is that the development of the NUC began.

Need a mini PC that isn’t quite a NUC? Check out our broader guide here!

What is an NUC?

NUC is short for “Next Unit (of) Computing”. It is a term coined by intel to describe their lines of hyper-miniaturized mini PCs.

NUCs are usually no larger than maybe 10-or-so inches in either direction. They make use of specialized motherboards wherein the processor is directly soldered onto the motherboard, and that lack PCI/PCI-E expansion slots – helping to keep the size down.

In other words, they’re kind of like desktops but with the performance of a laptop. And are a fraction of the size of either.

Dating back as far as 2012, NUCs have been continuously refined and improved to the point that many third-party manufacturers have popped up on the scene to produce their own take on the concept. Competition is always good for any market, as it encourages developments.

Technically, an NUC is an Intel-powered product. But the definition has been expanded and co

The most suitable Mini PC

Consider before purchasing – what is the best NUC mini PC for you? Everybody has different needs, different use cases, and more.

For example, if you’re the type of person who likes to edit video and does so on the regular (perhaps it’s your job, or just a hobby you’re really into), you will want an NUCwith a powerful processor.

If you’re only doing basic tasks such as working with word documents, writing emails, and browsing the web. You may not need a cutting-edge top-shelf performance model, and would be more comfortable settling for something more modest.

Whatever the reason, it is important that you define your needs and opt for a device that suits them, otherwise you risk either purchasing a model that is too weak to do what you need, far more powerful than you’ll ever be able to realistically utilize, or simply just does not have the features that you require.

Different types of Mini PC

As such, there are many different types of NUC that are available on the market today.

The most common types of NUC are those that make use of Intel Core processors from the 8th to the 10th generation. These will usually be i5 models, and will be fine for your average user.

There are also mini PCs that feature more recent 11th gen processors, boasting their improved performance and power efficiency over older models.

At the other end of the scale, you can also find mini PCs that feature low-power processors that come at a low price point, and boast high energy efficiency.

To reiterate, be sure you’re picking an NUC mini PC that fits your needs before committing to a model.

What is a “barebones” mini PC

Most of the time, a mini PC will come with RAM and storage already preinstalled. However, sometimes it is possible to purchase a mini PC in something known as a “barebones” configuration.

This configuration comes at a cheaper price, but foregoes the inclusion of RAM or an SSD. Meaning that you will need to supply your own.

This can be an excellent option if you are upgrading from an old NUC to a new NUC, as you can likely carry over the old RAM and SSD into the new model (make sure to check the specifications before doing this though, as RAM/SSDs may not be compatible despite looking similar visually).

What kind of processor does a good Mini PC have?

At the minimum, we would advise no less than Ryzen 3 or i3 mini PC if you’re on a budget. Going any lower-spec than this and you may start running into difficulties when you begin performing all but the most basic of tasks such as web browsing.

For the average user, we would advise an i5 (or Ryzen 5) powered mini PC. Regardless of the generation (which will be 8th gen at the earliest), this should boast enough power to serve you well in a variety of use cases. From web browsing, streaming, and even video and photo editing for small projects.

If your budget can stretch a little, you may wish to opt for a higher end mini PC that features something along the lines of an Intel i7 processor or better. This higher performance will “future-proof” your PC in essence, allowing you to comfortably use it for longer before a serious upgrade is considered.

How much RAM should a Mini PC have?

The amount of RAM that will be present in your mini PC is entirely dependent on your use case. It is also mirrors that of the RAM situation on full-sized PCs.

That is to say, the minimum amount of RAM that any modern PC should come with is 8GB. Anything less than this, and there’s a high risk that your system will start to chug during even web browsing (as nowadays, most web browsers are memory hogs).

The not-quite-there-but-fast-approaching standard of RAM is 16GB. With this, you’ll be comfortably set to handle just about anything the modern computing environment will throw at you as a regular user.

If you need more than 16GB, you will likely know what it is already being used for, and do not need our guidance.

What kind of file storage does the best NUC Mini PC have?

You will encounter one of two types of storage in the vast majority of modern NUCs:

  • M.2 NVMe SSD
  • M.2 SATA III SSD

Visually these storage types are very similar. But M.2 SATA is in fact the slower of the two, and will usually be found on more budget models.

Make no mistake however. The difference in speed will be mostly imperceptible to the average user. It only comes into play during the transfer of large files, where NVMe being 3-4x faster in terms of transfer speeds really begins to show its merit.

Most NUCs will also feature space for a 2.5-inch drive that can either be an SSD (faster/expensive) or a HDD (slower/cheaper). If the main storage is an NVMe, this is an excellent opportunity to use a small but fast storage device for your operating system/apps, and then use a larger HDD for storing your data and other misc. files.

Buying a good NUC Mini PC

We have put together a collection of some of the best NUC mini PCs we have available to buy or pre-order on our website.

#1DroiX CK1 Intel NUC Mini PC with Win 10 PRO

The CK1 Mini PC (version NVISEN Y-MU01) features a choice of processors with the Intel Whiskey Lake i7 and i5 processors, and RAM and Storage configurations. Both configurations have the Intel UHD Graphics 620 for fast up to 4K processing.

The Beelink SEi 8 is a versatile light-weight NUC mini PC from Beelink, the manufacturers of poplar android boxes such as the GT King, or other mini PC’s such as the GT-R. The SEi 8 makes the perfect solution for a home officemedia centre, or even as an enterprise IT device.

The Beelink GTi8 is a feature-rich mini PC that works perfectly as a home office PC, a home media server PC, or even an enterprise PC solution.

The Beelink SEi10 is a Intel NUC mini PC that provides professional performance in a portable package, at only 124 x 113 x 41mm in size, it’s desktop or shelftop, optionally mountable solution for any home office, enterprise computing environment, or home media centre PC.

To learn more about this mini PC, check out our review.

[Video] Sei 10 Video Review

The Beelink GTi10 is the latest in Beelink’s line-up of mini PC’s. With their years of experience in crafting potently performing mini PC’s, both Intel NUC and AMD NUC, the GTI does not disappoint and contains a myriad of features sure to provide a premium feeling mini PC experience that makes the perfect media centre or home office mini PC.

Conclusion

Now that you’re a little more familiar with the idea of an NUC mini PC, we hope you’re able to make a more informed purchase and really walk away from the transaction with a mini PC that satisfies your use cases (and then some).

Thanks for reading this far. If you have any further questions or feedback, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected], or leave a comment below, and we’ll reply as soon as we can. Thank you!

benjamin
Mild-mannered support agent by daylight; even milder-mannered tech blogger under cover of night. Fond of gaming, virtual reality, and sleeping; not necessarily in that order.

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