Best alternatives to the Mac mini iMore 2019

Apple has announced a brand new version of the Mac mini, one of the more compact desktop PCs out there. But if macOS just isn't your thing, know that you have other options if you've been wanting a small PC to grace your desk.

Compact and beautiful: HP Elite Slice

This compact PC from HP comes in at the same starting price as the Mac mini and features a 6th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. It also has a collection of ports, including Ethernet, USB-C, USB-A, DisplayPort, and HDMI.

$799 at Amazon

Tiny alternative: Acer CXI3 Chromebox

If what you want is an alternative to both macOS and Windows, This Chromebox might be to your liking. As it runs Chrome OS, most of the tools for this computer are cloud-based, and local storage isn't much of a concern. Acer's Chromebox has a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD.

$820 at Amazon

DIY power: Intel NUC8 Mini PC Kit

This is a great option if you have a bit of a do-it-yourself streak in you. Intel has been offering its NUC (Next Unit of Computing) kits for a while now, and this one's got a quad-core i7 processor and AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics, with support for up to six (6!) displays and more expansion with front and rear HDMI, two mini DisplayPorts, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and seven USB-A ports. You will need to supply your own RAM and an M.2 SSD, with the NUC supporting up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM.

$730 at Amazon

Tiny and tough: Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny

Built for all kinds of conditions, from extreme temperatures to dusty environments, the ThinkCentre is small enough to fit on a bookshelf and features an Intel Core i5 processor, with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, as well as six USB-A ports, DisplayPort, and built-in 802.11ac (aka Wi-Fi 5) Wi-Fi,

$740 at Amazon

The small workhorse: HP Z2 Mini G4

This tiny workstation from HP is about the size of the Mac mini, and this particular model features an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, along with 16GB of RAM, though configurations are available with high-powered Intel Xeon processors. The case design optimizes airflow to limit heat buildup while maintaining a quiet working environment.

$1,440 at Amazon

Small PCs are a great way to save on desk space while still getting the full desktop experience, including more powerful processors, many more ports, and more display options. If I was looking for a Mac mini alternative, I'd pick up the Intel NUC8 kit, but if you just want something that's ready to go out of the box, check out the Lenovo ThinkCentre.

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