Best alternatives to the Mac mini
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
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.
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.
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.
Tiny and tough
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,
The small workhorse
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.
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 (opens in new tab), but if you just want something that's ready to go out of the box, check out the Lenovo ThinkCentre (opens in new tab).
Get the best of iMore in your inbox, every day!
Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.