While I mainly focus on phones here at Tom’s Guide, I love more traditional computing technology, too. Over the course of 2022, my fascination with small PCs truly blossomed thanks to the slew of options that we saw throughout the year.
From Geekom to Beelink, Minisforum and many more, I quickly found myself drowning in mini PCs to review — and I still have a few to get through in 2023. Where small computers used to mostly be underpowered thin clients, the mini PC market has exploded with truly powerful options.
For example, the Beelink GTR5 rocked a Ryzen 9 5900HX, a top-of-the-line mobile processor at the time. Equipped with dual 2.5 gigabit Ethernet ports, up to 64GB of RAM, and boat loads of storage, it could easily become your new desktop without taking up much desk space. And it costs a reasonable $639 on Amazon.
Geekom’s Mini machines provided powerful hardware in extremely affordable packages. The Mini IT8, despite its older hardware, is one of the best deals you can get on a mini PC. The Mini IT11 offers more power for a bit more money, while the MiniAir 11 serves as an entry-level machine at a ridiculously low price.
Then there’s Orange Pi out there in the single-board computer market providing meaningful competition to the Raspberry Pi. The Orange Pi 800 and Orange Pi 5, which I will review in the coming weeks, offer significant improvements over the Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi 400 at similar prices (given the huge markups on Raspberry Pis these days).
2022 quickly became the year where I could safely recommend a mini PC to anyone who didn’t need a ton of raw power. I use a mini PC as my primary workstation for my job here since it’s more powerful and smaller than my work laptop.
More and more mini PCs come out all the time — one of my favorite YouTubers who covers stuff like this seems inundated with them. I think 2023 has some wonderful things in store for us as we see more machines using the Ryzen 6000 and Intel 12th gen processors. With the former, you even have the potential for some gaming thanks to AMD’s powerful new integrated GPUs.
Pay close attention to this market in 2023, especially if you’re looking for a new desktop in the near future. I think we can expect to see some amazing things.