Best MiniPC 2023 Roundup

About Me

I’m a long time PC user, having used everything from old school 286’s, 386s, and early pentiums, and building my own desktop machines in the early 2000s. I’ve been a Macbook / macOS user for the last decade, but have been looking to explore the PC space again for a few reasons. Why?

  1. Mini PCs are now more awesome than ever. Previously, low power/mobile cpus were very low power, sometimes being the equivalent of 5-6 years behind desktop PCs. Examples would be the old intel “Y” series chips. Today, however, newer 5-10nm cpus have desktop like performance, run cool, and even the igpu’s are usable for esports and emulators.
  2. I’m on the hunt for two classes of machines: (1) A small, quiet machine that I’d keep in my living from to use as an HTPC and NAS for backups/plex use, and (2) A small desktop machine to pair with a large 27″ monitor when I’m not using my Macbook.
  3. In 2022, the new Ryzen and 12th gen intel chips were a BIG leap over the 2021/11th gen models. AMD bumped their igpus to RDNA2 (680m) from Vega, and the Intel 12th gen moved to the big-little chipset design being way more efficient than previous years. In fact, i3

Tiers of Mini-PCs

It’s easy to overspend, but you also have to decide what you want. For the best gaming performance, it often would make sense to go directly to a mini-ITX machine with a full GPU unless you absolutely need to save the desk space. For simple file serving, you can get away with the absolute cheapest machines out there and should save your money, spending $200 or less. For many though, there is a sweet spot between $300-$600 where you can get some awesome new miniPCs.

For this article I am generally leaving out older gen models that can be had for less. If you don’t need much performance you can search ebay, but in my opinion these 2022 models make the most sense because of the big leap forward in igpu performance (radeon 680m) and efficiency (intel 12th gen vs 11th gen or older).

Tier 1 Mini-Pcs: Discrete GPUs for Gaming

These are mini-pcs that include full discrete GPUs and are intended for the best gaming. Note though that with pricing these may approach mini-ITX desktop pricing where you could get more for your money if you don’t need to save on desk space.

ModelCPU/GPU specsNotes
Minisforum HX90GRyzen 5900HX
8 core / 16 thread
AMD Radeon™ RX 6600M(GDDR6 8GB)
No model using latest 6900HX cpu yet

Starting at $799 barebones
Coming in Feb 2023:
Minisforum HX99G
Ryzen 6900HX
8 core / 16 thread
6600M
Minor update to HX690G from 5900HX->6900HX.
Small cpu gains, GPU remaining the same.

Price TBD

Depending on how much they discount the HX90G, that may be the better value given the similar cpu performance.
Coming in Feb 2023:
Minisforum NAG6
Intel i9-12900H (45w-95w TDP)
14 core / 20 thread
6600M
Large 2.7L enclosure and higher wattage, but lots of performance. Maybe not quite a “mini” PC anymore but worth considering.

Price TBD

Tier 2 Mini-Pcs: High-end with good iGPUs

These are mini-pcs with high performance 35-45w cpus that include a strong iGPU that is capable of playing eSports, running emulators, or older games. These cpu’s also tend to do very well with Plex transcoding, video editing, and other tasks that require multi-core performance.

ModelCPU/GPU specsNotes
Beelink GTR6Ryzen 6900HX (35w or 45w)
AMD Radeon 680m
Pros:
– Uses all brand-name ram, SSD, components
– screaming fast KC3000 SSD (7000MB/s read)
– wi-fi 6e and 2.5Gbe ethernet

Cons:
– No USB4/TB4

Starting at $539 barebones
$750 for 500gb PCIE 4.0 drive/32gb DDR5
Beelink SER6 ProRyzen 6800H (35w)
AMD Radeon 680m
Nearly identical to the GTR6, except:
– Adds USB4
– Supports a 2.5″ drive
– Only wi-fi 6, not 6e
– Cheaper: the kit includes a slower NV2 SSD instead of the KC3000
Minisforum UM690Ryzen 6900HX (35w or 45w)
AMD Radeon 680m
Similar to Beelink above, but:
– Bundled SSD is slower
– Has a USB4 port

Pricing TBD
Morefine M600Ryzen 6900HX, 6950H (35w or 45w)
AMD Radeon 680m
Similar to Minisforum. Waiting to see pricing.

Pricing TBD

Tier 3 Mini-Pcs: Mid-range with good cpu’s but modest gpus

This tier of mini-pcs is one of the sweet spots for those people that want a mini-pc for HTPC/NAS/Plex type use, but with some more power. The cpu’s in this category will be more of the mid-range 15w-25w chips that typically come in laptops and provide good single threaded performance and still very good multi-core performance, but use simpler igpus that aren’t intended for much gaming. Typical cpus in this category include the Ryzen 5600/5800u – 6600/6800u series, and the intel i3-1215u/i5-1235u/i5-1240p/i5-1260p cpus.

ModelCPU/GPU specsNotes
Asus PN64i5-12500H

Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EU
This is a higher wattage cpu, base 45w TDP, turbo up to 95w TDP!
If you care less about power efficiency or heat, this model would get you the strongest cpu. About 10% higher single threaded performance than the i5-1240p and 30% more multi-threaded performance.

The iGPU here is only around 40% as powerful as the 6900hx gpu though. (1.4 vs 3.7Tflops). Basically, go with this cpu only if you don’t care about efficiency and gaming, but want the best multi-core performance.

$470 shipped barebones
Beelink SER5Ryzen 5560u (6 cores, 12 threads)

Radeon graphics (Vega series)
– Snappy mobile cpu great for office tasks
– Older cpu though, not the 5600/5800 or 6600/6800 series

No AV1 hardware decode in this generation of ryzen chips.

Around $370 with coupon though, so inexpensive. Good value if you don’t need a ton of performance.
Minisforum UM560/580AMD Ryzen 5600u or 5800u

Radeon graphics (Vega series)
$526 for the 5800u model. Feels a bit pricey given that 6800u stuff is now coming out.

No AV1 hardware decode in this generation of ryzen chips.
Beelink SEi12Intel i5-1235u

Xe graphics
This 12th 15w low-end intel chip performs like the mid-range chips of the 11th gen. Screaming fast single core performance, but limited multi-core performance. Choose this for peak office/web browsing performance. Go with AMD for video editing, etc.

Also can take advantage of intel quicksync for transcoding and av1 hardware decode.

This would be an excellent htpc/nas/file serving machine with a bit more oomph.

$470 with 500gb/16gb specs. Pretty good value since it is not barebones and a nice modern efficient cpu.
Beelink SEi12 ProIntel i5-1240p or 1260p

Xe graphics
This is the higher power 15-25w intel chip used in many laptops, and the chip that would be most comparable to the Ryzen 6800u series when it starts appearing in mini pcs.

Also can take advantage of intel quicksync for transcoding and av1 hardware decode.

The i5-1240p will probably be the right choice since the i5-1260p showed throttling in laptops, but benchmarks will prove this out.

$570 when available
Morefine M600
(AMD variants)
6600u, 6650u, 6850u, 6850h, 6950h

680m graphics
These are the lower specc’ed M600 models with weaker gpus but good cpus.

$469 on up to $719
Morefine S600
(intel variants)
i3-1220p, i5-1240, i5-12450h, or i7-12800hWide array of mid-range intel cpus at various power levels.
Starting at $409 to $619 for barebones models.
Coming soon:
Asus PL64
i5-1235u

Xe graphics
Pending release, looks interesting. Fanless model.
Not sure of pricing yet.
Coming soon:
Xiaomi Mini Host
i5-1240pAnother small form factor mini PC w/ the intel i5-1240p
Estimated $570ish