Linux Mini PC is making in-roads to most computer enthusiasts homes and work lately ad if you look at these machines, you can easily understand why. The personal computer or as we know it PC, became an ubiquitous concept. It is not only for the geeks anymore. Setting up a home media center, or creating a home automation hub, no longer require one to hold a masters degree in computer science.
Enter the small form factor Linux mini PC. It has a lot to offer to everyone from every walk of life. In the past, when people talked about small form factor computers, they lacked a myriad of features. Some did not have expansion ports, while some others did not have any space to put a disk drive and in general, they were taken as weaklings, only good for experimentation. Today, with the advances in CPU design and manufacturing, a small form factor computer is a strong contender for anything you throw at them.
How Do I Choose A Mini Linux Computer
Linux Mini PC’s are commodities nowadays. Hence, the come in many different types and configurations. Your start point for selecting one is, knowing what you want to do with it mainly and your budget. Let’s dig a little deeper into it.
Barebones vs. Ready-To-Go
Are you the tinkerer type, who is budget conscious and are not the faint of the heart type when it comes to cracking open your computer case from time to time. Or, do you prefer something that works out of the box with as little work as possible.
Barebones Linux mini PCs come only with a motherboard and CPU. You are expected to buy the memory and disk drive and install them yourself. Whereas, a ready to go mini computer, can be directly plugged into a display, keyboard and mouse and be used on the second minute after unpacking the box.
What Is Upgradable And What Is Not
Well, the small form factor computers come with a caveat. In a regular tower style PC, you can buy a computer with a slower, less powerful CPU today and as your needs grow bigger, you can expect to upgrade it later to a faster processor.
On small form factor computers, this is not the case most of the time, in order to make the best use of space inside the box CPU is soldered to the motherboard. And depending on the computer you chose, some other parts might also not be upgradable. So, pay attention to it.
Memory And Disk Storage
When buying memory, remember, your Linux mini PC uses laptop memory, not desktop variety. So expect to pay a little more for it. Also know how many memory slots in your machine and maximum capacity each slot can hold.
Disk storage is another concern. These small form factor mini computers can use either 2.5 inch disks or M2 form factor storage. The main advantage of going with the 2.5 inch variety is, it opens your options up to SSD storage or magnetic conventional disks. On the other hand M2 form factor storage is known to have a better performance but it only comes in SSD type. And since 2.5 inch disk and M2 are of different form factors, almost no Linux mini PC has both types of storage slots.
Operating System Choice
Most small factor computers today can run any operating system available on the market. But not all flavors of operating systems function well for the purpose you are planning to use your computer for.
Do you think Ubuntu is enough ? Ubuntu is usually the operating system of choice for most manufacturers of Linux mini PC class machines, as it is the most widely accepted, user friendly version of Linux around. But if you are the hacker or tinkerer type, you might want to think seriously about going with Kali Linux. Kali has the tools allowing you to perform pen-testing, which is a highly sought after use for a Linux Mini PC. The TV series Mr. Robot and the protagonist of the series, Eliot, gave Kali Linux distribution a big shout out. But regardless what operating system you choose, let it be Ubuntu, Kali or even Fedora, make sure it has the tools that will make your life easier.
Size And Mounting Options
Since you are buying a Linux mini PC, size must be important to you. How important is the question. Do you want to go as small as possible or do you have some wiggle room to trade off for better performance? You should keep in mind that, the smaller you go in size, more crammed the components get, which in turn will have troubles with cooling. And in order to keep the heating to a minimum, less powerful components are chosen.
Also, if you are planning to mount this computer at some specific spot, it needs to adhere to the mounting standards of that place. Most common mounting location nowadays is on the back of your monitor or even the TV set. Since these units have certain different mounting formats, make sure your Linux mini PC mounting hardware and slots, adhere to those formats.
Are Mini PCs Better Than Laptops?
The answer is both yes and no to this question. If we delve into this answer, it is “yes” if you are planning to use your Linux Mini PC at a fixed location and not need to access it hands on frequently. This way, the computer can be lighter and cheaper, because it doesn’t have to house a display , a keyboard and a touch pad. Also, it can fit in a much smaller spot. It is very portable, especially if you have a small wireless keyboard and mouse to go with your mini PC.
On the Other hand, the answer is “no” if you are going on the road and will not have regular access to a display unit, or if you prefer to have your computer all in one place and something you are used to. Then the laptop form factor prevails.
Both mini PC and the laptop configurations have their own advantages. The answer lies on your use case and preference here. You can find here https://sampleproposal.org/blog/it-assessment-proposal IT Assessment Proposals.
Can you use a Mini PC for gaming?
When talking about gaming today, people generally refer to first person shooter games or racing games, which have very intense graphics and demand a lot from the display adapter. If you are such a gamer, you might be disappointed with the performance of the Mini PC. Most, if not all of these computers, have graphics adapters built into the motherboard. And in order to prevent heating of the unit, they are not the most advanced graphics units on the market. But for the casual gamer, who doesn't mind if the system can give the highest resolution at the highest refresh rate, these machines will definitely make you happy with their performance. Just stay away from the games with fast action graphics and you will be fine.