what is the size difference between a mini pc and a regular desktop
what is the size difference between a mini pc and a regular desktop

Curious about the size difference between a mini PC and a regular desktop? Well, wonder no more! In this article, we’ll be exploring just how much these two types of computers differ in terms of their physical dimensions. From the quaint and compact design of a mini PC to the more traditional and space-consuming nature of a regular desktop, get ready to uncover the secrets behind these contrasting sizes. So, whether you’re contemplating which one to invest in or simply want to satisfy your curiosity, read on to find out all about the intriguing world of computer sizes.

Overall Dimensions


The width of a mini PC is significantly smaller compared to a regular desktop. Mini PCs are designed to be compact and space-saving, usually measuring around 4-6 inches in width. This compact size makes them ideal for cramped spaces or for individuals who prefer a minimalist setup.


Similar to the width, the height of a mini PC is also compact. Mini PCs typically range from 1-2 inches in height. This slim profile allows them to easily fit into small spaces such as bookshelves, under desks, or even mounted behind monitors, maximizing the available workspace.


Mini PCs are designed to have a shallow depth, ranging from 4-8 inches. This slim form factor allows them to be placed discreetly without occupying much desk or floor space. Their compact depth also contributes to easier cable management, making it convenient to keep the workspace neat and organized.


One of the advantages of mini PCs is their lightweight nature. They typically weigh between 1-3 pounds, making them highly portable and easy to transport. Whether you need to move your setup frequently or take it with you during travels, the lightweight build of mini PCs ensures that you can do so without much effort.

Internal Components


Mini PCs are equipped with a variety of processors, ranging from entry-level to high-performance options. Depending on the specific model, you can find mini PCs with Intel Core i3, i5, and even i7 processors, providing ample power for everyday computing tasks. These processors are designed to deliver fast and efficient performance while consuming minimal energy.


The memory capacity of a mini PC can vary depending on the model and user requirements. Most mini PCs come with a minimum of 4GB RAM, which is sufficient for basic multitasking and web browsing. However, there are also options available that offer up to 16GB or more for users who need to run resource-intensive applications or engage in heavy multitasking.


Mini PCs typically offer various storage options, including solid-state drives (SSD) and hard disk drives (HDD). SSDs are preferred for their faster data transfer speeds and improved overall system responsiveness. They come in different capacities, allowing users to choose the storage size that suits their needs. Some mini PCs also provide additional SATA ports or M.2 slots for expansion, giving users the flexibility to add more storage if required.


While mini PCs are not primarily designed for gaming or graphic-intensive tasks, many models still offer integrated graphics that are capable of handling everyday graphics needs, such as watching videos, browsing the internet, or even light photo and video editing. However, if you require more advanced graphic capabilities for gaming or professional design work, there are mini PCs available with dedicated graphics cards.

Expansion Slots

Mini PCs generally have limited expansion options due to their compact size. However, some models do offer expansion slots for additional connectivity or upgrading components. These expansion slots can include options such as extra USB ports, HDMI ports, or even PCIe slots for adding graphics cards or other expansion cards. However, it is essential to check the specifications of the specific mini PC model for available expansion options.

Power Supply

Mini PCs typically come with an external power supply adapter. These adapters provide the necessary power to the mini PC and are generally compact in size, complementing the overall small form factor of the device. The power supply unit is designed to be energy-efficient, conserving power while still delivering sufficient power for the system to operate optimally.

Cooling System

The compact design of mini PCs necessitates an efficient cooling system to prevent overheating. Most mini PCs employ passive cooling methods, such as heat sinks and strategically placed vents, to dissipate heat generated by the internal components. These cooling systems ensure that the mini PC remains cool even during prolonged use, minimizing the risk of performance throttling or hardware damage.


Despite their small size, mini PCs offer a wide range of connectivity options. These can include USB ports, audio jacks, HDMI or DisplayPort outputs, Ethernet ports, Wi-Fi capability, and even Bluetooth connectivity. This diverse range of connectivity options ensures that users can connect various peripherals, such as keyboards, mice, monitors, and speakers, to enhance their overall computing experience.

Form Factor

Mini PC Form Factors

Mini PCs come in various form factors, each offering its unique advantages and use cases. Common mini PC form factors include the ultra-small form factor (USFF), small form factor (SFF), and compact models. The USFF mini PCs are the smallest and most compact, often resembling a small box or square, making them ideal for situations where space is limited. SFF mini PCs are slightly larger, allowing for more robust performance and expanded connectivity options. Compact models offer a balance between size and performance, providing a good compromise for users who require a bit more power while still maintaining a compact footprint.

Desktop Form Factors

In contrast to mini PCs, regular desktops come in larger form factors, typically tower or mid-tower sizes. These form factors allow for greater expandability and customization options. Regular desktops often have more internal space, allowing for larger cooling solutions and additional storage or expansion slots. Their larger size also facilitates easier access to internal components, making it simpler to upgrade or replace parts as needed.


Ease of Transportation

When it comes to portability, mini PCs have a clear advantage over regular desktops. The compact size and lightweight nature of mini PCs make them incredibly easy to transport. Whether you need to move your setup between different locations, bring it along on business trips, or even use it in a mobile manner, mini PCs offer maximum flexibility in terms of portability. Their small footprint also means that you can easily fit them in a bag or carry-on luggage without much hassle.

Workspace Requirements

Mini PCs excel in situations where workspace is limited or at a premium. Their small size allows them to fit into tight spaces, whether it be a small desk, a crowded office, or even a college dorm room. With a mini PC, you can create a functional workstation without sacrificing valuable workspace. Additionally, the compact design of mini PCs contributes to a clean and clutter-free environment, ensuring that your workspace remains organized and efficient.

Operating System Compatibility

Compatibility with Different OS

Mini PCs are generally compatible with a wide range of operating systems. Most models come with Windows pre-installed, providing users with a familiar and user-friendly interface. However, mini PCs can also be compatible with other operating systems such as Linux or Chrome OS. This compatibility allows users to choose the operating system that best suits their needs, ensuring a seamless and efficient computing experience.


Expandability and Upgradability

While mini PCs are not as easily upgradeable as regular desktops due to their compact design, some models still offer limited upgradability options. Depending on the specific mini PC, users may be able to upgrade certain components such as RAM, storage, or even the processor. However, it is important to note that not all mini PCs support extensive upgrades, and the upgradeability options may be limited to specific models or manufacturers. It is advisable to check the specifications and compatibility of the mini PC before attempting any upgrades.


Cost Comparison

When it comes to price, mini PCs can vary significantly depending on the specifications and brand. Generally, mini PCs tend to be more affordable than regular desktops, especially for entry-level or basic models. However, higher-end mini PCs with advanced features or dedicated graphics can be comparable in price to mid-range desktops. It is essential to consider your specific needs and budget when comparing the cost of mini PCs and regular desktops. Additionally, the long-term cost of ownership, including energy consumption and potential upgrade expenses, should also be taken into account when evaluating the overall price.


Processing Power

Mini PCs may not match the raw processing power of high-performance desktops, but they still offer sufficient power for everyday computing tasks. With Intel Core processors and ample RAM, mini PCs can handle web browsing, document editing, multimedia consumption, and even light photo and video editing. While they may not be ideal for resource-intensive tasks such as 3D rendering or gaming at ultra-settings, mini PCs provide a satisfying level of performance for most casual users.

Graphic Capabilities

The graphic capabilities of mini PCs largely depend on the specific model and whether they have integrated or dedicated graphics. Integrated graphics found in most mini PCs are suitable for basic graphics needs, such as watching videos or viewing images. However, if you require more advanced graphic capabilities for gaming, graphic design, or video editing, there are mini PCs available with dedicated graphics cards. These models can provide a significant boost in graphical performance, allowing for a smoother and more immersive experience.


Mini PCs are designed to handle multitasking to a certain extent. With sufficient RAM and a capable processor, they can efficiently handle everyday multitasking needs such as running multiple applications simultaneously, browsing the internet, and streaming media. However, their compact size and limited internal space may restrict the ability to handle highly demanding multitasking scenarios with numerous resource-intensive applications running simultaneously. It is important to consider your specific multitasking requirements and choose a mini PC that matches your needs accordingly.

Storage and Memory

Mini PCs offer a range of storage and memory options to cater to different user needs. The storage capacity can vary, with some models offering smaller SSDs for faster performance and others providing larger HDDs for ample storage space. Additionally, mini PCs often have expandable options such as additional SATA ports or M.2 slots, allowing users to add more storage as needed. Memory capacity is also variable, with options ranging from 4GB for basic use to 16GB or more for demanding applications. Consider your storage and memory requirements when selecting a mini PC to ensure it can handle your specific usage needs.

Specialized Use Cases


While mini PCs may not be the first choice for hardcore gamers, they can still be suitable for casual gaming or playing less demanding titles. Mini PCs equipped with dedicated graphics cards and higher-end processors can provide a satisfactory gaming experience for games with moderate graphical requirements. However, it is important to note that mini PCs may not be capable of running the latest and most demanding games at ultra-settings. If gaming is a primary consideration, it might be more advisable to opt for a regular desktop with more robust specifications.

Media and Entertainment

Mini PCs are excellent choices for media and entertainment purposes. Their compact size allows them to be easily integrated into home theater setups or used as streaming devices. With HDMI outputs and the ability to connect to TVs or monitors, mini PCs can be used for streaming movies, watching online content, or even running media center software. Additionally, their low power consumption and quiet operation make them ideal for enjoying multimedia without any distracting background noise.

Office and Productivity

For office and productivity needs, mini PCs offer a practical and efficient solution. Their compact form factor allows for a clutter-free and organized workspace, ensuring a focused and productive environment. With ample processing power and memory capacity, mini PCs can handle tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet management, video conferencing, and web browsing seamlessly. The ability to connect multiple peripherals and use dual monitors further enhances productivity, allowing for efficient multitasking and workflow management.

Home Theater

Mini PCs are a perfect fit for home theater setups. With their compact size and ability to connect to TVs or projectors, mini PCs can transform any living room into an entertainment hub. They can be used to stream movies and TV shows, access online streaming platforms, play digital media files, and even connect to external sound systems for an immersive audio experience. The compact form factor ensures that they can be easily integrated into existing home theater setups without taking up much space.

Industrial and Embedded Systems

In addition to consumer use cases, mini PCs also find applications in industrial and embedded systems. Their compact size and low power consumption make them suitable for integration into various machinery, equipment, and automation processes. Mini PCs can act as control units, data loggers, or even as embedded systems powering specific functions in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, and more. The versatility and reliability of mini PCs make them a preferred choice in these specialized fields.


Mini PCs offer a compact and efficient computing solution for a variety of use cases. With their small form factor, they excel in situations where space is limited, such as cramped desks, small offices, or portable setups. They provide ample processing power, storage options, and connectivity, making them suitable for everyday tasks, media consumption, office productivity, and even some gaming. While they may not match the upgradeability or raw power of regular desktops, mini PCs offer a balance between performance and portability. Whether you are a casual user, a multimedia enthusiast, or require specialized applications, mini PCs provide a versatile and convenient computing solution.

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Sam Cox
Hi, I'm Sam Cox! I'm an experienced computer and gaming enthusiast passionate about helping others get the most out of their tech. a Tech expert and your go-to source for all tech tips at The Computer Geeks. With years of experience in the industry, I bring extensive knowledge and expertise to help you navigate the ever-evolving world of technology. I have a passion for simplifying complex concepts and finding creative solutions, making your tech journey both enlightening and enjoyable. Whether you're a seasoned tech enthusiast or a beginner looking for guidance, I am here to provide you with valuable insights, tutorials, and practical tips to enhance your digital experience.