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A Mini PC or a Microcomputer - Desktop Computer Alternatives

RT Cunningham | September 28, 2020 (UTC) | Computers

Mini PC - Micro ComputerI’m fascinated by all the desktop computer alternatives available these days. I’ve already contemplated using a tablet instead of a laptop computer, but the issues are always how powerful it is, how long the battery lasts and the price point. A mini PC or microcomputer would probably suit me much better.

The Mini PC Desktop Computer Alternative

You can find mini PCs in several places. There’s a slew of them on, and there are obviously more sources. I would prefer a mini PC with Linux preinstalled, but one that’s Windows-ready should work just as well. The main issue I have is price. I paid about $280 each for two different HP laptops, a year apart. The least expensive mini PC seems to cost more than that.

It really doesn’t matter at this point. I simply refuse to consider anything that doesn’t have USB4 ports. If I have to wait a year or more, then so be it. I also have microcomputers to consider.

The Micro Computer Desktop Computer Alternative

Microcomputers like the Raspberry Pi fascinate me more than the mini PCs. Again, I refuse to consider anything that doesn’t have USB4 ports. The Raspberry Pi 4 isn’t there yet, but it’s close. I sincerely hope version 5 includes the things I want. I want at least 8 gigabytes of memory. Web browsers tend to eat memory like candy. Even the Brave web browser I use can’t seem to keep memory usage low enough to avoid swapping.

Stick computers, like the Intel Compute Stick, don’t excite me much. They plug into TV HDMI ports, much like the Google Chromecast and the Amazon Fire Stick, both of which I use frequently. I don’t think I like the idea of keeping my computer stationary and a TV practically requires it.

Mini PC or Micro Computer, I Still Have to Wait

I’ve viewed many versions of both over the past months. None of them are updated enough at the price point I want yet. Luckily, I have nothing but time to wait these days.

I’m fortunate that I have a retirement routine that allows me to travel from the Philippines to the United States and back again (or vice-versa, depending on your perspective) every year or so. Buying a computer item like a mini PC in the Philippines is far more expensive than buying it in the United States.

I’m not averse to using a tablet for working at home, but good tablets tend to be just as expensive (and in some cases, even more so) as the other desktop computer alternatives.

Until I find something that I like better, I guess I’m stuck using laptop computers to do the things I do every day. I absolutely can’t stand using a cell phone for doing research. I’d much rather someone stab me in the eye with a big stick or something than subject myself to that kind of punishment.

Photo Attribution: Michael Henzler [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in September 2019.

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