The Best mini PC, computer in 2021

The Best mini PC, computer in 2021
RyDesk

The Best mini PC, computer in 2021

Getting the best computer 2021 has to offer is a bit more complicated than just choosing the most expensive PC in your budget. Not only are there many unique types of devices to pick from but there are quite a few things to keep in mind when choosing a computer and that can make picking something out a bit more difficult.

For instance, you might want to skip buying a gaming PC if you’re in the market for the best computer for work. Sure, it will have more than enough power to get the job done but it might not look appropriate in a workplace. And, if you want to dig into the latest games, you’ll have to make sure whatever computer you want to get has enough power. You can’t go with any PC and hope to meet your gaming needs. Maybe space is a factor, as well. In that case, getting a mini PC or an all-in-one (AIO) PC instead of a large desktop might be the best way to go.

Whatever you’re looking for in a computer, we can help you find the perfect machine. To do that, we’ve compiled the best computers by category, from the best overall down to the best stick PC and budget PCs. Fortunately, the newer processors and graphics cards coming out are getting cheaper as well as more powerful, making everything on this list a bit more accessible to most budgets.

And, with Prime Day 2021 coming soon, you’ll find some of the best computers on this list to be cheaper than ever thanks to the Prime Day deals. We’re keeping an eye out for the most money-saving ones and sharing them with you, so remember to check in regularly in the run up to Prime Day on June 22.

Want to stay portable? Our best laptops list offers quite a selection, from cheaper Chromebooks or trendy 2-in-1s.

Dell XPS Desktop Special Edition

(Image credit: Dell)

Best PC: Dell XPS Desktop Special Edition

Performance meets beauty and affordability

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i9 | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Super | RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4 2933Mhz | Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVME SSD + 2TB SATA 7200RPM HDD

Great price
A lot of power
Beautiful white chassis
Only one USB-C port

Dell’s XPS laptop line may have gone premium, price-wise, but its desktop line is still going for the trifecta – offering affordability without sacrificing performance and aesthetics. The Dell XPS Desktop Special Edition might not be a budget offering, but it remains within most people’s budgets, especially at its low- and mid-range configurations fitted with the latest innards. In fact, an Intel Core i7, RTX 3060 Ti configuration will set you back a whole lot less than its 21.5‑inch iMac equivalent while touting newer specs. Plus, it’ll look just as good in your office as it will at home.

Read the full review: Dell XPS Desktop Special Edition

Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10

(Image credit: Alienware)

Best gaming PC: Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10

Powerful gaming for all budgets

CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 9 5950X | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 | RAM: Up to 128GB 3200MHz DDR4 | Storage: Up to 2TB SSD + 2TB HDD

Powerful specs
Affordable
Stunning design
Still very expensive at highest configurations

With AMD’s solid campaign to win the CPU and GPU markets, it’s no surprise that many of the best PCs are switching over Team Red’s cause. Our favorite Alienware Aurora gaming desktop PC line is among them, fitting its R10 models with AMD’s powerful yet affordable Ryzen CPUs. Not only do these deliver brute strength when it comes to gaming, but they also tout affordability, giving budget gamers to partake in what those with souped up rigs experience every day without burning a hole in their pockets.

Read the full review: Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10

iMac (24-inch, 2021)

(Image credit: Apple)

Best all-in-one PC: iMac (24-inch, 2021)

The iMac gets a welcome redesign

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU | Graphics: Integrated 7-core – 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory | Screen: 24-inch 4.5K Retina display | Storage: up to 2TB

Excellent screen
Striking new design
Fantastic webcam
Lack of ports remains
Mac mini may offer better value for some

If you think that the new iMacs couldn’t possibly be as good as they look, you’d be wrong. They are not just an improvement over their 21.5-inch predecessor externally, touting a fresh new face that comes in several different colors. You’ll also be happy to know that you’re getting great value here, as you’re getting the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse included – in matching colors, we might add. They also come with fresh new specs, rocking Apple’s new M1 chip that makes it much more powerful than the previous Intel iMacs. As far as the best computers go, the new iMac (24-inch, 2021) is the best all-in-one PC hands down.

Read the full review: iMac (24-inch, 2021)

Dell G5 Gaming Desktop

(Image credit: Dell)

Best budget gaming PC: Dell G5 Gaming Desktop

Budget PC gaming at its best

CPU: Up to 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10900KF | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER | RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4 2933Mhz | Storage: Up to 1TB SSD + 2TB HDD

Affordable
VR-ready configurations
Base models won’t get you through the most demanding games

A unique chassis coupled with a price to beat, Dell’s latest in its G series gaming PCs is a solid contender in budget gaming. The Dell G5 boasts 9th-generation Intel chips as well as Nvidia’s most powerful gaming GTX and RTX graphics cards, starting with an i3 processor and the GTX 1650 to handle many powerful games without burning a whole in your pocket. Of course, if you’ve got more case to spare, its VR ready configurations are also on hand, though even those are absolutely affordable.

Intel Ghost Canyon NUC

(Image credit: Intel)

Best mini PC: Intel Ghost Canyon NUC

Small, but dangerous

CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i5 – i9 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 8GB – 64B DDR4 | Storage: 128GB SSD – 2TB + 2TB

Affordable at its low configurations
Highly upgradeable
Great performance
Can get pretty pricey at the highest configurations

Intel’s NUC has come a long way from its humble beginnings. For example, while the previous Hades Canyon didn’t come with RAM or storage, the newer Ghost Canyon has both. In fact, not only does it have more offerings now in terms of specs, but it’s also highly configurable so you can personalize it to your liking before hitting that buy button. With 9th-generation Intel Core chips, up to 64GB of memory and up to 4TB dual storage, we’re all for it. The only catch is that it’s pricier now as well. The lower configurations are still quite affordable, and a terrific option for the budget-conscious. However, you may want to stay away from the highest configurations.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Best mid-range gaming PC: Lenovo Legion Tower 5i

Plenty of power for the price

CPU: up to 10th-gen Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super | RAM: Up to 16 GB DDR4 2933MHz | Storage: Up to 2 TB HDD + 1 TB SSD

Great design
Not a lot of bloat
No USB Type-C among front ports

A well-powered machine with an affordable price might be what you need if your gaming appetite isn’t approaching the competitive sphere. Many gamers don’t really need the priciest and mightiest gaming rig, and the Lenovo Legion Tower 5i proves this, delivering plenty of power without forcing you to go broke. Nothing especially stands out with this gaming desktop, but it also offers a great gaming experience with the latest AAA titles right out of the box, which is really all that matters.

Read the full review: Lenovo Legion Tower 5i

Apple Mac mini (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

Best Mac: Mac mini (M1, 2020)

Small, but with big ambitions

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU | Graphics: Integrated 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB – 64GB unified memory | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Same lovely design
Very good performance
New M1 hardware has potential
Can’t use eGPUs

One of Apple’s biggest surprises of the year is the update to its smallest Mac. The brand-new Mac mini now touts Apple’s M1 chip, while keeping things the same in its much-loved design. It’s more powerful than ever – with more than decent video editing performance, even at 8K, and can now run iOS apps and games, thanks to this new chip, but it still keeps its title as the cheapest Mac ever – terrific news for budget-minded Apple fans looking for the best computer.

Read the full review: Mac mini (M1, 2020)

Intel Compute Stick

(Image credit: Intel)

Best stick PC: Intel Compute Stick

The tiny computer that can

CPU: Intel Atom – Intel Core m5 | Graphics: : Intel HD Graphics – Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 1GB – 4GB | Storage: 8GB-64GB eMMC

Wide CPU choices
Extremely portable design
Limited fan cooling
Limited RAM and storage

Some people have issues with desktop PCs, as they’re often rather bulky. The Intel Core Compute Stick has made that irrelevant. Looking more like a thumb drive than an actual computer, this tiny renegade can connect to any monitor with an HDMI input. Its base starts with a lowly 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor running Linux, but can be configured up to an Intel Core m5 processor. This is one of the best PCs, but one that you can literally slip in your pocket, whether you need to get some work done during your daily commute or squeeze in some PC time while you’re traveling.

Lenovo Yoga A940

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Best in features: Lenovo Yoga A940

Thoughtful design, innovative features

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8700 | Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 1 TB 5400 RPM + 256 GB PCIe SSD | Screen: 27″ 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS Multi-touch 100% Adobe RGB

Good price
Some nice features
Older components

As a designer, if you don’t fall in love with Lenovo Yoga A940’s thoughtful design, then we don’t know what will. This innovative all-in-one desktop boasts a stunning 27-inch 4K UHD display with up to 25-degree tilt, pen support and a rotating hinge for stability. It’s full of impressive features as well, like the Lenovo Precision Dial that you can attach on the left or right side of the hinge, whatever feels most comfortable for you and your process. And, unlike the best Macs, it offers 100% Adobe RGB support, an LED light at the bottom of the screen and even wireless smartphone charging. If you’re a content creator or designer, and you’re looking for an AIO that allows you a truly seamless workflow, this is the best computer for you.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga A940

iMac Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Best for content creators: iMac Pro

Raw power

CPU: 8 to 18-core Intel Xeon W | Graphics: Radeon Pro Vega 56 – Radeon Pro Vega 64 | RAM: 32GB – 256GB DDR4 ECC | Storage: 1TB – 4TB PCIe 3.0 SSD | Screen: 27-inch 5K (5,120 x 2,880) Retina display (P3 wide color)

Most powerful Mac ever
Excellent design
Keeps cool
Very expensive
Non-user-upgradable

Unfortunately, what does hold Lenovo Yoga A940 back are its less powerful, slightly aging internals. If you want an all-in-one powerhouse that absolutely blows you away in terms of performance, then the iMac Pro is the best computer for you. This AIO designed specifically for professionals and creatives may not be super rich in features, but it’s got a lot to offer where it truly counts. That includes its vibrant 27-inch 5K display with a P3 wide color gamut, mind-blowing Radeon Pro Vega graphics, and plenty of memory for all your exacting workloads. Just be prepared to shell out a bunch of cash, as this doesn’t come cheap.

Read the full review: iMac Pro

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

(Image credit: Raspberry Pi)

Best single-board computer: Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

Small yet mighty

CPU: Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) | Graphics: OpenGL ES 3.0 | RAM: 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM

More powerful CPU for a smoother user experience
The 4GB RAM model is almost a desktop replacement
Even at idle the CPU gets rather too warm

Despite its tiny size – it’s so small, it doesn’t even have its own chassis, the Raspberry Pi boards have proven themselves to be utterly capable little machines, surprisingly capable of handling everyday productivity tasks like word processing and spreadsheets. And, with the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, we see this powerful computer getting the fantastic update it rightly deserves. Finally, the Raspberry Pi line gives you a desktop computer and a platform to experiment and create.

Read the full review: Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article

Image Credits: TechRadar