Will Desktop Mini Computers Catch on in Business?

A popular trend amongst desktop manufacturers is making business class desktops that are much smaller, but just as powerful as their space-hogging cousins. These computers, which mount to the back of a monitor and are known as mini’s, are a welcome innovation for many users, but one, in our experience, that has yet to infiltrate the business world.

Some of this lack of adoption has to do with the fact that there’s been no real marketing push from the manufacturers of these micro machines, so there’s a real possibility that many purchasing managers are unaware of their presence in the market. And the rest has to do with the fact that, cost-wise, there’s not much difference between them and a popular form of standard desktop, so there’s no economic incentive to change to the new technology just yet.

Lenovo computer pic for Erik's blogThat means cubicle-dwellers are still, for the most part, working on standard business desktops: either the larger Micro-Tower that eats up half the leg space under a desk and prevents stretching (for blood-flow or even catnap purposes), or the Small Form Factor, which is stacked on a desk and ends up being covered with sticky-note reminders of work to do, following that catnap.Generally speaking, however, these powerful micro machines can do nearly anything a tower can do, but are much sleeker and take up less space. This is their major advantage, since we now live in a world where most computer users – to increase productivity – have two or more display monitors on their desks.

These new models – typified by HP’s Pavilion Mini and Lenovo’s Tiny Series – are designed, at 6” X 6” X 2”, to be easily mounted to the back of any display that is VESA-capable (and that’s almost all of them). They’re billed as high-performance and energy-efficient, with lots of storage (up to 1 TB).

More feature and specifics:

  • Average power usage drops to 8W at idle, providing a cost savings
  • Can support multiple displays
  • Available with the latest processors – AMD and Intel i3, i5 & i7 processors
  • Can be expanded to 16GB or memory
  • Plenty of USB ports for basic peripherals such as a keyboard, mouse, speakers and monitor(s),

But, of course, small size usually comes with trade-offs, and the micro desktops are no exception. Many users lament the absence of a DVD player and point to the fact that there’s often no SSD upgrade option as a negative. And even though there are plenty of ports for necessary standard hardware, that doesn’t leave much room for any other peripherals someone might want (for example, gaming consoles… which arguably shouldn’t be in most office environments anyway!)

Considering that its plusses generally outnumber its minuses, it is somewhat perplexing that it’s not caught fire yet. So it will be interesting to see whether the mini catches on as a desktop solution for the business class marketplace.