It won’t be wrong to say that mini PCs have all the potential in the world to take over the computer market shortly. Not only do they save a lot of space on your computer desk but also work in a very power-efficient manner while also causing less noise. Although they could be a tad more expensive than regular desktop PCs, they will actually save you some money in the long run.
With that being said, one thing that should be noted here is that most of these mini PCs are not as powerful as your regular desktop computers when it comes to processing power, memory size, and storage space. Accordingly, users who don’t plan on either gaming or video editing should definitely give these computers a shot.
The 10 Best Linux-based Mini PCs
Mini PCs aren’t anything new since they’ve been in the computer market for quite a while now. However, the number of such computers that have optimal support for Linux distros is still relatively small. So, in this article, we’re going to do all the research for you and provide you with some of the best Linux-based mini PCs out there right now.
1. System76 Meerkat
When talking about Linux-based computer manufacturers, one company’s name is sure to strike your mind: System76. Apart from dealing with desktop computers and laptops, the company also happens to manufacture a Linux-based mini PC called Meerkat.
The best thing about this mini PC is that buyers have the freedom to build it according to their budget. When it comes to its processor, you can either go for a dual-core Intel i3 processor (with 4 threads, 4MB cache, and 2.1-4.1 GHz processing speed), an Intel i5 (with 4 cores, 8 threads, 6 MB cache, and 1.6-4.2 GHz processing speed), or an Intel i7 (with 6 cores, 12 threads, 12MB cache, and 1.1-4.7 GHz processing speed). Other than that, you can also opt for memory space within the range of 8-64GB.
As for its storage space, buyers have the option to choose from 120GB-8TB SSD/NVMe. From this, you might be able to tell that the Meerkat Mini PC by System76 is nothing short of a total beast that weighs only 1.2 lbs. With that being said, you’d have to make do with Intel UHD graphics since there’s no additional graphics card with this product.
What makes this product truly Linux-based is the fact that it is available pre-installed with either Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (64-bit) or Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS (64-bit). Now coming to its price, you can cop this mini PC for as low as $549.
2. MintBox Mini 2 Pro
If a mini PC with pre-installed Linux Mint (more specifically, Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” Cinnamon) is what you’re looking for, then MintBox Mini 2 Pro is definitely an option you should be taking a look at. Also, if you ever feel like installing another operating system on this device (which also happens to weigh even less than a pound), you can do that as well.
Coming to the specs of this computer, the MintBox is powered by a quad-core Intel Celeron J3455 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 120 GB SSD. So, as you can see, it has got some mid-range specs that could still do the job. As for its graphics card, you’ll get the default Intel HD Graphics 500 that is enough for basic graphical tasks. However, there’s not even a slim chance that you can run modern-day games or do video editing with it. If that’s no issue for you, then you can get this mini PC for only $349. Plus, if you’re short on cash, you can instead buy its basic version for only $299.
3. Slimbook ONE v3
Mini PCs don’t have to have low-end specs all the time, and ONE v3 by Slimbook is living proof of this. Moreover, it is an absolute Linux machine as you can choose operating systems like Ubuntu, Manjaro, and OpenSUSE to come pre-installed with it.
There are two versions of this device: the first one is powered by an Intel i5-8265U (with 6 MB cache), while the other one comes with an Intel i7-8565U (with 8 MB cache). What makes this machine even more of a beast is that you can opt for up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM and 120 GB to 1TB of solid-state drive storage. However, one bummer is that its graphical processing tasks will only depend on Intel integrated graphics. Other than that, there’s no stopping you from getting this powerhouse mini PC made by Slimbook with a starting price of about $465.
4. Penguin D Mini Edition
Another great option for Linux fans is the Penguin D Mini Edition that supports a multitude of Linux-based distros, including but not limited to elementary OS, CentOS, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu. However, before we move any further, we’d like to let you know that this machine has been made specifically for entertainment purposes, so your best is not to use it for any professional work.
First of all, this machine features an Intel Quad-Core Processor J4105 that can provide processing speeds of up to 2.5 GHz. As for its RAM, you will be provided with two options: 8 GB and 16 GB. You can also either opt for a solid-state drive with storage space of anywhere between 120-1 TB for its hard drive. Like most of the available mini PCs, this machine doesn’t come with an external graphics card, so let’s hope that your graphical processing needs will be satisfied by the Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 600. If you think the Penguin D Mini Edition is worth a shot, you can get it for as low as $341.
5. TUXEDO Nano V8
For Ubuntu and TUXEDO_OS fans, the TUXEDO Nano V8 will prove to be an option that’s surely worth going for. Not only is this machine powered by either the Intel Core i3-7100U processor or Intel Core i7-8650U, but you can also opt for up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory with it.
As for its storage, this mini PC comes packed with a hard disk drive, but you can still opt for a solid-state drive that will make the operating systems and other programs load much faster. Much like the other options on this list, you’ll also find Integrated Intel HD Graphics with this mini PC. With that being said, it’s still enough to support even two 4K screens. You’re getting all this and much more for a starting price of only about $475.
6. Entroware Aura
Another mini PC whose specs are certain to impress you in the Entroware Aura. Apart from being bundled with either Ubuntu 20.04 LTS or Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS, this machine also gives buyers the option to choose from three different processors: Intel Core i3-10110U, Intel Core i5-10210U, and Intel Core i7-10710U. Other than that, you can also give your machine a memory space of anywhere between 8-64 GB of DDR4 RAM. As far as its storage options are concerned, the machine comes with a solid-state drive with a storage space of up to 2 TB.
You can max out all the specifications when buying this mini PC to make the get optimal performance. However, if you choose to go with the bare minimum, this machine will cost you about $700.
7. ASUS Chromebox 3
ChromeOS is also a lightweight Linux-based distribution that you can easily perform your everyday computing tasks on. So, for those willing to give a shot to ChromeOS, ASUS Chromebox can be a viable option.
This mini PC features an Intel Celeron NC356U processor, 4 GB of DDR4 RAM, Integrated Intel 4K UHD graphics, and 32 GB solid-state drive, which should be an issue since ChromeOS stores most of the data on the cloud. With this, you can see that its specifications aren’t all that bad. In fact, the machine will run quite smoothly because ChromeOS doesn’t take up many resources.
As for applications, the ASUS Chromebox 3 cannot only run Chrome Web Apps but Android apps. And what makes the ASUS Chromebox even better is that the machine doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. In fact, you can get it for $284 from Amazon.
8. OnLogic CL100
This mini PC is powered by one of the best Linux-based operating systems in Ubuntu. Apart from that, its specifications are worth having a look at as well. First of all, the OnLogic is available in two models: one with Intel Celeron N3160 and the other with Pentium N3710. When it comes to its RAM and storage space, this machine comes packed with 2 GB to 8 GB of memory and 32-512 GB SSD.
So, as you could probably tell, the OnLogic CL100 mini PC is perfect for your everyday use with a dash of Linux. Moreover, if you feel like copping this machine, you can do so for as low as $368.
9. Olympia v3
If you have an adequate budget for your Linux-based mini PC, then this machine that’s based on Endless OS is really worth looking at. Not only does it come with really impressive specifications, but there’s also a 1.5% special discount on its official website for those paying by bank transfer.
When it comes to its processor, buyers are provided with three options including, Intel i3-10110U (up to 4.1GHz), Intel i5-10210U (up to 4.2GHz), and Intel i7-10710U (up to 4.7 GHz). As for its memory space, you can either opt for 8 GB, 16 GB, or 32 GB of DDR4 RAM. The machine comes with either a 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, or 1 TB solid-state drive for faster booting times.
Last but not least, this beast of a mini PC ship with the latest Ubuntu version. Moreover, if you have any plans of opting for another Linux-based distro, you can also get this machine without any OS installed. Lastly, as we mentioned earlier, the Olympia v3 could go a bit hard on your pocket as its cheapest model costs around $640.
10. Utilite 2
Everyone who’s running low on cash and looking for a Linux-based mini PC should learn more about this product from the makers of MintBox, known as CompuLab.
Although this machine’s specs could be a bit unimpressive to some, they are still sufficient for the average computer user. When it comes to its processor, Utilite2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core CPU running at 1.7GHz. Besides, users will also find 2 GB of memory space and eMMC with 32 GB mSATA storage that’s optional.
Now coming to its graphic processing abilities, Utilite 2 comes packed with Qualcomm Adreno GPU. Another interesting fact about this mini PC is that even though it is based on Ubuntu LTS, users also have the option to run Android on it. Lastly, this computer device isn’t all that expensive either, as it’s currently available for $192 (plus $37 for SSD).
Linux operating systems and mini PCs go hand in hand, as you might have noticed from our list. Moreover, for saving you the hassle of installing the operating system yourself, we made sure to include only those mini PCs in this list, which come pre-installed with a Linux-based distro.
Although we tried covering as much ground as possible, it is still possible to miss out on a few worthy machines that deserved a place. Considering this, we’d like to allow our readers to mention their favorite Linux-based mini PCs in the comment section below.