This post may contain affiliate links/ads and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links/ads at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Techsphinx also participates in the StationX Affiliate program. You can read my full disclaimer here.
Are you in search of a compact yet powerful solution for your server needs? Then you’re at the right place. In this digital age, where space is often a constraint, Mini PCs have emerged as a game-changer, offering exceptional performance in a small form factor. Whether you’re a tech enthusiast, a small business owner, or an IT professional, finding the right Mini PC for your server requirements can greatly enhance your productivity and efficiency.
When it comes to selecting the best Mini PC for server applications, several factors need to be considered, such as processing power, storage capacity, connectivity options and overall reliability. A powerful Mini PC can handle a variety of server tasks, including web hosting, file sharing, virtualization and much more. With advancements in technology, these small powerhouses can rival the performance of their larger counterparts in the home environment, making them an attractive choice for those seeking a compact yet robust server solution.
This article will explore some of the top contenders in the Mini PC for server category, highlighting their key features and overall value for money. So, whether you require a Mini PC for a home office setup or a small-scale business environment, this post has got you covered.
Here’s a summary of the best Mini PC for Server:
|Mini PC for Server||Link to Product|
|Intel NUC 13 Pro||See details at Amazon|
|MINISFORUM UM690||See details at Amazon|
|GEEKOM Mini IT11||See details at Amazon|
|Beelink SER6 PRO||See details at Amazon|
Note: Some manufacturers tend to change the internal components like the WiFi chipset or processor without changing the product name or model number. Therefore, thoroughly check the specifications of the Mini PC before purchasing.
Best Mini PC for Server
Intel NUC 13 Pro is powered by an Intel Core i7 1360P processor that has 12 cores / 16 threads and a maximum turbo frequency of up to 5.0 GHz.
It uses dual-channel DDR4 slots for RAM, each can be upgraded up to 32 GB providing you a maximum of 64GB of RAM. The one I am mentioning here ships with 32 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD storage. However, there is also a barebone variant (No RAM, No SSD) available in which you can provide your RAM and SSD to complete the build.
You can connect up to four displays that can output 4k @ 60 Hz using the two HDMI and two Thunderbolt 4 ports. There are also three USB 3.2 ports (two front and one rear), one USB 2.0 port and one 3.5mm audio jack.
As for networking, the NUC 13 Pro has one i226-V powered ethernet port. This 2.5 GbE Port ensures faster data-transfer rates over the traditional 1 GbE LAN port. Furthermore, this mini pc also has the latest AX211 WiFi 6E chipset and Bluetooth 5.3.
Intel NUC 13 Pro is the best choice for server use. However, if you think the 13th generation is an overkill for your home or office use, then you also choose older generation Intel NUC as server.
Features of Intel NUC 13 Pro:
- Intel Core i7 1360P CPU (12 Cores / 16 Threads)
- Dual channel RAM which can be upgraded to a Maximum of 64 GB.
- 2.5 GbE LAN Port.
- Support four extended displays that can output 4k@60Hz.
- AX211 powered WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 included.
- Available in barebone variant for customizability.
Minisforum UM690 is equipped with AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU that has 8 Cores / 16 Threads along with a base clock speed of 3.3GHz and a max boost clock speed of up to 4.9GHz.
The model I am mentioning here ships with 32 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD storage. However, you can choose from a variety of RAM and Storage configurations when purchasing this Mini PC for server. If you are keen on providing your RAM and Storage you can even opt for a barebone variant of UM690.
UM690 uses Radeon 680M GPU which is a mobile integrated graphics solution by AMD. This GPU has 12 cores and offers 2400 MHz graphic frequency. With the two HDMI ports and one USB 4 port, you can have two 4K@60Hz and one 8K@60Hz display respectively.
Apart from the previously mentioned HDMI and USB 4 ports, the other I/O ports on this Mini PC include four USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports, one USB 3.2 Type-C port, one 3.5mm audio jack and one 2.5 GbE LAN port. It also has WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity.
If you want a powerful AMD-based Mini PC as server, then MINISFORUM UM690 will be a great choice.
Features of MINISFORUM UM690:
- AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX (8 Cores / 16 Threads).
- Integrated Radeon 680M GPU.
- Dual channel DDR5 RAM.
- 2.5 GbE Ethernet Port.
- WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 are included.
- Supports 8k and dual 4k at 60 Hz.
- Available in Barebone variant.
GEEKOM Mini IT11 is bundled with a Quad-Core Intel Core i7-11390H with 8 threads and a max turbo frequency of up to 5.0 GHz. The IT11 variant I am mentioning here ships with 32 GB RAM which is enough for most users that are planning to setup this mini pc a small home server.
You can also upgrade the RAM up to a maximum of 64 GB. It uses dual channel DDR4 slots for RAM where each slot can be upgraded up to 32 GB.
IT11 has one HDMI, one Mini Display and two USB 4 ports through which this mini pc can support 8K and 4K display resolutions. It also has integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics for GPU-demanding tasks.
Some other I/O port on this mini PC includes – three USB 3.2 ports, one 3.5 mm headphone jack, one SD card reader and one RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port. It also has WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 which is powered by Intel AX201 Wireless chipset.
Since it uses the Intel AX201 WiFi chipset which is supported by the Linux kernel, you will not face any WiFi-related issues while using Linux distros for your server needs.
Features of GEEKOM Mini IT11:
- Intel Core i7-11390H CPU (4 Cores / 8 Threads).
- Maximum upgradable RAM up to 64 GB.
- Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics.
- Support for 8k and 4k display resolutions.
- AX201 powered WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.
- Compatible with popular Linux Distros.
The last mini PC for server on this list is the Beelink SER6 Pro which is equipped with AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS Processor. The CPU has 8 cores / 16 threads along with a base clock speed of 3.2 GHz and a max boost clock of up to 4.75 GHz.
Just like other Mini PCs mentioned previously, this one is also available in many RAM and storage variants where RAM can be upgraded up to a total of 64 GB via dual channel DDR5 slots. Moreover, the integrated Radeon 680M GPU allows this system to handle graphic demanding tasks with ease.
SER6 Pro features a variety of I/O ports which includes three USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, one USB 4 port, one USB 2.0 port, two HDMI ports that can output 4k@60 Hz, one 2.5 GbE LAN port and one earphone jack. Apart from that it also has built-in WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity.
Beelink SER6 Pro is a great mini pc to use as a server as well as for office and personal use. It is also cost-effective as compared to other Mini PC on this list especially if you want to set up a home server.
Features of Beelink SER6 Pro:
- AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS Processor.
- AMD Radeon 680M GPU.
- Built-in WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.
- Maximum RAM is upgradable to 64 GB.
- PCIe 4.0 SSD storage.
- Triple Display Output.
Mini PC for Server Buying Guide
Here are some things you should consider before purchasing a Mini PC for server.
There are various factors involved when selecting the right processor for a Mini PC for server use such as power efficiency, affordability etc. It all boils down to the type of tasks you are going to perform on this Mini PC.
For example, if you are planning to run virtual machines on the Mini PC, then you will need a processor that has a higher number of cores for a smooth virtualization experience.
RAM is an important component of any server; the more RAM you’ll have the greater number of applications you can run simultaneously.
The exact amount of RAM you’ll require will depend on your particular use case. However, when purchasing a Mini PC for server needs, it is recommended to have at least 8 GB of RAM and check if the RAM is expandable. So, you can upgrade it as the need arises.
All Mini PCs for server mentioned in this list ships with SSD storage which is faster than the traditional HDD drives. Just like RAM, the actual amount of storage will depend on your specific use case. The only thing to keep in mind is to choose a Mini PC that supports expandable storage.
Some Mini PCs mentioned here are also available in barebone variant, so you don’t have to use the RAM or SSD provided by the manufacturer. This will give you more control over the memory and storage components of your Mini PC.
Unless you are planning for a headless server, there should be enough USB ports or HDMI/Display ports on the Mini PC to have a multi-monitor setup and for connecting all the necessary peripherals like keyboard, mouse etc.
Network connectivity is also an important aspect of any server. Although all Mini PCs ship with a LAN port, it is recommended to have at least one 1GbE LAN port. If your server requires faster data transfer rates, then you should go for a model with a 2.5 GbE LAN port.
Additionally, the latest dual-band WiFi chipset (WiFi 6 or 6E) is also recommended for fast wireless connectivity.
All the Mini PCs mentioned here are powered by Intel or AMD CPUs and are capable of running virtual machines. They both offer virtualization features; VT-x, VT-d in Intel CPUs and AMD-V, AMD-Vi in AMD CPUs.
The latest processors will have no problem running virtual machines and support Hardware-assisted Virtualization. Although the hardware virtualization may not be enabled by default, you can enable it manually through the BIOS.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Mini PCs mentioned here can handle server workloads for home or small office environments effectively. With advancements in technology, Mini PCs now offer powerful processors, sufficient RAM, and ample storage options to handle heavy server tasks such as hosting, file sharing, virtualization, and more.
Yes, many Mini PCs for servers come with expandable storage options. They often feature additional drive bays, M.2 slots, or support for external storage devices, allowing you to increase the storage capacity as per your requirements.
Mini PCs are generally designed to consume less power while delivering optimal performance. This not only helps in reducing electricity costs but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable environment. However, this will also depend on the specifications and components used in the Mini PC. High-Performance Mini PCs will require more energy to work smoothly than their energy-efficient counterparts.
Yes! Many Mini PCs for servers offer virtualization support, allowing you to run multiple virtual machines simultaneously. This feature is particularly beneficial for businesses or individuals who need to create isolated environments for testing, development, or running different applications.
Yes, Mini PCs are a perfect fit for home office setups. Their compact size ensures they occupy minimal space, while their powerful performance allows for the smooth operation of server applications. Whether you’re a freelancer or a small business owner, a Mini PC for server can provide the necessary capabilities without cluttering your workspace.
Choosing the right Mini PC for your server needs depends on your specific requirements and budget. It is essential to carefully evaluate each option and consider factors such as scalability, expandability, and compatibility with your existing infrastructure. By making an informed decision, you can ensure that your chosen Mini PC for server will seamlessly integrate into your setup and provide efficient and reliable performance.
All the Mini PCs mentioned in this list are great for home server use. I have also mentioned the specifications and key features of all these Mini PCs. Therefore, you can choose any Mini PC according to your particular use case.