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Mini PC Buyer's Guide

Buying the right computer is a challenge. This guide highlights the key features that you should look for to get the right PC for your use cases.

Lini PC Models Compared

All Lini PC systems use the same core components and offer the same basic features. The major differences between the Lini 1S, Lini 1SC, and Lini 1SL are in their size, and in the cooling systems they feature, which depend on their size.

Larger systems allow for larger CPU coolers. Larger fans can run at lower speeds, so they are quieter, and the Lini 1SL is fanless, so it is completely silent.

  Lini 1SC Lini 1S Lini 1SL
Size 200x225x60mm (WxLxH) 200x225x80mm (WxLxH) 240x250x100mm (WxLxH)
CPU Fan 80x10mm 90x15mm None
Case Fan 50x15mm 60x25mm None
Noise Level Average Very Quiet Truly Silent
Operating Temperatures Average Excellent Average

When choosing between Lini PC systems you should take into account both the aesthetics of each model and your personal preferences for size, noise, and temperatures.

The Lini 1S offers the best balance of excellent cooling, near silence, and compact size.

The Lini 1SC is the most compact and it is the only Lini PC model that is small enough to be truly portable. I use mine for work and bring it home with me when there are projects that I need to finish up or I am working from home.

The Lini 1SL is truly silent and being fanless gives it superior durability and means that it requires less maintenance.

Choosing the Right CPU

When you buy a top-of-the-line quad-core CPU you will pay a large premium for computing power that will go unused most of the time. However, that will probably be a good investment.

Time is valuable and the time spent waiting for a computer task to finish adds up. If getting the fastest processor available saves you only a minute a day, that adds up to 6 hours in a year.

If you use computers professionally, then getting the fastest processor available will always be a wise investment that will pay off in increased productivity in a matter of months.

For casual home use a slower dual-core CPU may perform perfectly fine, but over the lifetime of your system the time saved from using a faster CPU will still probably justify the expense.

The only really good reason to go for a slower CPU is if you are budget constrained and you have to choose between a faster CPU and some other feature that you need more.

At Lini PC we charge much more reasonable prices for our high end systems than our competitors do, and as a result 80% of the systems we sell are Core i7.


Desktop vs. Laptop CPUs

Most Mini PCs on the market, such as the Mac Mini, Asus VivoPC, Acer Revo One, and Intel NUC use laptop CPUs.

These Mini PCs use dual-core laptop CPUs that are labeled as Core i5 or Core i7 but they will not perform anywhere close to a quad-core desktop Core i5 or Core i7.

The advantage of laptop CPUs is that they use less power, so it is possible to build a smaller system using a laptop CPU.

At Lini PC we only use desktop CPUs because we are not willing to sacrifice professional grade performance in order to get a smaller system.

If performance matters to you don't be fooled by the Core i7 branding on other Mini PC systems. These systems use slow dual-core CPUs that can't hold a candle to the desktop quad-core CPUs in a Lini PC.


SSD vs. Hard Drive Storage

SSD storage is the single most important factor in modern computer performance.

A dual-core Pentium system with an SSD will perform better in real world application use than a top-of-the-line Core i7 quad-core with a hard drive.

A fast CPU is worthless if it is sitting around waiting for data to get loaded from a slow hard drive.

Hard drives are still useful for archiving large amounts of data but you should not even consider buying a computer that uses a hard drive for its primary storage.

Using an SSD will cut boot times, application load times, and web page loading times (when cached on disk) in half or even more. Switching from a hard drive to an SSD will make a much more noticeable improvement in system performance than switching from a 5-year-old CPU to one released last month.


Still Not Sure?

If you aren't sure which system is right for you feel free to send us an email at and we will be happy to discuss your typical use cases and recommend the best configuration for your needs.

We can also customize any of our systems so if there is some particular hardware or configuration that you need we will be happy to help.