Nowadays there is a large number of alternatives when it comes to mini-PCs, many of which are barebones that you have to assemble yourself. Of course, these fetch a lower price and are often preferred by some people. Other mini-PCs come ready-to-use with all the parts and even the operating system pre-installed. Of course, their price is higher, though not by much, something that deters some people. So, what alternative should you go for?
If you are a hard-core IT enthusiast (the type of person who would prefer Linux or some other more esoteric OS, while also do computer-related DIY projects for fun), then a barebone may be the alternative for you. Although turning a barebone into a fully functional mini-PC is no easy task, it is still manageable and may be even fun for those super geeks out there. Plus you get to choose what components to put in your machine, something that some people like to have control over.
Nevertheless, if you are not a super power-user and care more about having a fully-functional and accountable PC, then it would probably be better to invest in a ready-to-use mini-computer. Apart from the obvious plus that you can start using it right after the unboxing stage, there are a few other advantages to it as well:
- Reliability. Of course a mini-computer assembled by professionals is bound to be more accountable than one you have built yourself. And although replacing a failed part may not be that difficult, what about the data in your machine? Without a doubt, it would be safer in a machine that’s been properly experimented.
- Warranty. If you buy a fully-functional mini-computer from a reputable brand, you will receive some sort of warranty providing you with the priceless peace of mind.
- No compatibility issues in the hardware. Unless you are super knowledgeable about PCs, assembling a machine from a barebone is a huge liability, since some of the components may not be compatible with the motherboard, or may not perform as expected.
- Saving time with operating system and application. Though not all fully-functional mini-PCs come with a bundle of useful application, most mini-computers come with the operating system pre-installed, saving you a lot of time.
Summing up, building a mini-computer from a barebone may appeal to some people, but oftentimes it is not worth the effort. The few dollars you may save through this route are not enough to justify the extra work such an endeavor will take, plus there is no price tag for the peace of mind that you have when opting for an out-of-the-shelf solution. So unless you are a Steve Wozniak kind of individual, it would probably be better to stick with the fully-functional mini-computers that you can find online.