Just because you are going big does not always mean it’s strong and powerful. Even the tiniest mini PC can pack a punch powerful enough to knock them, big boys, out.
In the world of PC gaming, you could do precisely that, cram heavyweight hardware into a tiny build and still get the same level of performance and power than with a normal-sized build.
Table of Contents
- The Best Mini PC for Gaming
- Recommended Best Mini PC for Gaming
- 1. MITXPC Ray Tracing – The Best Mini PC for Gaming
- 2. ZOTAC Gaming Mek Mini – Runner Up
- 3. SkyTech Omega Mini – Best Value
- 4. Intel NUC 8 Performance-G Kit – The Smallest
- 5. Nvidia Shield TV Gaming Edition
- Buyer’s Guide – Why do you Need the Best Mini PC?
- Who Needs the Best Mini PC for Gaming
- Who the Best Mini PC for Gaming is NOT for
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Best Mini PC for Gaming
Whether you are building a set of your own or buying them fully decked out, mini gaming PCs offer what the larger variants can’t. And that is the compact, sleek, minimalist design that these mini PCs have.
More than that, it also enables you to transport these tiny hardware machines anywhere you want with ease. The best Mini PC for gaming can also be very useful to students.
So if you are into LAN gaming, then the best mini PC for gaming option would undoubtedly be your number one pick and don’t forget you’ll also need the best gaming monitor for you.
Recommended Best Mini PC for Gaming
If you have finally thought about going small and choose to build the best mini pc for gaming for yourself, then research is vital. There are plenty of pages online that would get you to the right path, and websites like pcpartpicker.com allow you to simulate compatibility.
However, if you opt for the plug and play Mini PCs for gaming, then there are a handful of choices available for you ranging from the best to size ratio, best-prebuilt gaming PC, best game streaming, best budget prebuilt gaming PC.
1. MITXPC Ray Tracing – The Best Mini PC for Gaming
While this isn’t precisely the same size as the Hades Canyon, this 20-pound monster is going to make you forget that the Hades Canyon even existed.
It comes in my favorite Thermaltake Core V1 case; this monster takes on some extremely powerful hardware that would set you for years. Armed with the NVIDIA RTX 2080ti, this monster is ready to take the latest AAA games at the 4K levels.
Pair that with the Intel Core i7-9700K, 32GB RAM, 256 NVME SSD along with 2TB of 7200RPM HDD, you can imagine how much power is housed inside this compact, sleek, MITX case.
With great power comes great responsibility. And your biggest responsibility would be having enough to purchase this monster from Amazon because this will not come cheap. Just under $2400, this monster will rip your games apart.
- The best among the best!
- Fully decked out mini PC
- Fully upgradeable
- Can handle multiple games at 4K at 60FPS
- Extremely expensive
Where to buy it:
2. ZOTAC Gaming Mek Mini – Runner Up
I found the Zotac Gaming Mek Mini to be the second-best mini pc for gaming because it’s in that mid-range price range.
It comes with the latest Nvidia Ray Tracing graphics cards – The RTX 2070, 16GB DDR4 RAM, Intel Core i5 9th Generation, 240GB NVMe SSD, and 2TB HDD.
The best mini pc for gaming is VR ready, ray tracing ready and comes with beautiful RGB lighting effects and proper 360 ventilation for proper airflow from and through your gaming mini PC.
- RTX 2070 graphics card
- Intel Core i5 9th Generation Processor
- Very fast 240GB M.2 NVMe SSD
- Spectra 2.0 LED lighting system
- Weighs 16.2 pounds
Where to Buy it:
3. SkyTech Omega Mini – Best Value
Another prebuilt PC, only this time, budget oriented, and yet still packs a punch.
The SkyTech Omega Mini is housed in an In Win case with the standard look of traditional cases. One great thing about this case versus the Core V1 is that it showcases your computer interiors better with its acrylic side panel.
The SkyTech Legacy Mini isn’t exactly mini as it dons the ASRock microATX motherboard. Weighing in at 28 pounds, this is more customizable than standard MITX boards and cases.
This particular unit houses the Ryzen 5 and the GTX 1060 3GB. A mid-range unit capable of handling most games with ease.
- Still powerful yet much more affordable
- Loaded with 500 GB SSD already
- Acrylic side panel to showcase those RGB
- It’s not as mini as we’d like.
Where to buy:
4. Intel NUC 8 Performance-G Kit – The Smallest
Intel has been dishing out incredible pieces of hardware, and that includes the Intel NUC mini PCs.
These pieces of equipment were designed to cater to offices and homes alike until they came up with Hades Canyon.
The NUC 8 Performance-G kit, otherwise known as Hades Canyon, is the union of 2 brands we thought was impossible to marry.
The Intel i7 has always been a beast and keeps on getting better every new release. Couple that with AMD Radeon’s RX VEGA M GH graphics, you have a mini PC that handles games close to the GTX1060.
While the Hades Canyon is a beast wrapped in a tiny package, the price would not be small at all. With a price breaching the $800, you are only getting a barebone unit.
You would need to pay extra for additional components such as the RAMs and the SSDs. Put that all together, and you are looking at a price that might make you think twice.
- Better than many full-sized rigs
- Some specifications offer unlocked units for overclocking
- VR Ready Portable Rig
- Barebones Unit
Where to buy it:
5. Nvidia Shield TV Gaming Edition
From the monster to the monster slayer. The NVIDIA Shield shakes the gaming scene without the hardware.
Yes, you heard that right. The NVIDIA Shield is an all-new twist to gaming as it dons a console-like feel but dedicated towards PC games as a whole.
Rather than installing the games on this device like the traditional PCs, it would download the games on the cloud and streams the games from there.
This eliminates the use of the graphics card as a whole and instead, uses your Internet connection as the power source.
Packed as a tiny box, somewhat similar to the Hades Canyon size, this takes gaming on a whole new level.
- Least Expensive
- 4K Streaming Multimedia Device
- The Nvidia Shield comes with a game controller and a remote control
- Does not store games
- Not a Microsoft OS
- Internet connection dependent
Where to buy:
Buyer’s Guide – Why do you Need the Best Mini PC?
To me, Mini PCs are the best choice for those wanting to build their PCs or choosing their very first gaming rig. They are compact, easy to set up, and easy to find a space at home without compromising the ability to carry power.
If you are thinking of getting one right now, the first criteria that would come to mind would be, do you have a space ready for your rig? The Mini PC option makes that question relatively easy to answer because of the amount of space it takes up.
What’s more, you don’t have to worry about aesthetics because these Mini PCs look great, flush, and even professional at some point.
The second criteria will be whether or not you would be moving this Mini PC around or if LAN parties are your thing. Then the portability of Mini PCs can make you carry it wherever, whenever.
Who Needs the Best Mini PC for Gaming
I love LAN parties, playing with friends, and making new ones with the games we play is what I love to do. That is why I own a Mini PC because of size reasons. And if I had to build another gaming rig in the future, I would still go small.
The best Mini gaming PC can be for everyone. If you move a lot, you want it to sit flush in your game room or living room, then having a Mini PC is for you.
If you like going small and know that you will be going without SLIs and Crossfire configurations, then the best Mini PC for gaming can be for you too.
There are so many limitations in getting the best Mini PC, that’s for sure. However, if you can get past those limitations, you still have a large slate that you can fill up with fantastic hardware. Powerful enough to play AAA games with ease, all in a tiny package.
Who the Best Mini PC for Gaming is NOT for
While having the best Mini PC for gaming sounds terrific, it is not for everybody, for example, architecture students would want to get a different set of laptops that can perform their 3D rendering, animation and modeling tasks.
If you do not play games at all, use your PC for multimedia purposes only, or use your PC strictly for work or for school, then the best Mini PC for gaming is not for you even if you are considering the space and the aesthetics. Because of the gaming components of these Mini PCs, the price point will be relatively high which would be too much for your needs.
There are plenty of Mini PC options that you could have that is sufficient for work or school. And there are those Mini PCs that are dedicated for multimedia purposes as well.
If you are the type of gamer that is never contented and is always pushing for the decked-out rig, then the Mini PC option is not for you either. As I’ve mentioned, the Mini PC designs are compact. That also means that the level of upgradeability is minimal if you opt for the Mini option.
So if you are can’t let go of the idea of SLIs or Crossfires, or ATX motherboards, or if you want the large intimidating looking rigs, then the Mini PC is not for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Gaming will not exactly be the same every year. Graphics improve, and so does the hardware that is required to run them smoothly. What I consider the best mini PC for gaming is something that should set you up for years, at the same time allows you to upgrade to scale through the times.
The best Mini PC on this list is the MITXPC Ray Tracing. The Core V1 offers enough space for cooling, storage devices, and leeway for graphics card length. While the MITXPC Ray Tracing offers the highest tiered internals already, it also enables you to tweak it through the times if need be. However, as it is, it is already the most powerful on the list and would breeze through games in 4K resolution like cutting butter.
However, if you would opt to consider my next option, I would be choosing the NVIDIA Shield. Though it goes away from traditional PCs (Windows and all), it offers you high-end gaming at a budget price.
The fact that you would be able to play all kinds of games without the worry of minimum system requirements is excellent. All you need to have, at this point, to make the experience worry-free, would be to have a blazing fast internet connection to feed this sucker.
At a mere $188.99, you would already be able to play decent games on a mini PC with the NVIDIA Shield.
However, if you would opt to go for the best mini PC for gaming, the MITXPC Ray Tracing will set you back $2400, but will already make you 4K ready, VR ready and much more.
While I would say that the NVIDIA Shield would be the choice here at $188.99, this clearly isn’t completely cut out to be a PC. It serves more of a console rather than the traditional PC.
But if you are into the more multimedia approach and gaming, then this should be a solid option you could consider.
The next cheapest best mini PC here would be SkyTech Legacy Mini. While currently unavailable in Amazon right now, this guy would set you back $1K more or less. The internals is already packed and is all ready for the action.
However, if you are looking at the longer term, this bad boy is fully upgradeable. If you think that a piece is outdated, then all you have to do is upgrade, and this should scale you through the years.
There are many variations of Mini PCs that are built for gaming. What I consider the most when it comes to expensive pieces of hardware is the mileage. How long can this take the heat? If not, can I replace parts to make it great again?
I would opt for the more customizable equipment because of the idea of wear and tear. More than wear and tear would be the technology being outdated. It is better to have control over the hardware than none at all. And I am sure you wouldn’t want your equipment to be disposable in the long run.
Have fun on your Mini PC; I am having fun with mine.