Mini PC vs Raspberry Pi: Which One is the Best Choice?
By Space Coast Daily // June 8, 2022
Desktop computers consume plenty of desk space and also increase power bills. Moreover, they also require regular maintenance like cleaning, thermal compound application and much more. Even though a laptop is a viable alternative, they are expensive and prone to failures.
With the advancement in technology, manufacturers have started to develop products like mini PC, which is regarded as a compromise between a bulky Desktop PC or Laptop. The mini PC provides ergonomic freedom of a desktop computer but also smaller, cheaper and more power-efficient when compared with a laptop. The main question here is to either opt for a mini PC route or invest for a Raspberry Pi.
Firstly, you should try to figure out the necessity to migrate from a traditional desktop PC. You should understand the current trend and popularity before arriving at a decision. According to estimates, professionals prefer to free up precious desk space to enable them to accommodate other items like smart speaker, headphones and much more. This can be done by making use of a wide range of mini PCs and Raspberry PIs together.
You can also connect laptops with a large external monitor alongside keyboard and mouse combination, which saves plenty of space when compared with a full-blown desktop PC.
A mini PC will carry a relatively smaller form factor than a laptop because you need not have to perform docking. However, this is not the case with all mini PCs. There are mini PCs that are not small enough to fit on your display’s VESA mounting bracket. A Raspberry Pi can be attached in the form of a tape on the rear side of the monitors.
There is no need to play with complicated VESA mount. The Raspberry Pi is the ultimate winner if the space if the primary consideration for computing.
Raspberry Pi – The Ultimate Desktop Replacement
The Raspberry Pi will be sufficient to run a Word processor and web browsing. The performance and power efficiency can be achieved only if you are running Apple M1 silicon. However, complicated tasks such as video editing, 3D modelling and running graphical and financial simulations require a mini PC, which is considered as a desktop replacement.
You should opt for 4GB version of the Raspberry Pi 4 because both Ubuntu and Raspberry Pi OS have free software apps for various complex tasks ranging from video editing to detailed image manipulation. Technically, the Raspberry Pi can serve as the most efficient desktop replacement but the scope is limited to basic computing tasks.
Mini PCs for all requirements
Mini PCs are available in a wide range of configurations from reputed brands like Chuwi, Zotac, Asus, Corsair, Intel, Lenovo and much more with Thermal Design Points (TDP) as low as 25 watts. The advantage of Mini PCs is that they are capable of running all native Windows apps without compromising performance. You can also purchase mini PCs powered by higher-core mobile AMD and Intel APUs that features enhanced graphics capabilities
Nowadays, brands mentioned above provide powerful desktop replacements in mini-ITX form factors, which is more or less equivalent to desktop-grade processors and discrete graphics cards manufactured by NVidia and AMD. The Mini PCs are designed to provide several power and efficiency options that can be easily customized based on your specific use case.
Mini PC vs Desktop PC
You should choose a mini PC carefully because they are available in a wide range of performance, power efficiency and space saver mechanism. The ideal way is to gather information about several Mini PCs so that you can decide a product according to your requirements. You should also verify user reviews since they form a crucial role in the product selection.
The disadvantage of mini PCs is that they create thermal issues if desktop-grade processors and GPUs are used. The cooling capacity limits the processing strength of the hardware to a large extent. The powerful mini PCs are plagued with inadequate cooling design, which makes the entire unit very hot and loud.
Even a simple design and 3D printing tasks with a brand new chassis consume abnormal heat and noise output that can be reduced via liquid cooling. The greater the mini PC performance, the device will become hot and loud unless liquid cooling is deployed. You should also note that motherboards, RAM and SSD storage of mini PCs are expensive when compared with traditional desktop PCs. It’s not viable to upgrade a mini PC because of various factors including cost.
A Raspberry Pi is suitable for daily computing tasks such as office applications, web browsing and others. The Raspberry Pi is based on ARM hardware architecture and it runs Linux-based apps and utilities to some extent. However, you will face trouble if you work with Twitter, Dropbox, OneDrive, Zoom and much more.
Even though ARM architecture is employed by millions of devices, the total number of apps based on ARM is less. Hence, you will have to work with either Windows or macOS based computer as a backup.
That said, both the Raspberry Pi and mini PC are seen as a viable replacement for the traditional desktop computer. You should pick a choice based on your requirements. Even though the Raspberry Pi is capable of performing basic computing tasks effectively with the small form-factor and low power usage, the product will not be quick and snappy as a mini PC.
You can also opt for a Windows or macOS-based mini PC if you prefer to work with any of these computing platforms. The choice is up to you – If the work involved is word processing and graphics, then you should opt for mini PC. Otherwise, Raspberry Pi will be sufficient not only for beginners but also for students who would like to explore computing in detail.
Chuwi, a global laptop/tablet strategy partner of Intel and Microsoft, focuses on the digital electronics field, develops and produces its own brand laptops/tablet PCs, smart robot cleaners and some other digital electronic products