Exactly how upgradable are modern mini PCs?

There are many advantages to using business-class mini PCs, including space-saving small footprints and low energy usage. But one possible downside is the perceived lack of upgradability. But is this true?

In some respects, it’s an unfair criticism. The latest-generation of mini PCs offer a surprising level of upgrade flexibility, which you might not be aware of. Granted, these upgrade options are not as extensive as a desktop PC, where you can change literally every component. But it’s important to consider business needs when looking at upgrades.

For example, if you buy a mini PC with a six-core, 12-thread Intel Core i7 8700T processor inside, you’re unlikely to need any additional processing power for some time. But what is likely to be consumed quickly is storage.

Local storage complements the cloud

It’s tempting to discount local storage as an important consideration when looking at a new business mini PC. But local storage is still faster and more reliable than the cloud (it isn’t reliant on an internet connection, for starters), and it simply makes sense to ensure that your data is stored in more than one location. Helpfully, if you find yourself running short of storage space, then the latest mini PCs offer flexible upgrade options.

For example, a modern mini PC should support both a 2.5-inch hard disk drive and a high-performance M.2 2280 form factor PCIe SSD in the same chassis. Given that PCIe M.2 drives can be up to 20x faster than regular 2.5-inch HDDs, simply installing an M.2 SSD can provide a significant performance boost, especially if it’s used as the Windows C: drive.

Storage capacity is also not restricted by a mini PC’s compact dimensions, because the latest 2.5-inch hard disk drives are available in capacities up to a whopping 5TB. Combine one of these with a 1TB M.2 drive and you’ve got 6TB of rapid local storage in a PC that’s smaller than a shoebox.

Thanks for the memory

One of the most common causes of slow PC performance is a lack of memory. If you’ve ever opened Task Manager and baulked at the ridiculous amount of RAM gobbled up by your Chrome tabs, it is sensible to ensure that your hardware has an effective memory upgrade path.

Thankfully, the latest mini PCs have this aspect fully under control, with support for up to 32GB of high-performance DDR4 memory, enough for even complex workstation applications.

Stacked with features

A good mini PC should also be adaptable to changing business needs. A great example of this is the ASUS PB60, which has a stackable, modular design that allows functionality to be enhanced, without sacrificing its compact form factor. Installing the optical drive module, for example, requires only the addition of two screws and a locking USB cable, making it simple to enhance the mini PC’s capabilities.

Another great feature of the ASUS PB60 is the configurable port on the rear panel, which can be specified to be either a DisplayPort, VGA or COM connection (the latter is still very important for manufacturing and industrial applications). Choosing DisplayPort instead expands the PB60’s multi-monitor capabilities to three digital displays, while VGA provides support for older monitors and projectors – ideal for businesses that have yet to upgrade their display inventory.

As you can see, the latest mini PCs are flexible and adaptable, offering important upgrade options plus a range of modular customisation features that are geared specifically towards meeting your business needs. Combine this with their small size and energy-efficiency, and the case for using business mini PCs becomes more compelling by the day.

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