Consoles are ubiquitous no doubt, but there’s still a lot of us who prefer to stick with PCs through thick and thin. We don’t know what it is with desktops for gaming that our man cave won’t just be complete without them. But what makes a mini gaming PC worthy of space in our cramped place?

Here we list down the specs you need to check out when buying one, especially when your pockets are not that deep.

Specs to consider

Graphics Card

When we say graphics card, we think AMD or Nvidia because they have consistently provided us with strong performance based on our requirements. And when we say requirements, we mean graphics card that can handle our intense 3D, 4K, and VR gaming.

PCMag did a very good job of enumerating the specs you need when choosing a GPU. But in sum, you need to look at the VRAM, memory bandwidth, engine clock speed, and core count.

Higher clock speeds and more cores do not necessarily mean better performance unless you are comparing it with a GPU from the same brand. In other words, AMD’s more cores don’t always translate to better performance than Nvidia’s fewer cores.

For all the memory-related specs, on the other hand, the higher the better. If constantly playing high-resolution games, RAM should not fall below 4GB.

For VR gaming, you have to pay attention to each of the VR makers’ requirements. For Oculus Rift, for instance, you should have Nvidia GTX 960 or an AMD R9 280 at the least. For Vive, you need Nvidia GTX 1060 or Radeon RX 480.

Processor

GPU is to graphics as CPU is to everything else in your system including load screens, soundtrack, and hitting targets.

Two brands are head-to-head in the CPU battle—Intel and AMD—and both offer power like no other. More cores guarantee a smoother gaming experience of course but unlocked quad-core processors should give you overclocking potential too.

But then again for VR gaming, specific requirements must be met. For Rift, you should have at least Intel Core i3-6100 or AMD FX4350. For Vive, it should be no less than Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350.

Memory

A lot of games we play today make heavy demands on our RAM, so it is but proper to get one that can handle this taxing. Also, if overclocking is our habit, faster memory helps keep our CPUs stable. But by and large, at least 8 GB of RAM is imperative for our modern games although Vive is fine with a 4GB amount of RAM.

Size

We are not blessed to have enough money to live on Bel Air Rd; hence, we need to find mini gaming PCs that can match our bijou man caves without it screaming “you’re too poor to get a bigger roof.”

11 Mini Gaming PCs

Now that we have established the three main considerations for choosing a gaming PC, we will move on to the list of best mini gaming desktops we have found on the market today.

MSI Vortex G25-022US

If serious space saving and portability are what you’re after, the MSI Vortex G25-022US mini gaming PC is perfect for you. With just a 2.5-liter volume and 33.1 cm high chassis, this is the gaming desktop you can literally take anywhere. You can even attach it to the back of your gaming monitor to free up some space.

But do not let its size fool you. This mini gaming desktop may be small, but it did not compromise its power. It is still powered by an 8th generation Intel Core i7 and GeForce® GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5. It is VR- and 4K-ready, too!

Check out the rest its specs here:

OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 10 Pro
CPU8th Gen Intel® Coffee Lake Core i7-8700 six core (3.2GHz-4.6GHz, 12MB Intel® Smart Cache, 65W)
CHIPSETIntel® Z370
STORAGE256GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB 7200RPM HDD
SYSTEM MEMORY32GB (2x 16GB) DDR4 2400MHz 
GRAPHICSNVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5
SOUNDNahimic 2+ Sound Technology
I/O (LEFT SIDE)1x Mic-in
1x Headphone-out (HiFi / SPDIF)
1x TOSLINK SPDIF Out
I/O (RIGHT SIDE)1x Type-C USB3.1 Gen2
1x Type-C USB3.0
4x Type-A USB3.0
1x RJ45
2x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
WIRELESS LAN802.11 ac Wi-F
BLUETOOTHBluetooth v4.2
LANGb LAN
AC ADAPTER / PSU230W adapter
COOLING SYSTEMNA
VOLUME2.5 LITERS
DIMENSION 279 x 43 x 331 mm
WEIGHT 5.5 LBS
ACCESSORIESExclusive Gaming Bundle
SOFTWARE

$2199.00


MSI Trident 3 Arctic

With the volume of barely 5 liters, it’s hard to believe that this gaming PC compressed so much in one case. What’s more, it gives us a lot of ports on both the rear and front sides for all the paraphernalia we need to connect.

And it’s not only tiny; its orientation may also be either vertical or horizontal depending on your spatial needs. No wonder it is given the iF Design Award 2017.

Check out its specs here:

OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 10 Home
CPU Intel® Core™ i7-7700 Processor
CHIPSET Intel® H110
STORAGE 1 x M.2 SSD (SATA)*
1 x 2.5″ HDD
*Supports on version 2.1 above of motherboard only
SYSTEM MEMORY 2 x DDR4 2400MHz SO-DIMMs, up to 32GB
GRAPHICS MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming 8GB GDDR5
SOUND 5.1 Channel HD Audio with Nahimic audio enhancer
I/O (FRONT) 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A (with Super Charger 2)
1 x Mic in / 1 x Headphone out
1 x HDMI out (VR Link)
I/O (REAR) 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type A
4 x USB2.0
1 x HDMI out
1 x HDMI in (connect Graphic card and front VR-Link port)
3 x OFC Audio jacks
1 x RJ45
WIRELESS LAN Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168
BLUETOOTH BT 4.2
LAN GigaBit LAN (Intel® WGI219VIntel)
AC ADAPTER / PSU 330W AC Adapter
COOLING SYSTEM Fan Cooler
VOLUME 4.72 Liter
DIMENSION with stand: 353.73 x 97.56 x 251.35 mm
w/o stand: 346.25 x 232.47 x 71.83 mm
WEIGHT 3.17KG / 6.09KG
ACCESSORIES 2 x Manual
1 x Quick guide
1 x Warranty card
1 x Power cord
1 x Gaming DM
SOFTWARE Drivers & MSI Utilities
MSI Gaming center
Drogan Eye
Xsplit Gamingcaster
Anti-Virus (60 days trial)

 

$1,499.00


Omen X Compact Desktop

What better way to showcase portability than to create a gaming PC you can wear?

Yes, people, Omen X Compact Desktop is not only powerful, it’s also lightweight and compact you can wear it along with the VR backpack so you can indulge in your chosen virtual world without worrying about the cables.

And don’t worry about discomfort doing that, the VR backpack is designed to avoid heat from accumulating and thus affecting your body. Plus it has padded straps and adjustable clips so the weight is evenly distributed. Ensuring your shoulders do not go through heavy fatigue every time.

Check out its specs here:

OPERATING SYSTEM Windows 10 Home 64
CPU Intel® Core™ i7-7820HK
CHIPSET NA
STORAGE 1 TB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD
SYSTEM MEMORY 16 GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM
GRAPHICS NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080
SOUND DTS Headphone:X™
I/O (TOP)

Headphone/Microphone Combo, 2 USB 3.0, Thunderbolt(TM) 3, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI Out

I/O (SIDE AND DOCK)2 USB 3.0 (side), 5 USB 3.0 (dock), USB 3.1 Type-C(TM) (dock), HDMI (dock), DisplayPort (dock), and RJ45
WIRELESS LAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2)
BLUETOOTH Bluetooth® 4.2 M.2 combo
LAN Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
AC ADAPTER / PSU 330 W active PFC Smart AC power adapter
COOLING SYSTEM NA
VOLUME NA
DIMENSION 9.02 x 2.39 x 13.07 in (PC); 11.92 x 2.92 x 5.08 in (docking station)
WEIGHT 5.51 lb (PC); 8.27 lb (with VR backpack battery accessory kit)
ACCESSORIESNA
SOFTWARE NA

$2,499.00


ASUS ROG GR8 II

If Omen X Compact Desktop is wearable, ASUS ROG GR8 II is super portable. With a volume of only 4 liters, almost 1 liter less than the MSI Trident 3 Artic, this has got to be the smallest VR-ready gaming PC.

But small is terrible indeed. Aside from the tech specs that are sure to meet your gaming needs, this tiny box also offers superb audio experience with the ROG SupremeFX audio, the Hi-Fi grade audio. It includes Sonic Studio III and Sonic Radar III for that immersive sound effects when you drive and chase around in GTA.

Check out its specs here:

OPERATING SYSTEMMicrosoft Windows 10
CPU 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5
CHIPSETIntel® H110
STORAGE512GB SATA SSD + 1TB 7200RPM HDD
SYSTEM MEMORY 16 Gb RAM
GRAPHICS NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5
SOUNDROG SupremeFX Audio
I/O (FRONT) 2x USB 3.0, 1x Microphone, 1x Headphone
I/O (REAR) 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB3.1 Type A, 1x USB3.1 Type C, 2x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 1x RJ45 LAN, 1x Kensington Lock , 1x DC-in, 1x Optical S/PDIF out, 1x Audio Jack(s) (Speaker out)
WIRELESS LAN 802.11ac
BLUETOOTH Bluetooth 4.2
LAN Intel 10/100/1000 Mbps
AC ADAPTER / PSU 230 W Power adapter
COOLING SYSTEMNA
VOLUME 4 Liters
DIMENSION 11 x 3.4 x 11.7 inches
WEIGHT 8.8 pounds
ACCESSORIES Chrome Wireless Keyboard and Mouse included in i3 sku only (Optional),
AC Adaptor
Power Cord
Warranty Card
User Manual
Quick Start Guide
*All accessories may vary in different market
SOFTWARE NA

$1,099.00


ASUS VivoPC X

The VivoPC X is awarded the PCMag’s Readers’ Choice in 2016, and it has every right to be called so. First off, it is certified Oculus-ready. So for those of you wondering if this can handle your Rift, yes it can.

Pair that with the Nvidia G-Sync and you’re guaranteed a split-less, lag-less, tear-less images on your screen, which is particularly common in games that require high refresh rate.

All these bells and whistles in a 2.2kg box with a 5-liter volume. Plus, it may also be placed both horizontally and vertically for optimum space saving.

Check out its specs here:

OPERATING SYSTEM Windows 10 Home
CPU Intel® Core™ i5 7300HQ
CHIPSET NA
STORAGE 250GB Western Digital Blue SATA SSD (Seq. Read 545MB/s, Seq. Write 525MB/s) + 1TB 5400RPM HDD

SYSTEM MEMORY 8GB DDR4 2400MHz
GRAPHICS NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5
SOUND

Combined optical digital audio output/analog line out minijack

HDMI port supports multichannel audio output

I/O (FRONT) NA
I/O (REAR) 4 x USB3.1 gen 1

2 x USB2.0N

1 x Audio Jack 3-in-1

1 x RJ45 LAN

2 x HDMI-Out

1 x Display Port

WIRELESS LAN 802.11ac
BLUETOOTH Bluetooth 4.1
LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps
AC ADAPTER / PSU 230W Adapter
COOLING SYSTEMNA
VOLUME 5 Liters
DIMENSION 10.2 x 3 x 11 inches
WEIGHT 5.1 pounds
ACCESSORIESITEM 1: Rocket League Digital Game Code
ITEM 2: ASUS Wireless Keyboard
ITEM 3: ASUS Wireless Mouse
SOFTWARE Sonic Suite

$945.00


CORSAIR One

One Pro’s less capable sibling is not to be treated lightly. Donning similar physical attributes with the Pro, including the deafening quietness and the future proof-ness, the CORSAIR One is a powerful, VR-ready PC on its own.

First off, it is also ridiculously overclockable with its Intel Core-i7-7700 processor paired with CORSAIR DDR4 memory. Combine that with a Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU, and this 12-liter desktop for gaming will surely not disappoint.

Check out its specs here:

OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 10 Home
CPU3.6 GHz Intel Core i7
CHIPSET NA
STORAGE 240 GB SSD and a 1TB HDD
SYSTEM MEMORY 16 GB DDR4
GRAPHICS MSI GeForce GTX 1070
SOUND NA
I/O (FRONT) NA
I/O (REAR) 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
2x USB 2.0 Type-A
1x PS/2 Port
1x HDMI 2.0
2x DisplayPort
1x S/PDIF
WIRELESS LAN 802.11ac
BLUETOOTH Bluetooth 4.2
LAN Gigabit Ethernet
AC ADAPTER / PSU 400W SFX 80 PLUS® Gold
COOLING SYSTEM Liquid Cooled
VOLUME 12 Liters
DIMENSION 200mm x 176mm x 380mm
WEIGHT 7.2kg
ACCESSORIES NA
SOFTWARE NA

$1,799.00


ALIENWARE X51

Pro gamers choose this brand for a reason—unrivaled gaming performance. And now you don’t have to join a tournament to enjoy the same experience. By getting this gaming PC, you can enjoy pro-gaming level right at your home.

The 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor, 16GB Dual Channel DDR3 memory, and NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 760 Ti with 2GB GDDR5 should be enough to convince you.

Check out its specs here:

OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 8
CPU 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770
CHIPSETIntel Z170
STORAGE 2TB SATA 6Gb/s
SYSTEM MEMORY 16GB
GRAPHICS NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 760 Ti with 2GB GDDR5
SOUND NA
I/O (FRONT) SuperSpeed USB | Microphone In | Headphone Out
I/O (REAR)HDMI 1.4 Output | SuperSpeed USB |  Hi-Speed USB | RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet |  Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port | SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps | Front Speaker Input | Side Speaker Input | AC Power Input | Center/Subwoofer Speaker Input
WIRELESS LANWireless DW 1550 (2×2 11ac) Wi-Fi
BLUETOOTH Yes
LAN Gigabit Ethernet
AC ADAPTER / PSU 330 Watt
COOLING SYSTEM Liquid cooled
VOLUME NA
DIMENSION Front-Height: 13.504″ – (343mm) | Rear-Height: 12.54″ – (318.5mm) | Depth: 12.52″ – (318mm) | Width: 3.74″ – (95mm)
WEIGHT 12.1 lbs – (5.49 Kg.)
ACCESSORIES Alienware Multi-Media Keyboard
SOFTWARE Alienware Command Center 3.0

$1,399.00


ZOTAC ZBOX-EN1060K-U MAGNUS

If you’re looking for an affordable yet powerful gaming PC, Magnus EN1060K-U is for you. For just a little above $1000, you get Intel Kaby Lake Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, and 8GB of RAM already that can support up to 4 displays.

Plus it also stays cool and quiet so you can get mad and scream while you hit (or miss) your targets.

Check out its specs here:

OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 10 / 8.1 (32/64-bit)
CPU Intel Kaby Lake Core i5-7500T
CHIPSET Intel 100 Series, NVIDIA
STORAGE 120GB M.2 SATA SSD & 1TB 2.5″ SATA HDD
SYSTEM MEMORY 8GB DDR4
GRAPHICS GeForce® GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 192-bit
SOUND NA
I/O (FRONT) Microphone, Headphone, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
I/O (REAR) 2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 3.1
2x USB 2.0
WIRELESS LAN 802.11ac/b/g/n
BLUETOOTH Bluetooth 4.2
LAN Dual Gigabit LAN
AC ADAPTER / PSU AC Adapter
O/P: DC 19.5V/180W
COOLING SYSTEM Fan + Heatsink
VOLUME NA
DIMENSION 8.3 x 8 x 2.5 inches
WEIGHT 7 pounds
ACCESSORIES WiFi antenna
AC Adapter
Power Cord
Warranty Card
User Manual
Quick Install Guide
USB drive with O/S driver
Driver Disc
O/S Recovery DVD
SOFTWARE NA

$1,099.00


Samsung ArtPC PULSE

This VR-ready gaming PC is not only powerful but also eye-catching. With its cylindrical shape and the eye-catching light band, this will always be a center of attraction no matter how intentionally unobtrusive it wants to be.

Also, storage upgrade will never be a hassle with ArtPC. With a few turns and clicks, you can attach and detach storage as you please.

Audio is also guaranteed to be delivered at its best with the built-in Harman Kardon 360-degree omnidirectional speaker.

Check out its specs here:

OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 10
CPU Intel Core i7-6700K
CHIPSET Intel Skylake
STORAGE 1TB SSD
SYSTEM MEMORY 16GB
GRAPHICS AMD Radeon™ RX 460
SOUND 360 Omni-Directional Speaker; SoundAlive™
I/O (FRONT) 4 x USB 3.0 + 1 x USB-C, 3-in-1 card slot, Headphone/Mic combo in&out
I/O (REAR) NA
WIRELESS LAN 802.11ac
BLUETOOTH Bluetooth 4.1
LAN RJ45 Gigabit LAN
AC ADAPTER / PSU 150W
COOLING SYSTEM NA
VOLUMENA
DIMENSION 5.51″ x 5.51″ x 12.18″
WEIGHT 8.64 lb.
ACCESSORIES Keyboard+Mouse/ Speaker
SOFTWARE WiFi Transfer, Samsung Recovery, Samsung Settings, Samsung SideSync, Samsung Update, Simple Sharing

$2,199.00


MSI Vortex G65

Another entry from MSI is this oddly yet beautifully shaped mini gaming PC that shares a bit of similarity with Samsung’s ArtPC. It stands 10.5” high yet is still feature packed. From the overclockable 6th generation Intel Core-i7, the dual SLI Nvidia GeForce GTX, to the silent storm cooling, the MSI Vortex G65 is designed for the ultimate gaming experience.

And in case technology decides to give more power in the future, G65 is highly upgradable.

Check out its specs here:

USB 3.0 *4

OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 10
CPUIntel® Core™ i7-6700K
CHIPSETZ170
STORAGE256GB SSD (PCIE Gen3x4) [128GB *2]+1TB (SATA) 7200rpm
SYSTEM MEMORY32GB DDR4 2133MHz
GRAPHICSNVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 980 SLI
SOUND Nahimic Sound
I/O (FRONT) NA
I/O (REAR) USB 3.0 *4, HDMI 1.4*2, mDP v1.2*2, Thunderbolt*2
WIRELESS LAN Killer N1535 Combo (2*2 ac)
BLUETOOTH BT 4.1
LAN Dual Killer Gaming Network E2400
AC ADAPTER / PSU 1/1/SPDIF OUT/450W Built-in
COOLING SYSTEM NA
VOLUME 6.5 Liters
DIMENSION 7.61″x7.01″x10.55″
WEIGHT 8.8 lbs
ACCESSORIES NA
SOFTWARE NA

$2,199.00


Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube

The last but not the least option is this gaming PC from Lenovo that ensures you get not only powerful performance but uninterrupted internet connection as well. It has the intelligent LAN/WiFi feature that uses both wired and wireless internet connection for relatively faster networking performance.

This ensures you get almost zero in-game lag, especially if there are other apps running in the background.

Check out its specs here:

OPERATING SYSTEM Windows 10
CPU Intel Core i7-6700
CHIPSET Intel® H170
STORAGE 1TB 7200RPM HDD + 128GB SSD
SYSTEM MEMORY 16GB DDR4
GRAPHICS NVIDIA GTX1070
SOUND
I/O (FRONT) 2 x USB 3.0
I/O (REAR)2 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

1 x PS2

1 x Optical Audio Port

WIRELESS LAN Killer Wireless-AC 1535
BLUETOOTH Bluetooth® 4.0
LAN NA
AC ADAPTER / PSU 450W
COOLING SYSTEM 65W CPU Cooler
VOLUME NA
DIMENSION 15.48 x 9.93 x 12.38
WEIGHT 20 pounds
ACCESSORIES NA
SOFTWARERescue SystemDAI

Lenovo Solution Center

Prism

Lenovo Nerve Center

RDX® Content

Power2Go

Adobe® Reader®

Microsoft Silverlight

Microsoft Office (Trial)

$1,339.76


In sum

Gaming PCs don’t always have to be spatially demanding as demonstrated by the models above. With the right dimensions paired with the proper specifications, VR, 3D, and 4K fun are no longer for big-house dwellers only.