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Should You Build Your Own Mini PC?

Should You Build Your Own Mini PC?

May 13th 2019

Many people believe that if you need a small computing solution, you have to build a mini PC for it yourself. After all, for years, this was essentially the case. It is far more cost and manpower-efficient to find a NUC build that fits your needs. Intel’s scalable, small form factor computers offer individuals and businesses a way to provide the power and reliability of a top-tier PC in a configurable, space-friendly design.

What Is a NUC?

The Intel Next Level of Computing, or NUC, series of systems is a line of mini-PCs that are meant to bridge the gap between more limited small, often application specific computers and the increased demands of modern automation, IoT, and consumer users. There is a range of options available for these pint-sized powerhouses, so you need only select a mini PC build that offers your minimum specifications. It’s full-featured computing that fits in a small shoe box.

What Is a Mini-PC?

A NUC is a mini PC, but not all mini PCs are NUCs. Just so we’re talking about the same thing, a mini PC for this blog is a small form factor computer that offers full computing capabilities. Ideally, for most users, they’re big on power but small on size, making them perfect for smart appliances, industrial automation, or just making the most of your small desk’s space. This is a broad category that allows for the fact that some users build a mini PC that fits a specific need, and that configuration may not be common or in widespread use while other users choose pre-engineered models.

What Are the Advantages Of Building Your Own Mini PC?

Building your own small form factor computer offers several apparent advantages.

  • Each computer is built specifically for each application. There’s no risk of “over-building” if you build for only the task at hand’s necessities. The best way to avoid paying for components you don’t need is to not build them in.
  • You know exactly what components are in your computer. Think you’ll need more RAM? A larger storage medium? A better motherboard? You can pick your components from any manufacturer, supplier, or distributor for complete customization.
  • Keeping IT up to speed. If they built it, they’ll know it. Producing custom mini PCs in-house gets your IT people up to speed from the motherboard up.
  • Build as you go. Building separately allows you to roll out as systems are built. This gives you access to instant results and metrics so you can “fine-tune” future builds.

While these have long been cited as the best reasons to build a mini PC yourself for industrial, commercial, and even personal applications, technology has changed...

An Arches Canyon NUC with a Celeron processor

Why Finding a NUC Build Is Better

..And with that shift in technology has come a shift in the effective application of it. While building is still possible, it fails to take advantage of more efficient processes. The end result is that these former benefits of building a custom mini PC yourself turn into unnecessary constraints.

  • Forward-thinking capabilities allow for product evolution. A small form-factor solution that allows for product growth allows for innovation. When you build a mini PC to the minimum specifications, you’re setting a bar that your hardware can’t go past. Allowing for the potential of future functionality while supporting today’s business needs is smarter engineering.
  • Components engineered for compatibility. Anyone who has sat down to build a PC, mini or otherwise, has encountered the headache of trying to get disparate computer components to all play nice with each other. NUCs are engineered for successful implementation with compatible components across the board.
  • IT-friendly builds. Full specs are available for each NUC, so your tech team knows exactly what they’re working with. In addition, because these units are standardized for production, you won’t see a wave of variant systems, each built for a different application. You can give your team a single machine to learn and maintain.
  • Production models lower your cost. Much of the supposed cost savings when you build a mini PC comes from skipping parts you don’t feel you need. When you buy a NUC build, you’re getting a fully featured unit that is affordable because it is produced to a certain specification in a certain quantity. This “bulk” approach helps keep your cost lower.
  • Faster roll out. Because you’re buying a ready-to-roll scalable platform, you don’t have to invest the man hours in building each unit separately. Order the quantity you need, and they arrive ready for installation. Because you’ve got a more capable system, you also avoid the fits and starts of a rollout staggered by one-at-a-time production timelines.

Finding the Right Partner

With the benefits you get buying an Intel NUC solution versus building a mini PC yourself, you still want a professional supplier who can give you the selection you need at a competitive price. We’re proud to be an Intel Partner who has the experience to help you find a custom solution for your needs, from industrial to commercial.

We carry NUCs with the most in-demand chipsets. Whether you need reliable I3 performance or your company plans to embed the power of a Core I7 in your IoT products, there’s a NUC for you. Our own proprietary technology, including Power Over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities not only make implementation faster, but infrastructure installation easier prior to roll out.

Have questions about NUCs and how they can fit into your technology strategy? Contact our experts today by filling out our contact form or calling us at (801) 948-8898. They’ll be happy to talk to you about your requirements, the systems we can offer, and how our free demo program can give your company a “test drive”. Let us help your business thrive with an Intel NUC today.

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