Climate change is an issue that is not perceived in the same way by everyone, but we know that there are people who have asked the following question: why do I have to use a high-consumption PC to do a task that I can do? with a tiny percentage of it? If you are one of those people and you are worried about the height power consumption or you just want to save for him light consumption We have made a selection of three different computers that we believe meet these requirements.
What is a low consumption Mini PC?
With the advancement in semiconductor technology, it is possible to build high performance PCs, but also low consumption, where the selection criteria of the components are different. Unfortunately, it is not possible to build a low-power Mini PC ourselves, since the components that compose it are not available to the general public.
To create energy-efficient Mini PCs, manufacturers use ultralight laptop hardware. Where most of the components used are soldered to the board and the processors are designed to consume a limit of 15 W. In addition, in the process, the expansion ports of the computer that consume a lot of power are sacrificed. Since one of the most consuming things is the transmission of data through a bus, even the RAM memory is chosen with this criterion in mind.
Not all Mini PCs are energy efficient, some use high-end notebook processors and may go north when it comes to power consumption. So it would be a contradiction to speak of low-power Mini PCs and propose a model that outperforms most non-gaming laptops.
What is the use of a low-power Mini PC?
First of all and we believe that it is clear to everyone is that you will not be able to use a Mini PC to play the latest generation of PC games, nor to move heavy programs. Their usefulness is limited to very simple and straightforward tasks and where they have gained the most strength for several years now is in businesses and offices where computers are on perpetually and without rest.
One thing that very few people are unaware of is that digital rights verification methods are done by remote servers, but these servers are a cluster of low-power Mini PCs. We can also talk about the game servers of certain MMOs. If you think that inside there is a powerful Intel Xeon or an AMD EPYC, let us tell you that it is not like that most of the time.
Although it is not only the consumption that is good that Mini PCs have, but the fact that many of them hardly generate noise. Which makes them excellent for certain jobs, especially if we work at night together, we want to use them to download files from the internet to store them on an external hard drive or, failing that, we want to use them for streaming. And it is that for certain tasks it is inefficient to place a PC that consumes more than 100 W of consumption.
The first PC on our list is an extremely light one, since it contains everything in only 700 grams of weight, not for this reason the processing of this low-power Mini PC falls short, since its main CPU is an AMD Ryzen 4700U based on an 8-core Zen but without the active SMT. Its CPU has a base speed of 2 GHz and a Boost of 4.1 GHz and has an integrated graphics with Radeon Vega architecture of 7 Compute Units.
As for RAM and storage we have 4 GB DDR4 and 64 GB of storage, which we can always expand through an external hard drive through its USB 3.0 port. It is a PC that surprises with surprising technical specifications and is ideal as a low-power PC to work with Windows.
Due to its integrated GPU, it is an ideal model for those retro fans who want to play games from systems of yesteryear on the PC without any performance problems. Its capacity is much higher than the rest of the systems on the rest of the list, but we are struck by how light it is and how little it consumes. It is so small that you can hide it in plain sight.
MINIX NEO Z83-4U
In the case that you prefer a low consumption Mini PC prepared for Linux, then this Minix Neo Z83-U is an excellent option since it comes with Ubuntu pre-installed in a 64 GB eMMC. However, it is much more modest than the previous model as it is based on an Intel Atom X5 with 4 cores. Hyperthreading is the main CPU at 1.92 GHz. Of course, it is a totally fanless model and the silence is total when making use of it and therefore it is ideal in environments in which we seek absolute peace or we know that silence can be totally annoying for our fellow human beings.
Raspberry Pi 400
Yes, we know that the Raspberry Pi 4 exists, but this model already has everything necessary to be used as a very low consumption PC. As well as coming with its particular Debian Linux flavor. It is the least powerful in the comparison, but for basic tasks it is more than enough and it is an ideal PC to teach children about computing and specifically how to move with Linux.
It is also ideal for electronic hobbyists thanks to its integrated GPIO port. If you are one of the people who likes to build electronic systems as a hobby or you are learning, the GPIO port of the Raspberry Pi is an indispensable tool and with the Raspberry Pi 400 you will not go broke at all due to its low price compared to most of computers.
Of course, keep in mind that it does not use an APU or SoC based on an x86 processor, so you will have to look for the applications for ARM. Of course, this ensures that it is the greenest of all compared to the other two models. Given that if there is an advantage that ARM has over x86, it is its lower consumption. And the thing is that for something they dominate the market for PostPC devices and you can also make use of the Rasbperry Pi ecosystem.