Our picks for the best mini pc recommended for programming, python, coders, developers, engineers and IT pros needing to code and compile on the move.
Unlike bulky desktop towers, today’s mini computers pack the latest multicore CPUs, abundant RAM, fast SSD storage and plentiful connectivity in a super-small chassis comparable to a set-top box.
With their portable, space-saving designs and quiet operation, mini PCs are great for use within dorm rooms, small offices, labs, airplanes, DIY smart home projects and more.
In this comprehensive guide, we dive into the key specs and features to consider when buying a mini PC optimized for programming, development and coding. We compare the latest models from popular brands like Apple, Intel, ASUS, MSI, MINISFORUM, Beelink and more.
Models containing the newest Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors, Nvidia graphics, and ample DDR4/DDR5 RAM are covered to help devs pick the right mini computer within any budget.
Whether you need to code natively on MacOS, build cross-platform apps on Windows, utilize Linux for IoT, or leverage Python for ML projects, a mini PC can boost your coding productivity anywhere with its portable desktop-grade performance.
Let’s compare the top options across multiple price points and use cases to determine the best mini PC for your programming and development needs this year.
When choosing a mini PC for programming, key factors to consider are the processor, RAM, storage, connectivity, operating system support, and form factor. The latest generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors provide good performance for most programming needs. 16GB RAM is recommended for a smooth multitasking experience.
List of our recommended Best Mini PC For Programming
- MINISFORUM NPB7 : Overall Best mini PC for Programming
- Apple Mac Mini M2 : Best mini PC For Software Development
- MINISFORUM NAB5 : Best mini PC for Python
- Intel NUC 13 Pro NUC13ANHi7 : Best Mini PC for Code Compilation
- GEEKOM Mini IT12 : Best Budget Mini PC for Developers
- Beelink SER5 MAX : Best Mini PC for Gaming and Programming
1. MINISFORUM Venus NPB7 : Overall Best mini PC for Programming
The MINISFORUM Venus NPB7 is arguably the best mini PC currently for programming, with its With its powerful 13th Gen Intel Core i7-13700H processor. The 8-core, 16-thread processor delivers desktop-level performance with high clock speeds up to 5GHz.
The 32GB DDR5 RAM ensures smooth multitasking and quick loading times. The 512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD offers super fast read/write speeds. There are plenty of ports including 2 HDMI, 2 USB4, 4 USB 3.2, and 2 RJ45 LAN ports. Wireless connectivity is covered by WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. The compact chassis can lie flat or stand vertically to save desk space.
With its excellent performance, ample connectivity, and versatile design, the MINISFORUM Venus NPB7 is highly recommended for programming and development tasks.
2. Apple Mac Mini M2 : Best mini PC For Software Development
For Apple lovers, the Mac Mini M2 i considered the best mini pc for software development and coding tasks. Apple’s latest Mac Mini packs the new M2 chip which brings significant performance gains over previous generation Apple silicon. The 8-core CPU combined with 10-core GPU delivers up to 15x faster graphics performance compared to the Intel-based Mac Mini.
The 16GB unified memory results in fast performance and snappy loading times. The 1TB SSD offers plenty of fast storage for applications and files. Connectivity options include WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, and USB-A.
The compact aluminum unibody chassis looks great on any desk. macOS support and compatibility make the Apple Mac Mini M2 an excellent choice for iOS or macOS development. For other types of programming, dual booting or virtual machine software can be used to install Linux or Windows.
Overall, the Apple Mac Mini M2 is a powerful and portable mini PC suitable for programming workloads. The Apple silicon brings significant jumps in performance compared to previous Intel-based Macs.
3. MINISFORUM NAB5 : Best mini PC for Python
MINISFORUM’s NAB5 mini PC provides excellent value and performance for coding, code compiling and, programming on a budget. The 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12450H processor with 12 threads and max clock speed of 4.4GHz delivers smooth application performance.
16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD allow for fast multitasking and load times. Dual LAN ports, WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5.2 provide wired and wireless connectivity. The HDMI and USB ports allow connecting to peripherals and displays. The compact chassis is easily portable.
With its latest Intel performance, ample memory and storage, and small footprint, the MINISFORUM NAB5 is a great budget choice for programming tasks. It can handle IDEs, emulators, VMs, compilers easily for various programming needs.
4. Intel NUC 13 Pro NUC13ANHi7 : Best Mini PC for Code Compilation
Intel’s NUC mini PCs are renowned for their compact chassis housing desktop-level performance. The NUC13ANHi7 sports the powerful 12th Gen Core i7-1360P processor with 12-cores and 16-threads clocking up to 5GHz.
Being a barebones model, RAM and storage have to be configured separately. It supports up to 64GB DDR4 RAM and ample storage options. Connectivity is excellent with WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI 2.1, and plenty of USB ports.
The NUC13ANHi7 can handle demanding programming workloads including running multiple VMs and emulators smoothly. The chassis is compact and easily portable in a bag. With its outstanding performance and upgradability, the Intel NUC 13 Pro is highly recommended for programming uses.
5. GEEKOM Mini IT12 : Best Budget Mini PC for Developers
For excellent multi-core performance, the GEEKOM Mini IT12 is a great choice. It is powered by the 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12650H processor with 10 cores, 16 threads and max turbo clock of 4.7 GHz.
The 32GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD provide great multitasking capabilities and fast load times. Connectivity is covered by WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and 2.5G LAN. The chassis includes customizable RGB lighting.
With its high core count processor, ample RAM and fast storage, the GEEKOM Mini IT12 can run multiple demanding workloads simultaneously. It’s a top choice for programming uses like running IDEs, compilers, emulators, database servers, and VMs efficiently.
6. Beelink SER5 : Best Mini PC for Gaming and Programming
For excellent value, the Beelink SER5 MAX packs great specifications at an affordable price. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800H octa-core processor and Radeon graphics deliver superb performance for the price.
32GB DDR4 RAM enables smooth multitasking, while the 500GB NVMe SSD offers fast load times. Connectivity options include WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, HDMI, DP, USB-C, USB-A ports. The compact chassis has a versatile vertical/horizontal design.
With its fast AMD processor and ample RAM, the Beelink SER5 MAX provides excellent programming performance on a budget. It can be configured with Windows, Linux, or both for flexibility. Overall, it hits the sweet spot between price and performance.
Mini PCs provide desktop computer performance in a compact and portable form factor ideal for programming on the go. Important factors when choosing a mini PC for programming include a fast multi-core processor, sufficient RAM and storage, wireless capabilities, and abundant connectivity ports in a portable chassis.
The MINISFORUM Venus NPB7 is the best overall choice currently, packing the latest 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. Apple’s Mac Mini M2 is great for Apple-based development. Those on a budget can consider the MINISFORUM NAB5 or the excellent value Beelink SER5 MAX.
The Intel NUC 13 Pro and GEEKOM Mini IT12 are also great high-performance, portable choices for demanding programming workloads. Any of these mini PCs can boost your programming productivity while retaining portability.