Ultra small form factor PCs or micro PCs as they are sometimes called are tiny versions of their traditional desktop counterparts. They are a great PC solution for anyone who is looking for a compact computer that’s capable of running mainstream applications without taking up much desk space. Ultra small form factor PCs usually come with all the ports and interfaces you need to connect them to keyboard, mouse, monitors and other peripherals. Entry level models can be affordable alternatives to full size desktop computers but there are also high specification micro PCs capable of running more demanding applications. Like any type of PC, ultra form factor PCs have their pros and cons which you should factor before deciding whether it makes sense to buy one. Let’s run through these briefly now.
Thanks to their small, space-saving dimensions, micro PCs are lightweight and highly portable. They are lighter than most laptops and are substantially easier to relocate in the event of a desk move for example than a big, bulky tower PC. Another benefit is their mountability; you can easily affix a micro PC to the back of a monitor, stick it on a shelf or on a wall bracket tucked out of the way. Cabling is often simpler and tidier because all connecting ports and slots are in such close proximity. Micro PCs also use less energy than full size computers thanks to their use of smaller, more energy efficient components.
Ultra small form factor PCs have less room for heat dispersal than bigger desktops so can get noticeably hotter, particularly when being worked hard. Their tiny size also means that you will be restricted in terms of upgrades and expansion capabilities - there’s only so much chassis available to house ports and slots. Micro PCs are not supplied with a monitor so if you don’t already have one, factor the additional cost required to purchase one.
Aside from their physical characteristics, there are a number of other considerations to evaluate before choosing an ultra small form factor PC including the type of processor, amount of RAM installed and storage capacity for example. For a more detailed breakdown, please consult our PC buying guide.