NUC Mini PC vs. Laptop – What to Choose?

I. Choose a product that offers performance and scalability.

II. Ask yourself how much and what type of I/O connectivity do I need?

III. Do you need a computer that allows post-purchase, expandability options like drives, memory, and discrete graphics?

Should I Choose a NUC or Laptop?

If you want a space-saving desktop in your office, choose between a Mini PC such as the Nfina NUC or a Laptop to fulfill your computing needs. Both offer plenty of power in small form factors, but there are considerable differences, and depending on the applications, users should take note before making a choice. An i9 NUC will have higher clock speed on its processor than a laptop’s processor just due to slot differences.

Footprint: NUC Mini PC vs. Laptop

Nfina’s NUC, measuring 14” x 7” x 3”, mounts directly to the back of a monitor or can sit on your desk next to your monitor. Standard laptops measure 14” x 11” x .8” but users relegate themselves to a smaller keyboard and screen or external add-ons. Nfina’s NUC allows for a full-size keyboard and multiple display ports that support up to three monitors at higher resolutions than the typical laptop.

Cooling Factors & USB Ports

A laptop running an Intel Core i9 processor will generally output more heat than the Nfina NUC running the same processor. Laptops by design, have less cooling surface available, while the NUC has active (large heatsinks and fans) and passive cooling systems in their small form factor.

Another notable difference is limited to the laptop form factor; the USB bus will always be smaller, usually leading to daisy chaining or one too many USB adapters. The Nfina NUC Mini PC, however, comes standard with eight USB ports and two Thunderbolt ports that can fit any business needs without extra clutter.

Integrated LAN & Wi-Fi

Nfina’s NUCs come standard with 10Gb LAN, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2. Many laptops today do not offer an Ethernet connection, only have one port, or must connect via Wi-Fi only. With an additional PCIE network card, the i9 nuc can become a powerful and compact windows server.

Expandability & Scalability

Laptops generally come preassembled with all components required to operate properly, as do most NUC builds. The difference between a NUC vs laptop is that a prebuilt laptop may not give you the option for customizing to meet your needs now and in the future.

Many laptops today have room to be modified, but that does not even come close to the caliber of modification one could do with the NUC package. The i9 NUC supports up to three internal drives that are upgradeable over time, unlike many laptops that are factory ordered to a set capacity and unable to swap out.

If your laptop is not up to the task of rendering, you might be able to change the GPU, but you will be resigned to a laptop series card, which is less powerful and capable than the full-size counterpart. One could change out the video card in a NUC for a more powerful, faster unit that any laptop video card series can provide, allowing for faster rendering and drafting that would bottleneck a laptop.

Upgrading the RAM on a laptop computer is often challenging, more expensive, or may not even be an option. The NUC, however, is easily customizable and upgradable to 64GB of memory.

Benefits of Nfina’s NUCs

Although Nfina’s NUCs with Intel Core i9 processors are somewhat portable, you must have access to power, an external monitor, and a keyboard as opposed to the full mobility of a laptop.

All in all, Nfina’s NUCs far exceed the laptop when it comes to business applications looking for a small form factor computer.

  • Dual NIC cards added into a i9 NUC can be a powerful and compact windows server
  • Mini PC footprint allows for monitor VESA mounting or desktop
  • I/O specifications far exceed that of a laptop offering 8 USB, 2 Thunderbolt, and an Integrated 10GB LAN
  • NUCs come with integrated graphics and support full-size discrete GPUs
  • Expandability and scalability far exceed that of a laptop when it comes to RAM, drives, graphics cards, and PCIe expansion ports

These factors combined tends to position the i9 NUC as a more powerful option as a small business workstation, iOT, or edge device over a laptop. 

Despite their size, all these machines are capable Windows® PCs. But when it comes to compact computers, Intel® continues to lead the way with its NUC line.

Contact us today to learn more about our NUC Mini PCs.

Nfina Eco Friendly Logo

At Nfina, our Eco-Friendly Solutions make it easy for our customers to achieve a lower carbon footprint and play a positive role in bringing about a sustainable future. We design technologies and products to help people understand their impact and actions better.

Nfina’s Hybrid Cloud and Hyperconverged solutions provide energy efficiency by using high-density, lower-power VMs enabling our customers to scale their digital transformations sustainably by optimizing space, reducing power consumption, and lowering cooling and maintenance costs. Nfina is taking a leadership role in doing what it takes to tackle climate change.

Nfina has been carbon neutral for our operations since opening in 2012.