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Mini PCs with Thunderbolt 4

mini pc tb4

Mini PCs are an excellent solution that bridges the gap between a full-size desktop PC and a laptop.

A full-size PC gets you scalability and high-end computing power. What’s more, you can hook up your choice of monitors. But they are large setups that occupy plenty of desk space. And it is unthinkable to carry one around when you are on the move.

On the other hand, a laptop offers unmatched portability and compactness. You can get an excellent set of specifications that provide good processing power. Although, this comes at the cost of convenience. Laptops with higher specifications tend to be heavy, making them difficult to carry for long durations. Also, laptops do not offer you the best in terms of the display screen. This is the reason why most gamers and content creators prefer desktop PCs.

But the Mini PC is a game-changer in its own right. It offers you the best of both worlds and is a cost-effective solution. They are tiny devices that fit your palm, making them portable. But most importantly, you get to use a monitor of your choice. Thus, you can conveniently travel with it, and it saves space at your workstation.

And now that Mini PCs with Thunderbolt 4 ports are available, you get blazing fast data transfers. This means you get more work done, quicker.

We have searched the market to bring you the Best Mini PCs with Thunderbolt 4 ports. This article will review each one and compare them to bring out their ideal use cases. Our buying guide will discuss the key factors to keep in mind when buying a Mini PC. And we will close by addressing some frequently asked questions about Mini PCs.

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast NUC11PHKi7C on Amazon
Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast NUC11PHKi7C CPU:  Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU:  GeForce RTX 2060
Storage:  1TB M.2 NVMe SSD
RAM:  32GB DDR4
Thunderbolt 4 Ports:  2
Back Panel:
1 x HDMI 2.0b port
1 x Thunderbolt 4 ports
1 x RJ-45
4 x USB 3.2 Gen2 port
1 x Mini DisplayPort 1.4
Front Panel:
1 x Thunderbolt 4 ports
2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 port
1 x SD Card Reader
1 x Audio Jack
Size:  142 x 42 x 220 mm
Buy on Amazon
Intel NUC 11 Extreme NUC11BTMi9 on Amazon
Intel NUC 11 Extreme NUC11BTMi9 CPU:  Intel Core i9-11900KB
GPU:  Intel Iris Xe
Storage:  Two M.2 Slots
RAM:  Max. 64GB DDR4
Thunderbolt 4 Ports:  1
Back Panel:
2 x Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 port
1 x SD Card Reader
1 x Audio Jack
Front Panel:
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Size:  477 x 324 x 221 mm
Buy on Amazon
Asus PN-80 on Amazon
Asus PN-80 CPU:  Intel Core i7-11700B
GPU:  Intel Iris Xe graphics
Storage:  512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
RAM:  16GB DDR4
Thunderbolt 4 Ports:  2
Back Panel:
2 x Thunderbolt 4
4 x USB 3.2 Gen2
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x Configurable Port
1 x RJ45 LAN
2 x Audio Jack
Front Panel:
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2
1 x Audio Jack
1 x 4 in 1 Card reader
Size:  200 x 200 x 60 mm
Buy on Amazon
Dell OptiPlex 7090 Ultra on Amazon
Dell OptiPlex 7090 Ultra CPU:  Intel Core i7 -1185G7
GPU:  Intel Iris Xe graphics
Storage:  256GB SSD
RAM:  16GB DDR4
Thunderbolt 4 Ports:  1
I/O Ports:
1 x DisplayPort
1 x Thunderbolt 4
3 X USB 3.2 Type-A
1 x USB 3.2 Type-C
1 x Gigabit Ethernet port
Size:  19.8 x 96.01 x 256 mm
Buy on Amazon
GMKtec Mini PC on Amazon
GMKtec Mini PC CPU:  Intel Core i5-1135G7
GPU:  Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage:  512 GB NVMe SSD
RAM:  16GB DDR4
Thunderbolt 4 Ports:  1
I/O Ports:
1 x Thunderbolt 4
4 x USB 3.2 Type-A
2 x HDMI 2.0
1 x Audio Jack
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
1 x Micro SD Card Slot
Size:  163 x 158 x 101 mm
Buy on Amazon
COOFUN DeskMini TH50 on Amazon
COOFUN DeskMini TH50 CPU:  Intel Core i5-11320H
GPU:  Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage:  256 GB NVMe SSD
RAM:  16GB DDR4
Thunderbolt 4 Ports:  1
Back Panel:
2 x RJ45 2.5
2 x USB 3.1 ports
2 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x HDMI port
1 x DisplayPort
Front Panel:
1 x Thunderbolt 4 port
2 x USB 3.1 ports
2 x 3.5mm jack (mic and audio)
Size:  180 x 179 x 123 mm
Buy on Amazon
MINISFORUM TL50 on Amazon
MINISFORUM TL50 CPU:  Intel Core i5-1135G7
GPU:  Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage:  512GB SSD
RAM:  16GB DDR4
Thunderbolt 4 Ports:  1
Back Panel:
2 x RJ45 2.5
2 x USB 3.0 Gen 2 ports
2 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x HDMI port
1 x DisplayPort
Front Panel:
1 x Thunderbolt 4 port
2 x USB 3.0 Gen 2 ports
2 x 3.5mm jack (mic and audio)
Size:  149 x 149 x 55mm
Buy on Amazon
gigabyte mini pc
Gigabyte BRIX PROCPU:  Core i3, i5, and i7
GPU:  Intel Iris Xe
Storage:  Two M.2 Slots
RAM:  Max. 64GB DDR4
Thunderbolt 4 Ports:  1
Back Panel:
1 x Thunderbolt 4
4‎ x HDMI 2.0
2 x USB 3.2
2 x RJ-45
Front Panel:
4 x USB 3.2
2 x 3.5mm jack (mic and audio)
Size:  196 x 44 x 140 mm
Check Price on Gigabyte

1. Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast NUC11PHKi7C – Mini PC with Mobile GPU

The NUC 11 is a versatile Mini PC. It offers an excellent set of specifications and comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. Thus, it delivers incredible video output suitable for gamers and content creators.

You can choose between a barebone or a fully-loaded PC. The fully loaded one is more expensive, but it saves you the hassle of tinkering with the kit. It comes with the Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor (4-Core, 12MB Cache, and up to 4.7GHz). Unlike the barebone version, the fully-loaded NUC 11 comes with 32GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB SSD storage.

Tech enthusiasts and DIY experts may prefer the barebone version. It comes with a dual-channel DDR4-3200 SODIMM slot for RAM. And for storage, you get the option of SATA3 or M.2 slots for PCIe x4 Gen3 NVMe.

All of this is packed in a black box that is slightly bigger than a VHS tape. The body has plenty of perforations that allow ventilation during peak performance. And there are some attractive albeit scary body graphics to enhance the device’s aesthetics.

Our Take

Gamers, Content Creator, and Tech enthusiasts will love the NUC 11. While gamers and content creators would find the high specifications helpful, DIY experts love customizability and scalability.

PROS
  • The high-end specification provides tremendous processing power
  • The compact design helps save space on your work desk
  • Plenty of I/O ports mean added connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 for high-speed wireless connectivity.
CONS
  • Price
  • No VESA mounting plate to attach it to the back of the monitor
  • Body graphics may have limited appeal

2. Intel NUC 11 Extreme NUC11BTMi9 – Mini PC with Desktop GPU Support

The NUC 11 Extreme offers you the freedom to have the GPU of your choice. Its form factor does not conform to a Mini PC, but it’s this form factor that provides the freedom.

The NUC 11 Extreme is a barebone PC. So, you have to invest in RAM and storage to be able to use it. But that is not all; it is a DIY PC, so you have to install them. Nevertheless, you get the Intel Core i9-11900KB processor (8-Core, 24MB Cache, and up to 4.90GHz). This promises to deliver top-notch processing power, whether for gaming, content creation, or work.

The body design follows a similar pattern to its sibling, the NUC 11 Enthusiast from Intel. It features an RGB backlit skull pattern that gives it a gaming feel. And the body is riddled with perforation to provide ventilation for the tremendous processing power.

Finally, the NUC 11 Extreme offers plenty of I/O ports for expansion. These include two Thunderbolt 4 ports, USB 3.1 Gen 2, and USB 2.0 ports. It also comes with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for high-speed wireless connectivity. And you also get a 2.5G Ethernet for how high-speed wired connections.

Our Take

The NUC 11 Extreme offers a great degree of customizability and scalability. You can choose the GPU, RAM, and storage to match your need. Thus, it even offers you tremendous flexibility upfront. However, its barebone nature may only find favor with users who are comfortable with building their computers.

PROS
  • Plenty of I/O ports mean added connectivity.
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • 2.5G Ethernet for wired high-speed LAN.
  • You can choose the GPU, RAM, and Storage to customize your PC
CONS
  • DIY design is not advisable for inexperienced users.
  • Price
  • Bulky design for a Mini PC; hence, it occupies more space on your desk.
  • The Thunderbolt 4 ports are placed on the rear panel, making them difficult to access.

3. Asus PN-80 – Multiple 8K Monitors

The Asus PN-80 is a power-packed Mini PC that offers either a dual-8K display or up to four 4K displays. It is perfect for users who need to work on multiple screens. With an HDMI, Thunderbolt 4, and a configurable DisplayPort setting up one of these monitor combinations is easy.

The PN-80 comes with the 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11700B processor (8-Core, 24MB Cache, and up to 4.8GHz). It also includes 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB M.2 PCIe G4 SSD storage. Therefore, you also get enough firepower to run any program in addition to excellent graphics.

Unlike its predecessors on this list, the PN-80 does not come with a dedicated GPU. Instead, you get the Intel Iris Xe integrated GPU. But you can use the Thunderbolt 4 ports and hook up an eGPU to play your favorite games.

In addition to the Thunderbolt 4, the PN-80 offers plenty of I/O expansion ports. These include USB-C 3.2 Gen2, USB-A 3.2 Gen2, and a 4-in-1 card reader. You get Wi-Fi 6E and an RJ-45 for wired high-speed LAN connections for internet connectivity.

The Asus PN-80 has a slightly bigger footprint than most Mini PCs. But this is because it conceals its power adapter in the PC’s body. So, it is convenient as you do not have to negotiate space for two devices.

Our Take

The Asus PN-80 is perfect for users who need a multiple-screen setup. It offers high-resolution for up to four screens, and it comes with enough processing power to do justice to all.

PROS
  • It supports dual-8K screens, ideal for content creators.
  • Plenty of I/O ports mean added connectivity.
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • The 8-Core processor delivers high-performance for the most demanding programs.
CONS
  • Expensive
  • Bulky design for a Mini PC; hence, it occupies more space on your desk.
  • No dedicated GPU means you have to invest in an eGPU that will cost more.

4. Dell OptiPlex 7090 Ultra– Attachable to the Monitor

The Dell OptiPlex 7090 Ultra is a unique computer. It conceals itself into a monitor stand and leaves no footprint on your work desk.

The computer comes with an Intel Core i7 -1185G7 processor (4-Core, 16MB Cache, and up to 3GHz). You also get 16GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD storage. Expectedly, you do not get a dedicated GPU because there isn’t enough space on the chassis. But you get the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics to take care of the basic graphics needs.

Its unique design allows you to slide the computer into a sleeve that becomes part of the main stand. But before you do that, you have to remember to attach all the cables before doing so. Otherwise, you will have to dismantle the stand each time you connect a cable.

Fortunately, the side panel features three expansion ports. These include a Thunderbolt 4, a USB-A, and an audio jack for easy access. The concealed ports include a DisplayPort, two USB-A 3.2, one USB-C 3.2, and one Gigabit Ethernet port.

Our Take

Dell offers you a good set of specifications to take care of your daily computing needs. The Dell OptiPlex 7090 Ultra is super compact and fits inside the included monitor stand. So, you do not bother with mundane details like creating space on your work desk. It helps remove the clutter, thereby increasing productivity by keeping your workstation clear of any distractions.

PROS
  • No footprint on your work desk means you get more space to work with.
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit Ethernet Port for high-speed network connectivity.
  • VESA mount for installing on a wall bracket.
  • Support up to four displays with DisplayPort.
CONS
  • Expensive
  • The ports are difficult to access because of their placement.
  • 256GB storage would be inadequate for most users.

5. GMKtec Mini PC – Daily and Office Use

We mentioned earlier that Mini PCs provide a cost-effective solution that bridges the gap between desktop PCs and laptops. The GMKtec Mini PC does just that and more.

It comes with an 11th Gen Intel TigerLake Core i5-1135G7 processor (4-Core, 8MB Cache, and up to 4.2GHz). Further, the processor gets support from 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD storage for quick processing. This would take care of most daily use and office use PCs.

The GMKtec Mini PC also offers Intel Iris Xe Graphics (1.3GHz Max Dynamic Frequency). This supports up to three displays with [email protected] using the HDMI2.0 port or [email protected] with the Thunderbolt 4 ports.

The PC features a compact design and offers a wide variety of expansion ports. These include USB 3.2, HDMI2.0, a microSD card reader, and one Thunderbolt 4 port.

Our Take

The GMKtec Mini PC offers fantastic value for money. It delivers tremendous utility with the multiple screen display and specifications that ensure great utility. Thus, it is ideal for home and home-office use.

PROS
  • The compact design helps save space on your work desk
  • Plenty of I/O ports mean added connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 for high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • Support for three displays with [email protected] using the HDMI2.0 port or [email protected] with the Thunderbolt 4 ports.
CONS
  • Only one Thunderbolt 4 port means you need to use a hub.
  • The mid-range specifications are not suitable for gaming.

6. COOFUN DeskMini TH50 – Budget Mini PC

The Coofun DeskMini TH50 is among the most affordable Mini PC you can buy that comes with a Thunderbolt 4 port. But affordable does not mean that you get a box that does nothing. For its price, the TH50 offers unmatched features and utility.

For starters, you get an Intel Core i5 -11320H Processor (4-Core, 8MB Cache, and up to 4.5GHz). The TH50 also offers 16GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD storage. However, there is a variant with a 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD priced at a slight premium. Alternately, you have the option to expand using the SATA slot.

The DeskMini offers plenty of ports for expansion on its front and rear panel. You get the Thunderbolt 4, USB-A 3.1, and 3.5mm jacks for a mic and headphones on the front panel. In comparison, the back panel has RJ45, USB 3.1, USB 2.0, HDMI, and DisplayPort.

Our Take

The DeskMini offers excellent value for money. It provides a good selection of expansion ports and comes with a function set of specifications for office and home use. Hence, if you have never used a Mini PC and would like to try it out, the DeskMini is a worthy contender.

PROS
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 for high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • 2.5G Ethernet for wired high-speed LAN.
  • Excellent value for money.
  • The compact design helps save space on your work desk
  • Support 3-screen output with Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, and DisplayPort
CONS
  • The mid-range specifications are not suitable for gaming.
  • 256GB storage would be inadequate for most users.

7. MINISFORUM TL50 – Good Selection of Ports

The TL50 offers a great selection of ports and ensures that you get plenty of each kind. Where most other Mini PCs offer just an HDMI port, the TL50 comes with an HDMI and a DisplayPort. You also get to use the Thunderbolt 4 port for display purposes.

Minisforum offers the TL50 with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor (4-Core, 8MB Cache, and up to 4.2GHz). It also gives you 16GB RAM and 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD storage. And the graphics are integrated with Intel Iris Xe Graphics. Thus, it is not ideal for gaming, but you have enough firepower to handle most software and use cases.

Finally, you get a wide selection of ports that cater to diverse needs. These include Thunderbolt 4, USB-A 3.1, USB 2.0, 3.5mm jack, and RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet ports. And there are multiple of each kind so that you do not fall short of connecting all your peripheral devices.

Our Take

The TL50 offers an excellent selection of expansion ports. Therefore, it is the best mini pc when you have plenty of peripheral devices to connect to your PC.

PROS
  • A wide selection of ports promises a comprehensive computing experience.
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 for high-speed wireless connectivity.
  • 2.5G Ethernet for wired high-speed LAN.
  • HDMI, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt 4 ports allow up to three screens.
CONS
  • The mid-range specifications are not suitable for gaming.
  • You cannot upgrade the soldered RAM.

8. Gigabyte BRIX PRO  – Barebone Mini PC

The Gigabyte Brix Pro is a barebone Mini PC. Hence, you get the benefit of customizing it to your need. With this flexibility, you also benefit from scalability to start small and upgrade as you need to grow.

The Brix Pro comes with the 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor (4-Core, 12MB Cache, and up to 4.8GHz). However, you have to choose the RAM and storage module. The RAM slots feature two dual-channel SO-DIMM that allows for up to 64GB DDR4 RAM. For storage, you get two M.2 slots. One each for PCIe Gen4x4 and PCIeGen3x4.

The design features a modest black box with minimal design elements for pleasing aesthetics. Thanks to the stand that comes with the PC, you can place it vertically to save space around your workstation.

For I/O ports, the PC comes with Thunderbolt 4 and USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports. There are four HDMI2.0a ports to connect the 4K displays simultaneously. And you even get two Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired high-speed network connectivity. For wireless connectivity, the Brix Pro offers Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

Our Take

The Gigabyte Brix Pro is an excellent choice for users who have experience building their PCs. It offers customizability and scalability that allows you to start small and upgrade when the need arises.

PROS
  • You can customize the RAM and Storage selections.
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed network connectivity
  • The 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor offers excellent computing power.
  • HDMI ports support up to four 4K displays.
CONS
  • Only one Thunderbolt 4 port placed on the rear panel is difficult to access.
  • No support for a dedicated GPU for gaming.

Best Mini PCs with Thunderbolt 4 – Our Buying Guide

Here are some essential factors you must consider when buying a Mini PC with Thunderbolt 4

System Specifications

The system specifications are the most crucial factor when you want to buy any computer. The CPU, RAM, and Storage are the three pillars of a computer’s performance.

A computer with an Intel Core i5 CPU, 16GB RAM, and 512GB storage is perfect for everyday office tasks. These tasks could include working on spreadsheets, making presentations, sending emails, and whatnot. Thus, the Mini PCs from GMKtec, Coofun, and Miniforum are an excellent choice.

But if you need a computer for content creation or gaming, you will need far more processing power. Both the Mini PCs from Intel offer you tremendous computing power. But the NUC 11 Extreme holds an advantage that allows you to customize the RAM and storage.

Expansion Ports

A Mini PC with plenty of expansion ports will allow you to connect all your peripheral devices with ease.

Look for Mini PCs that offer expansion ports on the front panel. These are handy if you often use USB drives, headphones, or SD cards.

GPU

If you are an avid gamer and intend to play the latest games, look for Mini PCs with GPU cards. Like the NUC 11 Extreme, some allow you to customize the rig with your choice of GPU. For day-to-day productivity, the integrated GPU offered by the processor should be more than enough.

Dimension

The most significant reason anyone considers buying a Mini PC is that they are compact. Some manufacturers try to pass off small desktop PCs as Mini PCs. Therefore, you must remain firm on the dimension you seek. The Mini PCs from GMKtec, Coofun, and Miniforum have the smallest footprint. Alternately, you can install the Gigabit Brix Pro vertically to reduce its footprint.

Best Mini PCs with Thunderbolt 4 – Frequently Asked Questions

Can I play games on a Mini PC?

It depends on the game you want to play. You can easily play games that do not require your computer to have a dedicated GPU.

Some Mini PCs come with or allow you to install a GPU card. Alternately, you may like to explore using an eGPU for advanced games. But, due to the small form factor, the GPU will be harder to cool and lose some of its performance. If you’re looking for the most FPS out of your gaming rig, you should get a regular desktop instead.

Do all Mini PCs come with Thunderbolt ports?

There are plenty of Mini PCs on the market. Unfortunately, not all of them offer a Thunderbolt port. Out of the ones that do, more Mini PCs offer Thunderbolt 3.

Should I get a Barebones Mini PC or a fully kitted one?

That depends on your experience and need. Firstly, you must not consider a barebone Mini PC if you do not have experience in building your PCs. It can be an overwhelming experience; you will wish that you hadn’t made this mistake.

Secondly, if no available Mini PC meets the specifications you desire, you must consider a barebone Mini PC. A barebone PC will give you the flexibility of choice to configure your rig. But please keep in mind that the small form factor of the device means that you need to do some measurements and planning before buying the new PC components.

Will traveling with my Mini PC damage it?

Traveling with your mini PC should be fine, but if you’re using a model that has a dedicated GPU, it is recommended to remove it while traveling long distances. The GPU is heavy and can be damaged in transit if left plugged into the PCI-E port.

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