RT Cunningham

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My New Desktop Computer is a Mini PC

Tagged with computer monitor, desktop computer, google, laptop computer, linux, mini pc, raspberry pi, windows on May 28, 2024

Beelink Mini S12 Pro After I mentioned my laptop computer would become unusable (here), I removed the battery. Unfortunately, this particular model won’t boot up without it. I’m sure I’ll eventually get a new battery for it, but I have to find a reputable source. After much contemplation, I bought a Mini PC to use as my new desktop computer because I didn’t want another laptop computer.

I used my Raspberry Pi 400 as a desktop computer until the Mini PC arrived. Now, once again, I’m using it as a remote computer and Google Drive replacement. It’s headless, of course, and it can still serve as a decent backup computer. I’m using its HDMI to Mini-HDMI cable (without the Micro-HDMI adapter) and the portable computer monitor with the Mini PC.

Reading and Searching

I read a lot of forum posts at Reddit and various Linux forums for a full day (more than eight hours). The computer that kept coming up in conversations was the Beelink Mini S12 Pro. I logged into my Amazon.com account, which I rarely do when outside the United States, and searched for “mini pc”.

Sure enough, that particular Mini PC displayed as the “Overall Pick”, meaning it was rated 4+ stars, often purchased, and returned infrequently. There’s no way I would have bought it from Amazon.com and had it shipped to me in the Philippines. The delivery fee alone would have made it cost more than it’s worth.

Luckily, I was able to find it at the Lazada online store for even less than Amazon.com, with a very low delivery fee. Amazon.com wanted $199.00 for non-Prime members. I was able to buy the Mini PC as well as a wired keyboard and wired mouse for under $175.00 at the current foreign currency exchange rate. Since the cost was below 10,000 pesos, there wasn’t an import tax.

The Mini PC Specifications

These are the specifications and what it comes with:

I can’t use regular HDMI cables with my portable computer monitor, but I’ll hang onto them like I do with all my extra parts. I can’t mount the Mini PC to the back of the computer monitor (because of the stand), so I’ll be hanging onto the VESA mount as well.

Desktop Computer Operating Systems

The Mini PC came with Windows 11 Pro installed. After seeing that it booted up and everything worked, I deleted all the partitions and installed the Cinnamon Edition of Linux Mint. I intend to run this version of Windows in a virtual machine only. Speaking of virtual machines…

I don’t plan on running more than one operating system on bare metal. With 16 gigabytes of memory, I can easily run virtual machines when I require them.

Next Day Update and Review

While I was able to create a Windows virtual machine, I wasn’t able to activate it until I contacted Beelink (in China) for the product key. The customer service representative e-mailed it to me mere hours after I sent the message requesting it. I let Windows update and it only took an hour. I checked the device manager, and no extra drivers were required.

This Mini PC cost me less than half the price of the laptop computer I just retired, and it’s actually more powerful, using a fraction of the electricity. The laptop computer’s Wi-Fi adapter was never reliable, requiring a hack to make it connect at times. The Mini PC’s Wi-Fi adapter has connected almost immediately every time, through more than a dozen reboots.

I have yet to feel any heat coming from the Mini PC, and I have yet to hear the fan. Of course, I haven’t used any memory or disk intensive applications yet. Although there is room for a regular SSD or small form-factor HDD inside the case, I don’t intent to open it until something goes wrong. The way I use computers, that could take years.

I’m supposed to visit family in the United States next year. The Mini PC will fit inside the box the portable computer monitor came in, along with the portable computer monitor. I have a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse in another box. The inexpensive keyboard I bought at the same time as the Mini PC probably wouldn’t survive the trip.

Image by Amazon.com

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