The world's most practical PC.
Configurations A-C are best suited for software that accesses the disk less often. For example: businesses that primarily make use of one software package and where that software package spends most of its time talking through a LAN rather than to its disk. This scenario is very common. Even if this isn't your scenario, the SATA SSD is still way better than a hard drive at fixing the PC bottlenecks, and that also makes these configurations a good choice if money is an issue.
The highest-value configurations for a multitude of standard uses are D through H. If you plan on using your PC for a lot of different things, where some of the software is relatively demanding, then these PC's are the best value.
If you absolutely must have the most power, then I and J are the way to go. This will be the case in very high-end CAD projects requiring more than 50 objects per drawing. Or some of the cutting-edge games. Or a relatively busy server. Intel's i9 CPU is at the pinnacle of all technological effort in 14nm miniaturization. Any additional improvements from here (in 14nm) will be minor.
It is important to realize that in a Coffee Lake Refresh CPU, the i3 is actually quite powerful. In older platforms it was considered the low-end CPU, but with Coffee Lake Refresh it has twice as many cores, and it has turbo. This CPU really performs.
There's an important shift in thinking that takes awhile for most people to get: to place within the PC those parts necessary to general processing only. Then outside, the power supply and all other devices. This results in a PC that is unlikely to ever need servicing. For example: let's suppose you decide later to add BluRay capability. Simply order it and plug it into a USB port. No servicing required.
Another shift in thinking is to not hide planned obsolescence, but to rather make visible the mechanisms that cause it, and to pre-install a good solution. The most significant processing bottleneck: 1 queue depth random read. In layman's terms, that is the bottleneck where software is trying to read multiple file locations quickly and can't catch up. A few experts here and there know how to fix it. However, we configure our PC's in advance with our fix.
One thing everyone wants is more for their money. So, marketers are accustomed to boiling this tendency down to simple metrics that everyone understands. Such as a larger drive. And this is where intuition gets in the way of objectivity. Drives now hold so much space that only the most demanding PC users need to be concerned about their size. Most people will never fill their drive during the lifespan of their computer. Our solution to the PC bottlenecks calls for a special drive that costs quite a bit more. So we install these smaller yet far faster drives. In fact our drives are crazy fast. And we're not comparing SLC's like everyone else, ours are crazy-fast on the real-world tests. Why do we go to this extreme? Drive speed is one of those things that requires cutting-edge to correctly balance out the objectives. If you need more space then you might consider a USB drive for archival purposes. Then make use of our uber fast internal drive for programs.PC Tips
Intel Coffee Lake Refresh i3-9100(3.6GHz)/i5-9600(3.1/4.6GHz)/i9-9900(3.1/5.0GHz) CPU, 4/8/16/32GB DDR4-2666 RAM, 120/240/500GB/1/2TB/4TB SSD, Intel 4K UHD iGPU, 4x USB3, 2x USB2, DisplayPort, HDMI 1.4, 2 Year Warranty
CPU: 3.6/3.1(4.3)/3.1(5.0)GHz Intel Coffee Lake Refresh i3-9100/i5-9600/i9-9900 CPU
Platform: Coffee Lake Refresh (9th gen)
OS: Any PC Operating System
PC Type: Mini-ITX Form Factor Mini/Tower/Desktop/Portable/VESA
Size: 2.36" high x 7.48" wide x 8.07" long
RAM: 4/8/16/32GB DDR4-2666 RAM (highest non-overclock Coffee Lake Refresh speed)
Storage: 120/240/480GB SATA or 500GB/1/2/4TB NVMe SSD (this is your drive C:)
GPU: integrated UHD iGPU (handles 4K resolution at 60Hz via DisplayPort)
PSU Type: External 135w
Audio: 8-channel High Definition Audio
USB: 4x USB 3.0 (aka USB 3.1 gen 1), 2x USB 2
LAN: 1 Gigabit Realtek
Despite its small size, The Mini can be expanded way beyond what most people would think possible: up to 63TB internal storage and up to 32GB RAM (uber-fast DDR4). And it can be configured with the world's fastest consumer grade CPU: Intel's i9-9900. This is a 9th generation Coffee Lake Refresh CPU. It's raw core speed surpasses that of AMD's brand new 7nm Ryzen 9. You'd think AMD's advances in miniaturization would make it faster than Intel, right?
This is our flag-ship PC in support of a unified PC standard for all markets. It works with all PC operating systems (including Windows 10 and 7). It is strategically designed for a wide range of software requirements and uses, ordinary home and office environments, harsh industrial and moist environments, machine control, remote operation, servers, security, travel, educational, entertainment, gaming and scientific.
It is what a PC should be: one standard for all purposes.
It includes Intel's UHD 630 integrated graphics, which displays 4K video/graphics at a full 60Hz, in 16 million colors. It includes Intel's Quicksync, which is the highest-value API allowing video encoding/decoding all the way up to a 10-bit color depth. It includes 4x USB3, 2x USB2, Gigabit LAN, 8-Channel Surround Sound, a DisplayPort, HDMI, keyboard and mouse connectors. And a license to access the world's most advanced motherboard support program: CSM, which includes a technical support hotline, and IT grade device management software.
This PC can function as a desktop, as a mini-tower, can mount on the wall, behind your monitor, or on a book shelf, and it can be packed into a travel case along with a 27" 4K monitor, plus full-sized keyboard and mouse.
The Mini is a high powered PC. We make use of Intel's 14nm Coffee Lake Refresh (9th gen), which when you count all the features is lightyears ahead of Sky Lake (6th gen) and Kaby Lake (7th gen). We have selected the optimal highest-value buy at the low, medium and high-end of Coffee Lake Refresh. Here's how to select the right CPU.
In choosing the right amount of RAM, it is very important to error on the high side. RAM is now quite cheap, and quite fast. Plus it is a part of our solution to the #1 PC Bottleneck. Getting this right helps to prevent the PC from getting slower over time.
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Every part inside The Mini was sourced from the most reliable parts in the world. The motherboard is trusted in a variety of extreme industrial conditions, and with an ultra low return rate. It includes special treatments, coatings, redundant circuitries, and special technologies, all focused on making it last. And to prove their point, the manufacturer of this motherboard supplies a free license to access the most advanced motherboard technical support program in the world: CSM.
The Silver Bullet PC is unusual in that it has not abandoned the notion of a standard PC. It lets you use any PC operating system (including Windows 10 and 7). Normally, you'd have to go back to an older CPU platform. But We've solved each of the challenges in the way. In fact, Intel's i9-9900 is considered the world's fastest consumer grade CPU, and it runs just fine on The Mini. This really is the sweet-spot between all objectives to a practical PC.
The Mini includes two SATA3 connectors. But with the NVMe M.2 there's not much use for these anymore. The Mini can handle one of Samsung's revolutionary 31TB NVMe "fat M.2" SSD's, which is about 20x faster than a hard drive and way more space than 99.99% of the population would ever know what to do with. But if you really want to, you could also add two 16TB SATA SSD's. That gives you a total of 63TB internal storage. Yes, 63TB internal storage in a PC just under 8" x 8" x 2".
Special software is included, that manages devices, fans, drivers, remote support, security, and BIOS upgrades. If security is important to you, then this software gives you control. It gets into the logging, meta-data and firmware updates for each device. And this is especially important if you have decided to not make use of Windows Update. The software can be used to manage just the one PC, or to remotely manage the devices to many PC's. It includes its own technical support hotline.
We make strict use of premium grade DDR4 memory modules from Crucial (40 years experience in computer memory). DDR4 memory is way faster than DDR3. This super speed memory is faster yet if you select at least 16GB during checkout, because we will then put two modules in parallel. The exact product number that we choose for your PC is on Crucial's list of products that they guarrantee works with this exact motherboard. There are technical nuances that make this important. This RAM is faster, cheaper, and more reliable than anything on Earth prior to a few years ago. (the industry has changed a lot)
The power supply is external. There are several key advantages swinging a highest-value decision in this direction. It keeps the heat on the outside, provides more space to work with inside, is easier to source from larger pools of good customer reviews (laptop psu replacements), is pain-free to replace, and to top it all off the motherboard we put in The Mini is equipped with ingenious circuitry eliminating the need for a receiving board on the inside. Just plug it in and it goes.
We include two USB 3.0 (aka USB 3.1 Gen 1) ports in the rear, and two more USB 3.0 ports in front. USB 3.0 is the de facto standard to connect your devices, and can easily convert to nearly every additional standard in existence by adding a low-cost adaptor. This is the standard you want in a practical PC. Our definition of practical: is to rapidly connect, and form a stable fast connection to an external device. These ports are capable of up to 5Gb/s each, which is fast enough for everything most people will ever do. And can charge a smartphone. We do not include the cutting-edge USB 3.1 (aka USB 3.1 Gen 2), or Type-C. Until Type-C includes all of its slated technologies, it is not a good idea to add this port to a PC. In all likelihood it will confuse people that don't know which device will work with it. Someday, maybe 3-4 years from now they will have all the technologies together on the same controler chip, making it user-centric, and then it may have some practical value.
As people buy more PC's for more uses, they are then more easily convinced to use the cloud to backup and transport all their private data from one PC to the next as they move between environments, which we now know puts all that data at risk. With security threats Sceptre & Meltdown threatening nearly every cloud service and PC on the planet, and an unknown time to wait for full patches from Intel & AMD, it is now more important than ever to not trust cloud services, and to manage your own solution. One solution would be a desktop PC so small that you could easily take it with you and avoid the cloud altogether. Our travel kit makes this quite easy. And the BIOS-to-CPU patching process necessary to these special security patches is included with our PC. more on security.
The fans were carefully chosen to work well and to last a long time. Generally these last 5-10 years in normal use. However, The Mini runs cool most of the time, stretching their lifespan more. And the fan is a true 4-pin PWM fan that BIOS can automatically control, runs at low RPM when little air flow is necessary, and up to 5500 RPM when/if necessary. At the low end we install genuine Intel ball bearing fans that Intel trusts with their millions of CPU's. And at the high-end we install genuine Sunan ball bearing fans. This is the same fan Dell uses. Don't be fooled into using sleeve bearings. They are the most popular yet tend to wear out the fastest and create a loud wine.
Intel's iGPU now produces 16 million vibrant colors and up to 4K resolution graphics over the HDMI and DisplayPort connectors. It even includes Intel's most recent refinement, pushing the refresh speed to the highly desirable 60Hz at 4K resolution (over the DisplayPort connector). Shrinking all this capability down into a corner of the CPU means the entire PC can be made much smaller, taking less power, and producing less heat.
The Mini comes equipped with a 2-lane PCIe Express 3.0/2.0 type 2280 M.2 port. This is a very special port that handles the next generation high-speed NVMe devices. In the configuration drop-down be sure to select a configuration that includes an NVMe M.2 SSD. This is one new technology of tremendous practical importance, because it means files are found, read, and written to/from disk far faster (roughly 20x faster than a hard drive). The ordinary SSD's at the top of the list will still give you 5x.
The fastest consumer grade SSD in the world has a sustained sequential speed of 900MB/s. This is easily handled by just 2 lanes.
We do not include 16-lanes, as these cost more and only produce a benefit until the SLC fills up (which can be almost immediately). Its a hype feature that the entire world continues to compare, when it does nothing for a real-world benchmark.
Any parallel capabilility beyond an SSD's sustained speed is pointless if its SLC cache is too small. And manufacturers rarely talk about the size of their SLC cache, so that they can later make it even smaller to control costs. Speeds resulting from their SLC numbers look good on glossy brochures, but they do not reflect real world scenarios, which depend instead on sustained (non-SLC) speeds.
Of course we source the world's fastest consumer grade NVME, and it does have a very big very fast SLC, along with a tremendously fast sustained speed. When it comes to drive I/O, we install only the very best, because that is a top priority objective in a Silver Bullet PC.
Some people may be looking for a PC that works with their very old monitor. If this is the case, first check to see that it has either an HDMI connector or DisplayPort connector, because The Mini requires one of these two connectors. It does not include the very old 15-pin VGA connector. For this connector you'll have to buy The Standard instead.
This computer is NOT designed to overclock. XMP is turned off. If you are looking for true value then you should think twice before deciding to overclock your PC. You may inadvertently void up to 4 warranties. A very large percentage of computer ads are focused on making overclocking look cool to gamers. Think that through a bit.
Here's an analogy: think of an overclocked PC like you would a speed boat on nitrous. It will go faster, and it will burn out sooner. Now ask yourself, what if you bought a speed boat with the next larger engine and didn't use nitrous? Hmmm... You'd get the added speed, but it would last longer! I'm sure you're getting this by now.
Our SSD's come in two grades: SATA3 & NVME M.2. The SATA3 SSD's were carefully chosen to have all the right qualities: super low priced, super reliable, and as close as possible to the maximum speed for a SATA3 drive (about 550MB/s). It is easy to confuse the numbers. SATA3 is limited to 6Gb/s (that's: "gigabit per second", not "gigabyte per second"). However, NVMe is a special technology that allows chips to operate in parallel, resulting in a storage technology 20x faster at sequential reads and writes than a hard drive.
So, what about reliability? There are different SSD technologies, but their reliability generally varies by only 5x relative to each other. So, what really matters is a special algorithm called "overprovisioning". This algorithm literally trades storage space for more reliability. This is the magic trick any SSD manufacturer can use to make their product more reliable. As a consumer you can look at how far below a power of two their product size lands, then figure the difference was the number assigned to the overprovisioning algorithm. For example, Hyundai sells a 480GB product, while the nearest power of two is 512GB. Therefore, we know that 32GB was assigned to overprovisioning, making it very reliable regardless of the underlying SSD technology. More expensive SSD manufacturers will push their advanced technologies as reason to buy their product, but the reliability side is not that important when considering this algorithm. So it only makes sense to pay more for more speed (and as we explain elsewhere, it is the sustained speed that matters, not the SLC). Lastly, 5 year warranties are now the norm for an SSD. There is no reason to consider an SSD with less than that.
Why not Intel's Optane? This is a different SSD technology that is far better at single queue random 4K than the other SSD's. It is 6x faster at this than a hard drive, or 4x faster at this than the fastest NVMe SSD's. However, the price is way too high for most people to use it as a storage medium (an Optane SSD can cost thousands of dollars), therefore, the only affordable way to use it is as an accelerator. As an accelerator it is used to speed up a hard drive or SSD. But this direction has been trumped by ultra-low priced RAM and an OS cache that can quickly flush/reload to an NVMe SSD. This combination of features allows any OS with a good cache design to radically boost storage speed, pushing out of the picture any advantages to an Optane accelerator. With cheap RAM prices Optane becomes more of a niche product, specifically for high-end servers.
During checkout you may choose to have no OS ("none"), Win7, or Win10 for us to preload and test. You may license the OS at any time.