If you’re thinking about a new computer for working from home, you’re probably thinking about a laptop. But why? Laptops were designed for portability, not desk duties. They are ergonomically inappropriate, with small screens that force you to bend down because they are not at eye level. And if you work from home anyway, why pay for a battery that will wear out while it sits there?
Allow me to advocate a mini PC, the modern alternative to the bulky desktop towers of yesteryear. For a very reasonable price, you can get a powerful machine that works with your choice of monitor, mouse and keyboard — peripherals that provide the convenience that’s so important when you’re stuck at your desk.
I tested one such system, the Geekom IT8 Mini PC, and let me proceed with the verdict: It’s great. I’ll explain why below, but first there’s a deal worth mentioning: For a limited time, the Geekom IT8 Mini PC drops to $398 when you clip the 25% off coupon on the page and then apply the promo code 06DJ4P9Q at the checkout. This applies to the top configuration with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB solid state drive (SSD). Regular price: $450.
Geekom IT8 Mini PC design and features
Preloaded with Windows 11 Pro, the IT8 packs a significant amount of hardware into its 117 x 112 x 45.6mm frame — which, I should mention, can be mounted to the back of most monitors using an included VESA bracket. This is a great option as it keeps the system out of sight and reduces desktop cable clutter. It also makes accessing the ports more difficult, but the IT8 is easy to pop on and off the dock as needed.
The configuration I tested includes an Intel Coffee Lake Core i5 processor and, as mentioned above, 16GB of RAM and a capacious SSD. Surprisingly, there’s room inside for additional RAM (up to 32GB total) and even a traditional 2.5-inch SATA hard drive, in case you want more storage. Opening the case is as simple as removing four screws.
Although I didn’t run benchmarks on the system (I test using real-world situations), the system booted up in a flash and ran my software at a healthy clip. If you’re someone who likes to keep more than a dozen browser tabs open, the IT8 can handle that without breaking a sweat.
In terms of graphics, the integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 subsystem can handle up to 4K screen resolution. It can get bogged down if you’re doing some really complex image or video editing work, but I found I could play the classic Borderlands PC game in full HD. In other words, this might not be a graphics powerhouse, but it can handle the basics just fine. In fact, the system supports up to four separate displays, using a combination of HDMI, mini-DisplayPort and USB-C ports.
I paired it with just one, the excellent Innocn 27C1U 27-inch monitor, along with a wireless mouse/keyboard combo. The latter relies on a tiny USB dongle, but that wasn’t a problem because the IT8 serves three USB Type-A and two Type-C ports. It also has an SD memory card slot and a headphone jack.
If there’s a hardware flaw, it’s the implementation of Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6 is the newest standard, but it’s unlikely to be a problem for most users. The system also lacks a built-in speaker, so you’ll need to look for an external option (monitor, headphones, Bluetooth speakers, etc.).
Geekom IT8 Mini PC: Worth Buying?
If portability isn’t your concern (ie, you don’t need a laptop), I definitely recommend the Geekom IT8 — especially if you can get it for $398 with the aforementioned code and coupon. Even at $450, it’s a solid deal. Yes, you have to BYO a monitor and keyboard, but that’s a good thing: You can choose larger, more comfortable ones that better fit your work-from-home setup.
Honestly, I tried to find something wrong with this computer. It’s well equipped right out of the box, but has room for expansion. It’s powerful enough for everyday computing tasks and even gaming. And it’s refreshingly small, not threatening even the busiest of offices at all.