A mini desktop computer is similar to a regular computer but with one major change: the size of the tower, or the unit where all the software is held. Many desktop computers, especially those that run Windows®, have large tower hardware units that make it difficult to fit the computer into a small space and make the computer much heavier. A smaller tower means less weight and a desktop computer than can be used in a cramped space. While many Macintosh® computers have the hard drive and operating system stored in the monitor unit itself, they still offer a mini desktop computer unit. Mini towers usually offer slightly less power than standard towers because there is less room for stronger components.
The word "mini" in the term "mini desktop computer" does not refer to the size of the monitor, because the monitor’s size can be the same as with a regular computer. Instead, this refers to the tower’s size. The tower is the hardware unit on Windows®-based desktop computers that holds the hard drive and contains all the software and operating system information. Usually the tower is a large, rectangular unit. A mini computer uses either a cubed tower or a slimmer tower.
With Macintosh® computers, a mini desktop computer refers to a small unit that acts as a tower. Normally these computers have all the hardware and software stored in the monitor. The mini unit allows users to swap out different monitors or keyboards, while still using the same software and information. The advantage is not so much about weight or size but about allowing the user to move around with the mini unit and connect it to in different areas.
The main advantage of a mini desktop computer is its size. Users with cramped areas will find it difficult to install a full-size tower or may find the tower to be bulky and obtrusive. By using a mini unit, the tower can fit in much smaller spaces. The weight is also less, making it is easier to move the computer if the user is moving or wants to install the computer somewhere else in the house or office.
The main disadvantage of a mini desktop computer is its power. A smaller tower means there is less room for more powerful parts, and fewer parts can be installed overall. The effect on the power is rather low, so most users will not see a drastic change. Users of intensive programs, such as games or powerful mathematics programs, will notice the lower output more than other users.