Mini PCs as a console replacement
Christmas is approaching – and is likely to be a disappointment for many gamers, or rather: it may not be quite as beautiful as hoped for in summer. On the one hand, this is of course due to the corona pandemic, but what we are getting at as a games website is gaming hardware. How much were many looking forward to the new Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X, or to one of the new Nvidia RTX or AMD RX 6800 graphics cards? Or, in general, on a new PC or a new graphics card, be it bought yourself or as a gift under the Christmas tree?
But none of this will work for the majority of gamers. Affordable gamer graphics cards have become an absolute scarce commodity, regardless of the performance class.
The new game consoles Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X are hard to come by for the foreseeable future and were sold out when pre-ordered. Some AMD CPUs are also affected by a lack of availability or at least a noticeable price increase. All of these things also influence our special, which we actually planned quite differently. Because a normal PC purchase advice was planned, in which the PCs serve as console replacements and are therefore particularly compact. Because with the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X it was already clear at the end of September that they would be very difficult to get before the end of the year. For graphics cards, especially to the extent that it is currently the case (see also our column from December 5th), we didn't expect such a dramatic bottleneck. So it remains with our basic topic "Mini-PCs", but rather as a general guide and with some basic PCs as examples, but which lack the graphics card. It is simply too unsafe to currently state any PC compilation including graphics card, and a currently recommended PC with graphics card would be much more expensive than an identical compilation just a few weeks ago. Before we get to the tips on mini PCs, let's briefly summarize the market situation for graphics cards.
Consoles and hardware in short supply
The newly released graphics cards Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, 3070 and 3080 as well as AMD Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT for gamer PCs were sold out immediately after their release and were only available occasionally, but at very high prices. An exception is the GeForce RTX 3090, which is more for professional applications anyway and is not worth recommending for a normal gaming PC even at the normal price. One reason for the scarcity of the new graphics cards, but also game consoles are among others scalpers – these are dealers outside of the officially authorized shops, the goods, which will probably be very popular, often with the help of bots directly at the release or at the first pre-order date buy up, or at least try. The products are then offered on eBay, for example, at a significantly higher price than the prices that were envisaged for game consoles and graphics cards from AMD, Nvidia, Microsoft and Sony. See also our author's column from October 3rd.
Due to the scarcity of graphics cards, which should actually be available from 400 euros (Nvidia GeForce RXT 3060 Ti), the demand for significantly weaker graphics cards has also increased – possibly because many gamers are looking for replacements and then inevitably access them for less than 400 euros. Therefore, almost all graphics cards, even the entry-level graphics card Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super, have become 20 to 30 percent or even more expensive and are still almost nowhere to be found or anyway, since they are no longer produced like the RTX 2000 graphics cards are no longer produced sold out.
Our PC configurations therefore manage without a graphics card suggestion. When the graphics card market calms down again, you can buy the components and a graphics card that is not too large for the respective housing and get started. Of course, you can already buy the basic mini-PCs now and install your current graphics card – apart from one PC, we have selected housings with very few graphics cards too long. And even in the case with the least space for a graphics card, you can at least install a graphics card up to 26 centimeters in length. Before we present the basic PCs in detail, start with general tips, as on the next page.