High-Performance Mini PCs and Computers
Premio provides a diverse variety of powerful high-performance mini PCs and computers that have been designed and built to handle the most demanding applications in the toughest settings. Don’t be fooled by the compact size and small footprint of Premio’s powerful mini-computers, as some options can outperform full-size desktop computers and notebooks. This is so because Premio’s powerful compact computers can be configured using high-performance Intel® Core® processors, which offer blazing fast performance for the most demanding workloads. Furthermore, our performance mini-computers are equipped with rich I/O ports that include USB Type-A ports, Ethernet ports, Serial COM ports, video display ports, and much more. Also, mini PCs can be configured with performance accelerators, such as GPUs (graphics processing units), VPUs (vision processing units), FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays), and much more. So, let’s dive into what makes a mini PC high performance.
What is a High Performance Mini PC?
A high-performance mini PC is an industrial-grade computer that is capable of tackling complex workloads in harsh environments. Mini PCs are typically configured using high-end Intel® Core® Processors, such as the Intel® Core® i3, i5, and i7 processors. Intel® Core® processors are a must have for organizations that want to run complex applications, such as AI, deep learning (DL) inference analysis, machine vision, machine automation, smart surveillance, high resolution medical imaging, and a variety of other applications that require high performance compute power. See the BCO-2000 Series of High Performance Fanless Mini Computers.
Moreover, high-performance mini-computers are also configured using SSDs (solid-state drives) and NVMe SSDs. SSDs and NVMe SSDs offer a significant performance boost over HDDs (hard drives). In addition to a performance boost, SSDs make systems more reliable and better able to withstand exposure to shocks and vibrations since data is stored in NAND chips vs the spinning metal platters that HDDs use to store data.
For example, a regular HDD is capable of transferring data at a maximum speed of up to 150 MB/s, regular SSDs are capable of transferring data at a maximum speed of 550 MB/s, and NVMe SSDs are the fastest, capable of transferring data at speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s. NVMe SSDs are the best solution for organizations that want the fastest data transfer speeds for the best performance possible.
Furthermore, high-performance mini-computers are rugged, meaning they have been designed and engineered to be deployed in environments that are challenging and not suitable for regular, consumer-grade desktop computers.
High performance small PCs have a wide temperature range that ranges from -40⁰C to 85⁰C. The wide temperature range allows the system to be deployed in environments that see extreme temperatures. So, whether you’re deploying a rugged system in the Sahara Desert during the scorching hot heat or in the middle of Antarctica during the freezing cold winter, small performance mini PCs will perform optimally and reliably in such environments.
Additionally, high performance small computers often employ a fanless design. The fanless design adds to the system’s ability to withstand extreme temperatures, and it prevents dust from entering the system. This is so because it eliminates all vent holes and openings through which dust and debris can enter the system.
That said, systems are fanless so long as a GPUs is not required. Once a GPU is added to a system, the system becomes semi-fanless. By semi-fanless, we mean that the main portion of the PC that houses the CPU, storage devices, chipset, and I/O is fanlessly cooled.
However, the portion of the PC that contains the GPU is actively cooled via the use of fans. This is so because GPUs consume a lot of power, and they produce a lot of heat, making it impossible to passively cool them by only using heatsinks. As such, active air cooling is required to keep the system from overheating and shutting down.
Having said that, high performance industrial PCs that are configured with a GPU are still rugged, and can be deployed in some of the same environments that fanless computers can be deployed in.
High Performance Mini Computers Deployed at the Edge
The advancement in CPUs, storage solutions, and other areas has enabled high performance edge computing (HPEC). That is, high performance computers can be deployed in challenging environments at the edge to perform complex workloads that require a lot of computing power, such as artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning inference (DL), machine vision, and other complex workloads.
HPEC has taken off because organizations have realized the benefits associated with storing, processing, analyzing, and acting upon data instantaneously at the edge close to the source of data generation.
Now that we know the benefits associated with deploying HPECs, how do they survive being deployed at the edge? High performance computers deployed at the edge must be rugged to ensure reliable and sustainable performance regardless of being exposed to harsh conditions, such as extreme temperatures, dusty environments, and environments where they will be exposed to shocks and vibrations.
Mini computers are capable of withstanding exposure to such harsh conditions for the following reasons:
Passive cooling – Passive cooling allows engineers to design a totally closed system that’s cooled via the use of heatsinks. Heatsinks transfer heat away from the internal of the PC to the outer enclosure, which dissipates the heat into the surrounding environment.
Closed System Design – The closed design of fanless PCs eliminates the entry of dust and small particles into the system, preventing them from damaging sensitive internal components.
Use of wide temperature range components – The use of wide temperature range components helps the PC survive in environments that experience extreme temperatures.
Cable-less design – The cable-less design enables mini PCs to withstand exposure to frequent shocks and vibrations. This is so because the removal of all cables eliminates the possibility of a cable coming loose, causing the system to stop operating.
- Use of fewer joints and screws – The fewer parts there are in the system, the fewer parts that can fail, contributing to the reliability and durability of mini industrial computers.
That said, mini computers deployed at the edge can be configured with performance accelerators, such as GPUs or VPUs. GPUs and VPUs are capable of accelerating AI workloads and vision-based workloads at the edge. However, GPUs tend to use a lot of power, so for remote deployments where stable power is not always available, deploying a GPU accelerated mini PC may be problematic.
However, you still have the option of configuring a system with a VPU. VPUs consume a fraction of the power consumed by power-hungry GPUs, making them ideal for high-performance edge computing in environments where stable power is not always available. This is so because systems are power efficient enough to run on battery power until power becomes available.
What Are High Performance Mini PCs Used For?
These computing solutions are used for the performance of complex workloads that require powerful processing power. Such applications include the following:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Artificial Intelligent Inference Analysis
- Deep Learning Inference Analysis
- Machine Learning
- Machine Vision
- High-resolution imaging analysis
- High resolution medical imaging
What is the Difference Between a High Performance Mini PC and a Desktop Computer?
High performance mini computers are assembled using the same components as are regular desktop computers. However, there are some important differences between the two. The components used in industrial mini PCs have been tested and validated to perform reliably in the challenging environments in which they are deployed. For example, mini computing solutions are tested and validated to operate in extreme temperatures, withstand shocks and vibration, and withstand deployment in dusty, debris-filled environments. Regular desktop computers are not capable of surviving the environments in which industrial computers are able to survive. As such, if you’re looking for a computing solution for deployment in an industrial environment, you should only consider industrial-grade equipment that has been tested and is proven to operate reliably in such settings.
Where Can I Buy High-Performance Mini PCs?
You can buy high performance mini PCs at Premio. Premio has been designing and manufacturing embedded computing solutions in the United States for over 30 years. Premio offers a wide variety of high performance mini computers that you can choose from. If you need assistance with choosing an embedded computing solution for your application, contact one of our mini computer professionals and they will be more than happy to assist you with choosing the appropriate solution according to your specific requirements.