Most people think of PCs as either large desktop towers or laptops, but compact PCs like the Mac Mini and Zotac ZBOX C are still popular. Lenovo just revealed its own updated option, the “IdeaCentre Mini (1L, 8).”
The new PC is an updated version of the existing IdeaCentre compact desktop, with the same basic square shape and gray exterior, but the similarities end there. The new model is designed to sit horizontally, or with the included stand, vertically — a bit of a throwback to the Nintendo Wii. It’s also at least partially repairable and upgradable, with easy access to the cooling fan and memory, and there’s no bulky external power supply. Lenovo says the box is 7.68 x 7.52 x 1.53 inches, which is nearly the same size as the current Mac Mini (7.7 x 7.2 x 1.4 inches).
The IdeaCentre Mini has “up to next-gen Intel Core i7,” dual-channel DDR4 memory (either 8 or 16 GB in total), SSD storage up to 1 TB, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and Windows 11. The front has two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C connector, and a combo audio jack. On the back is 2.5G Ethernet, another USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, one USB 2.0 Type-A connector, a Thunderbolt 4 Type-C port, DisplayPort 1.4b, and HDMI 2.1. Not bad.
Lenovo says the updated IdeaCentre Mini will start at $649.99, and should be available starting in the second quarter of 2023. That could mean the “next-gen Intel Core” will be 14th-gen Intel chips, but it’s not clear what CPUs will be in the cheaper models. The current IdeaCentre Mini 5i starts at $399.99 with a Core i3-10100 CPU.