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Turn an old monitor and keyboard into a new workstation with this mini-PC for $190

Working from home? This might be a good alternative to buying a new laptop.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

This little box contains an entire PC and has a ton of expansion ports.


With everyone quarantined at home, you may find yourself with a computer deficit. Mrs. Cheapskate, for example, needs remote access for the first time, but there's no extra machine for her to use. Sure, we could buy a new laptop, but I'm eyeballing another option: a mini-PC.

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Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon seller Shendda once again has the BMAX Mini Computer for $189.99 with promo code 7NWE7ZHB. That's $50 off the regular price. Just add your own monitor, mouse and keyboard and you're good to go.

Why this instead of a laptop? For starters, the obvious: $190 is far less than you'd pay for most laptops . The less obvious: ergonomics. Here you can plug in a big monitor and full-size keyboard for a more comfortable workstation. Hopefully you have some of this gear lying around; if not, it's inexpensive to buy.

For example, Newegg currently has this 22-inch Acer R Series monitor for $100, and here's a very good Logitech wireless mouse-and-keyboard combo for $31.

As for the PC itself, it's not a powerhouse -- don't plan on editing video or playing graphics-intensive games -- but it's sufficient for everyday work-from-home tasks. It features Windows 10, a 1.8GHz Celeron processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive.

It also offers dual speakers, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, two HDMI ports and a whopping five USB ports -- including one USB-C. There's even a microSD card reader. Particularly cool: It can screw to the back of a monitor that has VESA mounting holes.

The BMAX has only about 15 user ratings, and once again Fakespot and ReviewMeta are at odds concerning them. My advice: Read them yourself. It's pretty easy to identify the real ones.

I've never owned a mini-PC, but I can see the appeal. If you have experience with them, please share your thoughts in the comments!

Originally published last month. Updated to reflect new availability and promo code. Removed expired bonus deal.

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