Small form-factor desktop PCs enjoyed their greatest popularity several years ago. It was the era of the media center computer, when tech-savvy home-theater enthusiasts would hook tiny computers up to TVs to stream video or record over-the-air programs. Since then, smart TVs, Roku-style boxes, and game consoles have largely taken over, and the only puck-sized desktop anyone hears much about is Apple's $500 Mac Mini.HP feels there's still room for a tiny desktop, whether hooked up in the living room or on an office desk. The Pavilion 300-020 Mini starts with Intel Celeron or Pentium CPUs, but can be configured with a faster Intel Core i-series CPU as well. It's 5.7 inches (145mm) square and about 2 inches (50mm) thick, and has a minimalist gray and silver plastic 1.6 pound (725 gram) body.
Inside, you get a 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive and 4GB of RAM. Two USB 3.0 ports are on the front panel, with two more on the rear, along with both HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, an audio output, and an Ethernet jack.The similar-looking Stream Mini cuts a few features to hit a lower price. Much like the recent Stream line of HP laptops and tablets (including the Stream 11 laptop, which we felt was an excellent value at $200), the Stream Mini is designed to be cloud-based, which is another way of saying it lacks a traditional hard drive. Inside, you'll get a small 32GB SSD, most of which will likely be taken up by the operating system files.
The processor is a low-power Intel Celeron, and the RAM in the Stream Mini gets cut to only 2GB. That said, you get the same generous collection of ports as on the Pavillion, with four USB ports, dual video outputs and Ethernet.Both the Pavilion Mini and Stream Mini will be available in the US on January 14, with the Pavilion starting at $319 and the Stream at $179. HP has not provided international price and availability details yet, but the prices convert to £210 and AU$395, and £115 and AU$220 respectively.