Raspberry Pi vs. Mini-Pc: Why You Should Get Both

Remote work and minimalism have created a need for smaller computers. Users can pick Raspberry Pi vs. mini-PC as a compact unit to replace bulky laptops or desktop computers. 

Mini-PCs have many of the core components of a desktop computer or laptop. However, they lack some exterior components, such as monitors and keyboards.

Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer(SBC) with input/output(I/O) connectors for periphery devices. 

We’ll highlight Raspberry Pi vs. Mini-PC differences and show you the benefits of both.

Table of Contents

The basics of mini PC vs. Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi showing GPIO pins

Raspberry Pi showing GPIO pins

A mini-PC is a compact computer with most of the core components enclosed. You’d only have to attach a screen and a keyboard, and voila…good as a computer.

It’s a great concept if you want to utilize minimal space. However, can it handle tasks like a computer?

A basic mini-PC has essential connections — an audio jack, USB port, I/O connectors, and a battery. There’s SSD storage, RAM, and a processor.

However, you can also get a barebones mini PC and customize it with a hard drive and RAM. 

Open view of laptop

Mini PC showing its core out-of-the-box components

On the other hand, the Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer with I/O connectors and a processor chip. 

We’ll compare the modestly priced mini PCs from the $35 Raspberry Pi.

Differences between Mini-PC vs. Raspberry Pi

Mini PCRaspberry Pi
Operating systemMini PCs come with an operating system. The OS options include Linux, Ubuntu, and Windows. Raspberry Pi’s default OS is Debian, a custom version of Linux. It can also run Chrome OS, Windows IoT Core, or Android OS. 
ProcessorMini PCs have more powerful processors. The embedded CPUs have speeds of up to 2.5GHz. While some run on Intel processors, others rely on ARM processors.RPi comes with a Dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ processor. The earliest version, RPi model B, ran on a 700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S CPU. 
RAMA ready-to-go mini-PC can have RAM of up to 8GB. However, modest mini-PCs have 4GB RAM. Mini Pcs meant for intense computing can have a RAM of up to 16GB. Raspberry Pi’s earliest releases had 512MB of RAM. However, improvements increased it to 4GB and 8GB RAM in models like the Raspberry Pi 4. 
GraphicsMini-PCs often have a dedicated graphics processing unit of up to 4GB. Barebones mini-Pcs have an I/O slot for connecting graphics cards.  Early RPi models had a 250 MHz Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU. The Raspberry Pi 4 has a 500 MHz Broadcore VideoCore Vi GPU. 
StorageMini-PCs have larger storage with inbuilt 256GB SSDs. Premium mini-Pcs have storage reaching 512GB. Raspberry Pi relies on micro-SD for data storage. However, newer models such as Raspberry Pi 4 have between 8GB and 64GB storage.
ConnectionsA mini PC has I/O connections for connecting periphery devices. These connections include HDMI, USB/USB-C/USB3.1, Ethernet ports, and an SD card slot.Early Raspberry Pis had 26-Pin GPIOs and connectors such as audio, HDMI, USB/MicroUSB, and a 10/100 MBps Ethernet port. Newer models have up to 40 pins pre-soldered into the single-board computer(SBC).

Which Is Better? Mini Pc Or Raspberry Pi

When it comes to mini pc vs. SBC like Raspberry Pi, a mini PC is better for power-draining, intense tasks such as gaming. However, a Raspberry Pi is better for basic low-intensity tasks, experiments, and low power usage. 

Raspberry Pi has upgraded capabilities in a smaller form factor for building a custom PC while saving space.  

Mini-PCs have the superior processing power, integrated graphics, and ready-to-use operating systems. 

Is Raspberry Pi Better Than PC?

Raspberry Pi is better than a PC in three significant areas, space, power saving, and cost. A PC running an Intel core i3 processor and 4GB RAM gives you a smooth experience with complex tasks like editing.

However, it will cost you significantly more energy costs and purchase prices. 

But there’s a hack. Getting a Raspberry Pi 4 or investing in a Raspberry Pi computer kit. 

Raspberry I, 4 vs. C, is a close call since the Raspberry Pi 4 is loaded with top-performance specs. For a device that goes for $100, it has: 

  • Quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 1.5 GHz or 1.8 GHz processor
  • LPDDR4 RAM up to 4GB
  • MicroSD slots
  • 2x USB 3.0 ports and 2x USB 2.0 ports

The choice between Pi 4 vs. PC is down to the use case. PC will run more demanding tasks, while Raspberry Pi 4 will save you space and money.

Difference Between Raspberry Pi And Desktop Computer

Raspberry PiDesktop Computer
Single board computer without attached peripheral devices such as monitors. Complete unit with CPU, keyboard, and display monitor
Super lightweight at only 42 gramsBulky
Can’t upgrade core components such as RAM and CPU since they come pre-soldered in the SBC. The primary component is the motherboard. Users can expand RAM capabilities.
Storage is mostly in micro SD cards for both data and the system. Uses large-capacity SSD drives to store data.

With the above differences in mind, it begs the question…

Can A Raspberry Pi Replace My PC?

Open view of laptop

Open view of laptop

You can replace a PC with Raspberry Pi to save space and reduce power consumption.

We wouldn’t worry about Raspberry Pi replacing the PC entirely. While you can use Raspberry Pi for light tasks, PCs are still too powerful. PCs run heavy tasks. If you use Raspberry Pi for similar tasks, it will struggle in performance. You’d likely see a lag in programs opening. 

Still, that’s not to say you should toss the Raspberry Pi aside. Think of Raspberry Pi as a  complementary sidekick to the PC. Use it for media viewing, browsing, and clerical work that won’t cause overheating. 

Is Raspberry Pi Mini PC?

Technically, Raspberry Pi is a mini PC. Both are similar in the basic vitals of a PC. They both have a processor, I/O components, storage, and RAM. Some Raspberry Pi even have GPUs. 

Still, you’d have to go for the more powerful Raspberry Pi 4 to experience a convenience closer to a PC. 


Computer miniaturization will keep advancing. It doesn’t have to be choosing one concept and completely disregarding the other. Raspberry Pi vs.

PC could be an effective pairing for different tasks. Use the Raspberry Pi for light work and learning projects and the mini PC for more demanding tasks.