Intel Next Unit Computing (NUC) PCs can pack quite a bit of power into a tiny little box. If you’re thinking of building a HTPC with XBMC or Plex, or you just want computer you can hide in a lunchbox, this is your ticket.
The downside or upside to the Intel NUCs—depending on how you look at it—is that you have to build them out yourself. They come with a motherboard, case, processor, and wireless antennaes ready to go. You have to add an mSATA SSD, a wireless card (if you want), a keyboard and mouse, and RAM. Putting one together is about as basic of a computer building job as you could ask for, so it’s a really good one to start out with if you’ve never done it before. It’s also a great option for kids who want to make their own machine.
When you’re done, you’ll have a tiny little computer that’s only 4″x4″x2″—smaller than a Mac mini. If you go the Celeron route, you can put on together for under $ 300. Core i3 and i5 options are available as well.