Dell Inspiron Micro Desktop takes on Chromeboxes, HP Pavilion Mini

Starting at $179, the tiny PC lineup runs Windows 8.1 and is powered by Intel Celeron or Pentium processors.

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While Chromeboxes haven't taken off the way Chromebooks have, the desktops that run Google's Chrome OS seem to have made an impression on PC manufacturers. With its new Inspiron Micro Desktop, Dell is clearly taking inspiration from the likes of the HP Chromebox lineup and its own Chromebox.

In addition, the Windows 8.1-based Inspiron Micro Desktop appears to be Dell's answer to HP's Pavilion Mini Desktop, which was unveiled in January. It's less powerful than the Pavilion Mini family, but it's also quite a bit cheaper.

The HP Pavilion Mini runs with either Intel's Pentium or Core i3 processors, but the Inspiron Micro swaps in a slower Intel Celeron CPU in addition to a Pentium option. HP also provides twice the RAM as Dell (4GB versus 2GB) and provides much more storage -- either a 500GB or 1TB hard drive compared to the Inspiron Micro's 32GB solid-state drive. (Dell does throw in 20GB of free Dropbox online storage, and the Inspiron Micro can handle up to a 500GB hard drive.) Other specs are similar between the two mini-PCs: integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, four USB ports, and a built-in card reader.

But whereas the base Pavilion Mini Desktop starts at $319.99, the Inspiron Micro Desktop is priced from just $179.99. The HP does include a wireless mouse and keyboard, but Dell will ship you them with the Inspiron Micro for just an additional $20. That base model includes a Celeron J1800 processor, but for $50 more you can grab a version with the Pentium J2900 chip inside. Finally, you buy the Celeron edition with mouse, keyboard, and a 23-inch monitor for $379.99, or $60 more than the cheaper Pavilion Mini configuration, which does not come with a display.

Does a mini-PC running Windows 8.1 at a bargain price appeal to you? Let us know in the comments section below.

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