The Days of Large Boxes for Personal Computers are Over. Eric Raymond writes:
[S]ome components of a computer have to be the size they are because they’re scaled to human dimensions – notably screens, keyboards, and pointing devices. Wander outside certain size extrema and you get things like smartphone keyboards that are only good for limited use.
However, what we normally think of as the heart of a computer – the processing and storage – isn’t like this. It can get arbitrarily small without impacting usability at all. Consequently, I predicted a future in which people would carry around powerful computing nodes descended from smartphones and walk them to docking stations bundling a screen, a pointing device, and a real keyboard when they need to get real work done.
We’ve now reached an interesting midway point on that road.
For nearly everyone, the new tiny NUCs or similar are sufficient. One disk drive, all the ports, low power, and no fan — so if you use an SSD drive, there is no fan noise!
And they are small: