Even before Intel's announcement to drop the NUC Mini-Computer line, having an eye on its alternatives reveals great options for running VMware ESXi. Minisforum is a relatively new vendor that aims to become a top-tier innovator, manufacturer, and supplier of mini PCs. Their Venus Series is very similar to the well-known Intel NUC Series that VMware folks are running in their labs for years. One of the most promising features is that they offer two 2.5Gbit network adapters that are running out of the box with ESXi 8.0 for a very fair price.
SFF systems (also known as Barebone, Nettop, SoC, or Mini-PC) like Miniforums Venus Series or Intel's NUC are not officially supported by VMware but they are very widespread in the home lab community. They are small, silent, transportable, and have very low power consumption, making them great servers in your home lab. The Minisforum Venus Series is currently available with 13th Gen i5/i7 and 12th Gen i7 CPU, supports up to 64GB of Memory, and has two 2.5Gbit Network Adapters.
- Minisforum NPB7 (13th Gen Intel Core i7-13700H - 6 x up to 5 GHz / 8 x up to 3.70 GHz)
- Minisforum NPB5 (13th Gen Intel Core i5-13500H - 4 x up to 4.7 GHz / 8 x up to 3.50 GHz)
- Minisforum NAB6 (12th Gen Intel Core i7-12650H - 6 x up to 4.70 GHz / 8 x up to 3.50 GHz)