View Full Version : Choosing a compact PC

Nonno Bassotto
January 2nd, 2012, 01:02 PM
I need to replace my laptop, and since I do not really need to take it anywhere I would like to buy a desktop PC, so that I can get a bigger screen. At the same time, the space on my desk is limited, so I want to buy a compact PC. Can anyone help me choose one that works well with Ubuntu and Gnome Shell in particular?

My requirements are

Decent processor - I would like to avoid an Atom box
At least 4GB of RAM
Nvidia video card, since as far as I know it ATI has pretty big issues with Gnome Shell

If it wa not for the video card, I would buy a Dell Inspiron Zino. Any other ideas?

January 2nd, 2012, 05:45 PM
Have you though about getting a laptop, but just plugging it into a bigger monitor? That way you can still have the portability if you need it.

I was looking at the Acer Aspire TimeLineX AS3830T-6689. It is only 13.3 inches (very small and light), but has an i5 processor. This appeals to me because I can chill out on the couch with it, or plug it into my 24" monitor for work.

January 2nd, 2012, 07:49 PM
Laptop would be best. Do the following:

1. Get stands for each corner of your laptop, or get one of them cooling things (NOT fan-less; if you do get fan-less, don't get that squishy stuff.)

2. Get an external USB Keyboard and Mouse.

2b. Get a USB Port extended if you only have one port. (Most bulky, higher end laptops come with more.)

3. Always plug in the laptop at home. (They take way less energy than most good desktops.)

As for hooking up to an external monitor, you'll have to follow this, general, technique:

A. Make sure the computer is on, plugged in, and on the Windows / Linux / etc. desktop

B. Plug in the HDMI / VGA / etc. cable into the monitor and wait at least a minute.

C. Go into your GPU's control panel and confirm that the monitor is detected. (There should be two screens, one will be the WXVGA / VGA for your laptop, one will have the manufacturer's given name for the monitor.)

D. That your operating system doesn't force the laptop to sleep or hibernate when you close the lid. << IMPORTANT

E. Close the lid. It may take a minute for the Monitor to gain the signal from the laptop.

On older systems that can't accept two screens, you will need to turn off the integrated screen first. (To get back the integrated screen, you will have to do steps in reverse sometimes.)

January 2nd, 2012, 08:10 PM
Hmm, a laptop is one option, but generally they're more expensive and less upgradable than a desktop of the same spec, plus you'd be paying for a screen and battery you don't need.

I'd just stick a mini-ITX machine to the back of the monitor. You can take your pick of processors, and on-board Nvidia cards are common, as they're often used for media centres.