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Thread: Fanless mini PCs

  1. #1
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    Fanless mini PCs

    Can anyone weigh in on how good a Linux platform the mini pc is? I’m not referring to raspberry pi but more the NUC, mintbox, OnLogic, etc.

    I’m taking a serious look at these boxes which appear to be redefining the desktop realm.

    Thank you

    (I’d be running Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus, LibreOffice, Blender, Krita)
    Single-boot Ubuntu 16.04 LTS | 2009 Mac Pro "Nehalem" 2.26ghz | 16GB RAM | Nvidia GeForce | Samsung 850 evo SSD 500GB

  2. #2
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    Re: Fanless mini PCs

    I can't speak about the others, but Linux is an officially-supported platform for the NUC. Mine's been perfectly fine, although it's not fanless. It's laptop-class hardware in a dinky little package.

  3. #3
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    Re: Fanless mini PCs

    info about Intel NUC8i3BEH (not fanless but very quiet)

    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread....361236&page=94

    Post 932

  4. #4
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    Re: Fanless mini PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by sterator View Post
    (I’d be running Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus, LibreOffice, Blender, Krita)
    Only Blender and Krita, and Blender particularly, need to be considered. Everything else mentioned runs in anything.
    Cheap unbranded barebones from Aliexpress are something to consider because often are the same as official Intel NUCs but much cheaper. But then you need to choose a beefy one for Blender. The minimal system requirements for Blender are met by the vast majority of the current crop of miniPCs but any serious user will strongly suggest more.

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    Re: Fanless mini PCs


  6. #6
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    Re: Fanless mini PCs


  7. #7
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    Re: Fanless mini PCs

    So, aside from the vendor, one needs to lock in on the model, specifically the processors, cores, SSD size and RAM potential.

    It’s not clear to me whether i7 is superior to i5. I’d be into 16GB or 32GB RAM and would like 512GB SSD. When I see specs like that we’re up around $1000 US, or more, which partially defeats the purpose of going mini pc.

    Am I looking for the wrong specs at the good price point - “good” being somewhere around $500 US ?...or less...

    Fanless seems to be a trend; I assume because less heat is produced by possibly a more efficient computer which gets its business done in exchange for less elecctricity expended?
    Single-boot Ubuntu 16.04 LTS | 2009 Mac Pro "Nehalem" 2.26ghz | 16GB RAM | Nvidia GeForce | Samsung 850 evo SSD 500GB

  8. #8
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    Re: Fanless mini PCs

    Can anyone weigh in on how good a Linux platform the mini pc is?
    I would look for barebones computer models - no Windows installed. Those are most likely to suit Linux.
    I have Zotac ZBOX ID-18 from 2014. It has worked without any problems. Long superseded by newer models, of course.
    You should check out their models. They have been selling them for years. New models may accomodate M.2 drives. Many are fanless.
    My unit measures 18 cm x 18 cm.

  9. #9
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    Re: Fanless mini PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by sterator View Post
    So, aside from the vendor, one needs to lock in on the model, specifically the processors, cores, SSD size and RAM potential.

    It’s not clear to me whether i7 is superior to i5. I’d be into 16GB or 32GB RAM and would like 512GB SSD. When I see specs like that we’re up around $1000 US, or more, which partially defeats the purpose of going mini pc.

    Am I looking for the wrong specs at the good price point - “good” being somewhere around $500 US ?...or less...

    Fanless seems to be a trend; I assume because less heat is produced by possibly a more efficient computer which gets its business done in exchange for less elecctricity expended?
    Fanless is a great idea, but I don't think the technology is there yet to replace actively cooled hardware. It is also more expensive because of huge heat sinks and aluminum chassis needed to provide adequate cooling. Also, while fanless computers consume less power, they are usually slower for obvious reasons. For what you need, it might be better to stick to a desktop for now.

  10. #10
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    Re: Fanless mini PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by sterator View Post
    So, aside from the vendor, one needs to lock in on the model, specifically the processors, cores, SSD size and RAM potential.

    It’s not clear to me whether i7 is superior to i5. I’d be into 16GB or 32GB RAM and would like 512GB SSD. When I see specs like that we’re up around $1000 US, or more, which partially defeats the purpose of going mini pc.

    Am I looking for the wrong specs at the good price point - “good” being somewhere around $500 US ?...or less...

    Fanless seems to be a trend; I assume because less heat is produced by possibly a more efficient computer which gets its business done in exchange for less elecctricity expended?
    This kind of specs is not going to be that attainable in a mini PC without active cooling. An I5 usually doesn't come with hyperthreading so it's a quad core chip, unless it's a laptop version which can be a dual core with hyperthreading. An i7 is usually a quad core with hyperthreading. I forget what the 'normal' laptop config is.

    I'd be surprised for $500US if you could get an i7 with 32GB RAM (checked, can't)

    I looked into these and they do seem like a good idea for lower end workloads like light video editing, light graphics work, watching 1080p video, etc. But if you need to get heavy work done you're going to need a good laptop or a decent tower.

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