Cheapest mini PC?

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ShriekingFeralHatred
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Cheapest mini PC?

Post by ShriekingFeralHatred » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:11 pm

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Last edited by ShriekingFeralHatred on Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sky
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by sky » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:03 pm

Raspberry Pi 3 and a monitor

It uses Raspbian, not Mint, but it is surprisingly good

stoneage
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by stoneage » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:08 am

raspberry is really below average.
For the same price as a raspberry, a case and a SD card, you can have a pretty decent 3rd hand laptop/small dekstop unit with enough power to do all those things and install a real linux distribution (raspbian being far below average too).

stayhigh
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by stayhigh » Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:00 pm

Get on ebay, search for "dell/ibm desktop", get the most reasonable one for up to 50$. That's probably the easiest way.

TimeTravel
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by TimeTravel » Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:07 pm

I just happened (a few days ago) decided to keep an old small form factor (SFF) pc which I built years ago and installed on that Linux Mint 18.1. Uses an old AMD Anthlo​n XP 3000+. Had to install with the 32 bit version of Mint as processor was too old for the 64 bit. Nonetheless, installed fine. Didn't try any streaming but did play a CD with no problem.

jim234
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by jim234 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:17 pm

Raspberry Pi 2 can play video perfectly using its hardware decoder. Good for a home theater video player for the ultra cheap.
I would not like to use it as a general use computer, it is too slow for me.

ShriekingFeralHatred
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by ShriekingFeralHatred » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:09 pm

blah
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C40
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by C40 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:22 pm

Another +1 on buying a cheap used desktop. Back when I worked in a factory, the IT department did a sell-of of workstations for like $9 each. They were plenty decent for most PC uses.

JohnnyH
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by JohnnyH » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:16 pm

See a lot of desktops with decent specs (2-3GHz duo/quad, 8GB), given away on Craigslist... Add inexpensive SSD, put on Linux Mint and you've got a very nice, fast machine.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by ThisDinosaur » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:41 pm

What are the limitations to these mini PCs compared to, for example, a used, five year old, full-sized desktop? I've read that the CuBox is good enough to run HD streaming video, internet browsing, etc., yet it looks pretty bare bones to me. Same for a Rasberry Pi build. Is that true?

johnbroker
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by johnbroker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:55 am

My laptop has passed away and I am looking for a replacement. A year ago I looked up the Raspberry Pi but I don't think I can live without a full linux distro.

I don't think I want another laptop and I was thinking in getting a mini PC. Intel mini pcs seems to have good support, right?. I like its compact design and low power consumption. I dont ask too much to a computer, no gaming, no hd streaming and I will be using a lightweight linux distro.

I know more than one here has something like that but I would like to know if you are happy with it and if a basic model (celeron) can do (budget is tight).

tonyedgecombe
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by tonyedgecombe » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:47 am

johnbroker wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:55 am
I dont ask too much to a computer, no gaming, no hd streaming and I will be using a lightweight linux distro.
Pretty much any Intel NUC will be fine then, we have an old one (i5) which is happy running XFCE.

jacob
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by jacob » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:52 am

I have an intel nuc from system76 that I bought in 2015. It's set up for dual screens. Intel CPU (4x2.1GHz), SSD. It came fully set up. I bought it like that rather than putting it together myself because I didn't want to fiddle with setting up a distro. I still have the scars from trying that 20 years ago.

Overall, I'm happy with the situation. The electric draw is like that of a laptop. The unit is silent. I have not felt any hardware limitations, but I'm not pushing it with gaming or video-editing. One weird thing is that the case has developed some rust spots(?!). So much for metal cases.

Issues I've had to deal with:
  • In the first year or so, there was some issue (I forget) with the power button and suspend mode that could accidentally and eventually (ARGH) brick the unit. The only way to recover it was to take the battery out of the mobo. This involved removing all the peripherals since of course the battery is at the bottom behind everything. System76 eventually made a BIOS update that fixed that problem. That's one of the benefits of having many other people using the exact same system as you do.
  • One LTS upgrade from 14.0.2 to 16.0.2 which went without problems.
  • Sometimes there's a permanent scratchy noise in the speakers which are connected to the line/headphone jack. No permanent fix but if I power down or suspend for 10 mins, it goes away. This happens a few times a year.

johnbroker
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by johnbroker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:17 am

jacob wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:52 am
That's one of the benefits of having many other people using the exact same system as you do.
That's exactly what I want and why I am neglecting some other initially better priced options. I will go for something very simple, probably celeron with 8gb + ssd hd. Thank you both for the info.

BRUTE
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by BRUTE » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:21 pm

jacob wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:52 am
I bought it like that rather than putting it together myself because I didn't want to fiddle with setting up a distro. I still have the scars from trying that 20 years ago.
setting up distros from scratch has gotten significantly easier, especially with the likes of Ubuntu and Mint. it's now as easy as setting up a Mac/Windows PC - basically typing a username, selecting a Wifi, done. laptops can be harder due to random hardware stuff.

brute recommends looking at used office PCs. these can often be had for cheaper than a new NUC, and it's basically the same thing. processor doesn't matter, SSD is a must, 4+GB of RAM.

daylen
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by daylen » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:26 am

Arch linux with gnome can be set up in under an hour; very robust combo on desktops and is rolling release. Just run "pacman -Syu" once a year (minimum). Doing data analysis in a windows or mac environment is a hassle.

Seppia
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by Seppia » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:48 am

BRUTE wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:21 pm
brute recommends looking at used office PCs.
This is what I did. I recently upgraded to a used Dell Latitude 72 series IIRC (the 2016 version) that runs amazing and I paid $300 for it.
Prior to that I had a 2009 dell latitude that I got for free at a previous employer in 2014

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:29 am

brute recommends looking at used office PCs. these can often be had for cheaper than a new NUC, and it's basically the same thing. processor doesn't matter, SSD is a must, 4+GB of RAM.
I tried this. I got an old win 7 PC, free update to win 10. Also tried Ubuntu which was easy to install but surprisingly wasn't any faster than windows. It also was hard to find good resources on how to use Linux so I dropped it.

daylen
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by daylen » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:07 pm

Gilberto de Piento wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:29 am
It also was hard to find good resources on how to use Linux so I dropped it.
The main advantage is modularity. Resources are distributed since linux is not a cohesive whole but an ecosystem of tools. Accessibility and customization require time to leverage effectively.

BRUTE
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Re: Cheapest mini PC?

Post by BRUTE » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:08 pm

it's probably an ecosystem question for some users, and doesn't matter for others.

for anything that happens in a web browser, which is a lot these days, the underlying OS is completely irrelevant. it's hard to even notice the difference between mac, windows, and linux when spending all day in Chrome or Firefox. the only difference is cmd vs ctrl for copy and pasting.

for some jobs, it just must be UNIX. brute's job would be impossible on Windows. he's seen humans try and fail miserable, it's just a toy operating system when it comes to most programming.

for others, there is no possible way to use a Linux system, because the software (e.g. Adobe) is just not available. no way around Win/Mac.

most humans probably fall in the "don't care, browser" category where even an iPad would work. those would be fine with Ubuntu, brute believes.

other humans already know what they can and cannot use.

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