Mini PC

sedrosken

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5Gb is a rare thing, especially compared to 2.5Gb. I'd consider bonding 2x 2.5 to get the better switch selection if you can.

Honestly, knowing that, I may be better served by just jumping all the way to 10Gb. Sure, I won't saturate it, but I'm not expecting to. I'd have been shocked if I'd managed to saturate 5. I only need, like, at most 3 ports on a switch to be full-speed in this instance, the rest can all be 1Gb for all I care.
 

LunarMist

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According to the article that product has no safety certification by UL or Intertek (ETL), etc. so it's not suitable for most of the US market.
I can image some ma and pa shops don't care, but it creates some serious liability at legit companies.
 

sedrosken

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Well, this is for my homelab, so the decision's down to me -- I personally don't want a house-fire especially since it was lightning that killed my last switch. Even this isn't really budget for me, budget would be something I can easily replace if I need to. Surge protectors and UPSes don't matter down here -- if mother nature says your stuff's dead, it's just dead.

Right now, weighing the options against my financial situation, I'm kind of leaning toward the idea of a pfSense router, a 4 or 5-port 2.5GbE switch (like one of those MokerLinks linked above) and then an 8 or 16 port 1GbE switch chained down from it for my low speed devices. Maybe I'd splurge and get a router that has integrated full 2.5GbE LAN ports. 2.5GbE is still 2.5x better than my current implementation... I just don't know.

I certainly need to do something -- over the weekend a lightning storm came through and took my modem, my router, my 48-port gigabit switch, the power supply for my desk phone, and a decrepit original Raspberry Pi B+ that had been pulling occasional light duty as a telnet to SSH bridge box. My boss generously comped me a new modem, I had a spare router that'll do the job for now, and I had an 8-port 100mbit switch in my junk pile that will, again, do the job for the moment. I replaced the Pi with a much more powerful and frankly underutilized Le Potato, and a replacement power supply for my desk phone is on order.
 

Handruin

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A buddy at work has been exploring similar mini PCs and he got one of the Beelink MINI S12 Mini with an Intel Alder Lake N95 and he was using it for Plex. It work surprisingly well with QuickSync and transcoding 4K streams.

They often have $60 off coupons making them decent little low power systems.
 

Mercutio

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I think my Plex needs would definitely melt it, but so far it's good for Wii and Playstation 2 games, no problem. PS3 games are huge files and are probably pushing it for this hardware, but an RPi4 chokes and dies on 25 year old Nintendo games at 1080p so the improvement is substantial. My partner will be working in Texas and California for most of the next few months. "Console that is not enormous" is a big gift.

I think the Xbox controller she uses with it cost more than the PC did.
 

Handruin

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Steam Deck would also be perfect for a portable gaming system that also works great for hacking to run emulated classics and even Switch games.
 

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It looks like the N95 and the mobile Zen 2 CPU in a Steam deck trade blows pretty well. The N95 runs on single channel DDR5 and is using 13th gen Intel cores, which I think help it a lot. They're both stuck at 15W and top out at 16GB RAM, but the little box is a bargain compared to the cost of a Steam Deck, even with the $65 worth of SSD and cost of an OEM Xbox controller added in.

I loaded up Batocerta and I've found that WiiU and Switch games are A-OK. Some PS3 games work, but Xbox 360 seems to be a no-go. Weirdly, Goldeneye for the ancient, ancient N64 still runs like ass, although I understand that's been a problem for the most prevalent emulator for that system for a while.

My assumption with this thing is that there's always going to be a screen around someplace to plug in. The only real down side with Batocerta that not all the emulators configure quite the same way, so it can be easier to use a keyboard than a controller, but it boots and indexes 2TB of games on an SSD in ~90 seconds, even the default controller config isn't quite ready for prime time.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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My partner convinced the Event Management people she works for to hire her to do art design work. They bought her a prebuilt at her request, although in all likelihood she's going to do everything on her M1 Macbook. She just wants a gaming PC and this is an excuse to get her hands on one.

Cyberpower Evo Mini 300
i7-1400KF, 32GB DDR5-6000, RTX-4070Ti, 1GB NVMe SSD, 240mm AIO cooling, Corsair 850W PSU. ITX Chassis, Professional wiring(?) = $2300. Apparently the chassis has space for a 3.5" drive but she didn't bother to configure one given what's sitting around the house.

I think I could build something similar for $2000-ish right now but PCPartPicker seems awfully concerned that I'm not going to fit both a 4070TI and a 240mm AIO in any ITX chassis I pick.
 

LunarMist

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What are the thoughts on the ASUS NUC 14 pro https://www.asus.com/displays-desktops/nucs/nuc-mini-pcs/asus-nuc-14-pro/techspec/
or 14 Pro + https://www.asus.com/displays-desktops/nucs/nuc-mini-pcs/asus-nuc-14-pro-plus/techspec/
Evidently the integrated video is some new kind of an ARC ic. Is it better than the Xe they use now?
This would be replacing the NUC 11. I'm not sure how much extra the U9 CPU costs and of course I would have to buy an extra M.2 2242 SSD, which will be just a local copy of the 2280 SSD. It buggers the mind that there is not room for two 2280 slots especially in the wider case.
 

CougTek

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What I don't like about most Intel processors since Tiger Lake is that their real power consumption can be much higher than their advertised TDP. In the case of the Core i9 185H, for instance, although the TDP rating is ~65W, the max power draw can climb up to 115W. That's insane. The AMD 8840HS/8845HS are much more efficient, if a little slower in absolute performance.

Also, althought the NIC used in the NUC 14 is a very nice and modern Intel i226V, there's only one port. I like to have 2 ports now on the computers I use. But that might not be a concern for your use case.
 

LunarMist

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I want the most performance I can get in the smallest form factor. Unfortunately many of the mobile CPUs are limited by the crappy cooling in the laptops. It's really easy to get about the same performance from a 185H as a 165H if there is not adequate power and cooling. I was hoping that the NUCs have better cooling and power, but probably never enough. I don't want one of those larger mini-PC form factors. We'll see what the prices are and if it is worthwhile.

I am currently using one 2.5GbE USB-C adapater to get a second port on the NUC. In general 2.5GbE is too little too late. The upgrade from i225V to i226V really should have been to 5GbE. It just seems that the inducstry doesn't care much about faster ethernet unless you have a server or tower computer. Client computing is so geared towards the internet. I was explaining to one of my coworkers recently that when I was on the MS TEAMS meeting I was not using Wi-Fi. They literally did not understand how that was possible. :rolleyes:
 

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Everything in my house is 802.11ac aka Wifi 5. Apparently the Wifi 7 standard was ratified a couple weeks ago. My partner wants me to replace all my gear now because "It's outdated." I tried to explain to her that there's nothing in the house right now that can USE Wifi 7 and anyway it's not like we need it for anything we're doing.

To her credit, after about 15 minutes of talking about it, her light bulb came on and now she just wants faster cable internet like the rest of us.
 

LunarMist

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I want faster NAS, but the internet speed is barely relevant. Does the new Wi-Fi go through 2-3 walls and maintain 10GbE speeds? I'd need multiples of that to be practical. But my NUC or whatever doesn't need it. The problem I have with Wi-Fi is how to reliably control it. I prefer the hardware switch/air gapper for all the computers or NAS units.
 
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LunarMist

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Is it realistic to consider a Zen % StrixPoint will exist in some variety of "NUC" sooner rather than later? I'm concerned that the next gen 15th of Intel will be well into 2025.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I think that it is, yes. I quite like NUC-like PCs as full fat desktop client PCs and I prefer AMD's approach to overall architecture at the moment. Strix Point by all reports is a very promising upcoming platform. It would be insane to put those facts aside just because you've typically only bought Intel for small and mobile devices in the past.

Even ARM might be a better choice than Intel for the next couple years. Given the non-upgradeable RAM on Lunar Lake, ARM might actually be an active improvement.
 

LunarMist

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I expect that ARM is probably crappy in most older programs and any not optimized for their weirdly architecture.
The question is which companies make good AMD NUCs (at high power levels) and are quick to market? Obviously ASUS is focused on iNtel.
The one I have now is merely 11th GEN.
 

Handruin

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Have you looked into the offerings from Minisforum? They have both complete systems or parts to build mini systems with AMD (and Intel) options.

 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I usually buy Beelink devices. They're put on sale on Amazon with shocking regularity. I have purchased Intel based Minisforum workstation systems a couple times. Never bought an AMD model.
 

Handruin

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I have one Beelink Mini S12 Pro in my environment and it's worked well so far. I also waited for one of their many sales. It's running Proxmox and hosts my Home Assistant VM and a VM running a Plex container.
 

sedrosken

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We use Beelinks for the little computers we stick in environments (usually small business restaurants) where we need an "in" to remote in and configure POS systems, their networks, etc. without driving out there.
 

LunarMist

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Right now they have the 2023 models. However, there are plenty of bad reviews for the 7840HS, which seems to be the more highly perfoirmant of the small boxes. It looks that the BeeLink and the MiniForum are fully Chinese companies so there is not much support or practical warranty. The 7840HS tends to have randomly crashes often and dies completely also; both brands' 7840HS models have a lot of complaints on the Jungle store. :( Do you buy them without OS and RAMs/SSD? I'd be concerned that the OS is bogus or has malawares.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I'm going to blow away the OS on absolutely anything before I put it in service regardless. The digital license entitlement makes life a lot easier in that respect.

It may be that the 7840HS is a bit much for the cooling solution in that form factor. My most-purchased Beelink units are much more modest Ryzen 5700s, although I've also bought a few of the newer ones with 7735s as well.
 

ddrueding

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The reviews I've read on many of the small systems recommend getting a better power brick than the one they ship with. If nothing else for better efficiency, but sometimes voltage can be an issue as well.
 

LunarMist

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Beelines has a funky proprietary PS (like APPLE's magno type) so that would not be feasible. :(
 

Handruin

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My Beelink uses a 12v 3A barrel connector. I didn't think it was proprietary.
 

LunarMist

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The PS is 19V*6.32A=120W.

Power: Magnetic Power Supply (With 19V/6.32A adapter)
Our US&JP power supply is wide input voltage range between 100V and 240V, althought it labels 100V-120V, it is safe to work with power sourse ranging from 120 to 240V.
 

LunarMist

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Beelink-SER7-7840HS-__08_9af6f04b-6fc9-420d-b960-1ac9e9c095a5_800x.jpg
 

LunarMist

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It's completely ridiculous, since there are no barrel plug adapters or spare parts available. It's not a laptop that is plugged and unplugged constantly.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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The SER6 uses the same barrel and transformer as 9th generation Intel NUCs, which I have verified by plugging one in where I had the NUC. I have no idea why the newer ones changed.
 

LunarMist

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Is ASRock 4x4 officially distributed in the states? I'm not seeing them very much.
 
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