Mini PC - NUC

From: paul20 Jan 19:17
To: ALL1 of 15
Greetings from the dark side!

My Alienware R15 R2 has been lurking under the TV downloading films from Uncle Jim and playing then via HDMI to Samsung 4k TV.

I think it's life cycle is near complete as it struggles (a lot) with 4k movies and can even chug a bit on just HD so...

I'm thinking of getting a mini PC NUC type thing that will easily handle/display 4k movies and perhaps even 8k further down the line.

I'm looking for hive knowledge regarding specs required and possibly linkage to ready made units to purchase.

Budget is £500-£1000.

Thanking you in advance.

From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)21 Jan 17:48
To: paul 2 of 15
Vero 4K+?

Just over 100 quid, runs Kodi (and any Kodi plugins that you may need to do what you want to do), wifi/ethernet/hdmi connectivity, couple of USB slots, micro SD card slot. Tiny, lightweight, silent.

I believe can also run a torrent client, but I've not looked at that (because the afforementioned plugins let me do what I want to do). I've had one for a few years, and it's been great.
EDITED: 21 Jan 17:48 by WINGNUTKJ
From: paul22 Jan 15:43
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 3 of 15
Cheers Kenny!

That's a little more basic than I had in mind. I'd want Windows 11 capability and for it to be powerful enough to run the odd [not AAA] game now and then.

So, I'd imagine 16-32Gb RAM, minimum 512Gb SSD etc in a funky little box.

Configured and kosher Intel NUCs are like hen's teeth, there seems to be dearth of chinese mini PCs on Amazon but no real trustworthy brands so to speak.

I just wondered if anyone here had experience of sourcing such pre-configured units?
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)22 Jan 17:38
To: paul 4 of 15
The one's I've seen (including NUCs) strike me as wildly overpriced for the components inside, plus they have limited expansion. Have you considered a self-build with micro-ATX case?
From: paul22 Jan 20:02
I'm too lazy these days, I'd rather pay for ready-made with guarantee but thank you for your input...

From: Dave!!23 Jan 13:04
To: paul 6 of 15
My current NUC came from - you can custom-spec them quite freely and I've been very happy with mine. Saying that, its main use is as a 24/7 torrent machine - I got the slightly taller one so it has an SSD for the OS and a 2TB 2.5" hard drive for all Jim's files. I haven't tried using one as a media centre. My media centre is a Raspberry Pi running Kodi that lives next to the TV and just streams all the videos over the network from my PC.

Still, they custom-build them for you, they come with a guarantee and you can choose the specs to your heart's content. They also do AMD ones which might be an idea as you get (admittedly basic) Radeon graphics with those, so might be better at handling the odd game than Intel's built in graphics.
EDITED: 23 Jan 13:07 by DAVE!!
From: paul23 Jan 14:08
To: Dave!! 7 of 15
Thanks Dave!! I'll have a look... 
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)23 Jan 16:10
To: paul 8 of 15
Your way is less of a nail-biter for sure. One other possiblity is refurb SFF office pcs, though considerably larger than NUC/set-top box, you can get a pretty powerful rig for less than half what you'd pay for the latest model @ retail. Also they generally have Win10 Pro license on board.
EDITED: 23 Jan 16:10 by DSMITHHFX
From: graphitone25 Jan 15:28
I've been doing just that, our place went through a cull on desktop machines and replaced them with laptops so I've been able to liberate 4 SFF HP boxes from the great scrap pile in the sky with i5s and at least 8GB RAM TBH in each. 

Found a nice bonus in one, a spare 1TB HDD.

And dust. So much dust. 
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)25 Jan 22:52
To: graphitone 10 of 15
Those old HP boxes never say die! Dirt cheap, tough as nails, and surprisingly powerful considering the first part.
From: paul29 Jan 18:50
To: Dave!! 11 of 15
Ended up getting a PN51 direct from Asus 32gb RAM, 1Tb SSD.

Should keep me quiet for a while.

Installed Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate for a giggle, actually runs fine, admittedly not in full fat settings but I can't tell the difference in graphics nor performance against my Xbox Series X, which is nice.

From: william (WILLIAMA)29 Jan 23:42
To: paul 12 of 15
Looks very nice. I built a tiny PC to dump all my music CDs onto 42301.1 based around an ASRock STX motherboard. I imagine it's about the same size and, in the end, probably cost me almost as much as the much-more-powerful thing you've got. It was fun, and it did have space for the 2 SATA drives I wanted (along with an NVME drive), but I'd probably have been better going for something ready-made.
From: Dave!!30 Jan 21:46
To: paul 13 of 15
Looks a nice little system, hope it does the trick! Back when I bought my NUC, Ryzen systems were pretty much an impossibility to find unfortunately, still for a torrent machine, it does pretty well.
From: paul 5 Feb 17:35
To: Dave!! 14 of 15
So far - so good (yes)

On the back of this, I'm upscaling my Alienware with a 1Tb SSD in place of it's current 1Tb HDD.

Presumably I can just take out the HDD, insert SSD and then install Windows using the USB thingy that I got from Dell for clean/re-installing/repairing Windows 10?
From: Dave!! 6 Feb 13:08
To: paul 15 of 15
Yep, should work fine. And of course if anything goes wrong, you can always pop the HDD back in temporarily to resurrect the system.