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New mini PC i can recommend

TheBatsEar

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In case anyone is looking for a new mini PC, i can recommend this one:

I have a Thinkpad X230 as my "server", running Debian on a 2TB SSD, with 126TB of USB storage, in a cupboard. It does all sorts of things for me, from piracy to documentation of my projects, network routing and firewalling, mailrouting, VMs, containers and home automation.

I need the Thinkpad for something else (making music) and wanted to buy a NUC11 or something to replace it, but the prices are high, availability is very bad at the same time. I looked around and found the one from the link.

It has 12GB of memory (the Thinkpad has 8GB), 128GB U2 SSD (installed is a Windows 10 Pro, replaced here with the 2TB 2.5" SATA SSD from the Thinkpad, worked without doing anything to the OS) and a CPU that is more or less the same speed as the i5 3rd gen in the Thinkpad, less in single core, more in multi core. Power usage is minimal. It also has some things you want in a homeserver, for example auto boot after power failure. There is WLan and Bluetooth, but i use neither. Virtualization is supported.

The price is 219€ for me, which i think is ok.

Since it comes with a VESA mount and HDMI cable, I'll mount it to my TV, that way i can use it to play a few games and play higher resolution video, since my TV is 4k, but the builtin player is not fast enough for 4k content. The CPU/VGA card supports a lot more codecs to encode and decode in hardware. 3D performance would be comparable to the Thinkpad X230, i guess.

Just need to get an extension for the USB3 storage to keep it in the cupboard.

Behold, the NiPoGi datacenter in a (all plastic) box, smaller than 5 CDs:
PXL_20220421_144441813.jpg


VGA in case i want to connect a CRT ;-)
PXL_20220421_144458158.jpg


Kensington, Headset, Ethernet, two HDMI under a lever to open the lid, USB 2.0, power (12V, 2.5A):
PXL_20220421_144506953.jpg


USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, power switch:
PXL_20220421_144514452.jpg


The bottom has good rubber feet that hold the case on smooth surfaces such as glass, screw head mounts, and some openings for the cooling:
PXL_20220421_144525006.jpg


Cover removed, the 2.5 SATA connector, below is the 128FB U2 SSD which i removed:
PXL_20220421_144607764.jpg


I can recommend it. Didn't use Windows, so can't say anything about it, but i guess it's horrible, as Windows uses to be very ineffective with hardware ressources. There is no TPM module, which means you have to use registry tricks to update to Windows 11, but it's possible. Debian 11 runs flawless, everything seems to be in order.

Not bad all things considered.

For you enjoyment, my "old" datacenter, 128TB storage in a bookshelf:
PXL_20220421_151521282.jpg


This might seem like chaos, but it's all deliberate, it's deliberate.
PXL_20220421_151540098.jpg
 
Last edited:

Chrise36

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In case anyone is looking for a new mini PC, i can recommend this one:

I have a Thinkpad X230 as my "server", running Debian on a 2TB SSD, with 126TB of USB storage, in a cupboard. It does all sorts of things for me, from piracy to documentation of my projects, network routing and firewalling, mailrouting, VMs, containers and home automation.

I need the Thinkpad for something else (making music) and wanted to buy a NUC11 or something to replace it, but the prices are high, availability is very bad at the same time. I looked around and found the one from the link.

It has 12GB of memory (the Thinkpad has 8GB), 128GB U2 SSD (installed is a Windows 10 Pro, replaced here with the 2TB 2.5" SATA SSD from the Thinkpad, worked without doing anything to the OS) and a CPU that is more or less the same speed as the i5 3rd gen in the Thinkpad, less in single core, more in multi core. Power usage is minimal. It also has some things you want in a homeserver, for example auto boot after power failure. There is WLan and Bluetooth, but i use neither. Virtualization is supported.

The price is 219€ for me, which i think is ok.

Since it comes with a VESA mount and HDMI cable, I'll mount it to my TV, that way i can use it to play a few games and play higher resolution video, since my TV is 4k, but the builtin player is not fast enough for 4k content. The CPU/VGA card supports a lot more codecs to encode and decode in hardware. 3D performance would be comparable to the Thinkpad X230, i guess.

Just need to get an extension for the USB3 storage to keep it in the cupboard.

Behold, the NiPoGi datacenter in a (all plastic) box, smaller than 5 CDs:
View attachment 201361

VGA in case i want to connect a CRT ;-)
View attachment 201360

Kensington, Headset, Ethernet, two HDMI under a lever to open the lid, USB 2.0, power (12V, 2.5A):
View attachment 201359

USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, power switch:
View attachment 201358

The bottom has good rubber feet that hold the case on smooth surfaces such as glass, screw head mounts, and some openings for the cooling:
View attachment 201357

Cover removed, the 2.5 SATA connector, below is the 128FB U2 SSD which i removed:
View attachment 201356

I can recommend it. Didn't use Windows, so can't say anything about it, but i guess it's horrible, as Windows uses to be very ineffective with hardware ressources. There is no TPM module, which means you have to use registry tricks to update to Windows 11, but it's possible. Debian 11 runs flawless, everything seems to be in order.

Not bad all things considered.

For you enjoyment, my "old" datacenter, 128TB storage in a bookshelf:
View attachment 201372

This might seem like chaos, but it's all deliberate, it's deliberate.
View attachment 201371
A few questions about your setup with debian if you know
Startup time
Touchscreen compatibility
Tidal (masters) compatibility
Other OS compatible with the above mentioned
 

voodooless

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It’s not a very fast CPU, about twice the speed of a Pi 4, but for the money quite a complete bit of kit. Quick enough for various use cases. Nice tip :cool:
 
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TheBatsEar

TheBatsEar

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Nor is the i5 in the Thinkpad x230. :D
I'm almost never CPU or storage bottlenecked on my server, even Jellyfin can reencode in real time. It's always a question of RAM for me and now i get 12GB instead of 8GB.

Here is a comparison of the features and number crunching power, left is this plastic box, right is the Thinkpad x230:

The Thinkpad seems a bit faster, but only by a hair. Not sure if the faster memory makes a difference.
 
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TheBatsEar

TheBatsEar

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Here is a real cool and powerful AMD miniPC but its naturally a bit pricey, considering the specs:

I think this is more workstation level of performance. Could replace my Thinkpad T480s :)

701€! :oops:
 

Digby

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For you enjoyment, my "old" datacenter, 128TB storage in a bookshelf:
View attachment 201372

This might seem like chaos, but it's all deliberate, it's deliberate.
View attachment 201371
Dude, the state of that mess :oops:. What is worse is the hole in the back of cabinet. You need to make friends with someone who has a drill with circular attachment.

As for mini PCs, if you don't mind running a fan that is inaudible from more than 30cm at typical desktop loads, than the best value is to be had with ryzen 5300g or 5600g, these are the best CPUs available for these mini PCs and reasonably priced (maybe 12th gen intel are available, but the graphics performance is lacking).

Asrock x300, MSI DP20Z and so on.

 

kuf

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VGA output is fine, it works with everything, some Linux of FreeBSD distros of firewalls, NASes etc. make it difficult to run the installation without a VGA. Of course for using it as a PC a second modern graphics port (DP, HDMI) is required.

Do we know what the NIC is? This is another point of problems sometimes with some Linux and FreeBSD distros.
 

Digby

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But these are also in a totally different budget bracket.
If you buy the CPU/MB + case combos, then they can be very affordable. RAM is pretty cheap, many will have spare SSDs hanging around.

Hardly any to be seen now, I think people caught onto what excellent value they are, here is an out of stock for £260:


Can someone recommend one with HDMI 2.1 support.
Are they available? There are some with 2.0, do you need 2.1?
 
Last edited:

kuf

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Depending what one wants to do there may be better alternatives, especially in the second hand market

like

an old thin client (50 € or even less) for a music server
an older mini PC (less than 200 € for Dell, HP, Lenovo) but with proper Intel NICs etc for a mini server with one or 2 SSDs.
a mini PC like PicoPC from UK with 4 Intel NICs for 200-300 € for a firewall router

etc.
 

NiagaraPete

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This is my NAS, it does stuff too.
 

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TheBatsEar

TheBatsEar

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Dude, the state of that mess :oops:.
I'm so ashamed. I need help. I NEED HELP!o_O

What is worse is the hole in the back of cabinet.
That hole is deliberate. It get's awfully stuffy in there with 1 laptop, 10x 16TB disks and all that other instrumentation.

Do we know what the NIC is? This is another point of problems sometimes with some Linux and FreeBSD distros.
Ethernet is el cheapo Realtek.
WLAN and Bluetooth is Intel AC-3165.

If you buy the CPU/MB + case combos, then they can be very affordable.
Try one that is available, add what is needed to get a working computer and weep.


For fun i just started the Windows SSD. Turns out this one has a TPM module and can run Windows11. And Windows11 is installed!

It's horrible. You'll see. It's another layer of paint over the same old cruft. I found three kinds of widgets looking at the system settings alone. The desktop looks like a MacOSX clone now.

Also, it shows the version as activated, but it has neither a digital license in the firmware nor a product key. Means it can't be activated. They sold me a pirated Windows 11 Pro.
1480904274815.gif
 
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TheBatsEar

TheBatsEar

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NiagaraPete

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Looks like a Dell Poweredge 1950 or something.

Enjoy your electricity bill. :cool:
R614 I think. Its the 8 bay Qnap that's the power pig.
 
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TheBatsEar

TheBatsEar

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R614 I think. Its the 8 bay Qnap that's the power pig.
Homelab or mission critical? If the first, i would downgrade. The investment in lower power hardware could be amortized in two or three years. I suspect prices to go up a lot more.
 

NiagaraPete

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