Question Recommend a decent barebones mini unit for < £150?

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by leeb-1977, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. leeb-1977

    leeb-1977
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    Hi All, as titles suggests im looking to start a build off with a barebones system.

    I already have an old HTPC that's based around a Q6600 CPU, but at 6 years old its getting a little long in the tooth and is a hot bed for error messages just lately... so I'm looking to build a new system to replace it.

    The system has to be small - Nuc size to be honest, but I know there are a whole host of alternative systems with similar form factors.

    I'll be running a Linux front end (not sure which as ive always been a windows user - so that is going to have to take some thinking about to get something to do everything I need... which isn't much!).

    But the unit HAS to have enough power to do the following:

    Stream high bit rate 1080p without issue
    stream 4K
    Stream 3D
    HD audio pass through
    Accept a 2.5" HDD internally

    Would be nice to do a little retro game emulation too, and perhaps wireless ac?... but neither of those are must have capabilities.

    Obviously the £150 price limit does not include HDD, ram etc etc.

    Ideally... as long as it isn't any less than my current rig (Q6600, 8gb Ram, Onboard graphics and sound) then im all good :)

    Any suggestions?

    Also... when it comes to Linux platform... I'll be looking for something that is quite clean and basic... but must have the option to add dvd writer app, basic office functions, netflix and prime instant video.

    I only use my current win 7 based system for media playback, bit of burning and basic web browsing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  2. bubblegum57

    bubblegum57
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    I am running a Celeron nuc with Openelec. Not sure whether it will stream 4k etc, but here is the wiki for NUC's

    Next Unit of Computing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The ones with "H" at the end are slightly bigger & can take a 2.5" drive, the celeron only has room for one stick of ram.

    I would recommend one with an IR port, I use a Logitech remote, the nuc's are in the logitech database.

    Openelec (linux based) is very easy to install, you can use Kubuntu.

    I run Openelec from a usb stick, so you could use all of the 2.5 drive as storage, not that Openelec takes up much space.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  3. cjed

    cjed
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    If you need it to have the CPU grunt of the Q6600 then you're looking at a i3 (intel) based unit, and you're going to struggle to get one new at your price point.

    The Haswell based Celerons (2957U is a common one of these) should manage your other requirements, and there are barebones examples in your price range from Zotac, Asus, Hp and more, however, the NUC sized ones don't tend to accept 2.5" disks. The Zotac ZBox BI320 does, and is available for < £100. However, although the 2957U is capable of 4K playback, you'll need a Displayport video output, and the BI320 only has HDMI/DVI.

    The HP 260 G1 has a 2957U CPU and Displayport, it's also in the < £100 price bracket and comes with Windows 8.1 on a 32GB M.2 SSD and 2GB of RAM! It also has an internal bay for a 2.5" disk. However it doesn't come with the (custom) cable and screws to fit one (although you can get these from HP - I've started a thread on this box in this forum).
     
  4. bubblegum57

    bubblegum57
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    As far as I am aware, the Nuc's ending with H do take 2.5" drives. My Celeron nuc does.
     
  5. leeb-1977

    leeb-1977
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    Thanks for the replies all.... I should have added, I'm not adverse to building this thing from the ground up myself. .. so perhaps restricting this to barebones is premature.

    To be honest, my k owl edge was bang up to date during the days of socket 775.... but I have no clue on what the minimum processor specs I should be looking at are.

    I thought about the msi probox 23, and adding an i3 but the box is a little ugly and is perhaps a little bigger than I wanted.
     

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