NUC and Brix and Zotac, oh my

Valnar

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 3, 2001
Messages
3,582
I'm in the market to buy a SFF PC for my mother. Her needs are minimal and she lives across the country so something small is preferred, especially if it needs to get shipped back to me for "tech support". Her current PC is an old Dell running Windows XP. She even has a CRT monitor, which needs to get replaced.

There are so many NUC's these days, I don't know where to start. Here are my needs:

  • Something fairly powerful, almost normal desktop speed. i5 would be nice.
  • Something bare bones so I can add my own SSD and OS (or RAM, but I don't care about that)
  • No need for anything other than Intel graphics, but better is fine.
  • Minimum 4 USB ports, especially considering the keyboard/mouse takes up two.
  • Can take a regular 2.5" SSD
  • Relatively quiet.
  • Has drivers to run Windows 7. I'm not going with any of that Windows 8 nonsense.
  • Does NOT have to be tiny. Small sure, but not micro. As long as it fits in any standard shipping box.
  • Power consumption is not a concern since it's not a 24/7 HTPC, but then again, the more powerful & hot, the more loud it might get, so that is a factor.

I know Intel has some new ones coming out in March, so I can wait if needed. Either wait to buy those, or wait to buy the older ones cheaper. Either way - still needs to run Win7.
 

Zap

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Messages
1,421
What's the budget (not including OS, monitor, keyboard, mouse)?

What will she actually be using it for?

You can get *actual* normal desktop speeds by going with an Antec ISK 110 VESA case, mini ITX motherboard and a desktop CPU. The case can hold two 2.5" SSDs, is fairly small, has a bunch of USB ports and can even be VESA mounted on the back of a monitor that has VESA mounts.

If it is mostly for internet/media streaming/email, then a quad core Bay Trail CPU would probably work. Toss in enough RAM and an SSD, and for the most part it should feel like a normal PC.
 

Valnar

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 3, 2001
Messages
3,582
Basic Internet and email, yes. That Intel NUC is looking good. As long as the CPU is good enough, fast SSD and decent video, anything more is gravy.
 

Bieberfever

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 1, 2014
Messages
78
They've just released the i3 Broadwell NuCs and will be following with the i5 in Feb/March and the i7 in Q2 2015. These will have M.2 capabilities as well as the option to run a second 2.5" HDD. Additionally the power usage will be significantly lower. I'd personally wait a little bit if you can and get one of these. They should be faster, cooler and more efficient than what is out there right now.
 
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