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Old 22.04.2015, 11:57
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Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

Hi all,

For a while, I have been using my Alienware laptop as a home media PC, connected up to my TV via HDMI. This is not ideal, as it overheats a lot and therefore crashes when performing (what I think are) simple, non-intensive tasks - downloading things, playing videos etc.

Currently my setup is a NAS drive with my media (just Films and TV Shows), connected to a a switch, which connects to my Laptop and the modem, the only component I wish to change is the laptop.

So my question, is do any of you have a compact, well cooled home media PC, which will output at 4k and can be left on all the time to download etc etc if needs be, without overheating. It should also be powerful enough to be used as a Plex server. It will just be used for video, not games or anything like that. I will control it from a wireless keyboard, so should have a few USB slots so I can leave the dongle plugged in, 1000MBPS ethernet port also please.

Price is not too much of an issue, but of course I don't want to be spending enough to buy a new car on it!

Cheers,
StirB
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Old 22.04.2015, 12:14
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

A know that a lot of people swear by a mac mini as a home media pc / NAS. Any good?

It does handle 4k, is very energy efficient and will not overheat, has gigabit ethernet, HDMI has a very small footprint.

here you go....

https://www.apple.com/uk/mac-mini/specs/
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Old 22.04.2015, 12:25
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

android hdmi stick
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Old 22.04.2015, 12:30
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

I'd go for a RPi2 or a Chromebox.

I have both, the RPi is nice, small, cheap and low power. I run xbmc/kodi on it. Not sure if it handles 4k.

I haven't used the Chromebox for Kodi, but the price may not be far off the RPi2 once you factor in the power, storage and hdmi cables which are all included. If you buy in the US, you can get for around $120. I've seen people say that it can handle 4k.

See also here:

http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=94268
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Old 22.04.2015, 12:50
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

Buy any PC/Laptop/Mac with Intel HD Graphics 5500, HD Graphics 6000, and Iris Graphics 6100 if you just want to do 4k videos not games.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/28709...-and-more.html

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A know that a lot of people swear by a mac mini as a home media pc / NAS. Any good?

It does handle 4k, is very energy efficient and will not overheat, has gigabit ethernet, HDMI has a very small footprint.

here you go....

https://www.apple.com/uk/mac-mini/specs/
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Old 22.04.2015, 12:51
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

I recently had the same idea as Google dropped support for youtube for older devices..
got myself a Raspberry Pi2 and a 8 micro SD card. Installed OSMC which is free. Installed some addons as well. It runs fantastic, have'nt had any issues with streaming full hd or playing local files. I guess you can setup NAS, Samba server etc..

It does not support 4k though.

It has a small foot print, hides behind the tv and the best two features for me are

- uses the power from by TV's USB port..
- uses the TV remote to navigate the menu as the sony tv I've got supports HDMI CEC.

cost of this setup CHF 60/-
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Old 22.04.2015, 12:52
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

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I'd go for a RPi2 or a Chromebox.

I have both, the RPi is nice, small, cheap and low power. I run xbmc/kodi on it. Not sure if it handles 4k.

I haven't used the Chromebox for Kodi, but the price may not be far off the RPi2 once you factor in the power, storage and hdmi cables which are all included. If you buy in the US, you can get for around $120. I've seen people say that it can handle 4k.

See also here:

http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=94268
What OS are you running on the Chromebox, if that's not a silly question?
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Old 22.04.2015, 12:55
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

you need at least quad core on these hdmi sticks etc for HD Pi's just wont cut it, rikomagic now do a 4k version

http://www.rikomagic.com/en/product/...59_pid_19.html

no idea what the 4k is like as I have the previous version and don't have a 4k tv, but mine plays HD just fine
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Old 22.04.2015, 13:03
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

The problem I found was the 4k graphics - hard to get decent 4k quality from a passively cooled graphics card.

In the end I found the TV itself gave better rendering than the PC (particularly with upscaling).

Now the TV has a portable hard drive plugged into it that I sync with my media library once in a while, so can run without anything else turned on.
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Old 22.04.2015, 13:10
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

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What OS are you running on the Chromebox, if that's not a silly question?
I run Debian Linux.
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Old 22.04.2015, 13:15
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

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A know that a lot of people swear by a mac mini as a home media pc / NAS. Any good?

It does handle 4k, is very energy efficient and will not overheat, has gigabit ethernet, HDMI has a very small footprint.

here you go....

https://www.apple.com/uk/mac-mini/specs/
This is what we have, it's fine for all our video and music needs. We used to have a self-built Windows mediacentre, but the bloody thing was so noisy I had to turn up the volume just to watch any movies and consequently got complaints from the wifey trying to sleep. The Mac Mini is virtually silent.
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Old 22.04.2015, 13:21
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

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This is what we have, it's fine for all our video and music needs. We used to have a self-built Windows mediacentre, but the bloody thing was so noisy I had to turn up the volume just to watch any movies and consequently got complaints from the wifey trying to sleep. The Mac Mini is virtually silent.
well, you know who to blame

for PCs, if you don't want to build you can buy chromeboxes or NUCs which are practically silent.
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Old 22.04.2015, 13:23
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

Which model of Mac Mini?

Can you set it up so by default it just looks like a media centre / DVD player responding to the remote control - i.e. wife friendly, any issues just turn it off and on etc?
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Old 22.04.2015, 13:55
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

Am I right in thinking that laptops and desktops that have an SSD, run hotter and require continual cooling (and fan noise)? ...... or is it just my daughter's HP lappy?


Chiligreen seems to offer good spec. for money.

Not used them myself yet, but I will look to see, next time I need a new lappy.

http://www.chiligreen.com/shop/produkte.asp
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Old 22.04.2015, 14:06
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

I had HP laptop with independent graphics card. I had to retire it in just 2 years because of overheating and noise. Same case with one of my friend. After that I only bought laptop with integrated Intel HD graphics. Now no overheating or noise. Battery also run bit longer.

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Am I right in thinking that laptops and desktops that have an SSD, run hotter and require continual cooling (and fan noise)? ...... or is it just my daughter's HP lappy?
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Old 22.04.2015, 14:16
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

Laptop isn't really an option, I already have one and it isn't a decent solution, so let's scrap that. A standalone box (i.e. Mac Mini or Chromebox) would be best. I have had a Mac Mini before, and I know it is a pain the @rse when trying to mount NAS folders, which I need to do.

For the people running Debian Linux, how friendly is it. Can I still use things like Chrome, uTorrent. Does flash work and will it run iPlayer and Plex?

Sorry for all the Qs, outside of Windows and Mac OS I am a massive noob.
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Old 22.04.2015, 14:58
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

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Laptop isn't really an option, I already have one and it isn't a decent solution, so let's scrap that. A standalone box (i.e. Mac Mini or Chromebox) would be best. I have had a Mac Mini before, and I know it is a pain the @rse when trying to mount NAS folders, which I need to do.

For the people running Debian Linux, how friendly is it. Can I still use things like Chrome, uTorrent. Does flash work and will it run iPlayer and Plex?

Sorry for all the Qs, outside of Windows and Mac OS I am a massive noob.
I use Chrome. iPlayer (website) works. Don't know about uTorrent, I use transmission for bittorrent.

If you're new to Linux, then you might want to go with Ubuntu instead as it is much more user friendly.
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Old 22.04.2015, 15:12
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

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I recently had the same idea as Google dropped support for youtube for older devices..
got myself a Raspberry Pi2 and a 8 micro SD card. Installed OSMC which is free. Installed some addons as well. It runs fantastic, have'nt had any issues with streaming full hd or playing local files. I guess you can setup NAS, Samba server etc..

It does not support 4k though.

It has a small foot print, hides behind the tv and the best two features for me are

- uses the power from by TV's USB port..
- uses the TV remote to navigate the menu as the sony tv I've got supports HDMI CEC.

cost of this setup CHF 60/-
+1 for the raspberry pi option. if you are willing to put in the effort, you can pretty much get it to do anything that you want. There are lots of guides on the web. I have even managed to turn a 12 year old tele into a smart tele with the pi, and I use my phone as the remote control.
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Old 22.04.2015, 15:22
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

Hi,

It depends what you want to achieve, zotac has nano series which is (not sure if all) 100% fanless, and you get a real i3/i5 cpu, so a good performance machine, 100% quiet.
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Old 22.04.2015, 16:24
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Re: Quiet and compact Media PC - ideas?

I have a similar setup as Phil_MCR (and probably a few million others)

RPi (not the 2, the first B+, no idea of the name) with XBMC, plus Transmision, Couchpotato and Sickrage. I have not big problems playing movies (no idea whether they are 4K, but some files are around 4Gb if that helps).

I am using XBIAN in Raspberry. And I would say that running the whole setup (Transmission/Couchpotato/Sickrage/XBMC) is pushing a tiny bit the limits. So, although it works and do the job, I am not surprise that for me, managing those apps through web interface is a tad slow and there are few glitches here and there (for that I have a few scripts to restart, email and a monitor the system)

I am trying now to free the load of the Raspberry and moving most of the apps to the NAS (QNAP) and leaving RPi just as media center (running Xbian XBMC/Kodi).

Ah, for me I found it impossible to run RPi using WiFi (extremely slow) so I had to connect it to the router.

I have considered replacing the RPi with CuBox: http://www.solid-run.com/

The system is running 24x7, and it gets hot, but is not noisy and I believe one of the advantages is that it does not consume much. One of the disadvantage (if you care) is that you end up having quite a mess of cables around
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