query about mini-desktops - Survivalist Forum
Survivalist Forum

Advertise Here

Go Back   Survivalist Forum > >
Articles Classifieds Donations Gallery Groups Links Store Survival Files


Notices

The Tech Zone Discussion on computers, software and games.

Advertise Here
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-24-2020, 07:42 AM
down under down under is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 72
Thanks: 290
Thanked 149 Times in 51 Posts
Default query about mini-desktops



Advertise Here

I currently use a desktop for my computing needs. It is getting old and a replacement will be needed soon IMO (I'm surprised it has lasted this long!).

It is primarily used for programming, playing music/watching videos and very basic games. It is never connected online.

I have noticed so called 'mini desktops' where the tower/box is only around 5 or 7" square. One of these would seem ideal. The computer does get packed up and moved around a fair bit and storage space is always limited in vehicles. I already have an external DVD drive so that could be used.

Two questions.
I was wondering if members have any information on power usage for a smaller computer like this compared to a standard full size desktop. It there a significant reduction in power use?

Also I live in a fairly hot climate. It is very common for the auxiliary cooling fan to come on and stay on during hotter weather. The smaller mini-desktops don't look like they have very good ventilation. Is there a chance of overheating it in hot conditions?

It would be best if any information members have to offer wasn't too technical. I'm a bit of a tech-retard! TIA.
Quick reply to this message
Old 03-24-2020, 07:58 AM
charliemeyer007's Avatar
charliemeyer007 charliemeyer007 is online now
reluctant sinner
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Rent Free in your head
Posts: 15,129
Thanks: 33
Thanked 27,442 Times in 9,761 Posts
Default

I really like my laptop. Lenovo flex 5 1570 with a an I7 processor and 16 gb of ram. Has a 500 gb solid state hard drive and I just added a 2 tb spinning disk hard drive.

I bought a new car charger for it so I can use my solar system or the truck cig lighter. The charger was only $15 new, I had to put on the correct connector. $2 and 10 minutes instead of $60 for the proper one that was plug and play. It will run upwards of 7 hours on the internal battery, depending on what you are doing.

I have a plug in usb DVD drive for it. <$30.

I see new and factory refurbished ones on ebay at good prices.

It has a spot in my INCH cart - music, games, survival data, design work.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to charliemeyer007 For This Useful Post:
Old 03-24-2020, 08:06 AM
Revelation Revelation is offline
Hunter
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Eastern NC
Posts: 1,246
Thanks: 37,365
Thanked 2,987 Times in 786 Posts
Default

Depending on what you are looking at, mini-pcs can be a viable alternative. You do need to make sure it has the compute power you need. Not just cpu but graphics capabilities.

As far as the power consumption goes; some are as low as 15w and as high as 600w. In fact, for a lot of people a Raspberry Pi would be enough.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Revelation For This Useful Post:
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-24-2020, 09:20 AM
down under down under is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 72
Thanks: 290
Thanked 149 Times in 51 Posts
Default

Thank you. That info has really helped. It looks like they are a suitable replacement.

I'm not really interested in a laptop. I find them irritating to use. I would probably end up hooking up a monitor and keyboard to them anyway so I cannot see any advantage.
I also feel the price to performance ratio isn't good enough compared to a desktop although my info on that is dated and I have (probably unfounded) doubts about reliability and ruggedness.

The stats of the current one:
Quote:
Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU
6300 @ 1.86GHz
1.58 GHz, 1.99 GB of RAM
Please don't laugh! From the little research I have done pretty much all of the mini-desktops have more than this so any of them will be an improvement.

I can buy a refurbished HP ProDesk 600 G1 (Core i3-4160T, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) from a company I have used before. This seems to offer significantly better performance. A quick search shows the power consumption is 65W according to HP but I may be reading that wrong. EDIT: Uses a 65W power supply. I believe the current one uses hundreds of watts so possibly this is a big improvement. I also run off solar quite a bit so this is an advantage.

And since no one has mentioned temperatures I expect it won't be a problem. Awesome. Thanks.

Last edited by down under; 03-25-2020 at 02:50 AM.. Reason: typo and updating
Quick reply to this message
Old 03-24-2020, 06:53 PM
KLF KLF is online now
Hunter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: FIN
Posts: 1,374
Thanks: 93
Thanked 1,478 Times in 775 Posts
Default

All the big three, Dell, HP and Lenovo make small computers that are about size of a stack of CD cases. They are basically laptops without display and keyboard.



Regardless of other specs, I would say the minimum you want is i5 2000-series. Even those are almost 10 years old by now (i5-2500 release date 2011). That was the first generation of really good processors, huge jump compared to predecessors. They are good even by today's standards for most basic tasks and gaming with a good graphics card. Newer processors (until certain point) do not become much faster but they do improve efficiency, ie. they need a lot less electric power for same amount of computing power.

Memory wise, more is always better. I would say the minimum is 8GB. Either already at 8 or at least upgradeable to 8 or 16GB.
Hard drive does not matter: if it does not already come with an SSD, get one. They are not that expensive anymore.

I'm still going to throw you the idea of a modern laptop. Doesn't have to be latest and greatest, just something that has USB-C charging and display (not all laptops that have usb-c connection have charging or display support).

Then you need something like this: https://www.amazon.com/USB-Dual-HDMI...dp/B07ZD2SQ7C/ or https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YHJV74T/

One cable to the laptop, takes care of charging and video both. On everyday use it works like a desktop (and it is just as powerful as those small desktops). Wireless keyboard and mouse, dongle to the usb port.

Like you said, you are using solar. You can use laptop on it's own battery/display for 6-10 hours if for any reason you have to conserve power. In everyday use it works as a desktop. In addition it's portable and can be charged with a powerbank or 12volt usb-c car charger also.

Above is my move in the near future, as I'm going to "donate" my desktop to mini-me as his first gaming pc... Lenovo Yoga 730 is currently a strong contestant or it's equivalent from Dell or HP, should I come across one.

You said laptops are irritating to use. My future "laptop" will have a 34" ultrawide screen, logitech's latest MX Keys wireless keyboard and wired Glorious PC Gaming Race mouse with rgb lights Laptop itself will be tucked against the wall behind the monitor.

Biggest difference will be that there is no room for three 3.5" hard drives inside anymore. Other than that (and gaming), there is not be much difference in daily use, when I compare a desktop with 2013 components vs. laptop from 2018/2019. I know that, because I have both (my work laptop is Lenovo T470 with all those usb-c/thunderbolt goodies and I'm impressed how well it works compared to things we had few years ago).
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to KLF For This Useful Post:
Old 03-24-2020, 08:16 PM
ralfy's Avatar
ralfy ralfy is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,401
Thanks: 94
Thanked 1,742 Times in 1,229 Posts
Default

I think the size usually refers to the case. The manufacturer usually selects parts that can fit in a smaller case, but they can also be used for a bigger one, and the power use remains the same.

About heat, full tower cases are usually better because of better airflow and the point that you can add quiet fans and even a liquid cooling system. They require cleaning, but are easier to repair.

Some small form factor (SFF) computers (I think that's what they're called) might be difficult to open for replacing parts (also, some all-in-one PCs, where the computer is inside the monitor case), but are easy to move around and clean.

Given that, what you can do for now is install a program that will show you the temperature of the CPU, graphics card, etc., like HWiNFO (for Windows; there should be similar ones for other operating systems). You can add the sensor info in the system tray and then see the current temps during different times of the day, with or without the air con (if any) on, and so on. Then ask those who use SFFs nearby what they're getting, or try the same in a laptop if you have one.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ralfy For This Useful Post:
Old 03-25-2020, 03:15 AM
down under down under is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 72
Thanks: 290
Thanked 149 Times in 51 Posts
Default

Wow, thank you, everyone. This is excellent information.

Thank you for the info on laptops. My information was very outdated. The last time I used one for any length of time the battery was lucky to last an hour!
Although they are much better now I still don't think I will gain sufficient advantage to make one worthwhile. I place a high value on robustness and reliability and feel a desktop would be better in that regard. Laptops are very thin which makes them fragile and batteries may be susceptible to the very high temps inside of vehicles in hot weather. But the ability to have stored runtime is very appealing.

Also that newer processors use less power. Very valuable info. I had no idea about that.

And I was worried about operating temperatures because I didn't realize that the temperature could be monitored. Obvious in hindsight, if there is a sensor to turn on a cooling fan then that sensor can be read.
Even though smaller cases offer less ventilation, if the temp can be checked it doesn't matter that much.

Thank you. I can choose confidently now.
Quick reply to this message
Old 03-25-2020, 12:14 PM
KLF KLF is online now
Hunter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: FIN
Posts: 1,374
Thanks: 93
Thanked 1,478 Times in 775 Posts
Default

Power use per (Intel) core has gone down significantly, which means cooler desktops and longer battery life on laptops (and thinner, lighter laptops in general). AMD is catching up but unless you are going to buy brand new, Intel is way to go.

That SFF HP Prodesk you mentioned is very easy to open. It has a handle on the side, pull it and the whole side panel lifts up. I know, because I have one HP like that literally next to me on the floor. I just replaced the i3 it had with a bit beefier i5, added RAM to 8GB, replaced SSD and now it is going to be my HTPC next to the projector. That size do have drawbacks: it is so small that there is room for only couple hard drives and the graphics card has to be low profile which limits possibilities a LOT. Basically best you can use is nVidia GTX1650.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to KLF For This Useful Post:
Old 03-25-2020, 12:44 PM
BigSlick BigSlick is offline
2nd Amendment zealot
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: TN, the patron state of shootin stuff
Posts: 710
Thanks: 3,431
Thanked 1,392 Times in 461 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KLF View Post
AMD is catching up but unless you are going to buy brand new, Intel is way to go. TGTX1650.
You have that backwards. Intel is behind the curve this time around.
Quick reply to this message
Old 03-25-2020, 02:25 PM
KLF KLF is online now
Hunter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: FIN
Posts: 1,374
Thanks: 93
Thanked 1,478 Times in 775 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigSlick View Post
You have that backwards. Intel is behind the curve this time around.
There has to be someone who prefers buying used AMD stuff but I'm not one of them
Quick reply to this message
Old 03-25-2020, 02:33 PM
ttkciar's Avatar
ttkciar ttkciar is online now
Bug-In Prepper
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: California
Posts: 627
Thanks: 2,170
Thanked 800 Times in 353 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by down under View Post
I'm not really interested in a laptop. I find them irritating to use. I would probably end up hooking up a monitor and keyboard to them anyway so I cannot see any advantage.
Coming late to the party with my two cents..

That's exactly what I'm doing for a desktop right now. My home office gets hot, which caused my "real" desktop to overheat and shut down, so I moved it to the wellhouse a couple of years ago.

To wfh, I plugged an old laptop (a Lenovo T510) into a monitor and keyboard, and it's fine for getting work done. It draws about 12W and doesn't overheat. 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD for boot and OS, plus a 2TB spinner for data (replacing the optical drive).

I keep forgetting it's a laptop and not my regular desktop, then notice the battery level monitor in the corner :-)

Anyway, since it gets hot where you are, it seems like low power/heat would be an advantage.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to ttkciar For This Useful Post:
Old 03-25-2020, 06:02 PM
ghost792's Avatar
ghost792 ghost792 is offline
Target Shooter
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: IL, USA
Posts: 544
Thanks: 3,526
Thanked 764 Times in 334 Posts
Default

The ultra small form factor computers like the Lenovo Tiny and the equivalent Dells and HPs mostly use laptop parts. Lenovo has some workstation class Tinys that may use desktop parts, but they also come with much larger power supplies.

Dell and Lenovo also have even smaller computers now. Lenovo has the Nano, which is about the size of a smartphone and Dell has a computer that fits inside a monitor stand for zero footprint.

I really like the Lenovo Tinys (might be biased because I work at a Lenovo reseller). I've got a couple of them with 4th generation Core i5s. Really nice computers, especially with Linux.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ghost792 For This Useful Post:
Old 03-26-2020, 12:56 AM
ajole ajole is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 10,627
Thanks: 8,548
Thanked 24,686 Times in 7,696 Posts
Default

As many have said, the mini PC is just a laptop in a different box, with no keyboard or display. The power is often coming via a unit on the power cable, so the power supply isnít in the box, saving much heat.

Another option would be the all-in-one, the computer and display are one unit, the mouse and keyboard are separate. Disadvantage, you canít easily upgrade your display.

I have a Lenovo Yoga laptop at work, it folds into a tablet, runs 5 hours on battery still despite being 3 years old, and has been great. Laptops are serious machines now.

As a coder, why arenít you running a Raspberry Pi?
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to ajole For This Useful Post:
Old 03-26-2020, 03:58 AM
Watchingtheweasels's Avatar
Watchingtheweasels Watchingtheweasels is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,744
Thanks: 8,101
Thanked 16,461 Times in 5,203 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by down under View Post
I was wondering if members have any information on power usage for a smaller computer like this compared to a standard full size desktop. It there a significant reduction in power use?
Yes, with a caveat. I built a NUC, 16gb RAM and an SSD drive. I deliberately chose an i3 as the processor, this can run on 12v DC with the power saving features on. I use a USB monitor with it and run off solar and a battery bank. I would probably choose the i3 over the i5/i7.

Quote:
Also I live in a fairly hot climate. It is very common for the auxiliary cooling fan to come on and stay on during hotter weather. The smaller mini-desktops don't look like they have very good ventilation. Is there a chance of overheating it in hot conditions?.
Mine hasn’t, yet.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Watchingtheweasels For This Useful Post:
Old 03-26-2020, 04:24 AM
jetgraphics's Avatar
jetgraphics jetgraphics is offline
Gumpherhooberpelt
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: near Atlanta, GA
Age: 64
Posts: 4,139
Thanks: 328
Thanked 8,309 Times in 2,800 Posts
Default

"Take two tablets and call me in the morning...."
If you can live with an add-on keyboard, 10" tablets look mighty interesting.
Some of the newer models sport 8 core CPUs, 10+ hour battery life, and excellent performance as a video player.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to jetgraphics For This Useful Post:
Old 03-26-2020, 07:31 PM
KLF KLF is online now
Hunter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: FIN
Posts: 1,374
Thanks: 93
Thanked 1,478 Times in 775 Posts
Default

Surface Pro 7 would be nice. I'd love to have one.

Detachable keyboard has never been an issue for me but the fact that it can't be used on a lap is. However some time ago I saw this:
https://www.esrgear.com/products/sur...business-case/

That case itself works as a stand and basically makes the tablet work as a laptop. Tablet part is still detachable whenever you want. There are several different cases that work the same now.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to KLF For This Useful Post:
Old 03-26-2020, 11:35 PM
clingmansdome clingmansdome is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 95
Thanks: 15
Thanked 131 Times in 62 Posts
Default

You can get a micro ATX mobo that about 10"x10" that has slots for DDR4 memory and the newest Intel processors. There are cases that aren't much larger than the mobo and some have handles to help you move them. If you want to expand later on, you have the slots to do it.
Basically mATX gives you all the capabilities of a full sized system, except not as many slots and add ons.
I've built several, and I like ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI
You buy the mobo, power supply, processor, memory, HD and case, and if you want to expand later on, you can. If the power supply croaks, just buy another one. Most have one HDMI slot, so you can use your TV as a monitor, and if you want to add a monitor later on, most have space for a good graphics card.
Best of all, online stores usually have bargain packages that let you buy systems that are a year or two out of date that come with about everything you need to get up and running.
If you buy new, you'll probably get years out of your system, whereas if you buy used you don't know what you're getting. Since you built it, if something goes wrong you'll have a head start at being able to repair it.
JMHO
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to clingmansdome For This Useful Post:
Old 03-27-2020, 01:53 PM
LuniticFringeInc LuniticFringeInc is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: North Texas
Posts: 5,261
Thanks: 2,154
Thanked 5,363 Times in 2,479 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by down under View Post
Thank you. That info has really helped. It looks like they are a suitable replacement.

I'm not really interested in a laptop. I find them irritating to use. I would probably end up hooking up a monitor and keyboard to them anyway so I cannot see any advantage.
I also feel the price to performance ratio isn't good enough compared to a desktop although my info on that is dated and I have (probably unfounded) doubts about reliability and ruggedness.

The stats of the current one:

Please don't laugh! From the little research I have done pretty much all of the mini-desktops have more than this so any of them will be an improvement.

I can buy a refurbished HP ProDesk 600 G1 (Core i3-4160T, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) from a company I have used before. This seems to offer significantly better performance. A quick search shows the power consumption is 65W according to HP but I may be reading that wrong. EDIT: Uses a 65W power supply. I believe the current one uses hundreds of watts so possibly this is a big improvement. I also run off solar quite a bit so this is an advantage.

And since no one has mentioned temperatures I expect it won't be a problem. Awesome. Thanks.
I used to be a big fan of the mini CPU's when I was living on my boat....since then I have went to, yep, you guessed it Laptops. Why? Even more compact, got about a 2 hour battery on them and even more portable than my minis were! Yes like you I have a 26 & 55 inch tv I hook it up to and use a wireless keyboard and mouse when I am not mobile.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to LuniticFringeInc For This Useful Post:
Old 03-27-2020, 07:18 PM
gravel_road's Avatar
gravel_road gravel_road is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: VA
Posts: 69
Thanks: 34
Thanked 155 Times in 51 Posts
Default

I work at home, but I do travel between 30+ different locations to work at times.

Desk top is a "Mini PC with AMD A4-7210 CPU & Windows 10 Pro, 4GB DDR3". They put a 1 TB SSD in it. I'm set up with dual monitors. Most of the programs I use are run off the company server. I can not play any real games, but dose anything else I need with out any issues.

I hate laptops, but the work I do needs 2 monitors to get anything done with efficiency.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to gravel_road For This Useful Post:
Old 03-28-2020, 09:08 AM
KLF KLF is online now
Hunter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: FIN
Posts: 1,374
Thanks: 93
Thanked 1,478 Times in 775 Posts
Default

Desktops in general want 110/220V so you'll need inverter to run them. Same for regular monitors. With exceptions that are usually expensive.

A modern laptop can be charged from 12V source with these.
Pair such with one or two of these monitors, and you'll have 2 or 3 screen desktop setup that works from a battery bank and packs into a suitcase.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to KLF For This Useful Post:
Reply

Bookmarks



Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Survivalist Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Gender
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:37 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © Kevin Felts 2006 - 2015,
Green theme by http://www.themesbydesign.net