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post #1 of 238 Old 05-07-2015, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Which NUC?

Hey Guys,










My HTPC's are 5+ years old and starting to show their age, so its time to plan for upgrades.


With that, I am interested in replacing my boxes with NUC's behind the TV's, but as I compare hardware prices, I could use some opinions on which NUC model to price out?


I need AC WiFi and HDMI out - other than that, maybe blutooth but I can work around not having that.


I will be running Windows 7 or 8 OS, haven't decided yet and Power DVD - all media is on a NAS.


What do you guys think?
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post #2 of 238 Old 05-07-2015, 11:09 AM
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For a Windows based NUC, I'd go with the i3 - BOXD34010WYKH1
Keep in mind, the wifi card is sold separately.

But let a few others chime in first.
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post #3 of 238 Old 05-07-2015, 12:08 PM
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The i3 versions should do just fine. The Celerons are borderline at best so I'd stick with the better processor. Going with a little more than you need is better than not having enough. I have three 1st generation i3 NUCs and they work great. All of the media on my unRAID server is converted to mkv files and I use Kodi for viewing them on the NUCs. I used to use PowerDVD with iso's but had all sorts of issues with freezing and stuttering. Using mkv's and Kodi/XBMC fixed the problem.

If you need HD audio out via HDMI then you'll need the latest NUCs. The older models won't bitstream HD audio, IIRC. If you don't need HD audio and just use these for satellite TVs then the older NUCs will work fine and will probably cost a lot less. Check ebay for used ones.

You can find 120GB mSATA drives for about $60 these days, which is the minimum I would recommend. If you plan to do any recording then you might want to consider going with even larger drives. Some of the newer models can accommodate standard 2.5" SATA SSDs.
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post #4 of 238 Old 05-07-2015, 12:13 PM
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I built a celeron NUC for my father, running Kodi, and it bitstreams all formats just fine. Just an FYI. It's the old, $139 version.
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Next-Com...1022066&sr=1-5

I think I heard somewhere that it didn't work in Windows though, and I wouldn't want Windows on it anyway. It's snappy under OpenELEC.
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post #5 of 238 Old 05-07-2015, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
The i3 versions should do just fine. The Celerons are borderline at best so I'd stick with the better processor. Going with a little more than you need is better than not having enough. I have three 1st generation i3 NUCs and they work great. All of the media on my unRAID server is converted to mkv files and I use Kodi for viewing them on the NUCs. I used to use PowerDVD with iso's but had all sorts of issues with freezing and stuttering. Using mkv's and Kodi/XBMC fixed the problem.

If you need HD audio out via HDMI then you'll need the latest NUCs. The older models won't bitstream HD audio, IIRC. If you don't need HD audio and just use these for satellite TVs then the older NUCs will work fine and will probably cost a lot less. Check ebay for used ones.

You can find 120GB mSATA drives for about $60 these days, which is the minimum I would recommend. If you plan to do any recording then you might want to consider going with even larger drives. Some of the newer models can accommodate standard 2.5" SATA SSDs.


I definitely need the HD audio via HDMI


So which of the newer NUC models?


Also - is it worth upgrading to PowerDVD 15 from 11?

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post #6 of 238 Old 05-08-2015, 05:11 AM
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If you need headless operation, verify that the NUC permits it. Intel's Haswell NUCs wouldn't boot headless. An HDMI dummy dongle fixes the issue.

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post #7 of 238 Old 05-08-2015, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post
I built a celeron NUC for my father, running Kodi, and it bitstreams all formats just fine. Just an FYI. It's the old, $139 version.
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Next-Com...1022066&sr=1-5

I think I heard somewhere that it didn't work in Windows though, and I wouldn't want Windows on it anyway. It's snappy under OpenELEC.
Kodi uses far less resources and should run fine on a Celeron. People use Raspberry Pi's for running Kodi in OpenElec so a Celeron has more than enough power to work with it. Windows is a completely different story.
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post #8 of 238 Old 05-08-2015, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BobSalita View Post
If you need headless operation, verify that the NUC permits it. Intel's Haswell NUCs wouldn't boot headless. An HDMI dummy dongle fixes the issue.


if you mean "no keyboard" by headless - that's not an issue, I have a mini blutooth keyboard that I use
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post #9 of 238 Old 05-08-2015, 02:02 PM
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OP,

Given that all your media is on a NAS, why would you want to run Windows and PowerDVD? That's old school IMO. You really should consider moving to Plex Media Server on your NAS and run a Plex client at each TV. You can run the OpenELEC-Plex version of the client on a NUC, it will play everything and boots up in seconds, and can even boot from a USB stick. Another note: if you go with Plex, many modern "smart" TVs by Samsung and LG have a built in Plex client, so no need for a NUC at all. I've been using Plex for years and I would never go back. (no I don't work for Plex or anything like that, I'm just a HUGE fan).

Plex: https://plex.tv/

See this for the OpenELEC-Plex client:
https://forums.plex.tv/index.php/top...ne-pht-distro/

As for the NUC, the i3 version will play everything just fine. Personally, I went with the i5, just in case, but it's really not necessary.

The latest version of the NUC is the 5th generation, it will have "NUC5" in the product number, then "i3" or "i5" or "i7", and then "RYK" (slim case, won't fit a standard SSD) or "RYH" (tall case, will fit an SSD). So:

NUC5i3RYH - Core i3, tall case can fit an SSD
NUC5i3RYK - Core i3, slim case cannot fit an SSD, need PCIe SSD

Keep in mind that in all cases, you will need to buy RAM, and be careful, it's DDR3L SODIMM (low voltage 1.35v), a lot of the RAM out there is NOT low voltage, so pick carefully. The 5th gen models all come with Wireless-AC now. The older ones do not.


Older models, still plenty capable and can be had for cheaper, but do not include wireless, you'd have to buy a separate card:

Be careful, there are lots of different models, look carefully at the model number.
The "H" means it's a fat/tall case and can fit a standard SSD.
No "H" means it's a slim case and you cannot fit a standard SSD, you have to get a PCIe SSD.
The "1" means it comes with a power cord, otherwise it does not.

D34010WYKH1 - Core i3, tall case can fit an SSD, comes with power cord
D34010WYK1 - Core i3, slim case cannot fit an SSD, comes with power cord
D34010WYKH - Core i3, tall case can fit an SSD, comes without power cord
D34010WYK1 - Core i3, slim case cannot fit an SSD, comes with power cord
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post #10 of 238 Old 05-08-2015, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSalita View Post
If you need headless operation, verify that the NUC permits it. Intel's Haswell NUCs wouldn't boot headless. An HDMI dummy dongle fixes the issue.
This is no longer an issue. I've been running headless for nearly 2 years now, no problems.
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post #11 of 238 Old 05-08-2015, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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ixion - thanks!


I was actually looking at the NUC5i3RYH - Core i3, tall case can fit an SSD to begin with.


as for Plex - my NAS is an old Drobo, so old in fact that is doesn't support Plex




plus - the family is already "conditioned" on how to work the current set up - if I were to introduce a new process it wouldn't go over very well, not that its the wrong solution. I would love to upgrade my NAS, but the Mrs doesn't understand the need at the moment until it fails.


My 2 current HTPC's are starting to shudder bad enough where they can see it and interrupting movie watching - which authorized the cost to upgrade
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post #12 of 238 Old 05-08-2015, 03:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
The i3 versions should do just fine. The Celerons are borderline at best so I'd stick with the better processor. Going with a little more than you need is better than not having enough. I have three 1st generation i3 NUCs and they work great. All of the media on my unRAID server is converted to mkv files and I use Kodi for viewing them on the NUCs. I used to use PowerDVD with iso's but had all sorts of issues with freezing and stuttering. Using mkv's and Kodi/XBMC fixed the problem.

If you need HD audio out via HDMI then you'll need the latest NUCs. The older models won't bitstream HD audio, IIRC. If you don't need HD audio and just use these for satellite TVs then the older NUCs will work fine and will probably cost a lot less. Check ebay for used ones.

You can find 120GB mSATA drives for about $60 these days, which is the minimum I would recommend. If you plan to do any recording then you might want to consider going with even larger drives. Some of the newer models can accommodate standard 2.5" SATA SSDs.
How old are you talking... Mine were purchased in June of 2013 and I watch 1080p movies, Ripped DVD-A discs, DTS Audio cds, DTS-HD encoded movies... streamed from my NAS with no problem using Kodi.
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
Kodi uses far less resources and should run fine on a Celeron. People use Raspberry Pi's for running Kodi in OpenElec so a Celeron has more than enough power to work with it. Windows is a completely different story.
One of my NUCs is a Celeron running Windows 7, and it is borderline (maybe with Openelec/Kodi it would be fine, but on this set I needed windows for my wife too)... If I had it to do again I would only go with i3 or faster.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post
I built a celeron NUC for my father, running Kodi, and it bitstreams all formats just fine. Just an FYI. It's the old, $139 version.
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Next-Com...1022066&sr=1-5

I think I heard somewhere that it didn't work in Windows though, and I wouldn't want Windows on it anyway. It's snappy under OpenELEC.
I have the same one quoted running Windows 7, and Kodi, and it works fine (borderline)...although I would still recommend going i3.
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post #15 of 238 Old 05-08-2015, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ellisr63 View Post
How old are you talking... Mine were purchased in June of 2013 and I watch 1080p movies, Ripped DVD-A discs, DTS Audio cds, DTS-HD encoded movies... streamed from my NAS with no problem using Kodi.
Mine are all 1st generation NUCs (DC3217BY & IYE models). They all run Windows 7 and never skip a beat. I've tried numerous low-end PCs and they all performed less than stellar when it came to HTPC use. I've still got a Dell Inspiron 400/Zino HD that I upgraded to the best CPU and GPU and it worked great. I heard nothing about complaints from people that went with a less powerful processor and/or GPU. I've had similar experiences with other PCs that were borderline in the performance department. It just doesn't pay to cheap out and go with a low end unit. I'd rather have a little too much than not enough.
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post #16 of 238 Old 05-08-2015, 06:14 PM
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1st Gen NUCs would be Sandy Bridge. From Bay Trail (3rd Gen NUCs) on - low end has become a lot more capable; for a broader range of uses. Still, depends on what one's specific uses actually are, though.
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post #17 of 238 Old 05-09-2015, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ixion View Post
This is no longer an issue. I've been running headless for nearly 2 years now, no problems.
Nearly two years ago, the Haswell NUCs were not released. Six months ago the problem was still not fixed. What's your model number? I'll test it out.

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post #18 of 238 Old 05-09-2015, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMcCrackin View Post
..... I am interested in replacing my boxes with NUC's behind the TV's, but as I compare hardware prices, I could use some opinions on which NUC model to price out.........I need AC WiFi and HDMI out - ......- all media is on a NAS.What do you guys think?
If you have hardwired ethernet then try an HP Stream Mini (Celeron 2957U, 2GB, 32 GB M.2 SSD, Gigabit Ethernet, Win 8.1 x64) for $180. I got one set up running MPC-HC and it plays even BD-ISOs perfectly from NAS.

I even have a cheap @ss $50 Insignia 8" Windows 8.1 Tablet that can do BD-ISO (PCM audio) and Kodi, I bought a USB 2.0 to Ethernet adapter to run this stuff. Wont work on WiFi.
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post #19 of 238 Old 05-09-2015, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by MrMcCrackin View Post
ixion - thanks!


I was actually looking at the NUC5i3RYH - Core i3, tall case can fit an SSD to begin with.


as for Plex - my NAS is an old Drobo, so old in fact that is doesn't support Plex




plus - the family is already "conditioned" on how to work the current set up - if I were to introduce a new process it wouldn't go over very well, not that its the wrong solution. I would love to upgrade my NAS, but the Mrs doesn't understand the need at the moment until it fails.


My 2 current HTPC's are starting to shudder bad enough where they can see it and interrupting movie watching - which authorized the cost to upgrade
you dont need to get a new NAS, just to run PMS. You can run PMS on your new Nuc if you like, as well as PHT, and point PMS to your directories on the Drobo.
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post #20 of 238 Old 05-09-2015, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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you dont need to get a new NAS, just to run PMS. You can run PMS on your new Nuc if you like, as well as PHT, and point PMS to your directories on the Drobo.
PS3 Media Server?
PHT?


Everything on the Drobo are DVD ISO's and BluRay ISO's
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post #21 of 238 Old 05-09-2015, 09:37 AM
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PMS = Plex Media Server
PHT = Plex Home Theater

you can run both of them on your new nuc. You dont have to run it on the NAS. Many of us like to run it on the NAS because NASes typically use a lot less power than a full blown computer, but the NUC is actually much more power efficient than a typical NAS (my NAS uses about 45-60 watts, vs my haswell nuc which averages about 11 watts).
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Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post
PMS = Plex Media Server
PHT = Plex Home Theater

you can run both of them on your new nuc. You dont have to run it on the NAS. Many of us like to run it on the NAS because NASes typically use a lot less power than a full blown computer, but the NUC is actually much more power efficient than a typical NAS (my NAS uses about 45-60 watts, vs my haswell nuc which averages about 11 watts).


ok here is the problem with that: Plex does not support the use of ISO, IMG, Video_TS, or other "disk image" formats. If you wish to use those with Plex, it's recommended that you convert them to a compatible format.




so I would need to turn 10.8TB of ISOs into MKV
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post #23 of 238 Old 05-09-2015, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by MrMcCrackin View Post
ok here is the problem with that: Plex does not support the use of ISO, IMG, Video_TS, or other "disk image" formats. If you wish to use those with Plex, it's recommended that you convert them to a compatible format.




so I would need to turn 10.8TB of ISOs into MKV
yes you would, but why do you have everything as an ISO anyway? mkv containers are so much easier to distribute and use. just commit a weekend to convert your collection. I promise you wont regret it.
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post #24 of 238 Old 05-09-2015, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post
I built a celeron NUC for my father, running Kodi, and it bitstreams all formats just fine. Just an FYI. It's the old, $139 version.
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Next-Com...1022066&sr=1-5

I think I heard somewhere that it didn't work in Windows though, and I wouldn't want Windows on it anyway. It's snappy under OpenELEC.

Those work great I had 2 of them but recently upgraded to the asus chromebox running openelec.

Who needs 4K?... just go see your optometrist.

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post #25 of 238 Old 05-09-2015, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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yes you would, but why do you have everything as an ISO anyway? mkv containers are so much easier to distribute and use. just commit a weekend to convert your collection. I promise you wont regret it.
Ok for giggles, I converted 2 DVDs and a Bluray to MKV.

I loaded Plex and we watched a movie tonight via Plex Home Theater, plus we can use my wifes Fire TV to watch the MKVs!

So the cheapest option yet may be just getting a couple more Fire TVs and spend time converting to MKV, just need to pay the $5 to use Plex app on the Fire TV.




Should I be noticing a huge difference in video quality from the ISO to MKV

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post #26 of 238 Old 05-10-2015, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MrMcCrackin View Post
Ok for giggles, I converted 2 DVDs and a Bluray to MKV.

I loaded Plex and we watched a movie tonight via Plex Home Theater, plus we can use my wifes Fire TV to watch the MKVs!

So the cheapest option yet may be just getting a couple more Fire TVs and spend time converting to MKV, just need to pay the $5 to use Plex app on the Fire TV.




Should I be noticing a huge difference in video quality from the ISO to MKV
I use makemkv which make an exact copy of my bluray with no loss in image quality.

I highly recommend you convert your iso to mkv:

- the movies are much quicker to run. You click on the movie file and you watch movie straight away...
- you save lots of disk space. After remove trailers,foreign languages,subtitles etc I usually save anywhere from 20 to 35% of disk space.
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post #27 of 238 Old 05-10-2015, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMcCrackin View Post
Ok for giggles, I converted 2 DVDs and a Bluray to MKV.

I loaded Plex and we watched a movie tonight via Plex Home Theater, plus we can use my wifes Fire TV to watch the MKVs!

So the cheapest option yet may be just getting a couple more Fire TVs and spend time converting to MKV, just need to pay the $5 to use Plex app on the Fire TV.

Should I be noticing a huge difference in video quality from the ISO to MKV
MakeMKV does not re-encode, it just changes the format from ISO to MKV, so there's no change/loss in quality.

The FireTV is the cheapest way to go for sure, but I'm not sure if its a blu-ray player replacement type device, or if you even care about that. For instance, Plex Home theater running on my NUC outputs the video in 23.976 Hz (1080p24) and bitstreams DTS HD MA to my AVR. In this manner, it totally replaces my blu-ray player. I dont know if the Fire TV plex app does all that, or if you even would care about that stuff. If you dont, then that's probably the best way to go.
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post #28 of 238 Old 05-10-2015, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post
MakeMKV does not re-encode, it just changes the format from ISO to MKV, so there's no change/loss in quality.

The FireTV is the cheapest way to go for sure, but I'm not sure if its a blu-ray player replacement type device, or if you even care about that. For instance, Plex Home theater running on my NUC outputs the video in 23.976 Hz (1080p24) and bitstreams DTS HD MA to my AVR. In this manner, it totally replaces my blu-ray player. I dont know if the Fire TV plex app does all that, or if you even would care about that stuff. If you dont, then that's probably the best way to go.
Understood, my video card might be upconverting the standard DVD ISO, eitherway I noticed it last night while watching a recent MKV convert.

As for FireTv, I would keep at leat one of the 3 HTPC's as a desktop, so I could get new movies onto the NAS. Then the FireTV boxes could be used, if it works I might even get one for outside and one for the bar.

For the cost of the additional Fire boxes and additional software, I could get the additional Fire boxes and still be in the black compared to 2 NUC builds.
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post #29 of 238 Old 05-10-2015, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I did some side by side viewing of MKV and ISO, if the conversion process is lossless then it must be the players that producing different qualities.


PowerDVD with ISO is much clearer and not pixilated at all compared to Plex with MKV.
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post #30 of 238 Old 05-10-2015, 05:29 PM
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Plex does not do a good job with Blu-rays that were encoded with VC-1. All newer produced blu-rays are H.264 and look fine, but for VC-1 releases, you will have to uncheck 'DVXA' from the advanced video settings menu before you play it back
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