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Old 07-31-2014, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Cheapest NUC I can get away with?

For basic HTPC needs, meaning playback of MKV full quality Blu Ray rips at 1080p and playback of WMC ota feeds from HDhomeruns, is anything more than the very basic Celeron NUC needed? (http://www.amazon.com/Intel-DN2820FY...ords=intel+nuc)

I am trying to see how cheaply I can go with replacing an old HTPC that has a Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H and old Core2 duo 8200 that performs these needs. The only thing that I have ever noticed giving this current HTPC problems is really high CPU utilization when streaming from a site like FOX when putting it on highest quality. Seems like a bug though because I wouldn't think TV streaming from a network's site would be that intensive. That is a rare use anyway, though. Mainly it will be using Media Browser to navigate and playback BD rips from my Synology, and the aforementioned Windows Media center DVR for OTA television from my Hdhomeruns.

Oh it would also be running the Media Browser server backend. I assume that takes very few resources.
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hifiaudio2 View Post
For basic HTPC needs, meaning playback of MKV full quality Blu Ray rips at 1080p and playback of WMC ota feeds from HDhomeruns, is anything more than the very basic Celeron NUC needed? (http://www.amazon.com/Intel-DN2820FY...ords=intel+nuc)

I am trying to see how cheaply I can go with replacing an old HTPC that has a Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H and old Core2 duo 8200 that performs these needs. The only thing that I have ever noticed giving this current HTPC problems is really high CPU utilization when streaming from a site like FOX when putting it on highest quality. Seems like a bug though because I wouldn't think TV streaming from a network's site would be that intensive. That is a rare use anyway, though. Mainly it will be using Media Browser to navigate and playback BD rips from my Synology, and the aforementioned Windows Media center DVR for OTA television from my Hdhomeruns.

Oh it would also be running the Media Browser server backend. I assume that takes very few resources.
Any current Celeron will handle this. You may even want to look into a Chromebox.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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yeah but I dont think I can run Jriver, media browser server, or certainly not Windows media center of course, on the Chromebox.

I thought I had an impossibly cheap Dell laptop that would do all of this for me with the Celeron 2830 chip, but I discovered it does not have an ethernet port.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:17 PM
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Then the $140 NUC should work fine, just add memory and an HDD.
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:04 PM
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They just had this one (with built in projector) for $249 as a 'Shell Shocker': http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16856164010 However, it's back to normal.
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually I might look at that Dell laptop again for the price it was. Any issue with using a USB 3.0 to gig ethernet adapter? i.e more overhead, lower speeds, etc?
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok I went with the laptop. Has a slightly newer version of the celeron than mentioned in the above NUC... it's now the n2830. 4Gb ram that I will upgrade to 8 assuming this chipset takes advantage of two ram channels for bandwidth. Not sure if I will swap the 500gb 5400 Rpm drive for an ssd or not. I have a couple of ssds lying around but serving as a Dvr drive for media center might wear them out quickly. We will see if the 5400 rpm performance annoys me enough to make me switch.

Edit: and now I realize the usb port is 2.0. Not sure how bad that will limit the usb to ether net adapter. But oh well... if it's no good I'll just send it back.

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Old 08-03-2014, 03:07 AM
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This guy is using the 847 Celeron version, which I think is the lowest powered one out.
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by okcool View Post
This guy is using the 847 Celeron version, which I think is the lowest powered one out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV9qBpKYswU
That's pretty much what I want to do as well. Combined local channels and my movies / TV shows.

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Old 08-03-2014, 06:51 PM
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This guy is using the 847 Celeron version, which I think is the lowest powered one out.
I had a couple of those with zero issues. I even used both HDMI outputs. I ran OpenELEC and Windows 7/WMC/XBMC and they simply ran like a champ. Doing pure PC "stuff" you can see they aren't the fastest tool in the shed but they get the job done. Only difference I really noticed was when I was using it with WMC extenders the trick play features such as fast forward wasn't as snappy. Sort of similar to an old TiVo back in the day.
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by hifiaudio2 View Post
Edit: and now I realize the usb port is 2.0. Not sure how bad that will limit the usb to ether net adapter. But oh well... if it's no good I'll just send it back.
Shouldn't be a problem for media playback. Will still be faster than 10/100.
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles R View Post
I had a couple of those with zero issues. I even used both HDMI outputs. I ran OpenELEC and Windows 7/WMC/XBMC and they simply ran like a champ.
For a ultra cheap/simple/cigarette pack size streamer device in the bedroom I've been running OpenELEC/XBMC on a $35 raspberry pi for almost a year now- no problems whatsoever.

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Old 08-05-2014, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah I have a pi and messed around with it back when it was first released. My issue is that I never got XBMC to do what I wanted with live TV. XBMC Was never close to what WMC could do with OTA TV, even installed on a normal pc in Windows (at least "I" couldn't get it to work that well), so I scrapped it. The pi sits unused .

Got my new Dell laptop in today and will start putting it through the paces. So far its pretty darn nice for the crazy low price I paid ($190 total on the tax free weekend, no shipping, employee discount).
I am getting used to Windows 8.1 a bit. I was planning to reformat with win7 but may stick with 8.1.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hifiaudio2 View Post
For basic HTPC needs, meaning playback of MKV full quality Blu Ray rips at 1080p and playback of WMC ota feeds from HDhomeruns, is anything more than the very basic Celeron NUC needed? (http://www.amazon.com/Intel-DN2820FY...ords=intel+nuc)

I am trying to see how cheaply I can go with replacing an old HTPC that has a Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H and old Core2 duo 8200 that performs these needs. The only thing that I have ever noticed giving this current HTPC problems is really high CPU utilization when streaming from a site like FOX when putting it on highest quality. Seems like a bug though because I wouldn't think TV streaming from a network's site would be that intensive. That is a rare use anyway, though. Mainly it will be using Media Browser to navigate and playback BD rips from my Synology, and the aforementioned Windows Media center DVR for OTA television from my Hdhomeruns.

Oh it would also be running the Media Browser server backend. I assume that takes very few resources.
I recently built the Celeron NUC and set it up it with Win 7 64 and use it with Plex and XBMC (although Plex is my preferred choice). Compared to my existing full bore HTPC it is fine. No hiccups and plays everything perfectly.

I will advise you that when you get the Celeron DN2820FY which has the infrared port and is silver it needs an immediate firmware update to do anything. This BTW requires you to pull the internal jumper (because it needs the recovery firmware update) and use a good quality usb stick with the firmware to get it going. I spent hours sorting through this. Also it is picky about memory. MUST be 1.35v. And lastly till you do the firmware the only display that will work will be an HDMI equipped TV. Once you get through this it is very nice. I got mine at NewEgg for $135.

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Old 08-06-2014, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Bob,

I actually ended up going with a Dell laptop that had the Celeron N2830 for $190 (my cost after coupons, tax free weekend, employee discount). So far so good, although the CPU is pegged at 100% playing back full quality BD rips in MKV format. Still tweaking that.

Haven't tried OTA windows media center with it yet... that is next. I am assuming that will be no problem.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:24 PM
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The Asus Chromebox for $165 on amazon can have its bootloader/bios changed to run windows/linux etc. I just ordered one today to play with tomorrow to use it for Plex on Linux. I'm using a Amazon FireTV bluetooth remote with it.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by watchy View Post
The Asus Chromebox for $165 on amazon can have its bootloader/bios changed to run windows/linux etc. I just ordered one today to play with tomorrow to use it for Plex on Linux. I'm using a Amazon FireTV bluetooth remote with it.
Very interesting! Please let us know asap how that goes. It looks like the Celeron used on that box (2955U) is a Haswell (?) and more powerful than the N2830/N2820 that is in the laptop I bought and in the cheap Intel NUC.

So changing the bootloader is a seamless procedure? Where can I find info on doing this? I could install WIN 8.1 on this with no issue? Is the ram and SSD upgradeable?

And does the i3 version also allow you to change the bootloader to support a WIN 8.1 install?

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Old 08-07-2014, 11:17 AM
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Very interesting! Please let us know asap how that goes. It looks like the Celeron used on that box (2955U) is a Haswell (?) and more powerful than the N2830/N2820 that is in the laptop I bought and in the cheap Intel NUC.

So changing the bootloader is a seamless procedure? Where can I find info on doing this? I could install WIN 8.1 on this with no issue? Is the ram and SSD upgradeable?

And does the i3 version also allow you to change the bootloader to support a WIN 8.1 install?
Ram and SSD and Wireless are all module, Order a 802.11AC intel card from amazon for $22. It also includes bluetooth on that card. The SSD is 16gb but if you run linux thats perfect. Ram is 2gb but I think it can goto 32gb. 16 I know for sure.

I had to open it and take a screw out to allow the firmware to be modified but that took 5 minutes. Another 5 minutes to backup the original firmware to a USB drive and flash it. Its very very straight forward to do it.

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=194362 has the instructions. I'm installing CentOS 7 on it currently like a normal OS install. I could install Windows but for some reason my bluetooth fireTV remote I use doesn't send all the keys inside windows. I think its a driver issue. All the keys work in linux. You can do the i3 version the same way. I wouldn't if all you need if a media server. The celeron one is going to play everything anyways due to the video card. i3 is a waste unless you wanna play some games or use it for something other then media.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:28 AM
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Got CentOS booting perfectly. Now to start putting Plex on it. Please Excuse the messy desk. This is my office at work and I have a lot going on.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Cool - I know nothing of using Linux though... are you certain that Windows will install? I have only glanced through the first page of that thread so far. I assume quite a bit of the instructions can be ignored if all I want to do is get it into a mode to allow me to install Windows?
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:05 PM
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Cool - I know nothing of using Linux though... are you certain that Windows will install? I have only glanced through the first page of that thread so far. I assume quite a bit of the instructions can be ignored if all I want to do is get it into a mode to allow me to install Windows?
Just do the part that requires Corefirmware. Once thats done put in a USB stick with Win7/8 install. Hit escape when you boot. Pic the USB drive as boot do a normal Windows install. After that it should boot Win7/8 like normal. Install all drivers and your good. Order one of these from Amazon and try it. If your not happy you got 30 days to send it back.
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Whew... I went through the instructions on the wiki here:

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title...ce_Preparation

But that page seems to be all over the place, even doubling back on itself and explaining some of the same instructions twice, or so it seems to me.

By "Corefirmware" did you mean where it talks about "Coreboot firmware" ?



Sorry to be dense.. would you be able to tell me what section of that Wiki would be my "start point" to installing Win 8?
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:52 PM
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Pretty much does this,

1.2 Disable Firmware Write Protect
Disabling the firmware write protect will allow us to shorten the developer boot screen timeout (from 30s to ~1s) in a dial boot configuration, and optionally boot directly to the legacy BIOS (and into Ubuntu or OpenELEC). This is also necessary for standalone setups so that the stock firmware can be updated.
With the device powered off and unplugged:
Remove (4) rubber feet from bottom of unit
Remove (4) screws under rubber feet
Separate two halves of unit. Tip: partially insert the screw removed from the notched end, but do not re-thread it. Use it to help separate the two halves.
Remove write-protect screw circled below:

Then do this

1.1 Put in Developer Mode
Putting the ChromeBox in developer mode will allow you to access the underlying Linux operating system features necessary for installing XBMC.
WARNING: This will erase all user data on the device.
With the device powered off:
Insert a paperclip into the hole left of the SD card slot and press the recovery button
Power on the device, then remove the paper clip
When greeted with the recovery screen, press [CTRL-D] to enter developer mode
Press the recovery button (with paperclip) to confirm.

After confirming, the device will reboot and wipe any existing user data - this will take ~5 minutes. Afterwards, the ChromeBox will be in developer mode (as opposed to standard/verified boot mode), and the developer boot screen will be shown at each boot.

The developer boot screen has some scary text about OS verification being off, with instructions to hit [SPACE] if you want to re-enable it. This will return the device from developer mode to standard/verified boot mode, so don't do that. The developer mode boot screen has a ~30s delay, followed by two beeps, before booting. You can skip the delay by pressing [CTRL-D] to immediately boot into ChromeOS.


Then this

To run the script (which must be executed from either ChromeOS or ChromiumOS), perform the following steps:
Power on and boot to ChromeOS. DO NOT LOG IN TO ChromeOS, but do ensure a network connection is set up
Hit CTRL-ALT-F2 to get to command prompt
Login with user chronos (no password required for ChromeOS; ChromiumOS uses 'password')
Download and run the setup script with the commands:
curl -L -O http://*******/3Tfu5W
sudo bash 3Tfu5W

Put a USB flash drive in to backup your Original firmware
Then push Option 5. After its done it will reboot and have a new firmware.
Plug your USB Stick into the Box and reboot and hit escape once. It will ask you if you want to boot off your USB Drive or built in SSD. Pick your USB drive. Then follow the Windows 7 directions like normal.
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Old 08-07-2014, 05:32 PM
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The Asus Chromebox for $165 on amazon can have its bootloader/bios changed to run windows/linux etc.
Does it support HD audio in any of its various configurations? I believe I read it's not supported with OpenELEC. If you are looking to run Windows by the time you upgrade memory and storage is it still worth it versus a low-end NUC?
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:00 AM
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HD audio is supported. I've tried TrueHD and DTS-MA, 5.1 and 7.1. Haven't tested DD+ or DTS-HRA, but I imagine they both work. With Chromebox, you're getting 16GB SSD and 2GB RAM, both plenty for XBMC/OpenELEC use. So, cheaper than NUC with memory + storage + Windows.

HD Media Keen Videosaurus
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:58 AM
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So, cheaper than NUC with memory + storage + Windows.
True. Although I'd go low-end NUC with OpenELEC using USB with the price being roughly the same. Down the road if you wanted to use it as a "real PC" you could install a 3.5" hard drive. Plus their three year warranty is hard to beat... the built-in IR sensor might just comes in handy as well.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:27 AM
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True. Although I'd go low-end NUC with OpenELEC using USB with the price being roughly the same. Down the road if you wanted to use it as a "real PC" you could install a 3.5" hard drive. Plus their three year warranty is hard to beat... the built-in IR sensor might just comes in handy as well.
It might come out to around the same price. It does have IR but I mount mine behind my TV and don't want IR due to that. I actually don't like the fatter case of the celeron nuc. From what I just looked up, The NUC isn't haswell based like the Chromebox, So you probably don't get the 24p fix. You also don't get 4 USB 3's if you use it. Then you do need to buy a small SSD, Ram, and a wifi/bluetooth card if you want to use either of those.

I bought it more as something to play with. But I plan on putting it in my living room as my main media player.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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From the performance I am getting from my N2830 celeron laptop, I dont think the Celeron NUC is enough. I get barely passable MPC-HC playback of full quality blu ray rips and the CPU is pegged at 100%. I think the 2955U in the Chromebox would be better for that and after the help Watchy has been giving me I was about to buy that Chromebox.

But, on the other hand, a Win 8 install takes 16gb min for 32bit and 20gb for 64bit with nothing else on it, so the fact that the Chromebox comes with a ssd doesnt help there. Has to be replaced anyway. I would also want 4gb or really 8gb or ram, so gotta replace or at least add to that. So I think I may give the i3 Haswell larger size NUC a try, especially since I have two 2.5" ssds lying around doing nothing and can use those.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:32 AM
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Hope you guys don't mind if I join the conversation. Like the original poster, I am interested in trying a NUC or similar device. I have had many streaming devices (Dune, Popcorn, Mede8er) over the years but just recently got into XBMC and android devices. I'm using an Amazon FireTV at the moment and trying to learn XBMC. I have been reading about the NUC's and OpenElec. This sounds like a really clean solution and something that might finally take the place of multiple devices (I have some that stream local and network content well but are not capable of running XBMC and all the goodies there, I now have this Android player that runs XBMC relatively well but has short comings in playing local and network content). I'm hard wired on everything in the house. All of my files reside on an unRaid server and all files are full BD rips to MKV or BD-ISO. I'm over the idea of being able to use full menus on those BD-ISO rips though my Dune does most of them with no issue. Those files were in the early days of ripping my collection and I have since moved to almost exclusively MKV via MakeMKV. As long as I can chapter through and have access to audio formats that is enough for me. If possible I would like to keep this to $300 or less which I'm sure rules out anything but a Celeron model. With that said, which currently produced model will be best for full 1080p/24 playback and HD audio formats while also running XBMC?
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Basically I think if you are going with Openelec then the Chromebox mentioned in this thread with the Celeron 2955u will be great for you.

Since I want to do Windows 8.1 pro with the Media center pack, I think I am going to need to step up to the i3 NUC.
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