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Cheapest HTPC + NAS combination box?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I'm looking for a very low-power, lightweight solution that meets these requirements:

1. Can play netflix
2. Can handle 1080p
3. Would provide a very snappy UI when switching between menus
4. Low power
5. The case can accommodate a 3.5" (or at least 2.5") drive to act as NAS storage
6. Some kind of remote control input (RF, IR, etc)
7. Inexpensive. Not including storage, hopefully < $200.

Would like to have but maybe not necessary:
- USB 3.0
- Ability to handle 4k resolution later

Any suggestions? So far for custom builds I've seen $80 Ivy Bridge Celeron 1037u cpu+motherboard combinations that might work. Also, it looks like there are some NUC solutions coming out that have the new haswell 2955u or bay trail chips in them.

My goal is simply to reduce clutter, and have one small box act as a NAS/fileserver and HTPC box to play stuff from netflix and local files. Ideally I'd like to not have to use an attached USB drive

Something like this looks interesting: http://hexus.net/tech/news/systems/60085-exclusive-intel-launch-139-bay-trail-nucs-q1-2014/ . The downsides seem to be that it only supports a 2.5" and not 3.5" drive. Also not sure how bay trail will compare performance wise to the 2955u/2980u haswell celerons.

Thoughts?
post #2 of 2
I don't think the industry is quite to the $200 threshold for a combination HTPC/NAS if you want XBMC (for example) and a 3.5" drive and low power.

That said, the N2810 CPU in Bay Trail NUC you mentioned is intriguing, IMHO.

For example, the current Celeron 847 NUC enjoys a low 15% CPU utilization during 1080p video decoding due to the capabilities of the integrated GPU. Hopefully these low-end Intel CPUs continue to retain hardware accelerated video decoding.
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