AVS Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi.
I have MacMini 2012 (8GB, SSD) with Windows 10 as my HTPC (Kodi). The same machine is used as a server for another 4 computers in our family. We are using it as a file server with some services for our mobile phones (streaming audiobooks, Plex, ...) so for those programs, I need a Windows-based server.

I know, MacMini with Windows is creepy and it has some limits. That why I'm looking for a better solution.

I need:
  • Windows 10 system
  • Playing 4K videos in H265
  • Low power consumption in idle mode (most of the time)
  • Silent
  • Small form factor is preferred, but not mandatory
Could you help me?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts

You can use that site to help you find compatible parts within your budget.

I'll throw out an example build but I did 0 research into these parts so don't take it as gospel just a very general idea of what it should look like. I'm sure you can get it even smaller and definitely cheaper. I have quite a bit of experience for a laymen doing this. But I've never built something that approaches the form factor of a mac mini.

Here is the link to the sample build https://pcpartpicker.com/list/qVkkbh

That was something i literally just clicked through, there are probably better examples of small form factor stuff. I'll go through each component and give the choice some context then you're on your own.

CPU - i3, anything modern will do here but the i3 has very good single core performance and should shred most of your media center needs. If you're doing very basic media server functions going past this should see basically no real gains for you beyond maybe compressing files. Could definitely go much cheaper here and lose very little. But at 100 dollars for the centerpiece of the system why not

Cooler - just a noctua with a more flat form factor so it fits in everything easier. Depending on the case you could pick a larger one. Noctua makes very quiet fans but they are ugly. Many other options on this one. Again can go cheaper, important part for the heat sink is the fan. That's what will make noise and why i would say buy a nicer cooler, almost purely for the fan

RAM - 8g is probably all you need if it's just a media server. Could double and go to 16 gb, could also get ram with better response. But neither of those things should improve performance in any substantive way

Storage - just put in a cheap SSD, could get other form factors or even use a USB stick as your main drive. Many options here. Works very similar to mac

PSU - this one you could go much cheaper. The be quiet i'm sure will be as the name implies relatively silent if the fan is going. But you might be able to go much cheaper and get very similar results.

edit - case - this is the one most determined by taste. You can spend a lot or a little. Whatever you do, do not cheap out on the fans if it being silent is important. i just picked a random cheaper one that wasn't rosewill



Now these are just my thoughts. Google "makings a windows pc like mac mini" or something. And look through that PC part picker site. I'm sure tehre are "small form factor" builds out there you can just 100% copy so you know everything fits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the really detailed information. It looks really good. It will be powerful enough, silent enough. Nice. I was wondering if there is any space for lowering the costs, but it didn't look possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
Thank you for the really detailed information. It looks really good. It will be powerful enough, silent enough. Nice. I was wondering if there is any space for lowering the costs, but it didn't look possible.
Cheaper power supply, although you risk slightly more noise. My first system i went with a cheap PSU (too cheap) and it would shut down under load. I recommended a PSU that i am confident will be very quiet even if you put it in a very hot room with the fan running 24/7. Just don't go aliexpress cheap

Can also go really cheap with the cooler and just not use the fan that comes with. Then buy separate noctua or be quiet fans to save 10 or 20 bucks and still have very nice fans.

Between those two probably can shave 50 in total off.

Can also get a cheaper CPU...i have very little experience with real world loads on the cheap ones tho so IDK. But for the price might as well put something decent in there.

edit - and be careful with that mobo. They are very small and might not have USB headers or whatever you need. THere are other options in that price bracket. Play around with it. That one had built in wifi which was nice

can also just put a big heatsink on the CPU then put 0 fans in there
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again For the $50 it doesn't make sense to take a risk. So your first recommended PC will be fine.

What about power consumption? Mac mini has about 11W in idle. Intel i3 has 35W in idle and with the rest of the components I will be around 50W, which is almost 5 times more than Mac Mini. Is there anything what I can do with it? I'm asking because this little pc will run 24/7 and I would like to have it a little eco-friendly :eek:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
Thanks again For the $50 it doesn't make sense to take a risk. So your first recommended PC will be fine.

What about power consumption? Mac mini has about 11W in idle. Intel i3 has 35W in idle and with the rest of the components I will be around 50W, which is almost 5 times more than Mac Mini. Is there anything what I can do with it? I'm asking because this little pc will run 24/7 and I would like to have it a little eco-friendly :eek:)
I believe "sleep mode" is about 10 watt draw on most systems

Beyond that might just be inherent. I'm not exactly eco concerned hahaha

I say build more nuclear reactors and bring power down to 2c a kwh
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I believe "sleep mode" is about 10 watt draw on most systems

Beyond that might just be inherent. I'm not exactly eco concerned hahaha

I say build more nuclear reactors and bring power down to 2c a kwh
I'm also using it as a file server, so I need it "online" 24/7 so I can't use "sleep mode". But don't worry about it, I will build a new nuclear reactor :]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,934 Posts
The above config will not play UHD videos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
Maybe that's true? Make sure you pick a bigger case so you have room for a GPU if needed

shrug

Seems like they're marketing this newer CPUs as capable of 4k uhd playback so idk what he's talking about. Maybe they don't support hevc?

Lazy comment from a boomer, typical. He probably has no idea
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Maybe that's true? Make sure you pick a bigger case so you have room for a GPU if needed

shrug

Seems like they're marketing this newer CPUs as capable of 4k uhd playback so idk what he's talking about. Maybe they don't support hevc?

Lazy comment from a boomer, typical. He probably has no idea
Yes, he is just trolling. There is no reason not to play in 4k UHD.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top