Mini PC for streaming

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge' started by Tim Tim, Aug 23, 2020.

  1. mattress

    mattress New Member

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  2. Blinky

    Blinky Member

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    Well it arrived today and in really nice packaging actually. It was like an homage to Apple but in black.
    Now I'm not going to do an unboxing, but I will kick you some snaps and offer an opinion.

    First of all, it is small! Now we knew that, but it's REALLY small and I have a small fleet of Raspberry Pi to compare it to.
    In the below iPhone snap it shows the NucBox next to my normal sized mouse.

    [​IMG]

    It comes with Windows 10 Home edition and it does everything quite snappy, thanks in large part to my 512GB SSD that I ordered with mine.
    So along with a power shell, Microsoft Remote Desktop, and Chrome, I do seem to watch an unhealthy amount of YouTube, so it would be nice if I could have me some smick resolution. The go to test footage for me is Peru in 8K and an "old guy's" favourite, Big Buck Bunny, but no normal stream of Big Buck Bunny it must be 2160p60 4K which is 60fps.
    The NucBox creams it with only 22 out of 7489 in dropped frames.

    [​IMG]

    Peru was the same with 81 frame drop out of 10381 frames at 2160p60



    To go a tad further I tested it by encoding video with Blackmagic and it will do 1080p @ 60fps which isn't bad but it won't be your editing workstation.

    Something for you to compare to disk speed wise is crystal disk mark.

    [​IMG]

    Now the WiFi was installed and worked out of the box with Windows 10 as did my 2.5Gbit USB network adapter. The 2.5Gb ethernet to USB adapter is a "Plugable" branded one which uses a RealTek chipset and can be found at this link from Amazon and cost me $30. If you are a Amazon Prime member delivery is free.
    In a iperf3 test to my server the Plugable 2.5Gb adapter transfered 2.75GB in 10 seconds with a Bi-directional transfer bandwidth of 2.37Gb/sec.
    I performed the same test from the furtherest distance to the router as I could hitting the same server as before, this time using the NucBox's AC WiFi and got the following results.
    241MB transfered in 10 seconds, bi-directional bandwidth was 202Mb/s.
    I was unabled to do a network test at 10GbE because the NucBox has no Thunderbolt 3 port to run my 10Gb adapter.

    Don't forget that the NucBox only has two USB 3 ports, so you will need to buy it a cheap four port USB hub.

    So that might do guys. I am very grateful to the help from the guys in this thread and happy that it came up in a search on OCAU.
    The NucBox I purchased was the 512GB SSD version which comes with Windows 10 Home edition pre-installed and it cost me $246.90usd.

    I've only had it a few hours and there are lots of things I have not done, but do I like it and would I recommend it to others as a purchase? The answer to both questions is YES! I love it. I have already bought it a Windows 10 Pro edition key.
    I have changed my endorsement to buy one to hold and wait. Explained in my post below.
    Cheers! :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
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  3. mattress

    mattress New Member

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    Great review....but now I am going to HAVE to get one.

    These are the same machines? If so, right now the first one is cheaper, and it has free shipping.

    NucBox--Most Powerful Palm-sized 4K mini PC – GMK (gmktec.com)

    GMK NucBOX Intel Celeron J4125 8GB LPDDR4 512G SSD Mini PC Desktop PC Mini Computer Quad Core 2.0GHz to 2.7GHz TDP 10W M.2 2242 SATA Type-C HDMI Windows 10 BT4.2 Sale - Banggood Mobile

    Can you recommend a decent all-in-one keyboard/mouse for it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
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  4. Blinky

    Blinky Member

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    Yes, BUT you have linked to a 128GB SSD there in the first one and the other one lists the same spec as mine, a 512GB SSD, which is most likely why the price is different. From my searching in the wee-hours of this morning (yes, I have gone around the clock again and must sleep soon) I am quite sure that they are the same company, so the deals will always be of the same cost base.

    A Pro-Tip is to buy the biggest SSD you can afford at the time of purchase as they are expensive otherwise. Also be mindful that the price has gone up since my purchase and mine was already into the price area of "maybe maybe not" to buy, as I thought it was expensive back then.
    See ^^what I mean in bold there, 512GB.

    Yes, I use three wired keyboards and two coloured Logitech K400+ keyboards to manage the 11 computers here. I have two different colours in the K400+ so I know which side of the split they belong to. The K400+ is great on batteries and will become active early enough to allow you to catch BIOS entry, which is a really important thing to me. I'll post you a price link below, but remember to check "camel, camel, camel" for Amazon price history. If you have an Officeworks nearby, they might be a good target to price match. My Officeworks at Milton, Brisbane is shit for stock levels.

    You might need to search "K400" alone, without the + to catch all the prices sometimes.

    https://www.staticice.com.au/cgi-bin/search.cgi?q=logitech+K400&spos=1

    https://camelcamelcamel.com/search?sq=Logitech+K400

    Just quickly, it looks like Umart is the cheapest at $52 in black or white. Don't forget to order a cheap USB hub at the same time, but the hub might be an eBay purchase. I'm currently running the two USB ports at the back of the NucBox and a four-port hub and only have one port free - I am in Dev-Mode though so using more than usual.

    Now some issues.
    When it gets hot the fan does make a bit of noise, it's actually not too bad, but what is an issue is that it does not scale. Instead of running quietly all the time and picking up speed when needed, it does bursts of high speed fan and then stops and starts again 7 seconds later. If you are using it close to you on a desk it will piss you off I think. There is no easy way to alter it in BIOS. I have emailed NucBox support for a solution.

    Issue number 2 is that as much as I try it will not boot from USB. Edit: This is now FIXED, see below.
    I have tried six different USB storage mediums and four or five different operating systems and either USB ports, it just won't action booting from USB.

    For reference, you can get into BIOS by holding down either "escape or delete" keys at start up.


    I'll keep at it today and see what headway I can make, but for the moment I would change my referral to buy one to hold and wait before buying. Just to spite me the bastard thing is sitting here at the moment as I type this making no noise at all.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    OK issue number two, Not booting to USB is now fixed.
    How to fix it. Go into BIOS and select Adnvanced -> CSM and switch it to ENABLED and then reset the machine.
    The NucBox is happy booting to a boot menu and selecting between Ubuntu or Windows 10.


     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
  5. Blinky

    Blinky Member

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    So after getting USB boot to work, I have been in Linux all day (it loves Linux by the way, Ubuntu 20.10 everything including my 2.5Gb Ethernet dongle, all working out-of-the-box.)

    The afternoon came to an abrupt halt. Not a screeching, just a .... off, never to restart again kinda halt.
    I think it’s the PSU.
    I’ll dig up support and bang out an email soon.
    :upset:
     
  6. Blinky

    Blinky Member

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    So. Hmmm.
    At this point, just don't order one. I will keep posting just in case it helps someone else.
     
  7. mattress

    mattress New Member

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  8. Blinky

    Blinky Member

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    I’ve got an NUC8i7BEH which has been modified to take a 5TB spinning disk as well as its 1TB NVMe SSD. It is fantastic as a little server for me as it is the smallest thing I own with a Thunderbolt 3 port, which the 10Gb Ethernet adapter is plugged into; Up time is outstanding.
    The Cons are, the WiFi card can never be updated and the fan will get a bit noisy under load/heavy load.

    There is an argument that it is older tech, but if you look a little deeper there is a valid rebuttal, that you aren’t really missing out on much, due to the very poor offerings in the NUCs that followed this series.

    I’ll try to find a video that explains it and edit it into the post later.
    Edit: I scrolled and scrolled through heaps of back catalogue of videos and couldn’t find what I was looking for, sorry.

    I looked at your links and feel quite comfortable suggesting you go with a nuc8i5beh3. It will be just a good as mine but with a bit less horsepower which will directly transfer into it being a quieter machine. If you find you don’t want it, hit me up privately and I might buy it off you - that’s how good I think they are for the money. :)

    p.s. I also have three nuc8i7hvk, but that’s a different story ;p
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
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  9. Blinky

    Blinky Member

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    OK, finally some news.
    GMK support are hopeless, if you buy one of these be prepared that you will be 95% on your own. The same goes for Banggood support, what an awful experience this has been.

    So after no support despite heaps of emails and chats, with the only option to return it for credit, I gave up on the poor little NucBox. My problem with returning it was that I had forked out for a Windows 10 Professional License Key and more over it had all my passwords and personal details on it. So I decided that I would try to, at least scrub, the SSD before sending it. That meant opening it up, something that I was trying to avoid so as not to void my warranty. But I decided that it had to happen and I bit the biscuit and got into it to grab the SSD.
    I bunged the SSD into an external housing and tried to mount it to be formatted. No matter what I tried it just wouldn't happen, Linux, Windows and even MacOS all of which seemed really odd, so I gave up and just wondered what would happen if I tried to turn it on without the SSD? Guess what? It roared into life!

    With my mind in complete shock I decided to power down and put the SSD back in and test again - Dead! not even a pulse of power.
    Well F-me. I have never seen a hard drive cause a no power situation and I've seen a bit - I'm old. So I went with the flow and grab a Ubuntu install USB, sure enough, bang we were into a live GUI of Ubuntu 20.10.

    So I mucked around, went and grabbed a coffee, etc and sure enough it's still up running Ubuntu off USB hours later. I'm even typing this to you on it now.

    I have ordered a new SSD and just about the only one I could get in a hurry that I could live with was this one. https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B07MSQMGLT/

    So that's where I am up to in this little adventure. I'll give you an update once the new SSD arrives, unless someone lends me one for testing before then.

    Cheers.
     
  10. HyRax1

    HyRax1 ¡Viva la Resolutión!

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    Sounds like a short of some description preventing power up. I've had that before, even with other gear like USB keyboards. Disconnect and the PC is happy with it (though you usually have to disconnect all power and then reconnect power to reset that state).

    I personally use Gigabyte Brix SFF machines, specifically the Gen7 and Gen8 models over the last five years. Both models play 4K media via MythTV (0.31) under Ubuntu 20.04 nicely. By the time we add 8GB RAM and a 120GB M.2 drive to them, we've spent about $850 on each unit. Consumer pricing would be about $100 cheaper.

    Have deployed more than 100 of these little things at work, mainly to display HTML5 data on 2K displays (dashboards and digital signage), but they all have MythTV clients at the ready for Melbourne Cup, Olympics, etc too, streaming from a central MythTV server with two PlayStation TV tuners (allows four networks, 10 multiplexes per network playable, total 40 recordable/playable channels simultaneously) in the server room.
     
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  11. power

    power Member

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    I got a little "datto" storage nuc thing off a mate, has an i3 and 8GB ram plus i whacked in an SSD and a wireless card (just out of an old laptop he had round the shop) running W10 and it runs perfectly as a little Plex box which was all i needed in the back room.
     
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  12. Blinky

    Blinky Member

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    This thing? https://www.stillpointsystems.com/datto-nas/
     
  13. power

    power Member

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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
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  14. kogi

    kogi Member

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    ooh, where did you buy it? I haven't heard from datto for a long while

    https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/602149

    $300 after redemption for a 10th gen i5 cubi

    weaker graphics than an 8th gen, but uses less power and $50 cheaper
     
  15. power

    power Member

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    they were given to a mate of mine that runs a store as a sample, he wasn't interested in selling the product.

    without getting too focused on the datto part, they are essentially NUC's in everything but name and to me make perfect little PC's to put round the house. I have one setup for "remote" duties and one as a media PC, both work great for these applications.
     

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