Going small on a Windows PC

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Voltaire2.0
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Going small on a Windows PC

Post by Voltaire2.0 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:20 pm

I want to replace my aging personal Windows PC with a micro format machine to save space and save power, while getting more memory and an up-to-date processor. Expandability is not a requirement and I don't need high-end graphics.

I'm thinking of something like an HP EliteDesk or Lenovo Tiny. Anyone have experience with PC's of this ilk?

ronno2018
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by ronno2018 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:30 pm

I bet those are great choices. Do you need Windows apps? The Chromeboxes are quite nice and maintenance free. The Asus 3-N019U is a good one. We have Dell Windows PC's at work similar to this one and they are quite good -- https://www.amazon.com/Dell-9020-Blueto ... 5816&psc=1

adamthesmythe
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by adamthesmythe » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:32 pm

If you really want small look at

https://www.newegg.com/intel-bxnuc8i5in ... 6856102216

Or google Intel NUC

DSInvestor
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by DSInvestor » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:41 pm

Voltaire2.0 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:20 pm
I want to replace my aging personal Windows PC with a micro format machine to save space and save power, while getting more memory and an up-to-date processor. Expandability is not a requirement and I don't need high-end graphics.

I'm thinking of something like an HP EliteDesk or Lenovo Tiny. Anyone have experience with PC's of this ilk?
Some of those lenovo tiny come with 500GB HDD and 4GB RAM in standard configuration that is not adequate. My recommendation is to avoid any computer that comes with had disk drive (HDD) only. If you can customize the computer, definitely upgrade with a solid state drive (SSD). Also get RAM up to 16GB. If you have sufficient RAM and SSD, any modern CPU will work just fine.

I have a macbook pro mid 2012 with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD as well as an old windows PC with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD. Both computers are able to run current versions of MacOS and Windows 10 respectively with no performance issues, no delay.
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curmudgeon
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by curmudgeon » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:43 pm

A couple of years ago I picked up one of those as a refurb on Amazon (HP prodesk). Big accounting firms and such will cycle those things out on a regular basis, so I got it for about the price of a chromebook. Not the latest cpu, but more than adequate cpu/memory/ssd for my purposes. It replaced a laptop (which was only used at the desk), and I appreciate using my larger, and more flexibly placed, monitor and keyboard.

edit to add: I'd agree with a prior poster to avoid 4GB ram systems. Windows has gotten lazy on memory management again with Win 10. Win 8.1 does ok on smaller memory, but that can create some future support issues.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:01 pm

I've had a HP Slimline for about 4 months now and am happy with it so far.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

megabad
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by megabad » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:13 pm

In my experience, small format desktops are not cost effective for consumer use. Purchasing a laptop will generally get you comparable technology at a lower price point. Just my thoughts.

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Elric
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by Elric » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:15 pm

I have an HP EliteDesk and I'm very happy with it.
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David Jay
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by David Jay » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:23 pm

Two specs, regardless of vendor: 8GB RAM and 128GB (min) SSD
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Topic Author
Voltaire2.0
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by Voltaire2.0 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:27 pm

Elric wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:15 pm
I have an HP EliteDesk and I'm very happy with it.
Good to hear. Lenovo's latest "Nano" Tiny can be had with an Intel I-5, 16GB of RAM and a 256SSD for less than $700. I like the HP box but Lenovo seems to out-price HP is most configurations.

I looked at Intel's NUC line but they are less customizable.

I agree that laptops are compelling and I have a MacBook Pro. I just want a minimal footprint Windows machine for other tasks.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by sunny_socal » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:30 pm

megabad wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:13 pm
In my experience, small format desktops are not cost effective for consumer use. Purchasing a laptop will generally get you comparable technology at a lower price point. Just my thoughts.
Agree.

Either:
[1] Get a larger desktop PC that you can expand if necessary. This rules out the mini/micro/pizza boxes, they will be stuck in time. Power supply is marginal and won't support much beyond what came in the box.
-or-
[2] Get a laptop and plug in a monitor if you want the "desktop" experience. Keyboards and mice are wireless these days so you won't have much clutter.

As for saving power, either solution will be similar. Just put the machine to sleep when not in use.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by sunny_socal » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:30 pm

David Jay wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:23 pm
Two specs, regardless of vendor: 8GB RAM and 128GB (min) SSD
Too small. I'd go for 16G RAM and 1TB SSD (the latter is only $100 these days, no reason to skimp.)

gd
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by gd » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:36 pm

My PC needs pretty much stabilized 10 years ago. Why would I want a larger chassis for expansion nowadays? Who does that and for what?

Nekrotok
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by Nekrotok » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:12 am

When going small and low power make sure you understand what you're really getting. Just because it says i7 or i5, doesn't mean the same thing as a full power desktop processor. It just means it's the best they got for that power level. Oftentimes a low power i7 is comparable performance to a desktop i3, while costing significantly more. The number of cores and clock speeds are much more telling of the performance you can expect.

Anyways, IMO, the main advantage of a small desktop over a laptop is the better cooling allowing a more powerful processor so either a desktop i3 for cheaper than a comparable mobile i7, or a desktop i7 that provides higher performance than attainable with any laptop.

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BroIceCream
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by BroIceCream » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:07 am

Why not an "All-in-one" machine? You save the space by not having the chassis/box, yet can still have a nice sized desktop display with the processor built in. You can also benefit by having a decent sized HDD, faster CPU, and good connectivity & ports

iamlucky13
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:16 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:30 pm
David Jay wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:23 pm
Two specs, regardless of vendor: 8GB RAM and 128GB (min) SSD
Too small. I'd go for 16G RAM and 1TB SSD (the latter is only $100 these days, no reason to skimp.)
It's not too small. Windows 10 will use more if you give it the RAM just because it can, but it seems to be decent about managing limited memory respectably well.

Others have tested this question and found that for most uses, while you get a significant increase in performance going from 4 to 8 GB, going from 8 GB to 16 GB tends to give very small increases in performances, except for limited, very memory intensive tasks like encoding large videos or compressing extremely large archives of difficult to compress data. See this article for some benchmark info:
https://www.techspot.com/article/1043-8 ... page4.html

As for SSD's, skimming Newegg, I generally see a $40-60 difference in price between 1 TB and 512 GB drives. I'd consider that a really reasonable upgrade price, but I don't know either how budget sensitive Voltaire is, or how much storage they need.

Also, if buying an off-the-shelf system, the cost of upgrades will be higher than if building or upgrading on your own. Lenovo's MSRP difference for going from 8 GB to 16 GB of RAM is $80, and for doubling SSD size to 1 TB is $200.

batpot
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by batpot » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:29 pm

When you say " personal Windows PC " are you talking about a desktop with a laptop, mouse, and monitor hooked up to it? What about Ethernet?

If you're not going to be frequently traveling with it, go bigger; no point in paying the premium for "ultra portable".
Most ultra portables are also wifi only with no ethernet.

Even if you are traveling, you might also want to go bigger because tiny computers come with tiny displays and tiny keyboards.

Play with some at Costco, Best Buy, etc, before you take the plunge on a tiny computer.

gd
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Re: Going small on a Windows PC

Post by gd » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:05 pm

Batpot, a standard size tower is mostly empty space. I bought one 10 years ago at 1/3 the size of standard, with the same capabilities. Examples above look even better. No idea if it saves power, but definitely saves space.

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