I started with Squeezebox Duet as endpoint. It took months of frustration, working, then mostly Not working, - lots of time wasted, before I threw in the towel. Out of the blue, I got an ad for a Win10 mini PC. It is an “ACEPC model AK2” which is priced today at $189. (There are other models starting at $105) I did not know that these even existed. It was then on sale for about $175. Specs are: CPU Intel Apollo Lake J3455, RAM 6 GB, SSD: 64 GB, WiFi 2.4 GHz, 5Ghz, CPU speed 1.5 - 2.5 Ghz. Allows for addltional SSD storage, (which I haven’t installed) I am using this with a Topping D50 USB DAC. It has worked flawlessly. Zero failures. It sounds Great to me!
Yes, I’ve used a Minix NEO to the same results.
For those that want to try this kind of endpoint, any eMMC Less than 64GB and WIN 10 has trouble with updates.
Still, an RPi, running RoPieee or DietPi, remains the most cost effective.
Yes, there are any number of small Win 10 machines, that come preloaded with RAM, SSD, AND Windows, that would work great as an endpoint. Especially for those that need Native DSD since you can load the necessary drivers.
For Endpoint use I am a big fan of the NUC7PYJH. Celeron J3455 is a bit of a stretch, not for the bridge functionality (which runs fine on almost any processor), but for all the Windows overhead with updates etc. I used to have an Atom x5-Z8350 based HP Notebook x2 10-p010nz and it was forever busy doing updates, security scans etc. Practically unusable. Moving to a Pentium N5005 based machine completely solved the issue (this was for Office duty, not streaming).
Using a very weak processor for any Windows based application requires quite a bit of optimization such as turning off Windows updates, Defender and Co. I prefer having a bit of reserve.
I find that ROCK works well on a NUC5i3 with 8GB RAM and a mSATA SSD, these can be found 2nd hand either as barebones or configured.
ROCK reformers everything, after a BIOS update and return to machine defaults.
A lot easier that installing Windows and having to optimize something that was wasn’t designed for headless operation.