I was about to buy a NUC but in the end I decided to build a passive cooled HTPC old skool style by assembling all the parts using HDPLEX cases PSUs and a Thin-mITX form factor. It needed to be low power but powerful enough to run Rooserver and run concurrent media programs, have a long life and an option to upgrade everything, also be compact, silent, you could grab it and take to a friends or on holiday. Run off a power brick or an iec wall socket. It needed to have a shed tonne of secure storage and grunt to play high bandwidth audio files, 10bit h.265 video in software (in Linux via VAAPI) if need be, integrated power supply, sit unattended for months, digitally and wirelessly connect to my Devialet, USB audio out would be ok too and space to add an internal USB-powered SPDIF converter.
My shopping list ended up as:
- 2 x 4TB Seagate Hard Drives (Plus room inside for 2 more)
- ASUS H310T thin-ITX Motherboard (a fairly new form factor to me)
- Western Digital Blue 250GB M.2 SSD for OS, Cache, Temporary storage. Overkill but 128GB is not much cheaper.
- 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 SODIMM
- Intel Core i3-8100 Quad Core CPU
- HDPLEX H1.S V2 Fanless Enclosure (Here
- HDPLEX 80W PSU (And here )
- Wireless Card Intel 9520 in M.2 format
Total build cost was £720.33. Downside is you need to collate the stuff and build it; the upside is lots: The HDPLEX case is an absolute joy to work with and it’s so well packaged and looks sleek and minimal — NUCs are a bit ugly, functionally: a base 8GB i3 Mac Mini starts at £699 but has half the SSD and does not nor never will have 8TB HDD, its i3 CPU is a M series of the same version —comparable but limited and non-upgradeable, Mini has a fan so is not truly silent. I want to run a fairly stripped back Linux without a desktop running Roonserver, Transmission and just enough x11 to support Kodi 18RC5. Every part of the build is upgradeable and replaceable. with space and power for two more internal hard drives. I don’t want a NAS as I think it’s not that usefulness when rsync sequential (changed files) set up as crontab jobs will do me just fine.
I doubt I will need to do much to this for a very long time… it’s tucked away on a spare shelf under the record player — a shame to hide it really.