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Thread: SFF PC for office work

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    mush-mushroom b0redom's Avatar
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    SFF PC for office work

    Hi All,
    I'm after a very small form factor PC for office work. It'll literally just be used for Word/Excel, the odd bit of browsing, and possibly the occasional game of minecraft (if the kids get their way). It needs to be able to support 2x 1920x1080 screens too (also to be bought).

    What's the panel's recommendation? I like the NUCs, but they seem a bit pricey for what they are.

    The monitors are going to be mounted on an adjustable arm - probably this one:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...A1AFJESMA8SCN6

    I'm guessing I can't attach the NUC to that too? Any bright ideas?

    Thanks...

    b0redom

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    Senior Member Smudger's Avatar
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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    We had HP Elite 800 Mini G2s at my last place - quite small but also quite powerful.

    http://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/Pr...FUsj0wod12YB3g

    Not sure if they'll mount, but they're small enough to just tuck away somewhere. The G2s come with USB C on them, which you might find handy.

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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    I'd personally be go for one of the business MiniPCs like that pack 35-45W processors (even 65W in some of HP's minis) instead of the 15W processors like the NUC etc.

    Fujitsu's Q556/Q956 (with internal PSU!), HP's ____Desk Mini range, Dell's Optiplex Micro and so on. Alienware's Alpha is also sometimes competitively priced.

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    mush-mushroom b0redom's Avatar
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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    @smudger - They look nice, but nearly 800 quid!!! That's a bit too steep.

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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    How small do you want the PC to be?? This one is not too large and has the advantage of being able to add a graphics card too:

    http://www.kitguru.net/components/ca...sign-node-202/

    Alternatively if you want a really small PC,how about one of these cases:

    http://www.mini-itx.com/store/~JOUJYE528I-250W
    http://www.mini-itx.com/store/~JOUJYE568I-250W

    It will even take a low profile PCI-E card too.

    I would probably get this motherboard:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/745567-gigabyt...j-MaAtS-8P8HAQ

    A Core i3 6100 should be sufficient,and this cooler:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/500931-noctua-...-cooler-nh-l9i

    8GB of reasonably fast DDR4 should do the trick IMHO OFC. It also has an M2 slot so you can an M2 SSD to save on space.


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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    Quote Originally Posted by b0redom View Post
    @smudger - They look nice, but nearly 800 quid!!! That's a bit too steep.
    That's just the top of the range model. There's plenty of other Prodesk/Elitedesk Mini models available in the same form factor down to £400.

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    How small do you want the PC to be?? This one is not too large
    Only around five times the size of the other computers mentioned so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Alternatively if you want a really small PC,how about one of these cases:

    http://www.mini-itx.com/store/~JOUJYE528I-250W
    http://www.mini-itx.com/store/~JOUJYE568I-250W
    Not a bad case if you want to self-assemble, but still substantially more chunky than a pre-built mini PC of the same capability.

    Compare it's 219 x 254 x 88 mm dimensions with those of the Q556 at 185 x 190 x 54 mm for example.

    If it does appeal then scan offer it with USB 3.0 front ports:

    https://www.scan.co.uk/products/jou-...0-black-silver

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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaves View Post
    That's just the top of the range model. There's plenty of other Prodesk/Elitedesk Mini models available in the same form factor down to £400.



    Only around five times the size of the other computers mentioned so far.

    Which is not really a massively big deal considering it can be stacked vertically and most of the space is being taken up by the massive dual monitor setup.



    Plus it can take a full sized graphics card which means if their kids want to start running Minecraft with a few mods it can take an upgrade to the graphics side.


    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaves View Post
    Not a bad case if you want to self-assemble, but still substantially more chunky than a pre-built mini PC of the same capability.

    Compare it's 219 x 254 x 88 mm dimensions with those of the Q556 at 185 x 190 x 54 mm for example.

    If it does appeal then scan offer it with USB 3.0 front ports:

    https://www.scan.co.uk/products/jou-...0-black-silver
    Which probably makes hardly any difference - the prebuilt PCs tend to use non-standard parts and are hard to upgrade. That case also has a mounting bracket.

    The case I suggested can be upgraded with newer parts too.

    This is the motherboard in the Q556:

    http://shop.immel.de/images/product_...s/38046458.jpg



    If that goes kaput,you will have to end up throwing the whole PC away.

    The case I suggested also uses a flexATX PSU and you can get Seasonic and FSP ones in the UK as its a standard form factor.:

    http://www.jj-computer.com/artinfo.p...A%20%20%202043
    https://www.scan.co.uk/products/250w...y-sata-hdd-fdd

    It also can take a single slot low profile card too.

    For example it can take this R7 250 1GB:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sapphire-Ra.../dp/B00I940LHQ

    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 06-12-2016 at 11:12 PM.


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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    At work we have SFF Lenovos with i5 processors, 8gb of RAM and SSDs. Nice machines tbh:

    http://shop.lenovo.com/gb/en/desktop...m-series-tiny/

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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    Current state of onboard GPU can handle 2x1080p easily so no need to provision for a GPU. The hd 530 igpu on for example an i5 can handle high detail on 1080p.

    NUCs would be good - some of them are nice and cheap - but I haven't seen any with more than one graphics output and I'm not sure what you could use to take one output and split it.

    Think mini ITX is your way to go, there's lots of good ones. Doubt you need to spend more than a couple hundred quid on the entire build.

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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    Quote Originally Posted by dave87 View Post
    At work we have SFF Lenovos with i5 processors, 8gb of RAM and SSDs. Nice machines tbh:

    http://shop.lenovo.com/gb/en/desktop...m-series-tiny/
    Looks good to me. VESA mount is a good idea too.

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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    Looks good to me. VESA mount is a good idea too.
    Still proprietry and if the motherboard or some other part goes,its a new PC.





    Even the DC-DC PSU is not a standard laptop connector.

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    Current state of onboard GPU can handle 2x1080p easily so no need to provision for a GPU.
    Again his kids say they might want to game on it and TBH it is still useful - I am not sure why the OP needs such a tiny PC when most of the space is being taken up a massive dual monitor set-up:

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....L._SL1500_.jpg



    Look how much space it will need on the desk - you could probably fit a normal sized SFF system in there. Minecraft especially with certain mods can actually be a bit more intensive than people think.

    For example,that Fractal case has a narrow footprint anyway - cases like that can probably fit behind the monitor.


    I think people don't seem to get how small the SFX PSU in that case will be - its not that big. I should know since I use an SFX PSU myself.

    Its actually footprint is quite small when stacked vertically.

    Even if you are limited in height vertically none of these prebuilt SFF PCs make much sense due to the proprietary nature of them - great if you are in a company which has longterm support contracts but not so good for a normal person.

    Building your own mini-ITX system,even if you want a very small system still makes more sense.

    The Jou Jye is bigger than some of the alternatives,but ultimately it parts will be easier to upgrade and replace over time.

    Plus I would trust companies like Asus or Gigabyte to push BIOS updates more often so the OP might actually be able to upgrade the system with a faster CPU down the line.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 07-12-2016 at 12:50 AM.


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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    Ebuyer has a nettop section, which may give you some ideas. http://www.ebuyer.com/store/Computer...rice+ascending
    This appears to be the first Windows machine with a "serious" processor (i.e. not Atom or equivalent) - http://www.ebuyer.com/757295-asus-vi...pc-vm65n-g041z

    I don't know much about the performance of the latest Atom based chips though. The Braswell ones may be ok? They're much cheaper...

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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Even the DC-DC PSU is not a standard laptop connector.
    I think its the standard LENOVO laptop socket though!

    Not a big consolation, but its not a one off PSU for this device.

    Ive also used these machines and they are excellent.

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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    Quote Originally Posted by b0redom View Post
    ... I like the NUCs, but they seem a bit pricey for what they are. ...
    That's because they are; as are all the very small form factor pre-built machines. You only really get value once you drift down to compute sticks, and they won't run 2 monitors for you.

    I'm kind of with CAT on this one - once you're going for a pair of monitors on an adjustable arm, the size of the PC case becomes a lot less relevant as you'll have a reasonable size of dead space behind the monitors (those mounting arms and brackets are pretty chunky). You'll be using the vesa mounts of the monitors so you won't be able to mount the SFF PC to anything anyway you'll either have to pay for a separate thin clint mount (see below) or accept a desktop footprint for the computer anyway.

    If there's any chance of gaming - even light gaming (and I'm not sure Minecraft counts as light gaming anyway) - you'll want better graphics than you're going to get from an Intel U-class IGP. That's almost immediately going to rule out any NUC-type device anyway.

    So, you could go for the nuc-style device being aware that it'll only really suffice for the office applications, and tell the kids to leave it well-enough alone (if they're that desperate to play minecraft maybe see if you can grab some second-hand parts to knock them up an entry level gaming rig to play on?). At which point, get the cheapest one you can find - any Atom after bay trail will do that job just fine - and if you want to keep the clutter down think about grabbing a thin client mount like this one: https://www.google.co.uk/shopping/pr...24764805920714

    Or, you could go for a slim matx computer that will sit at the back of the desk (sideways one) behind the monitors, so it doesn't add to the desktop footprint - if you don't fancy building one yourself (although there are lots of cases out there that would do the job) consider this Acer http://www.ebuyer.com/750832-aspire-...b-dt-b1rek-002 which has a Core i3 6100 and discrete GeForce 730 graphics.

    Or how about a wild card suggestion, since you've not bought the monitors yet? If you can cope without having them on a mounting arm, why not invest in an all-in-one monitor case: https://www.quietpc.com/mono-aio Essentially an mITX case welded to the back of a 1080p monitor, you get to build the PC to your spec and don't lose any of the desktop footprint from having a separate case....

    EDIT: alternatively a few companies do all-in-one PCs that might be vesa mountable...?
    Last edited by scaryjim; 07-12-2016 at 11:56 AM.

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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    My daughter used to play Minecraft on an AMD APU that pulled 95W and sounded like a small hovercraft during play. It was OK, and she never complained, but she was very happy when an R7 260x got freed up and donated to her as the CPU fan was quieter and the game was smoother.

    You *can* play Minecraft on low end hardware, but it isn't that nice. To really crank up the render distance wants something like an RX 460.

    I would seriously plan for a two slot graphics card. Anything smaller is some combination of slow, expensive and having an annoying screamy little fan.


    Edit: My kids have moved on to Secondary school now, but there was a definite pecking order in the Primary school playground:

    1/ Those that merely played Minecraft on a console.
    2/ Those that played "proper" Minecraft, but had a laptop.
    3/ Those that played Minecraft on a desktop, and could turn the render distance right up.

    All primary school kids seem to be experts on this, a decent NUC would get you into category 2 which is OK but for the same money but using a little more volume used you can probably get into category 3.

    That case that Cat linked to, the node 202, can be mounted on its side to have a small desktop footprint.
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 07-12-2016 at 05:46 PM.

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    Re: SFF PC for office work

    Acer Revo One may do what you need cheap. You would need a Mini-DP>HDMI adapter (or a monitor with DP) for dual monitor though.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Acer-Revo-R...=acer+revo+one
    Last edited by shaithis; 07-12-2016 at 08:23 PM.
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