small form factor PC

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I'm seriously considering a small form factor PC dedicated to my 6500.
I'd like it to support 2 monitors (1PC + 1 HDMI)
If it does not come with an SSD, I'll add it

Need to be able to run:
Windows 7 Preferred
SmartSDR
SmartSDR CAT
DAX
DDutil
Log4OM
WSJT-X (first digital slice)
JTAlert
Anyone know of any good buys? Of course I can build one, but I'm trying to keep the cost down.
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WA2SQQ

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Posted 2 years ago

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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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No experience but I'm very interested in the Intel NUC
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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This is what we use at hamfests to run the demos.  Get the most powerful one in the 5 or 6 series they have.
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George Fenwick

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6th gen i7 is a gaming NUC. Overkill. And expensive. 6th gen I5 is more than enough. Or the 5th gen i7.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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We are using the 5th gen i7s
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WH6HI - Pat

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I use the intel NUC series of PC's, using the I5 processor.  I can support 2 monitors even running both SmartSDR and PowerSDR at the same time.  I built up this computer almost 3 years ago and it runs really fine.  e-mail me via QRZ e-mail and I can fill in some of the gaps.  Intel now offers a NUC variant with the I7 processor if you feel more comfortable with more power and Ires graphics support.  My i5 uses the HD5000 with some tweaks to improve video performance.  


Pat   WH6HI
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Mike W9OJ

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WA2SQQ

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How small is it? How many monitors will it support?
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Mike W9OJ

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14.9 x 13.3 x 4 inches

Two video outputs. One VGA and one displayport. I use a displayport to DVI dongle.
It's almost the same size as the Flex itself.
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WA2SQQ

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Thanks - much too large for what I'm planning.
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Mike W9OJ

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It is what is referred to as small form factor.
I guess you need smaller form factor. 
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Stan - VA7NF

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I have used several Intel NUC i5 (older generation, newer ones out there now).  It is 4" by 4" by 3" and supports DVI and concurrent DisplayPort at 4K each.  Also supports M.2 SSD which is at least 5X faster than high end SSD but requires Win 10 (not my favourite OS).

As an added feature, it can be run off 13V (specs and case printing say 19V) and functions well under 11V, drawing typically under 1A.  A serial port header is on the MB without any external connections.  I haven't tried using it though, I use a multi-port USB3->Serial hub.

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roger na4rr

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I run one of the Intel NUC i3 in the RV with 12v. Has HDMI and display port out. I use Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard for monitor I use gectic USB powered 15 inch monitor. It runs smartsdr,logging program internet. All at same time no problems. It ran 24/7 for 3 months. Forgot to say in the NUC I have. SSD and wifi/Bluetooth op system is win 7. So system is stable

73
Roger
NA4RR
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I want something the size of a mac mini. I'm sure it exists in the PC world. 

My best guess is something Mini ITX would do the trick nicely. You probably don't need a lot of RAM or a fancy video card, just one that can drive multiple monitors. 
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George Fenwick

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I use a 6th gen Intel NUC i5 with 3 monitors (will handle more) with my 6700. Works great! And boots in 20 sec.!
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Harry White

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I thought the NUC had only two video outputs. How do you run three monitors?
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Stan - VA7NF

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You are restricted to one monitor on the DVI port. 

DisplayPort permits chaining of up to 4 monitors - at a cost;  Adding monitors reduces the maximum resolution that each may have, but starting at 4K there is some wiggle room.

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George Fenwick

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No need to chain monitors. I use a Plugable UGA-3000 usb3 adaptor for the 3rd monitor. Works great.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/optiplex-3040m-desktop/pd?oc=s002o3040mffus&model_id=optiplex-...



Haven ́t used them but I recently had to buy a PC locally and researching the Dell offerings came across this one.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Varistor

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You need to consider that it needs a hard drive and an operating system.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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OP mentioned that adding HD was ok. And it has DisplayPort and HDMI outputs for 2 monitors.
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Varistor

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Right, but by doing so you add to the purchase price and time to install (time is money).
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I think adding your own SSD is very doable, for about $50 you get a 240GB which is plenty for a ham shack PC. I also think that installing the OS yourself is a better option that buying a PC with the OS bundled. So the final price is $400 plus your time.

Now, what about installing Ubuntu and then running Windows 7 on a Virtual Machine?
(Edited)
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Simon Lewis

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https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/experiences-and-ideas-building-a-small-form-pc-for-...

loads of info there

Build one - cheap

My fanless PC is going great guns and more than enough computing power

NUC's are expensive for no other reason than the name

You can do better for cheaper

;)

shout if you need anything answered

Cheers

Simon ZL4PLM
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Winston VK7WH

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I can vouch for Simon's recommendation.

Following Simon's original post, I sent off for a 6th gen I5 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD Win7. Runs up to 8 panadapters/slices on the 6700, powers directly from 12Volts, low drain, never runs at more than 45 degrees C max, hasn't missed a beat in over 6 months.

Winston
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Lee, Elmer

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I'm running this https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Mini-PC-i7-Broadwell-U-5500U-Processor-Fanless-Mini-PC-Computer-Supp...

My advice is take fanless over super small.  8gb Ram is enough.  It will run the 6700, a screen caster, skimmer (lots of video load)   I built a fanless  i3 version of this in a smaller case as a backup computer for $120.  It will run 2 monitors and is adequate for the 6700, SSDR, skimmer, Chrome and Writelog but I like the i7 better

73 W9OY
(Edited)
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Varistor

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My advice is to stay with HP as all 3 fanless I have tried raise the band noise by about 6 dbm. If your band noise is already high, you won't notice, but mine is already approaching -135 dbm, including on 80 and 40 m, and adding another 6 dbm is undesirable.
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KC9NRN

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I seem to have issues doing things small, this is a monster Phantom 820 case with an Intel i7-5690X O/C to 4.6GHz, 32gigs DDR4, SLI Classified GTX 980's, an Intel 750 NVMe PCIe SSD, liquid cooling and it takes up a bunch of shack space. It did pretty good stacked up against others at the Overclockers forum but it's almost 2 years old now, still blazing fast though.

I'm considering buying one of the new Intel Skull Canyon NUCS for Shack duty later this year.


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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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I like the way you think. The word overkill is meaningless and should be replaced with headroom, flexibility, versatility and longevity. Or something like that.

At any rate, until recently I've been running my station from an MSI GT70-2od gaming laptop. Never had an issue with how things looked on the screen, how fast it booted, how stable it was with multiple monitors (4K) and multiple (many) applications. It's a few years old and physically beaten up and still could handle anything I throw at it. A busted LCD and cracked case (tumble down the stairs and still worked!) is the only reason I bought a new computer. The MSI will probably live a few more years as a network or media server hidden in a closet.

If I had the money to buy multiple computers I might consider "rightsizing" for a particular function. Because I don't know what my computers are going to be called on to do I try to get the best I can afford and grow into them over time.