Recommendations on mini-PC's for permanent installs?

Hey all,

Have an install coming up, not permanent, but I want to invest in a machine that can act as an art installation pc, something that can boot up and do it’s thing for days or weeks at a time with as small of a physical footprint as possible.

Obviously performance is a concern too! So I guess my real question is what’s a good balance?
Any previous experience with certain models?

I’ve used this on a previous project: … ql_qh_dp_t

It’s super small and pretty awesome all-in-one however I didn’t test it with touch and it lacks a gpu that can really do much of anything (doesn’t support spout in processing for example)

Thoughts or recommendations?

Try custom yourself one here:
it will give you also sense of price,performance and sizes.
going smaller then that will risk you you in less reliable machine… (cooling wise)

But really, first I would ask myself how strong the GPU and CPU must be for the next projects…

Really depends how small of small you need. There’s some Zotac boxes with Geforce mobile chips in them that are basically like laptops minus the keyboard and screen. … eries.html

Shuttle PCs can also be a good starting point for a little bit bigger, and you can wedge a full size graphics card into them AND they just fit into a Pelican 1510.

If you need capture card and a full size graphics card, we’ve been using Silverstone SG02 cases and building machines into them, which is great cause they fit in overhead on planes in a small padded bag.

After that we just use full rack sized machines.

Not sure it wont be better idea to buy MSI laptop in 1k$.
(older generation) save lots of space if placed along the wall :slight_smile:

Wow Elburz, Zotac has some absolutely TINY pc’s, even running windows 8…
Do you have any favorites?

I’m looking for a small box that could sit in a rather small enclosure for an art installation. Looking to run 3,840 led’s powered by 4 teensys for leds and 2 more teensys for incoming sensor data.

I guess my bottleneck concerns would be more on the serial writing capabilities of a small pc and TOP/CHOP manipulations for pretty low resolution imagery.

Thanks a lot for the ideas!

So they have a lot of models, but this one in particular seems quite fast, however it doesn’t seem to have dedicated video gpu? … tions.html

Are there and major drawbacks or limitations to Intel HD Graphics 4600 when doing simple top/chop/low res manipulations?
I would assume higher cpu speed is better for writing to the serial port, but I don’t know that for sure.

I would be careful with HD intel series.
But sounds its enough for what you want,most of the load will be on the cpu.

test with:
CPU:Intel 4810MQ

2x(64X64 top to chop) runs on 60FPS.
64x64 _rgb_chop_test.2.toe (4.39 KB)

Yes, it seems like the 4600 doesn’t work well, so don’t use a system with that chip.

These could work … +%28TBA%29

Awesome thanks for all the info guys,

I had a friend recommend another name called Brix:
Some really beefy specs, fits in the palm of the hand and has nvidia gpu chipsets.

Thats a nice little machine!


I am searching for the same (but preferably EU shop).

would one of these work for TD? jow about the GPUs on MINIPCs?

thanks for your help,

The 2 Intel machines should work, but the integrated GPUs are very low powered here so you need to understand that limitation and work within it. The AMD looks to have more power, but we have no in-house experience with AMD integrated graphics and feedback from the community (you can check elsewhere oaths forum) has been mixed. Sometimes the AMD integrated graphics sometimes gets in the way on laptops with a second discrete GPU, this is not the case here on this miniPC, but its the only experience we have with them.

I would recommend purchasing it from a retailer that has a good return policy and you trust, this way you can try out the machine and if it underperforms then you can exchange or return it.

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thanks a lot

would you have a recommendation for something better (on gpu side)? midrange?

In the mini form factor? Or is price the primary limit and you could deal with a mini ITX sized box?

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Hey Elburz (or anyone that may know!)

I’m also looking for a mini PC but conversely, one that doesnt need a good GPU or even CPU I think. It just for a simple ENTTEC Pro DMX installation, so some basic number calculations and outputting DMX values. I also have a limited budget. Despite the simple requirements, are there any minimum system requirements for this kind of use, and do you have any suggestions for a cheap, permanent solution? I’ve seen stick PCs that PC systems the size of a usb stick with a HDMI port on the end of it, would something like that suffice?

Hi Ben,

thanks for your help.

i d need it mainly for art installation settings.

  1. small in transport and still beeing able to do most of the „work“ at the different venues, which often face small places for „hiding“ the pc
  2. In case of multiple KINECT V2 id need more NOCs/MiniPCs which then should be connected to a Main pc (like the following example link: Interactive Flowers Projection with particleSOP - Akiko Yamashita - YouTube) which then transfers it to projectors, via NDI or other networks… btw would anyone have suggestions for an NDI Tutoeial to send data to multiple projectors via ndi/network?

greetz and thanks,

I’d recommend Intel NUCs then, or 3rd party manufacturers that build on the NUC platform like ASUS. If you don’t need the Nvidia GPU, you can probably get by with one of the well specced i5 or i7 NUCs. If you do need the Nvidia GPU you might still be able to find Phantom Canyon NUCs which have discrete GPUs inside and a higher price tag to boot. I think those are discontinued now so you’d be looking at something from a year or two ago if you want find it.
Personally I’ve been building miniITX lately so I don’t have hands on with any NUCs from the past few years, but previously we’ve had a number of them in office and they were decent.

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Thank you for your help!