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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, noob here. I live on a boat and use a couple of Samsung NC10s for my navigation and entertainment. All 12v via cigarette adaptors or inverters/transformers. However with larger file sizes and a growing library, they struggle with full HD and mkv files, so I need something better and more efficient. It's a shame as they are near perfect because they only consume 1a when fully charged, but they don't have hdmi and struggle a bit.

With power consumption being the main issue these are my requirements:
- 12v (effectively 5 to 19 volts)
- must handle 1080 hd
- 4x usb ports, 3 with power to run 3x 2tb usb hard drive OR I could power a 5v 2amp usb port (currently I use mains powered external hard drives on inverters and turn them on only when needed)
- must be windows as I use foobar2000 for my music
- must be powerful enough to stream xbmc to two Android devices via wifi
- can't make too much heat as I live in the tropics-more fans equals more power consumption
- has to support wifi, wired lan not an option

Currently I'm using my gfriend's old Acer 14" laptop that has i3. I think this is powerful enough but I'm not sure about leaving this hulking great thing on standby when not in use. It runs on 19volts

Also, since this is not used all the time, it must be turn off and onable easily. Currently I have to flick two switches to turn on two inverters for two extremal hard drives before then opening the laptop lid to turn on the computer. If I could find a solution where the unit was either always on or on standby using a tiny draw, that would be ideal. Getting to the laptop to open and close the lid to turn it off and on should be avoided.

I have solar power during the day so power is only an issue at night, but that's when I'm more likely to use my htpc. I have 440aH battery bank. 1amp when not in use is acceptable, 2 when in use is ok too. Budget £250.

I've looked at things like raspberry pi, beagleboard and cube but they're just not quite cutting the mustard. Should I just stick with a laptop or are there alternatives out there I hadn't considered?

Appreciate any thoughts on this matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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Have you had a look at the NUCs , tiny, I think it only uses about 11w , if you threw a mSSD and a bit of ram it should be alright for want you want , I think.
Hi and thanks for your reply. No, I hadn't seen these and was unaware of their existance. I'd have to build it myself, which I suppose I could get my head around but I like the fact it runs on i3 and should therefore be low powered.

Wondered if you'd come across www.tinygreenpc.com/‎ and whether they are any comparison?
 

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I haven't come across them before , but they are just as nice, those I7s are probably overkill but great to see in that power envelope.
That one I linked is on offer at the moment , you don´t have to build it , just plug in some memory and a mSATA SSD it´s very easy. install your OS of choice and your away, the best part is you choose the mark and price.

I´ve seen a couple of 22" monitors running around 18 w , eg; the Samsung BX2231, not sure what size your looking at or if leaving it on the boat is an option ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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I´ve seen a couple of 22" monitors running around 18 w , eg; the Samsung BX2231, not sure what size your looking at or if leaving it on the boat is an option ?
Actually my spec didn't include the monitor. I have a 14" and 22" (vga) and am now thinking of a Samsung 32"LED tv. This is because the monitor is only on for watching a film (or navigation in the case of the 14" one), so they're only on for a couple of hours at a time. I'll be controlling xbmc and foobar via remote Android apps, plus streaming to mine and my partner's Android devices.

The more I think about it, the more this device needs to be on all the time (or at least wakable from sleep mode via remote).

I'm liking the tiny pc links, thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Struggling to get to the bottom of the power issue. 19v, 65w, and some reported issues with supplying it from a 12v source. Have you come across a spec re the ampage draw on 12v?

@Dyson - from what I can see the DN2820FYKH (Bay Trail) runs at 36w - that's 3amps on 12v, which is too much to be 'always on'.

The tinygreenpc has 4x USB3 and 2xUSB 2 ports, which negates the need for external power source for hard drives, and they are rated at 15w. How are they able to keep the wattage so low compared to the Intel NUCs, or have I missed something here?
 

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I personally would suggest something similar to the aopen mp-965d. They're cheap and they'll do what you need (I just bought 5 myself for htpc uses). Maybe not that exact model, but something like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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Originally Posted by pioneerisloud View Post

I personally would suggest something similar to the aopen mp-965d. They're cheap and they'll do what you need (I just bought 5 myself for htpc uses). Maybe not that exact model, but something like it.
Thanks for the link. Unfortunately they're rated at 90w, which is 7.5amps on 12v.
 

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Originally Posted by demonboy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by pioneerisloud View Post

I personally would suggest something similar to the aopen mp-965d. They're cheap and they'll do what you need (I just bought 5 myself for htpc uses). Maybe not that exact model, but something like it.
Thanks for the link. Unfortunately they're rated at 90w, which is 7.5amps on 12v.
I was just giving an example. Something of that form factor with at least that much processing power will do the job great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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Originally Posted by pioneerisloud View Post

I was just giving an example. Something of that form factor with at least that much processing power will do the job great.
Unfortunately I don't know enough about these mini pcs or their processors to make a judgement. If the spec says 90w, that sounds pretty high even compared to a netbook. Is that down to the modern processor, compared to my old netbook's Atom. or is the 90w figure simply peak? The problem is I can't find any info on what it runs at on average, so I have to go by the 90w figure. Meanwhile the tinygreenpcs are claiming anything between 6 and 15 watts, which much closer to what I'm after.

I do think I'm missing something here because I can't beleive these small form mini pcs would run at 90w. That sounds very high considering they're not evening powering a monitor.
 

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90w is definitely peak. The cpu is 35w peak.

Just saying be careful with the netbook and similar range. If you're wanting video playback you need something half decent which netbooks usually don't offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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Originally Posted by pioneerisloud View Post

90w is definitely peak. The cpu is 35w peak.

Just saying be careful with the netbook and similar range. If you're wanting video playback you need something half decent which netbooks usually don't offer.
With that in mind I'm interested to know how tinygreenpc manage to claim figures of between 10-23w for their Intel Core i3-3217UE?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by demonboy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by pioneerisloud View Post

90w is definitely peak. The cpu is 35w peak.

Just saying be careful with the netbook and similar range. If you're wanting video playback you need something half decent which netbooks usually don't offer.
With that in mind I'm interested to know how tinygreenpc manage to claim figures of between 10-23w for their Intel Core i3-3217UE?
Well the ones I listed are core 2 duo. Core i3 is a lot more energy efficient. I was just showing you a potential form factor and base line performance bare minimum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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Originally Posted by pioneerisloud View Post

Well the ones I listed are core 2 duo. Core i3 is a lot more energy efficient. I was just showing you a potential form factor and base line performance bare minimum.
OK, that's where my knowledge slips up. I need to understand what is and isn't energy efficient. Pointless me just looking at mini pcs if I don't understand what's going on underneath. I'm afraid I'm not that au fait with processor specs.
 

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Avoid anything atom or e300 / e400 based and you'll be okay lol. Core i3 laptop systems (in a mini PC if there is such a thing) would be perfect for a more modern version of what I said.
 

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a rapsberry pi will play 1080p H264 rips just fine.

What do you need to do that you don't think it would be capable of? Youtube and things might be a problem but you haven't said if you have network access
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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Originally Posted by pharcycle View Post

a rapsberry pi will play 1080p H264 rips just fine.

What do you need to do that you don't think it would be capable of? Youtube and things might be a problem but you haven't said if you have network access
In my OP I stated "has to support wifi, wired lan not an option". This is because I live on a boat and rely solely on wifi. I avoided looking at the Pi for a number of reasons. I read about laggy experiences running XBMC. Is your experience otherwise? How easy would it be to plug in wifi? I worry that there is too much configuring with the Pi, something I'd enjoy but don't have time for.
 
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