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Question Best Thin Client under $100 for use as home PC?

GunsMadeAmericaFree

Senior member
Jan 23, 2007
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I've been thinking about purchasing a used Thin Client to use as a tiny, silent home PC. I was wondering if anyone could suggest one that would give the best 'bang for the buck'? I mostly want to use it as a word processor, but I might also play a few old casual games, or even MAME classics on it. Thanks!
 

moinmoin

Platinum Member
Jun 1, 2017
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Thin Client used to essentially mean a streaming box without any capability beyond that. You already want to do more with it though. For under 100$ there are only some Atom based complete systems, like after a quick search on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0874DM8BT/
 

Candleflight

Junior Member
Jan 17, 2017
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Raspberry Pi4 2G with case and power supply. If you can afford to usb boot from M2 or SSD, it really makes it work well.
 
Apr 30, 2020
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Thin Client used to essentially mean a streaming box without any capability beyond that. You already want to do more with it though. For under 100$ there are only some Atom based complete systems, like after a quick search on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0874DM8BT/
I think you may be confusing "Thin Client" with "Zero Client". Thin Clients are basically really stripped down bare-bones PCs. Typically with a very small amount of storage, low-end CPU, no expansion, and a handful of I/O ports. They are basically designed to boot off a very minimal OS image, and almost all their application data is stored and accessed from a remote server. However most are perfectly capable of running a full desktop OS if you upgrade the storage.

Zero clients on the other hand are basically "streaming boxes". They're more or less functionally equivalent to a "Steam Link" or "Google Stadia".
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,899
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What about one of these? I saw this today, it's an ECS Liva Z2V, for $139.99.

32GB eMMC, 2.5" SATA bay, dual SO-DIMM slots (260-pin, so I guess ? DDR4? They never actually say in the specs), and a Celeron N4000 Gemini Lake. (I *think* that's a quad-core.)

I was contemplating it, and in the overview, they list "HDMI2.0 (Z2 only)", whereas this model is the Z2V, probably stands for "value", and Newegg doesn't have just a plain Z2 model. The specs page lists HDMI 1.4. So I don't know if this will do 4K60 output (for my 40" UHD TVs as monitors) or not.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,899
6,870
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By the time that you buy a 480/512GB-class SATA SSD ($45), and a 2x8GB DDR4-2400 SO-DIMM kit ($65?), that's $110+$140, or $250. You could just get a decent refurb desktop with real horsepower (?) behind it, like an i3-7100 or something desktop unit with 8GB desktop DDR4 and a 256GB SSD. (Or cheaper if you ebay it.)
 

moinmoin

Platinum Member
Jun 1, 2017
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@AmericanLocomotive Never heard of the term "zero client" before, thanks. Wikipedia says it's a manufacture dependent term along "cloud client", "universal desktop" and "clever client".

Raspberry Pi4 2G with case and power supply. If you can afford to usb boot from M2 or SSD, it really makes it work well.
Good call, the RPs are in especially widespread use for emulation so there are a lot of tutorials for building such. Since OP mentioned MAME that may be a feasible option indeed.
 
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