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Raikonnen

Member
Aug 11, 2016
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Hi folks,

I'd love some input into a new computer I'm looking at buying/building sometime before xmas.
I've never built a computer before and would prefer to avoid starting from scratch if possible.

I have a crazy small apartment and want a sff style pc (I would also consider a laptop 13-15"). I'm very interested in the new skull canyon NUC however.
I've also been looking at the Gigabyte website but am having a hard time differentiating all the models! i can sort by image or by text...what the heck is that? haha. What is a similar gigabyte model to the Skull? Something like this...GB-BNi7G4-950?

What is Gigabyte's top of the line mini PC? I'd like to stay around $1000-1200 USD (I have a monitor already)

Are both systems easily upgradable in a year or two? new motherboard and chip etc.?
I would like something that is somewhat future-proof. IE usb 3.1 type C, thunderbolt top wifi etc.....the skull canyon seems to hit everything but I'm wondering if I'll miss a dedicated graphics card for PS?
I'm looking at 16gb ram and probably 256 m.2 is enough (I'll use external HD for back up at home)

Essentially I want this for home entertainment (heavy web and netlix use and movies etc) BUT also a lot of Photoshop work. No gaming.
Does anyone have experience with the nuc and PS?
My current laptop take 3-5 seconds to load images on PS not to mention making adjustments and it drives me nuts :)


Thanks for any input!
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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It's not that hard to build a computer. But if you really want a SFF system, look at AlienWare's Alpha and Zotac's Steam Machine.
 

Raikonnen

Member
Aug 11, 2016
29
0
6
It's not that hard to build a computer. But if you really want a SFF system, look at AlienWare's Alpha and Zotac's Steam Machine.
Thanks.
Im not dead set against building a computer...might be a fun challenge....but only if it offers much better performance and price point would I think it's worth it. Where is a good place to start looking for parts etc?
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,805
5,312
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What is Gigabyte's top of the line mini PC? I'd like to stay around $1000-1200 USD (I have a monitor already)

Are both systems easily upgradable in a year or two? new motherboard and chip etc.?
No, most / all of the Gigabyte Brix and Intel NUC mini-PCs have soldered-in low-power CPUs, they are not removable or upgradable.

If you want a mini-PC that you can upgrade, consider the ASRock DeskMini STX rig. It consists of a chassis and mobo, which are in theory removable and upgradable.
The mobo also has a real CPU socket, for a desktop Skylake (and hopefully, Kaby Lake) CPU, an M.2 PCI-E socket (no SATA support on the M.2), an M.2 short socket for a Wifi card (includes an Intel AC wifi in the "110W" package), and is generally a lot more upgradable than a NUC or Brix unit. Slightly more assembly required, but I think it's a good trade-off.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/10404/asrock-deskmini-110-ministx-pc-review
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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I forgot about the MiniSTX platform. This may work if the OP doesn't need a dGPU.
 

Raikonnen

Member
Aug 11, 2016
29
0
6
No, most / all of the Gigabyte Brix and Intel NUC mini-PCs have soldered-in low-power CPUs, they are not removable or upgradable.

If you want a mini-PC that you can upgrade, consider the ASRock DeskMini STX rig. It consists of a chassis and mobo, which are in theory removable and upgradable.
The mobo also has a real CPU socket, for a desktop Skylake (and hopefully, Kaby Lake) CPU, an M.2 PCI-E socket (no SATA support on the M.2), an M.2 short socket for a Wifi card (includes an Intel AC wifi in the "110W" package), and is generally a lot more upgradable than a NUC or Brix unit. Slightly more assembly required, but I think it's a good trade-off.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/10404/asrock-deskmini-110-ministx-pc-review

Yes, the Asrock looks great but missing thunderbolt and sd reader which would be handy for my photo work.

It really does seem that the skull canyon hits everything but doesn't have ability to upgrade the chip/mb darn! I think I can get away with the Iris graphics for PS but not sure yet....
Its hard to find exactly what one needs sometimes!

Anyone know of any other sff that has the features of the skull canyon but can be upgraded? I found the echo systems with Puget systems but its close to $2000 the way I wanted it configured.....
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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It really does seem that the skull canyon hits everything but doesn't have ability to upgrade the chip/mb darn! I think I can get away with the Iris graphics for PS but not sure yet....
Its hard to find exactly what one needs sometimes!

Anyone know of any other sff that has the features of the skull canyon but can be upgraded? I found the echo systems with Puget systems but its close to $2000 the way I wanted it configured.....
The Skull Canyon may be your best bet for a SFF MiniPC. The CPU while not upgradeable, is still faster then your laptop. Of course you build a MicroATX system instead with a Thunderbolt 3/USB 3.1 Gen 2 card.
 

Raikonnen

Member
Aug 11, 2016
29
0
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The Skull Canyon may be your best bet for a SFF MiniPC. The CPU while not upgradeable, is still faster then your laptop. Of course you build a MicroATX system instead with a Thunderbolt 3/USB 3.1 Gen 2 card.
Thanks for input everyone. :) The atx is too big. I may look at a laptop as well....
Can anyone recommend an mini-stx (like the asrock deskmini 110) build with a Thunderbolt 3/USB 3.1 Gen 2 card? thats as big as I would go size wise.....

If not I'll go with the skull canyon....I'll probably be ok without being able to upgrade (and be without graphics card)
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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Well the Iris Graphics Pro 580 iGPU of the Skull Canyon should be just fine for PhotoShop.
 

Raikonnen

Member
Aug 11, 2016
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0
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Yeah I think Iris pro 580 will be fine too.

My concern is can I spend the same $ roughly on a mini-stx build and be better off? (and more than just a little better off)?
If I can find one with all th newest ports that I want that is....
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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Well I'm a gamer and I use Linux, so my needs are deferent then yours. The main advantages of going with MiniITX is that everything is upgradeable and you can put in a more powerful CPU. IF you don't need a dGPU, then you can use the PCIe slot to put in a USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3 card.
 

Raikonnen

Member
Aug 11, 2016
29
0
6
Well I'm a gamer and I use Linux, so my needs are deferent then yours. The main advantages of going with MiniITX is that everything is upgradeable and you can put in a more powerful CPU. IF you don't need a dGPU, then you can use the PCIe slot to put in a USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3 card.
Hmmm there's an idea....I have lots to learn. Thank you! What desktop chipset and processor would you recommend? IF I don't have a dGPU then something with the iris pro 580 would probably be best?
IS there a website that lists price points and pros/cons to help me decide? Thanks again.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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Well the highest you can with iGPUs on Socket 1151 CPUs is the Intel 530 which might be good enough for PS. The Intel i7-6700 CPU sounds perfect for PS as well. You might want to find some PS forums to ask questions there about what hardware you will get the most benefit from.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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You're welcome. This will give you more flexibility then an MiniITX case will.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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You would think sometimes you might need more than 2 USB sockets in the front.
Yeah but you can buy a Flash card reader that has USB cables that connect to a header on the motherboard and fit in a 5 1/4 bay. Will give two to four more front USB ports.
 

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