Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

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Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Stupify » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:12 am

Some history: I have always wondered why is there no company making PCs that are simply the base of a laptop without the monitor? The keyboard/trackpad can be dropped too for size. Small battery would be bonus for sleep mode power-on, not to power the system. This would cut out the cost and space of the lcd, big battery, keyboard/mouse and optical drive, leaving you with a tiny, cheap and light-weight system that is powerful (at least in compute terms). A decent reasonably priced and small docking station that can be connected to provide the standard ports: usb3, ethernet, esata, hdmi/dp, audio, power.

I find myself most of the nettops out there are not powerful enough (atom/celeron cpus) or lack sufficient ports (hdmi, esata, usb3, gigabit ethernet, 2 dimms and memory card reader are bare minimum) or are too big in size. Heck it is surprising that only Apple has managed to get a decent dimensions system (Mac-mini http://www.apple.com/mac-mini/ ) so far. The closet I have seen is Dell's version which is 2x fatter in comparison. Why was there no such push from the PC world is a surprise to me - anyone wants to take a guess? Also the weaker nettops fail miserably to come close to laptops performance at same price point which is a shame too - buying a new laptop and ripping the lcd off and removing the battery seems to be a cheaper option than trying to find such option.

My use case is that I want a system that I can carry with me to home office and work office that's light and yet powerful. I use external monitor, keyboard and mouse, rarely carry it to any meetings or sort. I am sure there are many who in the same situation.

Keep me posted if you know or come across small dimensional systems (think Mac-mini size) with the above specs. I am seriously considering such option when Haswell launches.
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Stupify » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:29 am

damn i should have checked again before I posted. My understanding of current state was outdated by 6months+. There are some good options out there:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6856107112

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6856205003
this one definitely seems appealing.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6856173052
No esata though.

although I want to see their innards.
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Fuzz » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:45 am

What about putting the OS on an external drive, and just booting from that? You probably have a PC at home and at work. You can just carry your OS and data with you. If you are going to be somewhere with a monitor, mouse and keyboard, there is probably a PC there too....
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Stupify » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:05 am

that idea would only work if the two pcs had similar hardware and would not run into the Windows Activation issue of two different systems.
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Stupify » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:12 am

Stupify wrote:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6856205003
this one definitely seems appealing.

i am very much interested in finding a shot of this box's innards and a review. Google so far has not yielding me either.
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Sauron_Daz » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:45 am

Tried that too. No pics of the innards..
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby DIREWOLF75 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:18 am

Stupify wrote:that idea would only work if the two pcs had similar hardware and would not run into the Windows Activation issue of two different systems.

If it´s not for games, why not use Linux then?
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Stupify » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:08 am

Software support...
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Hammer_Time » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:49 am

This new Asus dual-monitor thing looks interesting, but I don't imagine it will be cheap...quite the opposite:

http://www.techpowerup.com/182780/ASUS- ... lable.html

Monday, April 15th 2013

ASUS Taichi 31 with Dual 13.3-inch Displays Now Available

ASUS today announced availability of ASUS Taichi 31, a sleek Ultrabook with a 13.3-inch dual-screen design that offers the mobile flexibility of a tablet with the performance and features of a notebook. ASUS Taichi 31 features a choice of Intel Core processors and joins the 11.6-inch ASUS Taichi 21, launched in October 2012.

With two Full HD 13.3-inch screens placed back-to-back, ASUS Taichi 31 combines the best features of a Windows 8 tablet and a powerful Ultrabook in a single sleek design. With the same stunning black-mirror finish and slender profile as the 11.6-inch ASUS Taichi 21, ASUS Taichi 31 is as elegant as it is innovative, and packs a host of features that help make light work of any productivity task.

Lid closed, ASUS Taichi 31 is a high-performance tablet with a powerful Intel Core i7 or i5 processor and blazingly fast SSD storage. Scratch-resistant glass with 10-point multi-touch makes Windows 8 effortless and intuitive to use, while the supplied pressure-sensitive stylus is perfect for taking handwritten notes, annotating documents and drawing sketches.

Lid open, ASUS Taichi 31 offers three distinct ways to work. With just the inner display active, ASUS Taichi 31 is a powerful Ultrabook with a comfortable backlit keyboard and a generously proportioned touchpad with full support for Windows 8 gestures. Better still, both displays can also be active at the same time in Extended Desktop or Mirrored Desktop mode, making it easy to show a presentation or share a video, without the need for a clumsy external monitor or a bulky projector.

Brilliant images and astonishing audio quality

In whichever mode ASUS Taichi 31 is used, two Full HD displays with IPS technology give outstanding clarity with vibrant color and 178-degree wide viewing angles. Dual-band Wi-Fi with Intel WiDi and Bluetooth 4.0 offer high-performance wireless connectivity, while two USB 3 ports provide full support for the latest high-speed external storage devices and rapid mobile device recharging.

ASUS SonicMaster technology, co-developed with Bang & Olufsen ICEpower, delivers astonishing sound quality on ASUS Taichi 31 with all kinds of listening material. ASUS Taichi 31 also features a rear 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with 1080p Full HD video recording and a front-facing 720p HD video camera, plus a noise-suppressing array microphone for crystal-clear video chat. ASUS Super Hybrid Engine II technology gives up to seven hours battery life with Wi-Fi web browsing.

Multi award-winning design

ASUS Taichi has received a number of awards since its launch in October 2012. The 2013 CES Innovations Award judging panel were impressed by ASUS Taichi for its daring design and entirely new approach to mobile PCs, while the 2013 iF Design Award committee acknowledged the vision behind its innovative design. ASUS Taichi was also awarded a prestigious G Mark in the 2012 Good Design Awards for its breakthrough design that offers new levels of productivity and entertainment.


posted by btarunr - 4:30 AM


Dual IPS panel displays, not gonna be cheap at all!! Scared to know what actual price is once Asus tells us... :? :shock: :specs:
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Fuzz » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:48 pm

Stupify wrote:that idea would only work if the two pcs had similar hardware and would not run into the Windows Activation issue of two different systems.



Right you are! Way to little coffee in my system when I dreamed that up....
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Hammer_Time » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:55 pm

... and too much distraction by thinking up new ways of exterminating penguins no doubt!! :fist: :mrgreen: :lol:

Do you guys like the Taichi?

The already released 11.6" screen version is $1500 USD!!! :shock:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6834230700

ASUS Taichi 21-DH71 11.6" Touchscreen Convertible Ultrabook

Features touchscreen

Intel Core i7 3517U(1.90GHz)
4GB Memory 256GB SSD HDD
Intel HD Graphics 4000
1920 x 1080
Windows 8 64-Bit

$1,499.99


With the slightly larger 13.3" dual screens I am guessing Asus will charge between $1700 to $1800 for similarly spec'd Taichi...just a guess, Asus has not released the official price on the new larger Taichi yet...

The specs seem pretty nice ( excepting crap Intel HD 4000 gpu, an integrated AMD Radeon HD 7xxx class apu would be worlds better of course, but you can't get that with an Intel cpu). Too bad the price is so friggin high...
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Stupify » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:02 pm

Taichi - 11.6" from what I read has bad battery life unlike the new 13" version they launched today or so that has 7hrs - Engadget as source. I think Microsoft's Surface is a better solution than what Taichi has to offer - the inner screen isn't touch screen, only the outer screen is. So that will annoy you over time. The price is just too high as well.

Stop derailing H_T :fist: Especially with a product that has 2 screens built-in when I am looking to do away with screens!
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Hammer_Time » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:15 pm

:lol: Sorry was not really trying to derail... just thought the Taichi was interesting approach ( way too expensive of course ).
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Tiggerz » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:48 pm

Have a look at the NUC... (Next unit of computing).
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Stupify » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:31 am

NUC is no good: no eSata, only usb 2, and only msata instead of 2.5" drive.
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Stupify » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:41 am

Hammer_Time wrote::lol: Sorry was not really trying to derail... just thought the Taichi was interesting approach ( way too expensive of course ).


Taichi feels overdone with miniscule benefit and more annoyance if the information is to be believed about inner panel is not touch screen and the outer is. I much prefer Microsoft's Surface pro design with the keyboard/mouse almost paper thin that you can fold it if you don't need the keyboard/mouse. The only beef I have with it is limited amount of memory (4GB), 128GB drive and battery life of 4-5hrs max. I am also in market for a tablet but given the current state of tablets and their worthiness for heavy professional use to produce products instead of consume.

The funny thing I have noticed about tablet is that they are so much more expensive and have little hardware to show for, just so people can have a lighter and thinner profile. I feel that they, the manufacturers, ought to externalize as much as possible (provide ports) and ensure the remaining parts (built-in) are future-proof for 2-3 years. If they are going to solder the memory on then it should at least have 8GB or 16GB (or have an option to get that much). There should be premium for lighter and thinner profile but shouldn't exceed 20-25% against a similarly configured laptop to be considered worthy. Otherwise if they are going to provide you with limited hardware then they ought to provide an included and seamless way to connect to a power-horse when the oomph is needed: i.e. remote desktop software to deliver that experience as if you are working on the same system.
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Hammer_Time » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:58 am

What? Surface Pro has max. capacity ram of just 4 GB ?? Running Windows 8 Pro...

Tis true:

http://www.cnet.com/laptops/microsoft-s ... 32542.html

RAM 4 GB
Max RAM Supported 4 GB
Technology DDR3 SDRAM


While 4 GB will be "enough" for most users, the thing does run Windows 8 Pro and some power users might like to have at least 8 GB onboard if running professional apps on it ( Photoshop or CAD style apps ). I can think of quite a few scenarios where engineers or designers would appreciate this capability "out in the field". I cannot believe MS limited the ram to just 4 GB with no option to go to 8 or 16 GB - perhaps in the next version, the "Surface Pro PRO" will have such an option... :P

I agree with you about having the proper connectors for external devices. I do wonder if "eSATA" is necessary if the device already has USB 3.0 ports on it though....unless you already own an eSATA device such as eSATA hdd that is... USB 3.0 is pretty fast and any drive attached through that port "feels" like it is connected as an internal drive relatively speaking...so do you really need both eSATA and USB 3.0 ports I wonder? Just curious here...
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Stupify » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:29 am

H_T eSata is essential for pre-Windows 8 as those Windows you cannot boot from USB, esata is not an issue there as the OS recognizes it as a directly connected drive, not a portable drive. Windows 8, I believe, does away with that limitation. Although like most users I want to avoid W8 till I can due to its UI and the fact I don't have hardware (touch screen) that can reduce the pain.
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Sauron_Daz » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:25 pm

Hammer_Time wrote:This new Asus dual-monitor thing looks interesting, but I don't imagine it will be cheap...quite the opposite:

http://www.techpowerup.com/182780/ASUS- ... lable.html

Dual IPS panel displays, not gonna be cheap at all!! Scared to know what actual price is once Asus tells us... :? :shock: :specs:


Battery life must be horrid in tablet mode..
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Re: Compute Powerful Mac mini style/nettop SFF pc

Postby Sauron_Daz » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:34 pm

Hammer_Time wrote:What? Surface Pro has max. capacity ram of just 4 GB ?? Running Windows 8 Pro...

Tis true:

http://www.cnet.com/laptops/microsoft-s ... 32542.html


Must be mobo related.. CPU and OS can handle much more..
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