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Looking for hardware advice for self-hosting with a Mini PC
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Looking for hardware advice for self-hosting with a Mini PC

Hi,

Looking for a bit of advice when it comes to hardware. I'm quite out of touch with hardware specs since the 90's, and when trying to compare all the various Intel and AMD processors and different models - can easily get lost with all the choice!

In short, I'm looking to host part of my project from home, as a residential IP is preferred. I'm leaning towards an AMD processor, with at least 6 cores and ideally a clock speed of 2.5Ghz or more. Will probably also need about 4GB of RAM and about a 25GB SSD.

I prefer a Mini PC as it's small and I can put it besides my router, tucked away. Fanless would be great but not required. Doesn't need a graphics card as I'll be running Ubuntu 20.04 and just using ssh to connect to the server.

Budget wise, the lower the better- I was hoping to get this box for around EUR 500 but I get that it could be more.

If anyone has an experience with getting hardware like this, could you let me know what you'd recommend and where to buy? I'm fine with waiting from AliExpress, etc, or Amazon etc.

Many thanks.

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Comments

  • AXYZEAXYZE Member
    edited August 14

    Intel NUC series is the best bet probably. They run fine for years, nice performance and upgrade options in very small form factor.

    If you dont need much performance then save money and go with Raspberry Pi4 4GB and connect SSD via USB3. You can also try to get NVMe SSD and connect it like this

    Thanked by 1fixxation

    Favorite European providers: netcup and Hetzner (free €20, aff)

  • Thanks @AXYZE - I'll check out the Intel NUCs. I actually already have a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB running here from home, which has been working well - but it's not powerful enough to do all of my project, hence the search for 6 cores now. I was hoping to do everything on the Raspberry Pi 4 -- great price and all, but it's just not quite powerful enough for all the headless browsers I need to run. :-) Thanks for the tip on the Intel NUC

  • I find the intel nucs are relatively expensive. I have been eyeing some of the AMD alternatives which are a few dollars less and well these days AMD performance vs cost is usually better. You should be able to find them on Amazon, just search amd mini pc.

    Thanked by 2yagomp fixxation

    BF/CM Grabs: 1-GeorgeDataCenter, 1-Netcup, 1-Avoro, 1-PHP-Friends, 1-Virtono, 1-AlphaVPS, 1-VirMach ($1/year!), 1-MxRoute
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  • catscats Member
    edited August 14

    I'm kind of a mini pc fanatic. I've used Optiplex 9020Ms, Intel NUCs, Raspberry Pis, and quite a bit more. I've kept track of them quite a bit since then.

    You can get a used i3-6100U NUC for about $100, or a used 6th gen Dell Optiplex or HP EliteDesk/ProDesk with a 6400T for about 150. Throw an SSD in it (if it doesn't already have one, a lot of them come with a 256GB) and you have a great starter PC. If you go up to about $250, you can get an i5-8400T 6 core in an EliteDesk 800 G3 or ProDesk 800 G3, or Optiplex 3060.

    I also just recently bought a Gigabyte BRIX S with a 4500U, put 32GB and an NVMe SSD into it. In total it's about $600 and has 6 cores, 6 threads, and 2.5Gb networking (with the proper r8125 driver compield). It outperforms the i5-8400T, and even the i7-8700T.

    If you're okay with used hardware and you can find it in EU, definitely go with the used business PC route, they're plentiful most of the time since businesses replace them so often - check around for local recyclers, as well as ebay. If you can't find anything like that, look at the Gigabyte BRIX S, ASRock Industrial, or ASUS PN50s - they're your best bet for reasonably priced Ryzen-based mini pcs.

    BuyVM Stock Notifications and API (Links provided by the API are affiliate links, and can be substituted freely in your applications with no conditions of use)

    Full time software developer and server tinkerer-er

  • MaouniqueMaounique Member
    edited August 14

    I would get an used laptop, elitebooks are really cheap, sturdy and well cooled unlike other HP laptops, got an i5 3xxx with a smudged display for 60 Eur, added SSD and 12 GB ram for some 150 Eur in total (60 initial included) now is a great RDP i use for work from anywhere, 3 browsers, some 40 tabs, doesn't even get heated in the summer.
    I added the original 500 gb disk in a caddy instead of dvd so it has some "cold" storage too because the performance of caddy hdds on those elitebooks is extremely bad.

    Extremist conservative user, I wish to preserve human and civil rights, free speech, freedom of the press and worship, rule of law, democracy, peace and prosperity, social mobility, etc. Now you can draw your guns.

  • AXYZEAXYZE Member

    @cats said:
    I'm kind of a mini pc fanatic. I've used Optiplex 9020Ms, Intel NUCs, Raspberry Pis, and quite a bit more. I've kept track of them quite a bit since then.

    You can get a used i3-6100U NUC for about $100, or a used 6th gen Dell Optiplex or HP EliteDesk/ProDesk with a 6400T for about 150. Throw an SSD in it (if it doesn't already have one, a lot of them come with a 256GB) and you have a great starter PC. If you go up to about $250, you can get an i5-8400T 6 core in an EliteDesk 800 G3 or ProDesk 800 G3, or Optiplex 3060.

    I also just recently bought a Gigabyte BRIX S with a 4500U, put 32GB and an NVMe SSD into it. In total it's about $600 and has 6 cores, 6 threads, and 2.5Gb networking (with the proper r8125 driver compield). It outperforms the i5-8400T, and even the i7-8700T.

    If you're okay with used hardware and you can find it in EU, definitely go with the used business PC route, they're plentiful most of the time since businesses replace them so often - check around for local recyclers, as well as ebay. If you can't find anything like that, look at the Gigabyte BRIX S, ASRock Industrial, or ASUS PN50s - they're your best bet for reasonably priced Ryzen-based mini pcs.

    And Asus PN51, newer one :)

    Thanked by 1cats

    Favorite European providers: netcup and Hetzner (free €20, aff)

  • DrvDrv Member

    Look at noctua nh-p1 fanless cooler +- noctua fan nf-a12x25 ls-pwm does only about 13db noise.
    You can also use it to cool a i9 10900t

    Thanked by 1fixxation
  • On AliExpress there are some interesting options, you can find a Ryzen 7 2700U, with 8GB and about 256GB of NVMe for prices of US$350

    Thanked by 1fixxation

    Thanks

  • @vinhais said:
    On AliExpress there are some interesting options, you can find a Ryzen 7 2700U, with 8GB and about 256GB of NVMe for prices of US$350

    I wouldnt trust that

  • Not powerful enough for your needs but I love atomic pi's

  • Asrock Deskmini A300?

  • SpeedTestSpeedTest Member
    edited August 15

    @Maounique said: I would get an used laptop

    agree, you can get a powerful laptop with a cracked screen on eBay for really cheap, and the best part is it has a battery to avoid involucration

    Thanked by 1scooke

    bench.monster - check your VPS performance

  • Mac mini m1 gives super good performance, but I guess it is not something you are looking for.

    Don't give me hope.

  • Thanks for all the replies guys - great amount of feedback and detail in this thread. Good thing is that I'm on holidays for a week and have loads of time to kill so I can absorb and research all this.

    My early gut feeling leans in the direction of an Asus PN50 though :smile: - I'll do some further research on all the points above over the week and let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again, appreciate all the help :smiley:

  • @SirFoxy said:

    @vinhais said:
    On AliExpress there are some interesting options, you can find a Ryzen 7 2700U, with 8GB and about 256GB of NVMe for prices of US$350

    I wouldnt trust that

    There are many with positive ratings, but I wouldn't trust 100%

    Thanks

  • Lenovo m75n and m90n's are fanless, USB-C, Display Port, and small. Regular price might be high, I scored awesome BF deals on several.

    Thanked by 1fixxation
  • catscats Member

    @fixxation said:
    Thanks for all the replies guys - great amount of feedback and detail in this thread. Good thing is that I'm on holidays for a week and have loads of time to kill so I can absorb and research all this.

    My early gut feeling leans in the direction of an Asus PN50 though :smile: - I'll do some further research on all the points above over the week and let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again, appreciate all the help :smiley:

    As mentioned above the PN51 is the newer version with the 5000 series of mobile cpus, could be worth looking into if you can find it :)

    Thanked by 1fixxation

    BuyVM Stock Notifications and API (Links provided by the API are affiliate links, and can be substituted freely in your applications with no conditions of use)

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  • Thanks @cats . Finding it difficult to get a PN51 online, seems it's just not readily available yet. However I think a PN50 will work well for me, with either a 4500U cpu or the 4700U. 4700U is the 8-core version, which might be a little overkill for my needs. But on the other hand, I do like knowing I'll have extra power in case my needs change in the future... tough one. For now this is looking like the best fit:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/ASUS-Barebone-Ryzen-4500U-SO-DIMM/dp/B08BLGZZV4/

    At the end of the day, I'm just running about 8 headless browsers, so that should do the trick... (hopefully)

    Thanked by 1cats
  • ArkasArkas Member

    I'm thinking of getting this beast, but for personal use. It is a serious 8c/16t beast!
    It would work fine for your use.

  • DataIdeas-JoshDataIdeas-Josh Member, Provider

    Why am I just now seeing this!?!!

    Alien Data: VPS and Colo Based In Texas, Unmetered Bandwidth.
    RPIServers: Dedicated Micro Servers - Micro Colo - Unmetered Bandwidth

  • @Arkas said:
    I'm thinking of getting this beast, but for personal use. It is a serious 8c/16t beast!
    It would work fine for your use.

    Droooooool. :-) That is one serious little mini-beast alright!

  • DataIdeas-JoshDataIdeas-Josh Member, Provider

    @fixxation I mean you could also colo that with my Micro Colo option :)

    Alien Data: VPS and Colo Based In Texas, Unmetered Bandwidth.
    RPIServers: Dedicated Micro Servers - Micro Colo - Unmetered Bandwidth

  • Thanks @DataIdeas-Josh - for this part of my project I need a residential IP (in only a limited number of EU countries) so easier to go from home for this. Cool about your Micro-Colo option though - will keep you in mind should I ever need that in the future! :-)

    Thanked by 1DataIdeas-Josh
  • LordSpockLordSpock Member, Provider

    I have some non-branded Chinese box with a laptop motherboard in (i5-8250U) that I use for various little projects and IoT control stuff. I bought it on AliExpress for just under $250 and threw in an SSD and some RAM that I had lying around.

    That thing sips power and is super reliable, before it became a server it was a very suitable Hackintosh too.

    Having a quick browse on AliExpress shows there are quite a few Ryzen MiniPCs. Might be worth having a nosy.

    Thanked by 3kheng86 fixxation cats
  • catscats Member

    @fixxation said:
    Thanks @cats . Finding it difficult to get a PN51 online, seems it's just not readily available yet. However I think a PN50 will work well for me, with either a 4500U cpu or the 4700U. 4700U is the 8-core version, which might be a little overkill for my needs. But on the other hand, I do like knowing I'll have extra power in case my needs change in the future... tough one. For now this is looking like the best fit:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/ASUS-Barebone-Ryzen-4500U-SO-DIMM/dp/B08BLGZZV4/

    At the end of the day, I'm just running about 8 headless browsers, so that should do the trick... (hopefully)

    Definitely! I just bought a Gigabyte BRIX with a 4500U and it's insanely good. I got it over the PN50 for the 2.5GbE port and slightly different configuration, but the PN50 is also very good and probably has a better reputation for being reliable.

    I really want to get another and colo it with @DataIdeas-Josh though... maybe I'll grab a 6th gen Intel micro pc?

    BuyVM Stock Notifications and API (Links provided by the API are affiliate links, and can be substituted freely in your applications with no conditions of use)

    Full time software developer and server tinkerer-er

  • DataIdeas-JoshDataIdeas-Josh Member, Provider

    @cats said:
    Definitely! I just bought a Gigabyte BRIX with a 4500U and it's insanely good. I got it over the PN50 for the 2.5GbE port and slightly different configuration, but the PN50 is also very good and probably has a better reputation for being reliable.

    I really want to get another and colo it with @DataIdeas-Josh though... maybe I'll grab a 6th gen Intel micro pc?

    That could work. We have seen Micro PCs, Intel NUCs, even something like what's above.

    @fixxation our colo sits on a residential IP range. Here is our looking glass. http://looking.dataideas.com

    Alien Data: VPS and Colo Based In Texas, Unmetered Bandwidth.
    RPIServers: Dedicated Micro Servers - Micro Colo - Unmetered Bandwidth

  • dfroedfroe Member, Provider

    @DataIdeas-Josh said:
    @fixxation our colo sits on a residential IP range. Here is our looking glass. http://looking.dataideas.com

    Of course that depends on your source - and the definition of a "Residential IP Range". :)
    According to IP2Location it's "Data Center/Web Hosting/Transit" with "Public Proxy Server" - assuming you're colocating your own looking glass.

    it-df.net: IT-Service David Froehlich | Individual network and hosting solutions | AS39083 | RIPE LIR services (IPv4, IPv6, ASN)

  • https://whatismyipaddress.com/ip/38.81.163.2
    It does indeed show as residential, although its unfortunately blacklisted by most streaming services :-(

  • DataIdeas-JoshDataIdeas-Josh Member, Provider

    @NobodyInteresting said:
    https://whatismyipaddress.com/ip/38.81.163.2
    It does indeed show as residential, although its unfortunately blacklisted by most streaming services :-(

    oh?
    I can get on netflix just fine on that ip range.

    Alien Data: VPS and Colo Based In Texas, Unmetered Bandwidth.
    RPIServers: Dedicated Micro Servers - Micro Colo - Unmetered Bandwidth

  • DataIdeas-JoshDataIdeas-Josh Member, Provider

    @dfroe said:

    @DataIdeas-Josh said:
    @fixxation our colo sits on a residential IP range. Here is our looking glass. http://looking.dataideas.com

    Of course that depends on your source - and the definition of a "Residential IP Range". :)
    According to IP2Location it's "Data Center/Web Hosting/Transit" with "Public Proxy Server" - assuming you're colocating your own looking glass.

    We do run our own looking glass. And is running on that IP.

    Alien Data: VPS and Colo Based In Texas, Unmetered Bandwidth.
    RPIServers: Dedicated Micro Servers - Micro Colo - Unmetered Bandwidth

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