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Mini PC ?


Do any of you have experience with so-called mini PCs? Any caveats to watch out for? Things to avoid? Mistakes made?

I run a ThinkPad with a quad core, 8 GB, and SSD, and am very happy with it. However, I run it with a large external monitor, external Unicomp keyboard, external mouse. I boot the laptop, then turn the brightness down, close the lid, and never look at it again. It seems the only advantage of using a laptop is the built-in UPS.

I'm looking to add a second computer, for various reasons, which is why I'm looking at a mini PC.

Any thoughts?

Have you looked into getting an external UPS? Sounds like the only reason for using a laptop. I use laptops as laptops and desktops as desktops. I've found I can get cheap desktops by getting refurbished machines off eBay and throwing Linux on them, but no UPS.

Yeah, I may well take that route. I became very fond of UPSs back in the 1990s, when living in a place with shaky electrical power. Now I'm addicted. Computers without a UPS make me nervous. Lol. But yeah, a UPS is cheap. I only need a tiny one with a machine like that.

I'm also a fan of refurbs. I get mine from NewEgg. But mini-PCs are a fairly new technology so there aren't that many refurbs around yet.

In any case, I'm looking for warnings and bad experiences with mini-PCs. For example, is cooling adequate? Do they run hot or overheat? Or, certain brands to stay away from.

Hmm I guess I can't help you there.

Just saw this on the Linux Mint blog. Linux Mint is the version of Linux I use.

https://fit-iot.com/web/products/mintbox3/mintbox3-press-release/

Man, the specs on the Model-3 Pro are terrifying. Holy crap. But the price is reasonable. As I scrolled down and down, I was expecting a tag close to $10k.

If it works with Linux Mint, it should be compatible with just about any other version of Linux. Although if you put another version of Linux on it, the box would still have the Linux Mint logo on it. The company (Compulab in Yokneam, Israel) also produces machines with Windows.

Obviously I have no personal experience with their machines, but I use Linux Mint and the Linux Mint developers seem to love them, so that ought to count for something.

Well, look at that. Ain't that interesting.

Yeah, Mint should run on any reasonably normal PC. My other favorite OS I didn't mention: Puppy Linux. It's very cool and has certain advantages such as ultimate speed, ultimate security, and minimal disk usage. I've used it since around 2005 also. I don't use it much these days because I don't have a specific need for it. Although it's always in my mind as a tool. I considered using it with this SSD machine I have to minimize wear and tear on the SSD.

Yeah, I know. I was practically drooling looking at it. And I'm not even in the market to buy a new system at the moment. I've got two desktops and two laptops that I use on a regular basis, one Mac and one Linux for each category. And my plan was basically to keep using them until they broke or otherwise became unusable, and then move up to newer machines. Since it doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon, I figure I won't be buying new machines for a long time.

I actually have a little tiny underpowered Toshiba "netbook" which is sluggish under Linux Mint. Since I see Puppy Linux is one of those "light-weight" distributions, and you recommend it, maybe I'll try throwing Pupply Linux on that machine and see how it goes. I never use the machine anyway as it is because Linux Mint is sluggish on it.

I definitely recommend it. You might not like it, so I'd recommend trying it. Fortunately, that's extremely easy. You don't even have to disturb your existing systems to try it.

Puppy is different and requires a slightly different viewpoint on how things are done. I love it. It's also a standard in certain hi-reliability, high-trust, ultra-secure settings that you'll find at certain agencies of the US government -- without putting too fine a point on it.

Try it. If you don't like it, nothing lost. Just be aware that it's a bit different and takes some getting used to. Your sluggish machine won't be sluggish with Puppy running.

Hadn't heard of Puppy Linux before. Man, there are a lot of Linux distros. I tried Ubuntu a couple of years ago and it irritated me. I'm really happy to have discovered Linux Mint this year. Before Linux Mint I didn't consider Linux a viable option for desktop machines.

I haven't gotten into my "distro experimentation" phase, but I can tell it's going to happen someday. I'll tell you why. I had a terrible experience that turned out to be a wonderful experience. I'll explain. I installed Linux Mint on my laptop (Lenovo ThinkPad), and I forget exactly why but I was trying to change which commands required sudo and which you could use without sudo. And I screwed the machine up so that sudo itself didn't work. And I needed sudo to fix the problem. I realized I'd fundamentally broken the machine. I felt like the stupidest person ever. I felt terrible. But then I wiped the machine and reinstalled Linux and copied my files back on it. And suddenly I realized, wow, this machine isn't like my Windows and Mac machines, where you have to be super-careful not to break things, because if y... show more

Yes, indeed. All true. And if you'd had Puppy on a USB stick, you could have booted that, gone in and repaired your machine -- if you knew what was wrong. Puppy is my standard tool for putting a Windows machine under the microscope and dissecting it. Lol.

Puppy is also useful for forensic work. You can get into any machine, examine everything, and when you're done there's no trace you were ever there.